Notary Stamp vs. Medallion Signature Guarantee

It is easy to get these two types of signature verification confused.  They look similar, and they both serve to identify that the identity of the signer is valid.  The basic difference is:

Notary Stamps are for legal documents.

Medallion Guarantees are for financial documents.

A Notary Public is a state-appointed official who serves the public as an impartial witness when signing legal documents.  The Notary’s job is to make sure the signer of the document is the correct person (ID may be required).  Additionally, they make sure that the signer isn’t being forced to sign the document, confirm that he/she is aware of what is being signed, and sometimes asks the signer to attest that all information is true and correct.  A Notary must physically be present when the signer is signing the document (unless it’s a digital notarization, which is new and has its own requirements).  A Notary cannot give legal advice or serve in this capacity if there is a conflict of interest.  A Notary’s commission is good for seven years (in Maine).  In Maine, a Notarization can be completed by a Notary Public or by a Judge, Justice, Clerk or Deputy Clerk of a court, or an Attorney-at-Law.  Notaries have an official stamp or seal that is imprinted on a legal document that must contain the Notary’s name, the words “Notary Public” and “Maine,” and include the expiration date of the current commission.  They can only act within the state in which they are appointed.

A Medallion Guarantee is a special certification stamp that guarantees a signature transferring securities.  The institution must be part of a Medallion signature guarantee program.  By placing the stamp on a document, it confirms that the signature authorizing the sale or transfer is genuine and that the signer has the legal capacity and authority to sign the document.  It is supposed to protect against fraudulent transfers.  Generally, banks and other financial organizations are the only ones who have this guarantee.  An institution may charge a fee for providing this service; many will waive it for their own customers.

Rev. 11/23

The information presented on this website is general in nature and not intended to be legal advice. No attorney-client relationship will exist with Jones, Kuriloff & Sargent, LLC unless we agree in writing after a personal consultation. Please contact us for a consultation on your particular situation.