How to Know if a Document Needs to be Notarized

Pretty much every important step you take in life will involve some form of documentation, from getting a passport to your marriage certificate. And yet notarization is the last thing most folks want to think about when taking a crucial, life-changing step. With so much fraud in the world, it’s crucial to know you have the right documentation – and to be able to prove they’re official to others.

That’s why certain documents need to be notarized to indicate that they’re authentic and can be trusted. Having something notarized – often with a seal or stamp of approval – certifies that they’re authentic and properly executed to show that your document isn’t a fraud. And in Illinois, notary services can be done at many Community Currency Exchange Association (CCEA) locations, making this process as painless as possible. With more than 200 Community Currency Exchange locations throughout the state, there is surely one near you.

There are three clear benefits of an official notary service through an organization like the CCEA:

  • It ensures that the notarization process is done legally.
  • It protects you and your most important documents.
  • It’s convenient – get it done while taking advantage of our many other services.

Signs Your Document Needs to Be Notarized

Often when an official witness is needed to make a document legal, a notary is required. But you may need to read the fine print to find out whether it is in a particular situation. If it contains the words, “Place Notary Seal Here,” that can indicate you might need a notary service. Typically, a governmental organization or some other entity in charge of a process will let you know that your document or certificate must be notarized. If the process for an important transaction is set up ahead of time, you may not have to worry about it. But if it’s not clear, your best bet is to contact someone in charge to find out.

What Is a Notary Public?

A state-approved notary public is the person who will provide the notary service for you. They make it easy for you to get that required witness stamp of approval for any documents you’re carrying around. For a document to be notarized, it must contain:

  1. Text indicating there must be a notarized signature
  2. Typically, an original signature of the signer (not a photocopy)
  3. A notarial certificate may appear on the document or an attachment.

What Gets Notarized in Illinois?

Documents involving valuable assets like deeds, mortgages, and trusts typically require notarization. Sometimes if a document needs to be notarized, it will be indicated somewhere in the guidelines you are following. It’s not the kind of thing most people think about until they have to – for instance, when you need parental permission of a former spouse to move a child out of state. Or you want an official bill of sale for a car or other major sales transaction.

Since legal documents like final wills and testaments typically require notarization, a lawyer might be the person providing instructions when something must be notarized. The topic can get a bit confusing, and industry organizations like the National Notary Association are good resources when you need expert information on notarization.

What Can You Have Notarized at CCEAs?

Getting it done is the easy part. All you have to do is visit one of the many CCEA locations that provide this service with proof of identity and whatever document needs a signature, no appointment necessary. Except for real estate documents, most things that need notarization can be taken care of here. Just make sure not to sign anything until you’re in front of a notary public. You wouldn’t want to make those docs ineligible for notarization.

All you have to do is:

  • Bring proper identification and the documents you need notarized.
  • For a small fee, a trained employee will sign and stamp the documents.
  • You leave within minutes with your certified and notarized document in hand.

Depending on your situation, you may want to check with a lawyer or the organization you’re working with to find out if there are other steps you need to take to make your documents official.

Need something notarized? Stop by your nearest location and we’ll help you get your important documents notarized in no time. Since not every CCEA site has a notary public on hand, call first to make sure your preferred location has one and let them know what you want notarized. Or simply contact the CCEA online if you have any questions about notarization.


With over 350 locations, many open nights, weekends, and holidays (and several stores with 24/7 availability), you can rest easy knowing your financial needs can be taken care of when you need them most. We’re in the heart of every community. Don’t believe us? See for yourself.