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Can I Notarize A Character Reference For My Daughter?

NNA Hotline Tip logo

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, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST.

13 Comments

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Colleen

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 hotline@nationalnotary.org.

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.

Deb

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.

Deb

08 Apr 2015

Mahalo!🍍

Bey

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.”

jennifer

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.

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