Informed Notaries of Maine is an organization of Maine notaries public
and is an independent, non-profit member organization. Although it works
closely with the State of Maine Notary Officer it is not run by the
Secretary of State's Office. Membership in INM is voluntary and
independent from your notary commission from the State of Maine.
Mission of INM
- Educate notaries public about the legal, ethical and technical facets of performing a notarial act.
- Develop and promote the highest ethical principals for notaries.
- Increase public awareness and understanding of the notary's vital function in modern society.
- Serve as an information center for notary regulating officials, legislators, educators, and the public.
- Promote uniform, modern and effective notarial laws in Maine.
- Preserve and cultivate appreciation for the rich heritage and tradition of the notarial office.
Code of Ethics
- Always conduct yourself in a professional manner. Remember you are a public official and should treat everyone in a fair and honest manner.
- Never give legal advice. Do not prepare documents or make recommendations. Leave the practice of law to attorneys. The practice of law without a license is a crime.
- Respect the privacy of those for whom you execute a notarial act.
- Require that all signers of a document personally appear before you to sign the document and make sure you take the proper steps to identify all signers. Remember Maine law requires it too.
- If you charge a fee for your services, make sure it is fair and reasonable. Do not take advantage of those you serve.
- Take reasonable measures to make sure that all documents are complete and correct to the best of your knowledge.
- Do not perform frivolous notarizations. The signature of a notary public will not make something better.
- Do not certify public documents. Always recommend that certified copies of public documents be obtained from the proper official.
- Do not become involved in transactions that you have a direct financial or beneficial interest in. A notary public must remain an impartial witness.
- Be prepared to perform all of the duties of a Maine notary public not just the ones you like to do.
History of the Notary Public
The practice of the notary public dates back to ancient Roman times
when few people were taught to read and write. A notarius was appointed
as a public official to create written documents of agreement or wills
and hold them for safekeeping.
Wax seals with individualized engravings or symbols were used as
signatures at the end of the written agreements. In later centuries,
ribbons were woven into multiple page documents to tie the pages
together. Seals were placed over the knots to ensure no pages were added
or removed. This was the birth of the notary seal and certificate.
In colonial America, persons of high moral character were appointed as
public notaries to certify and keep safe documents of shipping and bills
of lading for transatlantic shipping.
The office of Notary Public was formally established in Maine in 1821.
The Informed Notaries of Maine was formed in 1993 in response to the
growing need for informed and educated notaries.
Today, there are approximately 30,500 notaries in the state. INM's
mission is to facilitate the education of all these notaries.
History of The Informed Notaries of Maine Organization
The Informed Notaries of Maine (INM) was founded in April of 1993.
There was a growing need in the state for informed and educated notaries
public. At the urging of the Secretary of State and with the help of that
office, a letter of interest was sent to a random group of commissioned
notaries seeking a level of interest in the formation of such an
Richard Billings worked with a small group of notaries who volunteered to
organize such a group, and initial meetings were held, bylaws were created
and officers were named. A mission statement was created and the
organization began to function.
Geraldine Mountain, one of the five members at that first meeting, chose
the name of the Association. She thought since the mission was to educate,
the group should call themselves the "Informed Notaries" and that has been
the name ever since.
There were five founding members who signed the original articles of
incorporation. They were: Lester Carrow, Fred Robinson, Geraldine Mountain,
Gary Smith and Richard Billings.
Lester Carrow was elected as the first President, Fred Robinson as the Vice
President and Gary Smith as the Treasurer. Geraldine Mountain was the first
paying member and has the designation of being member #1. Richard Billings
was hired as the first Executive Director.
All members who joined the organization during that first year were
considered charter members.