Notary Bulletin

NNA Releases 'Recommended Practices' To Guide Notaries

More than ever, Notaries are being challenged by misinformation, half-truths and even propaganda about their important responsibilities and practices. The following are important practices for all Notaries to follow as they serve the public.

Recommended Notary Practices From
The National Notary Association

As a Notary Public, you are a Public Official bound by the laws of your State – and not by anyone else, including an employer, friend, associate or family member.

  1. Always follow state law that requires the signer to be in your physical presence every time you notarize — without exception.
  2. Always have the signature on the document affixed or acknowledged in your presence.
  3. Always obtain identification that contains a photograph, physical description and signature.
  4. Always keep a chronological record of the notarial act, including the signature of the signer in your journal, which must be kept in your custody and control at all times.
  5. Always ask for a thumbprint of the signer in your journal to help protect against imposture.
  6. Always confirm that the signer is not being coerced and is willingly signing the documents you notarize.
  7. Always attach a Notary certificate if wording is not already printed on the document.
  8. Always notarize only documents that are complete and without blank spaces.
  9. Always use a seal when you notarize, and be sure to keep it in your custody and control at all times.
  10. Always refrain from giving advice to signers unless you have the professional training and credentials to do so.

Starting in 2011 we will feature an article each month in the Notary Bulletin focusing on one Recommended Practice, so keep an eye out at for more details.

Professional Sections

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

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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