Notaries provide an important service to the public. They act as a third-party witness to official documents, including real estate deeds, powers of attorney, and court documents. They also have the authority to administer oaths, take depositions, and certify documents. The Secretary of State commissions, oversees, and disciplines notaries in the state of Texas.
Due to the sensitive nature of the notary’s work, notaries working in the state of Texas must apply for and receive a notary public commission. This process includes a completed application detailing contact and personal information as well as a bond in the minimum amount of $10,000. Unless you’re an employee of a state agency, you’ll need to purchase a Texas notary bond before you can begin serving as a notary public.
What Is a Notary Bond?
A notary bond is an agreement between the notary, the surety bond company, and the Texas Secretary of State. If the notary engages in conduct or negligence, the bond helps protect the public from the financial damage that results from the misconduct. Examples of notary misconduct include the following actions:
- Discriminating against signers because of race, national origin, religion, sex, or disability
- Failing to confirm the identity of the document signer
- Failing to report lost or stolen notary tools
- Giving legal advice; a notary public is not the same as a notario publico, which has more power in Latin American countries
- Forgetting to administer an oath to a document signer
- Leaving notary tools in unsecured locations
- Marketing services that do not fall under the notary’s legal duties
- Neglecting to include all of the notarial certificates
- Notarizing documents after the commission expires
- Notarizing documents without the signer in the room
- Overcharging for services
- Overlooking the notarial journal
It is possible for the notary to engage in these acts involuntarily, and the notary bond can apply whether the act was intentional or not. The notary bond is considered public record in Texas; the county clerk of court keeps a record of it on file. Members of the public can request a copy of the bond if they have questions about it.
How Does a Notary Bond Work?
A notary bond is not a type of insurance that protects the notary; it protects the public. For example, if a notary unknowingly accepts a fraudulent ID when verifying a signature on a real estate deed, the person harmed by the action can make a claim against the notary bond. The surety company investigates the claim and determines its validity.
If the bond company approves the claim, it may require the notary to reimburse it for the money it pays out to settle the claim. This can include legal fees in addition to the claim amount. For this reason, notaries may consider purchasing an errors and omissions insurance policy to protect their assets if an honest mistake or oversight leads to a claim payout.
Who Needs a Notary Surety Bond in Texas?
Most commissioned notaries in Texas need a surety bond, and this is detailed in the Texas Government Code and Texas Administrative Code. The only exceptions to this rule are notaries who work for a government agency. These agencies typically have policies in place to protect the public from mistakes their notaries make during the course of their work. If you don’t work for one of these agencies, you need a notary bond.
How Much is a Notary Bond in Texas?
The total cost of a notary bond in Texas varies from person to person. In addition to the actual cost of the bond, you may choose to add errors and omissions coverage that can increase the amount you’ll pay. The exact amount you pay for the insurance coverage depends on the amount of coverage you choose. You also have the option to purchase a notary package with a stamp and journal. To see the total cost, you can complete the application or call to request a quote.
How to Get a Texas Notary Bond
You can receive a Texas Notary Bond as soon as today. Complete the online application and submit your payment online as soon as you receive approval. You’ll receive the bond the same day you complete the payment.