As of 2011, the need for Notary Public have been severally been reduced in most circumstances. Other than for taking an oath of office or another oath required to be taken before a specified official other than a Notary Public, an “unsworn declaration” can be used instead of a notary. The form of the unsworn declaration is:
My name is _______, my date of birth is ___, and my address is _____________________ (including county and zip code). I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.
Executed in ___ County, State of Texas, on the __ day of ________
An alternate form is required if the person signing the document is an inmate. See Section 132.001 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code for details of the new law.
As with any new law, it is yet to be seen exactly how this will work in practice. If a notary is available, the best practice is to continue using a notary. Among other reasons, it eliminates (or at least drastically limits) any question about who actually signed the document because the notary either had to have known the declarant personally or must have reviewed a valid photo ID. But, if a notary is truly unavailable, this unsworn declaration may now take a notary’s place.