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Recorder's Association Issues List Of 10 Most Common Notary Errors


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.

  1. Notary seal is not photographically legible, is stamped over printed materials, or is missing from the document
  2. Title of officer taking acknowledgment is missing (example: the words “Notary Public” are not printed after the name of the Notary)
  3. Notaries Public are using outdated forms (Not in compliance with California Civil Code requirements)
  4. Signature and/or notarization is not original
  5. Venue is improperly completed or missing
  6. 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)
  7. Expiration date is missing from the Notary seal (some states require the expiration date)
  8. 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)
  9. 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)
  10. 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.

View All: Notary News


Add your comment

Jack Crawford

16 Apr 2015

RE: #6 - I can understand why that would be rejected since "William" is missing on the acknowledgement. However, I had a document rejected because the document listed John W. Jones; the signers ID listed John William Jones which I then listed on the acknowledgement. Using the 'Less, but Not More' rule (the document can contain less information than the ID, but not more) this should have been perfectly acceptable. Essentially, the purpose of notarizing a document is for the notary to verify the identity of the signer since the signer cannot appear before the person or agency in person. Rejecting my notarization raises this question: If John William Jones appeared before the County Recorder with a document that listed John W. Jones and a California driver license that listed John William Jones, would the County Recorder reject the document because the name on the document and the name on the ID did not match exactly?

Jack Crawford

16 Apr 2015

RE: #8 - What is a "verification"? Typically I see "jurat" wording on affidavits, although earlier this week I notarized an affidavit that had currently correct California Acknowledgement wording on the document.

Maria Beamer

17 Apr 2015

Excellent as always

rosita c. hailey

03 Nov 2015

When adding a new seal, I always, have drawn a line through the old one and initial. I also have to BWRs initial also. Is it needed, since it on my part of the notary section. It would help a lot if I didn't have to have the BWR initial too.

Jan Goldenberg

03 Jan 2017

I would appreciate an answer to Rosita C. Hailey's question regarding lining out a badly impressed seal. Is it in fact ok to line it out, intial it, and then impress a second seal?

National Notary Association

03 Jan 2017

Hello Jan. Affixing a second seal impression that does not cover or obscure any printed text near the bad impression is normally sufficient. Please see this article for more information:

Brenda Miller

23 Jan 2017

many times accounts are opened with abbreviated example J. Jones vs John Jones. So on my Jurat I write J. Jones to match the form but in my journal do I write John Jones which is the legal name that shows on the ID... Or do I write J. Jones in my journal also and make a notation ID legal name John Jones??

National Notary Association

23 Jan 2017

Hello Brenda. To help us answer your question, can you please tell us what state you are commissioned in?

Carmelita Panko

23 Jan 2017

I would like to know the answer to Brenda Miller's question. Thanks.

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