Should You Notarize a Promissory Note? Maybe & Here’s Why

Rachel Curry

Rachel Curry

Published on: 19 February, 2022

Updated: 26 March, 2023

Stamping A Note

You may already know about promissory notes. 📃 We write a lot about them. These signed loan agreements say the names and contact information of who owes money, the total amount of money due, the loan’s interest rate, and payment due dates. 

Sometimes, signatures from the borrower and lender are not enough to make a promissory note bulletproof in court. That’s where notarization can help.

Notarization is when a professional notary verifies and confirms that the people signing a legal document are who they say they are. The notary adds their literal “stamp of approval” to the document.

Should you get your promissory note notarized? It’s not required by law to get a promissory note notarized. Still, there are times when it works to your benefit. Here’s the rundown.👇🏼

Should you notarize a promissory note?

A promissory note is like a written promise or IOU for everything from car loans to loans between family members. Even without a signature from a notary public, it can still be a valid promissory note. 

Getting your loan agreement notarized can strengthen it in sensitive cases:

  1. Notarizing your note could make it legally stronger. 💪 This means it’s more likely to stand up in court thanks to the extra witness of a notary public.
  2. Notarizing also proves that your note is legitimate. When there’s a disagreement, a court could question the authenticity of a promissory note signed by just the lender and borrower. When an agreement is notarized, it’s much more likely to be authentic.
  3. Having a third party involved can help the lender and borrower avoid disagreements down the line. It’s a built-in form of corroboration in the court of law, protecting both the lender and borrower from lack of repayment or unreasonable changes 🤝🏼. Some people want this protection.

PRO TIP: Pigeon offers loan agreements for friends and family members. Once you’ve set and signed your loan agreement, you have the option to take it to a notary public. Learn how to cover your bases with lending here.

Signing A Notw

Is a loan agreement invalid if it’s not notarized?

Short answer: No. It is still valid, as long as it contains the key parts.

Long answer: There are a few parts of a promissory note that are the most important. These are the names and signatures of both parties (lender and borrower), total loan amount owed, and the due date for the loan payment (or each payment installment). 

Without a signature from a notary public, your promissory note is still valid with these elements. But an extra witness and an assurance of authenticity may strengthen it. 

Pigeon CTA - Documenting a Loan

When to get a promissory note notarized

When it comes to promissory notes, it may be worth exploring the option of a notary public signature. If you’re unsure whether it’s worth it to get your legal document notarized, remember this: Lawyers may tell you that extra protection always helps in court 💯.

Make sure you consider your relationship and level of trust with the other party before exploring notarizing a promissory note. If you’re looking for a bit of extra guidance, we’ll go through some scenarios when it’s a good idea to get your loan agreement notarized.

PRO TIP: Always check your state law to make sure you’re following the right rules.

Examples of when notarizing a promissory note helps

Are you looking for a bit of extra guidance? We’ll go through some scenarios when it’s a good idea to get your loan agreement notarized 🕵‍♀️.

Khalil and Jason:

Khalil lends $1,500 to his friend Jason and decides to get a promissory note signed and notarized between them. This document shows that the borrower promises to pay Khalil back on time and in a lump sum. 

The two have a falling out and Jason doesn’t pay the money back by the deadline. Khalil takes Jason to court to collect the money. In court, it’s obvious the agreement is authentic and even has the witness of a notary public. The process goes through without a hitch and Khalil is able to get his money.

Monica and Lily:

Monica wants to start her small business off on the right foot. She offers freelance graphic design services and needs a $2,000 loan for a new desktop and drawing tablet. 👩🏽‍💻 

Monica’s former colleague Lily agrees to lend the money on the condition that Monica gets the loan agreement notarized and commits to a payment schedule. Monica agrees, and she’s able to launch the business of her dreams.

Monica and Lily

Do you need to re-notarize a loan agreement after amending it?

When you amend a promissory note, both the borrower and lender need to re-sign the document. The original copy should stay in the records, but the new document takes legal precedence. If you got the first copy notarized, it may be helpful to get the amended document(s) notarized, especially if there’s more than one. Otherwise, changes to the loan agreement may come into question in court.

PRO TIP: When a borrower pays in full and the loan agreement ends, a lender and borrower usually sign a release of promissory note. This shows the borrower paid in full and there’s no need to go to court. You can also get this release notarized for extra protection.

Checklist to determine if you should get your promissory note notarized

Before creating your loan agreement, run through this super-quick checklist 🏃‍♂️. If you check any of them, it might be worth exploring getting your note notarized:

  • You’re a borrower and you want to protect yourself from unreasonable clauses or changes in the promissory note.
  • You’re a lender or borrower and you want to make sure the promissory note has additional witnesses. This witness can corroborate your document in case you need to go to court.
  • You’re lending or receiving money in a sensitive case that could use the extra protection—for whatever reason.

Where to find notary services for promissory notes

Pigeon is a full-service platform for personal loans between friends and family 🐦. We provide you with all the necessary, legally binding loan agreement documentation you might need. If you want, you can download your documents from Pigeon and get it notarized with your local notary. 

You can get your loan agreement notarized by visiting:

  • a local insurance firms, 
  • certain real estate offices, 
  • most banks and credit unions
  • your local City Hall, and some other governmental institutions

If you do this, you will have to make an in-person appointment. There are also mobile notary services, but the fee may be higher than other options.

Excited People

Bottom line: For the highest level of protection, notarize your note

Promissory notes have rules for a reason: To protect people in court. Sometimes, it’s a good idea to go above and beyond to ensure that protection. That’s where a notary enters the arena.

In the most sensitive cases, you should notarize your promissory note and any amended versions. This gives your document added authenticity and legal protection. If a borrower defaults or fails to pay, and you need to go to court, a notary signature could do you a solid in the long run.

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About the author

About the Author

Rachel Curry


Rachel is a highly educated graduate of the University of Delaware and a professional writer with extensive experience in personal finance, corporate communications, social media, and blogging. She specializes in writing about small business finance and entrepreneurship, providing insightful advice and guidance for small business owners. Her writing for Pigeon is extremely beneficial to the community, as it has helped thousands of people make more informed decisions about their financial lives and relationships.