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Determine if Blank Spaces Acceptable

Occasionally, there may be an acceptable reason for leaving a space blank on a notarized document. Sometimes, for example, a paper requiring more than one signature must be circulated to collect the separate signatures and notarial certificates. Such a document's "Date of Signing" space may be left blank until the final signature is affixed. In such situations, the Notary should record in the journal the reason the space was left blank.

Other documents, such as adoption papers and recordable instruments, may have blank spaces that must be filled in later. For instance, a recordable document should not be regarded as incomplete just because the box labeled "Reserved For Use By Recorder" is empty. This information can only be completed after the notarized document has been recorded.

In all other cases, it is an NNA-recommended best practice -- if not a requirement of state law -- for a Notary to ask that all blank spaces in a document's text be filled in before a notarization is performed. If any space is intended to be left blank, then the signer might line through the space or write in "N/A" or "Not Applicable".

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