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Oregon Non-Attorney Notaries May Not Advertise or Serve as a “Notario Publico”


Unlike their powers in some other counties, a non-attorney notary in Oregon (and in most of the U.S.) may not provide attorney or attorney-like services:

Excerpts from the Oregon Notary Guide (or link from the SoS Notary Services website):

1) “Chapter 3-Misconduct, Liability & Protecting Yourself

Non-attorney notaries public must not give legal advice. Do not tell people which legal procedure to do, how to do it, or what they need to do to get a legal action accomplished. You may think you know what to do, but you open yourself to a lawsuit even if you are right. The Oregon State Bar takes a dim view of unlicensed individuals giving out legal advice. This also applies to notarial certificates. As you’ll see, a notary may not suggest or select notarial certificates for people. Rather, he or she performs a particular notarization at the direction of the requesting individual.

Notaries public must not prepare documents. Don’t fill out documents or finish drafting them, even as a favor. It takes an attorney to know what is legally appropriate for a document.”

2) “Chapter 1-Notaries in History

In Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin American countries, notaries retain many of their attorney-like powers. In the United States, however, notaries are most important for merely witnessing documents drafted by someone else. This disparity in notary authority is the reason Oregon has a law against advertising as a “Notario Publico”, which conveys to Spanish-speaking individuals vastly different powers than notaries have in this state. “A person may not use the term “notario publico” or any equivalent non-English term, in any business card, advertisement, notice, sign or in any other manner that misrepresents the authority of a notary public.” ORS 194.162 (5).

Even within the United States, the duties and responsibilities of a notary public vary greatly from state to state. Oregon law states “A notary may not make representations to have powers, qualifications, rights or privileges that the office of notary does not have including the power to counsel on immigration matters.” ORS 194.162 (2). It is essential, therefore, to become familiar with Oregon’s notary laws and rules even if you have previously served as a notary in another state.”

3) Find additional information at the Oregon Secretary of State’s Notary Public Services website.

a) Oregon Notary Guide (or link from the SoS Notary Services website):

b) Notary Qualifications.

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