Update 10-10-16. Is it true that you can no longer alter California Notary certificate wording to be specific to the gender/number of people that you are notarizing for? For example, if a certificate said “he/she/them” could I cross off “she” and “them” if I was notarizing a document for a single male signer? — C.J., San Mateo, CA Effective January 1, 2014, California Civil Code Section 1188 was amended to clarify that the form of the certificate of acknowledgment as prescribed in Section 1189 must be used for all acknowledgments taken in California that will be filed in the state. The California Secretary of State has told the NNA that while all of the words prescribed for the certificate of acknowledgment must be present, Notaries are permitted to line through the “he/she/they” on pre-printed wording to make it specific to the person that is appearing before you. Here is a link to the acknowledgment wording as it appears in the CA Notary Statutes. However, as a best practice, the NNA recommends that you refrain from circling or crossing-out the “he/she/they” and “his/her/their” wording. Instead, line through any remaining blank space on the “Name(s) of Signer(s)” line after the name of the signer or signers has been entered. This will prevent additional names from being added to the certificate after the notarization is completed. 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 David Thun is an Associate Editor at 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, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST.