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Confusing Notarial Certificates

Updated 2-19-16. Completing notarial certificate wording is an essential part of notarizing signatures. But what do you do if the certificate is presented to you with some or all of its information filled in? Or even filled in with the wrong information? Or the wording isn’t normally used in your state? Take our quiz and see how you would deal with confusing certificate situations.

For full detailed answers, click here.

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14 Nov 2014

In the first case, I would opt with the new Notarial certificate. I believe it would help curtail any discussions later on. In the second case, I think think waiting for the person to speak with an attorney and finding out what she really needs would be wise and probably save her time and money later. And as for the third case, I would avoid breaking the law and would just send the person to the Consulate or Embassy, that way there would be no question.


16 Jul 2015

I agree with Dr. Pepper on all three cases. This is how confusion and possible misrepresentation can occur which is not what we want. And breaking the law is never be an option when notarizing any document.

Julie Brickley

20 Jul 2015

1. B or C work. With regards to #2, using good customer service, I would first refer the signer o the person/entity that created or is requesting the document, especially in the case of a loan closing or other formal document prepared by a lawyer, to verify if it would be acceptable. If that is not an option, or they prefer not to, I would complete the acknowledgement on the document AND add the loose jurat to comply with the signer's request. Bare minimum, don't argue, do as requested (attach the jurat), and let them suffer the consequences and costs of their own actions.

Roger Rill

07 Mar 2016

Disagree on #2. It is the document originator that determines the type of notarization they desire, not the signer. A signer can only decide type of notarization if they themselves prepared the document.

National Notary Association

07 Mar 2016

Hello Roger. Could you please tell us what statute or state guideline you are referencing that says signers can only choose what notarial act they need if they prepare the document themselves?

Gwendolyn Green

08 Mar 2016

I would send the client to another notary who can perform the request. However, in the interest of customer service, I would list what I could do and offer those services.

Pnina Rapaport

08 Mar 2016

I would prefer asking her lawyer but if it's not an option I would choose answer No.1 - Perform both.

Randolph Watkins

09 Mar 2016

Question 1 - In Virginia cities and counties are independent. Richmond city is about 60 miles from Richmond County. I see numerous documents that are prepared out of state that have certificates prepared based on the client's address assuming that is the venue. Some city addresses are actually in the county even though the post office is in the city. Lining through the incorrect venue and adding the correct one is all is that is necessary just as if it were blank. No new certificate is needed. Question 2: If an acknowledgement is what a non-client prepared document calls for, that is what we should do. Client may not know an acknowledgement from a jurat.


10 Jan 2017

If you get one of the comments correct and one of the options is also correct, it should not be counted as wrong. Just because there are 2 answers does not make the one you chose any less correct.

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