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Sending A Completed, Loose Certificate Not Allowed

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I notarized a deed that had an area at the bottom of the page for the seal. When the escrow received it, the expiration date on the seal image had become illegible. The escrow company asked me to send a loose certificate with my stamp. I told them that I need another signature on the loose certificate but they said I did not.  What is the best practice in this situation? T.T., Los Angeles, CA

You may not send a loose certificate in the mail; the certificate must be endorsed on or attached to the document (Government Code section 8205[a][2]). The Secretary of State could fine you $750 for doing this. The escrow should send the original document back to you. In its January 2014 Notary Newsletter (see page 2), the Secretary has clarified that in order to correct a notarial certificate, you must meet with the customer again and re-notarize the customer’s signature.

The California Secretary of State has said that if you must correct a Notary certificate and you are no longer in the presence of the signer, you must perform an entirely new notarization. That means going through all the required steps for a notarization, including properly identifying the signer, completing a new certificate and recording a new journal entry.

For more information about this subject, watch our short video below.


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

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

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Susanne Pellicano

06 Oct 2014

The short video regarding Loose Certificates was informative and very easy to understand.


15 Oct 2014

I found this helpful as I recently had a similar situation. But when I went to review the CA Government Code I was unable to find section 8505... I believe the section of code referred to above is actually 8205 (Duties) (a)(2).

National Notary Association

15 Oct 2014

Hi Joan, Thanks for bringing that to our attention. We've corrected the section number in the article.

Alisha Pearce

16 Oct 2014

Does this mean that the Clarification Declaration under Government Code section 27361.7 is no longer an alternative for these types of corrections? or is it still an option, just now with the signator again appearing and signing a new journal entry?

Bill Anderson

30 Oct 2014

Ms Pearce: Thanks for your comment. The Government Code Section you cited could apply in this situation. Completing an "Illegible Seal Declaration" form made available online by several county clerk/recorders' offices throughout the state is still widely used. By completing the form, there would be no need to get the original document back and apply a corrected seal impression. Thank you for bringing this up.

Lorie Petrillo

04 Apr 2016

I am a traveling notary that is willing to travel in our Mercer County PA 16157 to help anyone out

Donna Howard

23 Jun 2022

If the document being notarized has multiple pages and does not include an acknowledgment certificate wording on the actual document, therefore a loose acknowledgement certificate is completed, should this loose certificate be stapled by the notary to the last page (with signature) ONLY of the multi-page document or should all pages of the document including the separate acknowledgment certificate be stapled together?

National Notary Association

24 Jun 2022

Hello. Please see this article for more information:

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