When a notary public is called to court, they are usually being asked to provide testimony. Depositions can be difficult for some notaries because they have never been in a courtroom before. In this blog post, we will discuss what happens during a deposition and how you can prepare yourself for it.
The deposition is usually a video conference call that is set up between the plaintiff's attorney, the defendant's attorney, and the notary. The attorneys will ask you detailed questions about how you performed the notarization. They may also ask to see your journal entry for that particular notarization. It is important to have all of your documents prepared and organized so that you can quickly provide them if needed.
How to prepare:
Time: Expect the deposition to last around 1-2 hours but block more time off then you expect in the event that it goes longer.
Technology: If you are using a video conference, make sure your computer is plugged into a power source and that you have a strong internet connection. Most providers can assist in checking your technology prior to the deposition.
Documentation: Have your documentation ready to reference. Notary Journal, Invoices, Payments, Email Communications, Texts or Phone calls, Calendar. Any documents that are provided will be put into exhibits and be a piece of public record.
Attorney: If you have an attorney, they will prep you on how to answer questions. For example, you will need to answer in clear yes/no responses.
Examples of questions you may be asked:
How long have you been a notary?
How many notarizations have you performed?
Do you always look at identification when notarizing?
Can you walk us through the notarization process?
Do you recall the notarization in question?
Questions may be asked in regards to general notarizations but you should not discuss any other notarization as you would need another subpoena to discuss anyone else.
You aren't a lawyer, so you're not expected to be an expert of notarial law. Answer the questions to the best of your ability and for questions in regards to laws; your lawyer will be able to assist.
If you are ever subpoenaed for a deposition, be sure to contact an attorney immediately. If you have E/O insurance, contact your provider as there are often attorney's that can assist. This is exactly why you pay for insurance! They can help guide you through the process and answer any questions that you may have. Remember, it is important to always tell the truth during a deposition. Anything that you say can and will be used against you in court. Preparation is key when it comes to depositions, so be sure to do your research and practice your answers. The more prepared you are, the less stressful the deposition will be. Good luck!