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May I Notarize A Relative’s Signature On Business Documents?

New Hotline Resized 3Can I notarize my father’s company business documents?  –  C.P., San Antonio, TX

It depends. Texas law does not prohibit notarizing for a family member.  However, the Secretary of State writes that a Notary should not notarize if the Notary is a party to the document or is financially or beneficially interested in the transaction (see the “Frequently Asked Questions” on the Secretary of State’s website). So, if you stand to benefit from the transaction involving your father, you should decline to notarize the document.

Rules regarding notarizing for relatives vary in other states. Arizona Notaries may not notarize for anyone related to the Notary by marriage or adoption. Florida and Massachusetts prohibit Notaries from notarizing the signatures of their spouses, parents or children. Nevada also prohibits notarizing for grandparents, grandchildren, half-siblings, adopted children and adopted siblings.  Maine prohibits a Notary from notarizing for the Notary’s spouse, parent, sibling, child, spouse’s parent, spouse’s sibling, spouse’s child or child’s spouse. Michigan, Mississippi and Nebraska prohibit Notaries from notarizing for a spouse, ancestor, descendent, or sibling including in-laws, steps, or half-relatives. North Dakota, Iowa, Oregon and West Virginia prohibit Notaries from notarizing for their spouses.

Many other states discourage Notaries from notarizing for immediate family members. An Alabama Attorney General Opinion states it is a “better practice” for Notaries to refrain from notarizing for immediate family members. Commissioning officials in the following states caution or advise Notaries against notarizing documents for relatives:  Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

If asked to notarize for a relative, be sure to check your state laws to confirm it is permitted before proceeding.

To avoid any appearance of bias, as a general practice the NNA recommends that Notaries avoid notarizing documents for close relatives, even if permitted by state law.

Bill Anderson is Vice President of Legislative Affairs with the National Notary Association

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

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 1-888-876-0827, Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST.

69 Comments

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erika

13 Dec 2014

If a family member asks you to notice a document that will be recorded in a state that prohibits the notary to notarize for a family member but the notarization takes place in a states that allows the notarization will the state recording the document accept the notarized document?

National Notary Association

15 Dec 2014

Hello, Whether the document is acceptable for recording would be determined by the office receiving it. You would need to contact the recording office directly to find out if they will accept the document or if this would cause an issue.

Susan

13 Jan 2015

In the last sentence, I believe you meant to state "partiality" not "impartiality." "To avoid any appearance of impartiality, as a general practice the NNA recommends that Notaries avoid notarizing documents for close relatives, even if permitted by state law."

National Notary Association

13 Jan 2015

Thanks for bringing that to our attention. We've corrected the sentence. Sorry for any confusion!

Bob Caldwell

13 Jan 2015

i use my wife as a notary for affidavits in my business. I serve papers for many States. Is that acceptable?

National Notary Association

13 Jan 2015

Hello Bob, What state are you commissioned in, please?

Edna

13 Jan 2015

You say that in Arizona a notary cannot notarize for anyone related to the notary by adoption or marriage. What if it is a natural born relative or your spouse?

National Notary Association

13 Jan 2015

Hello, Under Arizona's law you may not notarize for your spouse or any relations by marriage, such as a brother-in-law or sister-in-law. Page 25 of Arizona's Notary Reference Manual states that while the law permits notarizing for a blood relative, it is not a recommended practice. http://www.azsos.gov/business_services/notary/Notary_Public_Reference_Manual.pdf

Lee

13 Jan 2015

You must mean "appearance of impropriety"

aris

28 Jan 2015

My brother is the attorney-in-fact for an s.p.a.to be issued by a 3rd party (non-relative). Can i notarize this document for the 3rd party?

National Notary Association

28 Jan 2015

Hello, What state are you commissioned, in, please?

aris

28 Jan 2015

I am a california notary. Do foreign consulates have accredited notaries who are authorized to notarize documents by their nationals?

National Notary Association

28 Jan 2015

Hello Aris, Yes, most consulates include officers who can notarize documents being sent between the U.S. and the consulate's home country.

jmiranda@allstateconstruction.com

07 Jul 2015

Hi, I am a notary in Florida. Can I notarize a document for my sister?

National Notary Association

07 Jul 2015

Hello. Yes. While FS 117.107[12] prohibits notarizing signatures for a Notary's own spouse, children or parents, the statute does not prohibit notarizing signatures for a Notary's own siblings.

Angie

17 Aug 2015

Can a North Carolina notary notarize her brother's signature on divorce documentation?

National Notary Association

17 Aug 2015

Hello. Yes, you may notarize the signature on the document, provided you are not a signer, beneficiary or party to the divorce agreement, and provided you do not receive any direct benefit or fee from the transaction apart from the statutory Notary fee.

alexis

12 Nov 2015

I am in the process of submitting some papers in high hopes to get some money back from some houses I lost in the 2008 dip. An my mother (she's a notary public in Ca) notarize my files? I need about 20 signatures and she would not be gaining any benefits from this. Please respond!

Jas

21 Nov 2016

From Florida and need to know if I can notarize business papers from the state of PA for a insurance rep (my Brother) requesting it to be done for his businesses or insurance sells in in FL.

National Notary Association

21 Nov 2016

Hello. You may notarize documents from another state, but the signer would have to personally appear before you in Florida and the notarization would have to meet all requirements of Florida law.

joewattauto@gmail.com

10 Jan 2017

I am an officer of a corporation as in my husband. The corporation is a Oklahoma corporation doing business in the state of florida. (Foreign corp for business) Can I notorize the presidents signature which is my husbands on a Florida title?

National Notary Association

11 Jan 2017

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

Gregg Martucci

17 Jan 2017

I Have a construction business. Can my wife notarize check waivers from other GC's? These are checks issued to my business name and are solely for the company.

National Notary Association

17 Jan 2017

Hi Gregg. To help us answer your question, can you please tell us what state you are located in?

Jesselynalbo@gmail.com

03 Feb 2017

Hi im in florida wanted to know if i could notarize documents for my fathers corporation even though i do not work for him so there would be no financial gain for me what so ever.

National Notary Association

03 Feb 2017

Hello. No, Florida prohibits its Notaries from notarizing the signatures of the Notary's mother or father (FS 117.107[11]).

katarzyna

11 Feb 2017

Hello, In IL can I notarize documents for my spouse business ? (waiver of lien, letter of intent etc...) I'm not an owner, but we are thinking of adding my name as a secretary with the state of IL maybe next year so I can help him with the business like filling corporate rapport, renewing license plates for the business vehicles etc... Thank you

Marci

18 Feb 2017

I'm a notary from Georgia, Can I notarized a document for my husband?

National Notary Association

28 Feb 2017

Hello. GA law prohibits Notaries from notarizing a document signed by the Notary or when the Notary is a party to the document (OCGA 45-17-8[c]). While notarizing for relatives is not prohibited,state officials recommend that you do not notarize for family members.

Eric

22 Feb 2017

I am a NC Notary, I work for my husband who owns 25% of the business and he is the Vice President. I am not an owner in the business or an officer. The company submits monthly billing to our customers that sometimes require a signature from an “Owner or Officer”. If my husband signs the billing, can I notarize his signature?

Laurie Koppes

16 Mar 2017

Can I notarize my brothers in law, and sisters in law signatures on estate paperwork for my deceased father in law? I reside in Mn.

National Notary Association

17 Mar 2017

Hello. While not expressly prohibited in Minnesota, the MN Secretary of State's website recommends against notarizing for relatives: "In many instances, a Notary will have no beneficial interest in notarizing for a relative and will not be prevented by law from doing so. However, to avoid later questioning of the Notary’s impartiality, as well as accusations of undue influence, it is always safest for a signer to find a Notary who is not related"

Naomi Roberts

01 Jun 2017

In the state of Oklahoma, is it legal for a child to notarize a General Warranty Deed for a parent when they will be the parents beneficiary to the real estate in question?

National Notary Association

02 Jun 2017

Hello. The following is from the Oklahoma Secretary of State's website: “The law does not forbid notaries from notarizing the signatures of relatives. However, if the notarized document was ever the subject of a court suit, a judge might determine the notary was not an impartial witness.”

NAOMI Roberts

01 Jun 2017

Is it legal in the state of Oklahoma for a child to notarize a General Warranty Deed for a parent when the child will be the sole beneficiary for the said real estate in question?

National Notary Associaton

08 Jun 2017

Hello. The OK Secretary of State's website says, “The law does not forbid notaries from notarizing the signatures of relatives. However, if the notarized document was ever the subject of a court suit, a judge might determine the notary was not an impartial witness." Also, the Notary Public Code of Professional Responsibility, Article II-A-1, recommends the following: "The Notary shall decline to notarize in any transaction that would result directly or indirectly in any actual or potential gain or advantage for the Notary, financial or otherwise, apart from the fee for performing a notarial act allowed by statute."

MAry

20 Jun 2017

I am a contractor in NC. My daughter is a notary in NC. She is not a stock holder in my business but of course is name in my will. Can she notarize lien waivers?

National Notary Association

21 Jun 2017

Hello. NC Notaries may notarize for family members, but may not notarize if the Notary is a signer of, party to, or beneficiary of the record that is to be notarized, or if the Notary would receive directly from a transaction connected with the notarial act any commission, fee, advantage, right, title, interest, cash, property, or other consideration in excess of the maximum statutory Notary fee. (GS 10B- 20[c][5] and [6]).

Joe c

16 Mar 2018

I'm a notary in Florida, I work for my dad's construction business and his GC license qualifies the company. Can I notorized his signature on forms that require the GC's signature (my dad's signature)

National Notary Association

16 Mar 2018

Hello. No, Florida Notaries are not allowed to notarize their parents' signatures (FS 117.107[11]).

PJM

03 Apr 2018

I have a notary in SC, my husband and I own a construction company in SC. Can I notarize his signature on request for payment documents?

National Notary Association

03 Apr 2018

Hello. A South Carolina notary may not perform a notarial act if the Notary will receive directly from a transaction connected with the notarial act any commission, fee, advantage, right, title, interest, cash, property, or other consideration exceeding the maximum statutory Notary fee. (SCC 26-1-90[C][4]).

april

23 Apr 2018

I live in nc can i notarize my dads paperwork to get his preaching license

National Notary Association

23 Apr 2018

Hello. Yes, provided that you are not a named party on the document, signing as a party to the document and do not directly receive a benefit from the transaction other than your statutory Notary fee. However, the Secretary of State's office recommends that Notaries not perform notarial acts for relatives.

Joe

10 May 2018

I am a Notary in NJ. I will be visiting my sister who lives in NY. She wants me to notarize a simple will leaving all her ASSETS (TO BE DIVIDED EQUALLY) TO HER TWO ADULT CHILDREN. I WILL NOT BENEFIT OR SHARE IN ANYTHING. CAN I DO IT?

National Notary Association

10 May 2018

Hello. We're sorry, but because a will is a complex legal document, we cannot advise you whether or not your sister's will requires notarization. Any questions regarding whether a will requires notarization, and whether you may notarize it as a relative would need to be directed to a qualified attorney.

Rangel

16 May 2018

Hello, I reside in NV. My sister-in-law is also my employer. I know we cannot notarize for family in this state. Can I notarize business documents since she is my employer?

National Notary Association

17 May 2018

Hello. NRS 240.065[1] states that NV Notaries may not notarize if related to the signer by marriage or blood. The state does not provide exceptions to this rule due to employer-employee status.

Nizhoni Rowley

19 May 2018

Hello, I live in North Carolina. I'd like to know if it's ok to notarize a Letter of Guardianship for my daughter-in-law?

National Notary Association

21 May 2018

Hello. North Carolina Notaries are not automatically disqualified from notarizing for relatives, but may not notarize if the Notary is a signer, party or beneficiary of the document being notarized, or if the Notary would receive a benefit from the document beyond the Notary's statutory fee (GS 10B20[c][5] and [6]). The North Carolina Secretary of State's office recommends that Notaries not perform notarizations for relatives.

Amber

24 May 2018

I live in Massachusetts where it is prohibited to notarize for a family member. However, I work for my father's company that needs lien waiver's and other documents signed for payment for the jobs we've done. I will not be compensated in any way other then my normal wage. Am I allowed to notarize for the company, if someone else (I'm not related to) in the company signs the papers? Or is that still notarizing for a family member?

National Notary Association

24 May 2018

Hello. If a family member is named as a party in the documents you are notarizing, you may not notarize the document. (GL 222 Sec. 16[a][vii]) If it is not certain whether or not you have a disqualifying interest in the document, the best course is to find another unrelated Notary to perform the notarization.

Alicia

14 Jul 2018

Hi I live in Florida , and my dad wants me to be his notary for his construction business (He's a contractor) to notarize business documents. Is this allowed?

National Notary Association

16 Jul 2018

Hello. No, Florida Notaries may not notarize the signatures of their own spouses, sons, daughters, mothers or fathers (FS 117.107[11]).

Tonya

01 Aug 2018

In the state of WV, If my husband and I both own the company, can I notarize his signature on documents such as lien waivers?

National Notary Association

02 Aug 2018

Hello. No, West Virginia does not allow this. “A notarial officer may not perform a notarial act with respect to a record to which the officer or the officer’s spouse is a party, or in which either of them has a direct beneficial interest, financial or otherwise. A notarial act performed in violation of this subsection is voidable” (WVC 39-4-4[b]).

Nicole

11 Jan 2019

I’m a notary in Texas. My husband owns a construction business. Can I notarize documents with his signature for his business?

National Notary Association

11 Jan 2019

Hello. Yes, provided that you are not a party to the instrument or financially or beneficially interested in the transaction.

Sissy

16 Jan 2019

If I am getting a divorce in Mississippi and my sister works for my attorney can she sign my divorce papers and file them with the courts.

National Notary Association

17 Jan 2019

Hello. No, Mississippi Notaries are not permitted to notarize documents for their siblings. (1 MAC Pt. 5, R. 050.5.2)

Harvey Moorer

19 Jan 2019

Hi. I'm a Notary in Michigan. Have real estate dealings with property owner in Florida, who's daughter Notarized his signature on numerous record deeds. What's the penalty in FL for notarizing docs where signor is mother or father?

National Notary Association

22 Jan 2019

Hello. A Florida Notary may not notarize a signature on a document if the person whose signature is to be notarized is the spouse, son, daughter, mother, or father of the Notary (FS 117.107[11]). If you wish to file a complaint against a Florida Notary, please see this page for instructions: https://www.flgov.com/notary-complaints/

Doris Cox Meshack

23 Apr 2019

My brother is in jail, and has sent a letter asking me to register his vehicle. I have no financial gain in this transaction, may I notarize this letter.

National Notary Association

24 Apr 2019

Hello Doris. To answer your question, we need to ask you some questions, please: 1. What state are you commissioned in? 2. Does your name appear on the document? 3. Are you being asked to sign the document? 4. Whose signature(s) are you being asked to sign on the document?

Sarah

29 Apr 2019

I need an Affidavit of income form to be Notarized. Prior year the form had three signatures. Today we have only two signatures, as the third party has died and had income which needs to be reported. an I sign for the deceased person. I live in NYS. Thank you

National Notary Association

30 Apr 2019

Hello. You would need to contact a qualified attorney to ask what options are available regarding the deceased individual's signature.

Sarh

29 Apr 2019

I live in NYS and need an Income Affidavit form to be Notarized. Prior years we had three signatures. One of the three person has passed and had income which needs to be reported on the form. The form needs is signature .Puzzled. ?? Thanks

Val Kater

06 Sep 2019

If I am a Notary in the state of FL, can I notarize power of attorney/will for my brother in the state of Arizona?

National Notary Association

10 Sep 2019

Hello. Florida prohibits Notaries from notarizing the signatures of their own children, spouses or parents, but does not prohibit notarizing for the Notary's siblings (FS 117.107[11]). However, the notarization would have to take place within Florida. You may not travel to Arizona to notarize. Also, you may not notarize if you have a financial interest or are a party to the transaction (FS 117.107[12]).

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