Notary Bulletin

Guiding Principle IV: The Certificate

The notarial certificate and the information it contains are central to a Notary’s public duty. Different states have different requirements regarding what a certificate contains, but regardless of the jurisdiction, people rely on the certificate as a symbol of the integrity of a transaction — whether it’s a power of attorney, a parental permission form or a real estate purchase. A certificate that contains erroneous or false information undermines the value of the notarization, while a correctly executed certificate provides powerful protection against fraud. Guidelines for the proper use of certificates are detailed in Guiding Principle IV of The Notary Public Code of Professional Responsibility.

IV
THE NOTARY SHALL NOT EXECUTE A FALSE OR INCOMPLETE CERTIFICATE, NOR BE INVOLVED WITH ANY DOCUMENT OR TRANSACTION THAT THE NOTARY BELIEVES IS FALSE, DECEPTIVE OR FRAUDULENT.

Notaries are solely responsible for the accuracy and compliance of the notarial certificate. Some states, for example, stipulate the exact wording for certificates. Others only give broad guidance. It’s up to the Notary to make sure the language on the certificate meets state law.


Editor’s Note: Each month during 2010, the Notary Bulletin will spotlight one guiding principle from The Notary Public Code Of Professional Responsibility, in random order, to help guide you when your state’s statutes, regulations and official directives fall short.

April 2010: Guiding Principle VII — The Seal

March 2010: Guiding Principle X — Seeking Instruction

February 2010: Guiding Principle II — Impartiality

January 2010: Guiding Principle III — Personal Appearance

Professional Sections

NSA and Small Business
Healthcare Professionals
Legal Professionals
Financial and Corporate Services
Immigration
International

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.

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