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Hotline Tip: Documents Without Notarial Wording

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If a client has a document containing no notarial wording, I generally attach a loose certificate. However, I recently had a client insist that the agency that issued the document wants my seal on the original document. I had no choice but to decline the notarization. Was there anything I could have done differently, or was I right in referring her back to the agency that issued the document? – R.R., Anaheim, CA

You did the right thing. If a document doesn’t have notarial wording, or contains incorrect notarial wording, you have to attach the appropriate loose certificate (acknowledgment or jurat). You cannot place your seal where there is no notarial wording or the wording is not proper. If your signer doesn’t want you to attach a loose certificate to the document, or insists that you place your seal where there isn’t proper notarial wording, you have no other choice but to refuse to perform the notarization.

Hotline answers are based on the laws in the state where the question originated and may not reflect the laws of other states. If in doubt, always refer to your own state statutes. –The Editors

Kelle Clarke is a Contributing Editor with the National Notary Association.

Confronted with a tricky notarization? Unsure how to proceed? NNA members have unlimited access to our expertly trained NNA Hotline counselors to help you with all of your notarial questions. Call (888) 876-0827, Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. PST; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST

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Kathy Brecht

25 Feb 2015

Need support concerning request to certify authenticity of original death certificate (Deceased US citizen)(required by country/Lebanon) - process for remaining family member to transfer ownership of home (Beirut, Lebanon) into her/his name. Request of notarial support made by Embassy per individual. Researched and found information on an Apostille. Please direct.

National Notary Association

25 Feb 2015

Hi Kathy, We apologize, but we'll need some additional information about your situation and what state you are commissioned in order to assist you with your request. If you are an NNA member, you can contact our Information Services Team at for assistance. Could you please include the state you are commissioned in and the specific question you need information on to help ensure they can provide you with the correct information? Thanks.

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