Notary Bulletin

April Poll Results: Notarizing For Family Members

Notarizing for family members is a tricky issue, as some states permit notarizing for relatives and others prohibit it. In the Notary Bulletin’s April poll, opinions varied widely among the 1,663 respondents on notarizing for family members.

The largest percentage of respondents, 35 percent, feel comfortable notarizing for close kin — such as spouses, parents or siblings — but only as long as they didn’t benefit in some way from the transaction.

Another 20 percent reported they prefer not to notarize for relatives — even if allowed by state law — due to concerns about the document being challenged in court. “Why take the risk that that your actions could be questioned later when you don't have to?” said Scott W. Fisher of San Diego, California, in his poll response. “There are enough other potential problems that could come up from doing a notarization without adding to the list by notarizing for a family member.”

Another 14 percent of respondents said they would clearly decline to notarize for their family because their states prohibit it.

Of the remaining Notaries surveyed, 6 percent said they didn’t mind notarizing as long as they weren’t named in the document; 3 percent said they could not stay impartial if notarizing for family; and 2 percent said they were comfortable notarizing for relatives regardless of the circumstances. The final 20 percent of Notaries said they’ve never been asked to notarize for a family member.

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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.)

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