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Can I Notarize A Character Reference For My Daughter?

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My daughter is filling out paperwork for a pistol permit. Can I notarize the documents of the people providing character references for her? I know I can't notarize her signature, but wasn't sure if I could notarize the signatures of those people providing the character references for her.L.B., Phoenix, NY

In New York it's not illegal to notarize your daughter's signature or the signatures of the character references, but the NNA would not recommend it. 

We recommend against notarizing for a spouse, parent, sibling or other family members related by blood or marriage because the financial affairs of family members are often intertwined. Such a notarization could be considered a conflict of interest. Thus, it is always the safest practice to avoid even the appearance of a financial or beneficial interest and not notarize documents for immediate family.

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, 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. PST; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST.

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06 Apr 2015

I once notarized a document for a client who had the same last name that I have and it was rejected in the Florida. In my case it was not a relation on mine ~ client only.

Linda Thomas

07 Apr 2015

Is OK to notarize documents with a blue ink pen instead of black?

National Notary Association

07 Apr 2015

Hello Linda, To help us answer your question, can you please tell us what state you are commissioned in? You can also contact our Hotline counselors for assistance at

Virginia in Texas

07 Apr 2015

the question did not get a complete answer. The answer addressed the daughter, the question asked about character references, did not say if related.


07 Apr 2015

In Hawaii, can a wife notarize affidavits for her husband's business? His business feeds into hers.

National Notary Association

08 Apr 2015

Hello Deb. Hawaii prohibits a Notary from acting in a manner in which the Notary has a personal or beneficial interest. If you suspect a conflict of interest exists because you receive some kind of financial or other benefit from your husband's business, then your husband should contact a Notary with no involvement in his business instead of you.


08 Apr 2015



15 Apr 2015

Is it illegal to notarize a document in which you are one of the principle people?

National Notary Association

15 Apr 2015

Hello Bey. You should not act as the Notary if you are named in or receive some form of benefit from the document or transaction in question.

Paula Wilt

21 Feb 2016

Is it illegal in WV to notarize a document for a family member? My name is not on the document.

National Notary Association

23 Feb 2016

Hello. (WVC 39-4-4[b]) states, “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.” The West Virginia Notary Handbook also states, "“Do not notarize papers for members of your immediate family if you could receive money or property interest from the transaction.”


14 Nov 2017

How do i notarize a Character reference letter? do i just stamp it or do i have to sign and date it as well along with adding the state and county?

National Notary Association

14 Nov 2017

Hello. The person requesting the notarization must tell you what type of notarial act they want (for example, acknowledgment or jurat). Once they tell you, you must perform all steps for the notarization. If you need help walking through the notarization, please contact our hotline team at 1-888-876-0827 for assistance.

angee gonzalez

26 Dec 2019

Is it legal to notarize documents for relatives, i.e. mother, daughter, husband in the state of Illinois?

National Notary Association

26 Dec 2019

Hello. According to the state's Illinois Notary Public Handbook, Illinois Notaries may notarize the signatures of their children, spouses or other relatives.


11 Mar 2020

Is it illegal in NY to notarize for my spouse if I am not a part of the document in any way? No financial benefit either.

National Notary Association

12 Mar 2020

Hello. New York does not have specific prohibitions against notarizing for relatives. A New York Notary may not notarize if the Notary is a party to, directly benefits, or is pecuniarily interested in the transaction.

Sierra Collins

16 Mar 2020

I have a sister who is a notary in NY. My other siblings and my mother have a financial agreement we are that preparing to sign in NY. Would it be okay for my sister to notarize the document for us? She is not a part of the agreement nor a beneficiary.

National Notary Association

17 Mar 2020

Hello. New York does not have a specific prohibition on family members notarizing for relatives. Your sister may notarize if she is not a party to the document or directly or pecuniarily interested in the transaction.

C P O'Brien

03 Jul 2021

My son must obtain a certificate of residency so he can get the resident tuition rate for college. He must sign the form in the presence of a notary and the notary must sign and stamp. I am a notary public in New York. He lives with me and has for his whole life, so I know that he is completing the form truthfully. I will not have any financial benefit if he completes the form, since he is getting a full scholarship anyway. May I notarize his signature in this case? Thank you.

National Notary Association

06 Jul 2021

Hello. According to the Department of State's "Notary Public License Law" publication: “[I]f the notary is a party to or directly and pecuniarily interested in the transaction, the person is not capable of acting in that case." So if even if you do not have any financial benefit from the document, if you are named in the document or a signatory, you should have a different, uninvolved Notary perform the notarization.

Josephine Trapasso

21 Jul 2022

I am a notary in ny state My my is 91. She has a different last name She is immobile but needs a document notarized for her union stating she has been receiving her check There is no financial interest as her checks go straight to her bank I notarize her signature

National Notary Association

25 Jul 2022

Hello. We're sorry, but it appears part of your question was accidentally omitted when you posted. Would you mind re-posting the full question, please?


09 Feb 2023

Can I notarize a character witness for my husband, he is applying for a pistol permit. Its not a financial interest but we live in same household ?

National Notary Association

09 Feb 2023

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

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