County recorders rely on valid notarizations in order to accept most documents into their official records, but documents are routinely submitted with improperly or illegibly completed certificates. When a notarization is not completed properly, the error often will cause lengthy delays or result in the rejection of a document, which can be “financially, procedurally and often emotionally devastating to all those involved,” according to an open letter from the County Recorder’s Association of California. As a public service aimed at improving the notarization process, the Association has issued a top 10 list of the most common Notary mistakes that can cause documents to be rejected for recording. Much of the list is applicable for notarizations nationwide. Notary seal is not photographically legible, is stamped over printed materials, or is missing from the document Title of officer taking acknowledgment is missing (example: the words “Notary Public” are not printed after the name of the Notary) Notaries Public are using outdated forms (Not in compliance with California Civil Code requirements) Signature and/or notarization is not original Venue is improperly completed or missing Names listed on the acknowledgment forms are misspelled or do not match what is listed on the document (example: 'John William Jones' is listed on the document, but 'John Jones' is listed on the acknowledgement form) Expiration date is missing from the Notary seal (some states require the expiration date) Notaries Public attaching wrong notary certificates to documents (example: acknowledgment attached to affidavits instead of verification or verification attached to Deeds instead of an acknowledgement) Names of party or Notary are entered on the incorrect line (example: signer is identified as Notary and Notary’s name where the signer’s name should be written) Alterations made to acknowledgment using correction fluid or other means that would cause suspicion Questions about the notarization standards of your state can be addressed to the NNA Hotline. Kelle Clarke is a Contributing Editor with the National Notary Association.