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Old 01-16-2012, 11:19 AM   #1
XDCX
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Default Does your state require Notarized signatures for vehicle title transfers?

I've been spending time in Arizona and was surprised to learn that the state requires all vehicle title transfer signatures to be notarized - even power of attorney forms used by dealerships.

I've owned vehicles in Washington, Oregon, California and Hawaii and I can't recall a situation where I needed to have a signature notarized to transfer a vehicle title.

Do any other states require notarized signatures for vehicle titles?

Call me a skeptic, but I have a hard time seeing how Arizona's requirement for notarized signatures cuts down of fraud or forgery. In my eyes if someone's going to break the law by forging a signature they probably don't have an issue by taking the extra step and falsifying the notary stamp.
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Old 01-16-2012, 12:13 PM   #2
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South Dakota.....nope. When they outlaw guns only outlaws will have guns.....Crooks don't care.
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Old 01-16-2012, 01:42 PM   #3
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No notary is required in MI. Methinks it is a decent revenue generator...
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Old 01-16-2012, 02:03 PM   #4
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Methinks it is a decent revenue generator...
That may be true but the only ones making any money are the Notary Publics. (Maybe the state makes some money on licensing the notaries but it can't be much.)

Arizona's requirement must be a real pain for the smaller dealerships with limited office staff. On Craigslist there are ads for Notary Publics who are mobile and will notarize a signature on-sight for $30 - I guess that's always an option.
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Old 01-16-2012, 04:01 PM   #5
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I bought my current car in PA. The majority of the DMV system is private there. I was looking into what notary service cost before flying out and found it ranged from $26 (for a AAA member...I was) to $160 for inner city locations. Mind you, I was never asked to show any form of ID when I was doing my paperwork, so as far as requiring notary service reducing forgery, I fail to see how the extra step does anything but require more work for all involved...
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Old 01-16-2012, 04:14 PM   #6
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I bought my current car in PA. The majority of the DMV system is private there. I was looking into what notary service cost before flying out and found it ranged from $26 (for a AAA member...I was) to $160 for inner city locations. Mind you, I was never asked to show any form of ID when I was doing my paperwork, so as far as requiring notary service reducing forgery, I fail to see how the extra step does anything but require more work for all involved...
I want to make sure I understand, was it PA or your home state that required the notarized signature?

As an example, my Jeep is still titled in Washington but if I were to sell it here in Arizona would the signature need to be notarized or not? (I'm guessing that the Arizona DMV would accept an non-notarized signature on a Washington title but I'm not positive.)
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Old 01-16-2012, 04:35 PM   #7
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PA... Yep!
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Old 01-16-2012, 04:38 PM   #8
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Yes in the State of Ohio All Title's must be notarized. MSO's must be notarized for Dealer Trades (Ingoing and Outgoing) and New Vehicle Purchases. Title App's and Power of Attorney, along with Affidavit for Vehicle purchase to an Out of State Resident is also notarized, the only item not Notarized is your Odometer statement. In Ohio a Notary term is only for 5 Years, if your an Attorney you are given a Lifetime Term. My rule is I have to see someone sign it or a dealership employee witness them sign, and I only Notarize Automotive Titles Nothing for the general public. The Notary can charge you for there service but anything above $3 must be giving back to the state.
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Old 01-16-2012, 04:56 PM   #9
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In Ohio a Notary term is only for 5 Years, if your an Attorney you are given a Lifetime Term.
I'm not sure I understand. After your five years are up can you go for another five year term or are you no longer eligible to be a notary?

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The Notary can charge you for there service but anything above $3 must be giving back to the state.
Wow, I've never heard of that before. I doubt the state of Ohio gets too much revenue from that requirement.
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Old 01-16-2012, 06:03 PM   #10
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I'm not sure I understand. After your five years are up can you go for another five year term or are you no longer eligible to be a notary?

You have to renew your commission or your out as a notary and if you notarize anything your breaking the law.
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Old 01-17-2012, 03:37 PM   #11
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That may be true but the only ones making any money are the Notary Publics. (Maybe the state makes some money on licensing the notaries but it can't be much.)

...On Craigslist there are ads for Notary Publics who are mobile and will notarize a signature on-sight for $30 - I guess that's always an option.
NY does not require a notary public to acknowledge the signature on the back of the title. The Notary Public is hardly making a windfall on this type of thing. Notaries Public are allowed under NY state law to charge a nominal fee (such a small amount that it is hardly even worth it). I am guessing that in these Craigslist ads (depending on state laws which are likely similar to NY) the fee charged is broken down in some way, e.g. $2.00 for the acknowledgment & $28.00 travel fee). Additionally, in NY Notaries Public bear significant personal liability for negligently or falsely acknowledging signatures. Again, hardly worth the small fee to justify "making a business" out of it.
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Old 01-18-2012, 10:21 AM   #12
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Mind you, I was never asked to show any form of ID when I was doing my paperwork, so as far as requiring notary service reducing forgery, I fail to see how the extra step does anything but require more work for all involved...
That's classic - someone notarizes your signature but they don't ask for ID. What a waste of time and resources.
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Old 01-18-2012, 10:29 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by March88toDecember05 View Post
NY does not require a notary public to acknowledge the signature on the back of the title. The Notary Public is hardly making a windfall on this type of thing. Notaries Public are allowed under NY state law to charge a nominal fee (such a small amount that it is hardly even worth it). I am guessing that in these Craigslist ads (depending on state laws which are likely similar to NY) the fee charged is broken down in some way, e.g. $2.00 for the acknowledgment & $28.00 travel fee). Additionally, in NY Notaries Public bear significant personal liability for negligently or falsely acknowledging signatures. Again, hardly worth the small fee to justify "making a business" out of it.
Thanks for the information. I agree with your point that for the minimal fee you're allowed to collect in New York it's not worth the liability to be a Notary Public.

That said, I'm betting it's a viable business for Notary Publics who are willing to skirt the law in Arizona. Maybe I'm wrong, but the impression I get is there are a lot of undocumented workers in Arizona and I don't think they'd be willing (or able) to go to a bank or some other formal business and have their signature notarized. Like most things that are government controlled, I wouldn't be surprised to learn there's a "black market" to address Arizona's notary requirement.
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Old 01-18-2012, 04:26 PM   #14
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Default Does the notary requirement prevent fraud?

I know I'm probably beating a dead horse but in the real world does the requirement of a notarized signature on a vehicle title really reduce forgery or fraud?

As mr4t60e mentioned above he had his signature notarized and no one ever asked him for his ID.

And even if ID was required, what prevents the the criminal element from getting fake ID or falsifying a notary stamp?

Sorry for the rant but the whole notary requirement just seems like a waste of resources to me.
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Old 01-18-2012, 08:27 PM   #15
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I know I'm probably beating a dead horse but in the real world does the requirement of a notarized signature on a vehicle title really reduce forgery or fraud?

As mr4t60e mentioned above he had his signature notarized and no one ever asked him for his ID.

And even if ID was required, what prevents the the criminal element from getting fake ID or falsifying a notary stamp?

Sorry for the rant but the whole notary requirement just seems like a waste of resources to me.
That was what I wondered myself. Michigan does not require any sort of notary service for title transfer, but I took the advice of the sell of the car I bought as cheap insurance against some dim-witted MI secretary of not allowing a transfer and requiring me to drive back to PA. Now I'm sure I look like an honest guy but if I were the notary, I think I'd be interested in making sure the ID matched the signature. Instead, the PA notary got all bent out of shape about issuing a transit tag with Michigan insurance because the policy declaration looked different than what they were used to seeing.
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