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Can I Notarize A Document With No Room For My Signature?

Can I notarize a document that does not have a place for the Notary to sign? Is it okay to simply sign and place a seal anywhere? — C.E., Upper Chichester, PA

No, a Pennsylvania Notary should never simply “stamp and sign” a document that does not contain a Notary certificate. This certificate is typically preprinted on the document below the place where the document signer signs his or her name. If the document does not contain a preprinted certificate, as in the case you describe, ask the signer which type of notarization to perform. You can briefly mention the possibilities — perform an acknowledgment, administer an oath or affirmation, take an affidavit or verification upon oath or affirmation — and provide a sample of each certificate. Once the signer chooses the notarial act, you may attach, complete, sign and seal a notarial certificate for that act.

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

16 Comments

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Yolanda

12 Jan 2015

That is great tool to have.

Arlene

13 Jan 2015

My husband is a California-based Real Estate Broker. If I were to notarize Grand Deeds for his clients, would my involvement be considered as having financial interest since ultimately the transaction would result in his commission?

National Notary Association

21 Jan 2015

Hello Arlene, A CA Notary may not notarize if the Notary has a direct financial or beneficial interest in the transaction, for example if the Notary is named individually as a principal in the transaction or as a grantor, grantee or other beneficiary to a real-property transaction. The CA Notary Public Handbook states, "Given California's community property law, care should be exercised if notarizing for a spouse or a domestic partner." If you are uncertain if your relationship to your husband would constitute a disqualifying interest, we recommend having an unrelated Notary not involved in the transaction notarize instead.

donisv@verizon.net

14 Jan 2015

Does this answer apply to NY State as well?

National Notary Association

21 Jan 2015

Hello, The use of appropriate certificate wording is required for notarizations in New York.

Gaile

15 Jan 2015

Does this pertain to Florida, also?

National Notary Association

21 Jan 2015

Hello, Florida Notaries may not notarize incomplete or blank documents or notarial certificates.

wgraves@willard.lib.mi.us

29 Jan 2015

What about the state of Michigan? Thank you.

National Notary Association

29 Jan 2015

Hello, Michigan requires Notaries to complete and sign the appropriate notarial certificate wording when performing a notarial act. You may not just "stamp and sign" a document with no notarial wording.

Trista Scott

07 Apr 2015

In Alabama, there is blank space to notarize. Along with my seal and signature, what other information do I need: IE: commission expiration date? and the "Subscribed to and sworn before me statement"? do I need to hand write that?

National Notary Association

07 Apr 2015

Hi Trista. If there is no notarial wording pre-printed on the document, you would need to attach and complete the appropriate Alabama notarial certificate wording for the act requested by the signer. If you're an NNA member, you can view and print sample Alabama notarial wording by logging into your profile at NationalNotary.org, clicking "Member Benefits" then "Downloadable Notary Certificate Forms" and selecting "Alabama" from the drop-down menu.

shirley gaisser

05 Apr 2016

Is it legal to notarize a presigned document without the signer being present in Alabama? I'm pretty sure the answer is no, but need to make sure. Also, is it legal to notarize handwritten documents or must they be printed in a professional format? Thanks.

National Notary Association

06 Apr 2016

Hello. No, a Notary should never notarize a presigned document without the signer's physical presence. There is no specific prohibition against notarizing handwritten documents in Alabama's Notary rules; however, the document must include legible, appropriate certificate wording or the signer must be able to tell the Notary whay type of notarization is desired so the Notary can attach the appropriate certificate wording.

National Notary Association

06 Apr 2016

Please also note that notarization does not guarantee acceptance by a receiving agency. It is the signer's responsiblity-not the Notary's-to determine if a receiving agency is willing to accept a handwritten notarized document.

Rachel

17 Jun 2018

In Nevada, I’m preparing to do a loose certificate along with a dmv form because the dmv form does not have a place for my stamp. Does this mean I have the customer sign and fill out both the dmv form and loose form? Or do I cross out the notary section on the dmv form? Thanks.

National Notary Association

18 Jun 2018

Hello Rachel. If you have a choice to either use pre-printed Notary certificate wording, or complete and attach Notary certificate wording to the document, you can use one or the other, but not both. If you are unsure how to proceed, you should ask the signer or request that the signer to contact the DMV for instructions.

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