Notary Bulletin

Hotline Tip: Are Initials Acceptable As A Signature?

I’ve been asked to notarize a document for my boss, who is in the practice of signing his name using only his initials. This is also how his signature appears on his driver’s license. However, his name is spelled out in its entirety on the document I will be notarizing. Will his standard initial signature be acceptable? - C.F., Chicago, IL

Under the law of most states, a signature is any symbol adopted or executed by a person with intent to sign the document. That symbol may be a full handwritten signature, an illegible scrawl or even initials. However, Notaries cannot advise someone on how to sign. If your boss uses only his initials as his signature, you might consider checking with the receiving agency to see if they will accept the document, as it is up to the receiving agency to determine whether the signing is acceptable.

Hotline answers are based on the laws in the state where the question originated and may not reflect the laws of other states. If in doubt, always refer to your own state statutes. — The Editors

Confronted with a tricky notarization? Unsure how to proceed? NNA members have unlimited access to our expertly trained NNA Hotline counselors to help you with all of your notarial questions. Call (888) 876-0827, Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST

Additional Resources:
Need more answers? Contact the NNA Hotline

Related Articles:
How To Handle A Name Discrepancy
Does My Signature Need To Exactly Match My Notary Stamp?

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Quiz: The Many Types Of Notarial Acts

Notaries perform many different duties for the public — and it’s easy to lose track of the different acts and what states they’re authorized in. Test your familiarity with common — and uncommon — notarial acts.

(A link to the correct answers is provided at the end of the quiz.)

Confronted with a tricky notarization? Unsure how to proceed? NNA members have unlimited access to our expertly trained Hotline counselors to help you with all of your notarial questions.

(888) 876-0827

Monday through Friday:
5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST

Saturdays: 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST

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