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When To Say 'No' … And When Refusing A Notarization Is Not Allowed

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Updated 6-19-18. Many Notaries have been asked to perform an illegal or improper notarization by a customer, boss or co-worker. It’s critical for every Notary to know when you can — and cannot — refuse a notarization to protect the public from fraud. 

When To Refuse A Notarization
 

Many states have specific statutes or regulations which explain when exactly a Notary is permitted or required to refuse service.

For example, California Notaries must refuse a notarization if the document is incomplete. Florida Notaries must refuse if the signer appears mentally incapable of understanding the document. Texas authorizes Notaries to refuse a request if the signer appears coerced; if the Notary has reason to believe the document will be used for illegal purposes or the signer lacks capacity to understand the document; or if the request is for a notarization the Notary does not recognize. 

You can generally refer to your state’s Notary website, Notary handbook, or one of the NNA’s Notary Law Primers for the requirements you need to follow.

Below are some of the main reasons you might be required to refuse a notarization. Keep in mind that they do not all apply in every state.

1. Signer Disqualifications
 

This occurs when the signer does not meet certain qualifications for the notarization. These may include:

  • The signer is not physically present
  • The signer cannot be properly identified
  • The signer does not speak the same language as the Notary
  • The signer is unwilling to swear or affirm the contents of the document for notarizations that require an oath or affirmation
  • You have reason to believe the signer appears to be confused, disoriented, or lacks the mental capacity to sign documents
  • ​You have reason to believe that the signer is being coerced to sign, rather than signing of his or her own free will

2. Document Disqualifications
 

This occurs when the document doesn’t meet certain requirements. Situations may include: 

  • The document contains blank spaces or missing pages 
  • The document does not contain a notarial certificate, and the signer cannot or will not instruct the Notary which type of notarial certificate is required
  • The signer wants you to certify a copy of a vital record, such as a birth certificate, which you are not permitted to do

3. Notary Disqualifications
 

There are times when the notarization presents a conflict of interest that impairs the Notary’s impartiality. These may include:

  • You are a signer of the document
  • You are named as a party to the underlying transaction or have a financial or beneficial interest in the transaction
  • The signer is your spouse, parent or child

4. Other Disqualifying Situations
 

Here are several other potential situations when you should refuse the request:

  • You know or suspect the transaction is false, illegal or deceptive
  • The act being requested is not an authorized notarial act
  • The signer is unable or unwilling to pay the required fee
  • The request is made outside of your regular office hours
  • The request violates your workplace guidelines

When You Shouldn’t Say ‘No’
 

Generally, if a requested notarial act is lawful, the Notary should not refuse to perform it. Scenarios that may be difficult for a Notary to refuse are the following:

1. Refusals Based On Personal Bias Or Beliefs
 

  • Signer Bias: As a public official, you should not refuse a notarization based on personal feelings you may have about the signer’s nationality, religion, race, age, lifestyle, gender, or disabilities. 
  • Controversial Documents: You should not refuse to notarize documents that contain content related to controversial issues, such as same-sex unions, assisted suicide, use of medical marijuana, or abortion you disagree with. Article I-A-3 of The Notary Public Code of Professional Responsibility states that a Notary should not refuse to perform a lawful and proper notarial act “because of disagreement with the statements or purpose of a lawful document.” Even if the contents of a document violate your personal beliefs, this is not reason enough to refuse a notarization. Remember: notarizing a document does not mean you are personally endorsing or agreeing with its contents. You are simply acting as an impartial, third party witness and verifying the identity of the signer. 

2. Legal Requirements Vs. Best Practices
 

It’s important to remember the difference between a legal requirement and best practice. For example, when it comes to taking signer’s thumbprints, you must not refuse a notarization based solely on the signer’s refusal to leave a thumbprint —  unless you are commissioned in a state that requires collecting journal thumbprints for certain transactions (namely, California and Illinois). The same would apply to signers who are opposed to signing a journal in a state where a journal signature is not required.

Tips For Refusing A Notarization

Refusing a notarization may result in a confrontation with an upset signer, who may feel inconvenienced, or, in the worst case scenario, accuse you of unlawful discrimination. Remain calm and follow these best practices: 

  • Be Tactful: Speak to clients in a calm, respectful manner. Always maintain your professionalism, and avoid getting drawn into a debate with the signer regarding the refusal.
  • Explain Yourself: Offer a clear explanation of how the improper action being requested violates the law, and that doing so may not only get the signer in trouble, but it can also cost you your Notary commission and payment of hefty penalty fees.
  • Document The Refusal: Document the refusal in your notarial journal, detailing the exact reason for the refusal, in case it should it be questioned down the line.

Kelle Clarke is a regular contributor to the National Notary Association.

 

169 Comments

Add your comment

Linda Young

20 Jul 2015

In Florida, Notaries are empowered to perform marriage ceremonies. Are Florida notaries required to perform such ceremonies?

National Notary Association

20 Jul 2015

Hello. No, Florida Notaries are not required to perform weddings if they choose not to do so. However, if you choose not to perform weddings, remember that Notaries are expected to serve all members of the public impartially--it would not be appropriate for you to choose to perform weddings for some customers and refuse to perform weddings for others based on the customer's status, beliefs or ethnicity, for example. In other words, you may choose not to perform any weddings at all, or you may choose to perform all wedding requests provided the request is lawful and reasonable for your schedule--but you should not pick and choose to accept some wedding requests and refuse others based on personal bias toward the person making the request.

Deborah J. Kohnle

20 Jul 2015

I have held a notary commission for many years and officiated many weddings during that time. People come to me via word of mouth; I do not advertise. As a result of the Supreme Court decision legalizing "gay marriage", I will no longer perform any weddings. Such a shame. It's an occasion I really enjoyed being part of.

Dave Tuttle

20 Jul 2015

Recently I did a debt settlement on an elderly Vietnamese couple who spoke little English. Their son had a PofA to represent them. The company was okay with this scenario and I completed the signing, but was uncomfortable not being in control and dependent on the son for accuracy of information. Was this acceptable? .

National Notary Association

20 Jul 2015

Hello. If the son was signing on behalf of his parents and you were notarizing the son's signature, this is acceptable provided all other requirements of state law are met. However, if you were notarizing the signatures of the parents, in order to properly perform a notarization, it’s essential — and often required — to be able to communicate directly with the signer to establish the signer’s identity and willingness to sign the document. Because of this, most states do not permit third parties to bridge the communication gap between a Notary Public and signer during a notarization. Only one state — Arizona — expressly allows an interpreter to translate for a signer when the signer and Notary do not speak the same language, and requires the translator and signer to be physically in the presence of the Notary at the time of the notarization.

Tommie Jean Woods

20 Jul 2015

Information was very helpful, clarifying questions and the laws. Thank you so much.

Jerry Lucas

20 Jul 2015

Can a notary refuse to serve a disruptive customer when the transaction and paperwork is in order? Occasionally, a customer will be rude, abusive, insulting, angry, swearing, loud, argumentative, aggressive or otherwise disruptive. Many businesses have a policy for dealing with disruptive customers. A judge may find a disruptive party in contempt of court. I read a court case where the post office refused to serve a customer who would not stop singing while waiting in line. I haven't found this subject of disruptive customers discussed in any notary laws or reference books.

tara

20 Jul 2015

I agree..you may not believe in what other people do however you are not here to determine if that is ok..you are here to notarize those documents. if you don't like it then being a notary may not be for you.

Alan

20 Jul 2015

Impartial obedience to procedure? I think Germany had a big problem with that.

ugo chiarato

20 Jul 2015

I would notarize the signature of signer with proper ID since I am not supposed to endorse the text in whatever language.We US notaries are not like the ones in Spain or Italy.

Patricia Katz

21 Jul 2015

I was surprised to see that Florida Notaries perform weddings. Is this legal in the state of Pennsylvania? I don't remember studying this.

National Notary Association

28 Jul 2015

Hello. No, Pennsylvania Notaries are not authorized to officiate weddings.

Pamela Wilson

21 Jul 2015

I think aggression crosses the line. If I felt threatened, notary or otherwise, isn't it my right to call the police? Being a notary doesn't mean you have to put up with lawlessness. I don't know what criminal charges are connected with threatening behavior, but I'll bet there are a few.

Mary

21 Jul 2015

I work for a Home owner's Association and only notarize documents for members. I do not notarize documents for not members. Is that lawful? I also do not notarize House mortgages or closing documents. Is that lawful?

National Notary Association

04 Aug 2015

Hello. You are not required to work as a Notary signing agent with loan document assignments if you choose not to do so. Regarding your other question, the Notary Public Code of Professional Responsibility states, "The Notary shall not refuse to perform a lawful and proper notarial act solely because the signer is not a client or customer of the Notary or the Notary’s employer." So if someone came to you with a reasonable and lawful notarization request, it would not be appropriate to refuse solely because they are not members of your HOA. However, for any sudden request that would be particularly time-consuming or disruptive to business (e.g.,notarize 100 documents immediately), it is reasonable for the Notary to reschedule the services to a more convenient time or to refer the signer to another nearby Notary available to perform the acts at once.

DONNA R. SCHWEIGER

22 Jul 2015

My husband needed proof of being alive while receiving his German Social Security. This document is in German and English. The notary refused to notarize the document because my husband did not sign the document in his presence. The document clearly stated that they wanted proof of being alive. He showed his Green Card, his Passport, Drivers License, signed the notarial book and had his thumb print taken. :But, because he did not sign the document in front of the notary, the notary wanted to assign a California Loose Certificate, with a new signature from my husband.. We knew Germany would not accept this and when my husband balked, the Notary slammed his book and refused.

MisterJ

22 Jul 2015

The reality is that nobody is a full-time notary public, just sitting there with their seal in hand, at the beck and call of the populace. Many of us had our notary commissions paid for by our employer so that we could notarize documents for them, and when we are on our employer's clock, we are simply not able to fully serve the public. In a real-life business setting, there may be times when you are preoccupied with the duties of your actual full-time job, and you have to tactfully explain to someone that you just don't have time to do a notarization! In that case, you can refer them to another notary in the area. Is that "wrong" somehow?

Nikki Richard

24 Jul 2015

Hello. I am a Notary Public with the State of NH. I was asked to notarized a document that is military related but the document originates from Massachusetts. Am I still able to notarize this document?

National Notary Association

28 Jul 2015

Hello. The document's origin state does not affect if you can notarize it. Provided the signer personally appears before you within the borders of New Hampshire and all other requirements of New Hampshire Notary law are met, you may notarize the document.

David Collins

09 Sep 2015

Donna R. Schweiger; if it was a jurat, a sworn statement that your husband signed, at least in California, the law states that the person must sign in front of the notary. If it was an acknowledgement then the Notary may have been in error.

pdmccool

19 Sep 2015

MisterJ, I'm sorry, but I am, indeed a professional, full-time notary. While I do offer mobile services, and am often away from my desk for loan signings, a significant portion of my income is due to sitting at a desk in a local office supply store just waiting for walk-ins. While some days are slow, I average around 15 signatures a day, and that's in a podunk town in the desert.

Miguel Guerrero

30 Nov 2015

We as notary we have the responsibility to help each person no matters what. Ofcuser with in the Law. To those notary that because Florida pass and the supreme court to allow same sex marriage, they choose not to protoform the seramony , it's sad we all human. We don't have any right to tell people who they can love. That is why this world is the way it is do many biggest. Stop practising the service then its a public work.

Jerry Lucas

30 Nov 2015

For mobile notaries who make house calls, customers need to restrain excited or aggressive pets from barking or interfering with the notary. A notary should not have to risk personal injury from a dog bite. The article does not address personal health and safety scenarios.

National Notary Association

30 Nov 2015

Hi Jerry. You might find this article, which touches on signing agent health and pet issues, of interest: http://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2013/09/signing-agents-expect-unexpected

Tiffany

30 Nov 2015

In some states, employers are liable for the notaries they employ and therefore want to restrict their notaries from performing notarial acts outside of their employment. I believe the employer cannot require employees to perform notarizations (as part of their job duties) and at the same time restrict the notary from performing notarizations outside of their employment... but I cannot find cases related to this in Florida. If you know of any, please point me in the right direction. Thank you.

Vicky G. Pearson

30 Nov 2015

Good Morning. I am a Notary for a hospital in Dallas, TX and am in Medical Saff Services. Very often I am asked to Notarize something for a patient, i.e. various Power of Attorney forms. In the past I was required to have 2 witnesses not related to the patient or associated with the hospital sign the documents. I now understand a hospital employee, i.e. a nurse, can sign as witness. Can you let me know if I may ask a hospital nurse to witness documents. Just as an afterthought, I don't notarize wills, etc. but gently encourage that these be handled through or with a lawyer.

National Notary Association

01 Dec 2015

Hi Vicky. I'm sorry, the question of who may witness the signing of a power of attorney is a legal question that should be answered by a qualified attorney. You should speak to an attorney or legal counsel at your hospital for assistance.

Manny Espunoza

30 Nov 2015

Miguel Guerrero where do you conduct your Notary services? Because I didn't understand any of your comments or opinions.

ANDREA FRISON

30 Nov 2015

This is Re: notarizing the document sent every year for pension from Germany and France. This document does not require the signature of the person, just to witness she/he is alive in front of you. What is the proper procedure in that case? Notaries are confused at that request and is it OK to add an acknowledgment page?

National Notary Association

01 Dec 2015

Hello. You cannot perform an acknowledgment on a document that has no signature.

Jeannie

30 Nov 2015

I love doing marriages and do not discriminate against anyone. It is a shame there is still so much prejudice in the world today.

Ed Anderson

30 Nov 2015

I'm a NJ Notary. I am not certain when to use a raised (embossed) seal or an inked seal. Is there a requirement for either the raised or ink seal?

National Notary Association

01 Dec 2015

Hello. New Jersey law does not require its Notaries to use a seal.

Stacey

01 Dec 2015

Yeah I didn't understand either, Miguel.

Carole

01 Dec 2015

Was I too much of a stickler for detail? A client came in with a Minnesota LLC document that needed a Jurat. I had the newly worded Jurat forms and took one out to fill in. He asked me to stamp both the Jurat and the document...I said no, that I would attach to Jurat to the form. His Minnesota form did not have the required wording for California, that being the reason I didn't use it. I refused to do two seals..and told him if he didn't want the Jurat attached that I could not complete the Notorial act...Was I correct or could I have stamped both document and separate attached Jurat?.

National Notary Association

02 Dec 2015

Hello Carole. You acted correctly-it would not be appropriate for you to affix your seal to an incomplete and unused notarial certificate, especially one that does not include the required wording for your state.

ANDREA

13 Dec 2015

I was asked if I could place my seal on 2 documents laying side by side. One document is the deed and the other document is the acknowledgment. In doing so, half the seal would be on each page. Is this a common practice?? I'm in California

National Notary Association

18 Dec 2015

Hello. No, the Secretary of State's January 2014 Notary newsletter instructs CA Notaries not to do this: "Your official seal must be placed in its entirety on the same page as the notarial certificate. Do not place an impression of the seal on every page of a document or fan the pages of the document and place an impression of the seal across all pages."

Virginia

18 Jan 2016

Is it fair for a Notary to arrive at a closing and one signer is doing something else while the Notary waits?

ANDREA F

20 Jan 2016

I would like to know how to proceed to sign the document requesting that a person is alive in front of me - for pension purpose - Am I capable of witnessing this situation or the person need to go somewhere else? Thanks

National Notary Association

25 Jan 2016

Hello. So we can better assist you, can you please tell us what state you are commissioned in?

harold@answerguy.org

22 Jan 2016

I am a Notary in California, where performing your Notarial duties as a public servant takes priority over your duties to your employer. If someone were to walk up to my desk where I was a technician in an engineering firm and want a notarization, I would have to drop everything and provide the required service. In order to avoid interruptions by people wanting immediate notarizations, the best practice is to simply have a sign stating that "notarizations are by appointment only." It is also a good idea to have that statement on your business cards as well. Having this policy satisfies the California requirement that you serve all people equally. Since I am a mobile Notary, it's possible that someone who knows me personally might show up at my house wanting me to provide services. Since my policy is to do notarizations by appointment only, I can schedule their notarization for a later time without conflicting with California law.

harold@answerguy.org

22 Jan 2016

Virginia: Of course it's not fair, but life seldom is. Here in California, when a Notary is performing a Notarial act, the location becomes a legal venue, and the Notary is in charge. I think the best course of action is to tactfully but firmly suggest the notarization be rescheduled if it is inconvenient for the signers to attend to it at that time. Of course a revisit fee would be in order if you are a mobile notary who has come to them. If that doesn't get their attention, start putting your stuff in your briefcase and say it again (polite shrugging is useful at this point). As a Notary, you represent the State in which you serve, not as an employee, but as an official agent. I don't believe the government of any State wants you to abuse it's citizens, nor does it want you to be abused.

Judy Lopez

08 Feb 2016

The only time I had to refuse a notary was when I was called to go to a hospital they told me the woman wanted to get married and needed a power of attorney prior to the marriage. I went there and the woman was in and out of consciousness she was dying from cancer. She had no idea who I was let alone what she was signing. The fiancé insisted he sign for her, the ladies daughter was there and I asked her if she was aware of what her mother was signing? The daughter only spoke Spanish. I was there over an hour they kept insisting I wait because she wound sign. I felt bad but after that hour I explained again that I wound not be able to notarize her because she did not understand and she could not even hold a pen. I politely refused. I felt terrible but had I notarized that doc it wound have been illegal being in the state of mind she was in and this guy being able to have full control with a document and the daughter of the woman not understanding what was going on other then her mother on her deathbed. After I politely refused the fiancé yelled at me and kicked me out of the room and said he'd get someone else. I hope no other notary did complete the job seeing how this woman was so confused. It was obvious that he wanted total control and the poor daughter had no idea what a power of attorney was. I don't know but I thought the nurses/administrator would not allow someone that did not understand to be able to sign anything. All I know is on the notary side it could not be done.

Florence Chan

03 Mar 2016

For your comment (reference below) -- I told the China Consulate that a notary is not allowed to stamp or fan out every page and they said they are NOT going to accept a document that has not been stamped on every page by a notary with the notary stamp. I asked the notary to stamp every page with the company stamp, but this was rejected by the China consulate. What is your advice on this? I cannot get my documents legalized with China if this does not have the California notary stamp on every page or fanned out on every page. National Notary Association18 Dec 2015 Hello. No, the Secretary of State's January 2014 Notary newsletter instructs CA Notaries not to do this: "Your official seal must be placed in its entirety on the same page as the notarial certificate. Do not place an impression of the seal on every page of a document or fan the pages of the document and place an impression of the seal across all pages."

National Notary Association

07 Mar 2016

Hello Florence. Unfortunately, this is something CA Notaries are not permitted to do. We would suggest contacting the consulate and asking if there is a consular officer available who could notarize the documents instead.

National Notary Association

07 Mar 2016

Hello Florence. Another option would be to contact the consulate and ask if they will accept a standard Notarization by a CA Notary if the notarized document has an apostille that authenticates the notarization attached by the CA Secretary of State's office. For more information, please see here: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2015/07/notary-basics-understanding-apostilles

John Axt

09 May 2016

I do notlike it when the NNA uses model codes to answer questions. The NNA is supposed to know the laws AND regulations. In Florida, we have a guide produced by the Governor's office, hard to find these days. Page 56 states, "The Governor’s Notary Section has considered the issue of whether a notary may refuse to notarize because of policies established by an employer; for example, in the case of a bank. A notary should never exercise his or her authority in a discriminatory manner. However, it is the opinion of this office that limiting bank employees to notarizing only for bank customers is not considered unlawful discrimination."

Lisa A. Holliday

09 May 2016

Although I didn't see your response to Jerry Lucas' question about whether a notary signing agent can refuse to do a document signing if they are seriously uncomfortable with the behavior of the signers, (see his comment reiterated below) my two cents would be that the notary rule of disregarding personal opinions doesn't apply here. We are not there simply as notaries, we are there of signing agents which is situationally very different , and are fully within our rights to leave a signing if we are feeling threatened or receiving abusive behavior. I believe That situation is outside the purview and intent of the notary rule to disregard personal opinions unless we believe the document is ill legal. Am I correct on that NNA? Jerry's comment: Can a notary refuse to serve a disruptive customer when the transaction and paperwork is in order? Occasionally, a customer will be rude, abusive, insulting, angry, swearing, loud, argumentative, aggressive or otherwise disruptive. Many businesses have a policy for dealing with disruptive customers. A judge may find a disruptive party in contempt of court. I read a court case where the post office refused to serve a customer who would not stop singing while waiting in line. I haven't found this subject of disruptive customers discussed in any notary laws or reference books.

John F Roscoe

09 May 2016

The 13th Amendent to the US Constitution was ratified 6-18 (depending what history you read) Dec 1865; therefore it is illegal. Most states it is the Notary's duty NOT to notarize the request. I would start a discussion informing her we need her ID including address and phone, and the boy's ID. Promptly informing the police. It is abhorrent! JFR

MisterJ

09 May 2016

pdmcool, that's wonderful that you are able to actually be a Notary Public as your full-time profession. A great many of us just have the function of Notary as an accessory function to our actual job, primarily so that we can notarize documents for our employer, who paid for our notary commission for that purpose. I stand by my statement.

Earlene Bellamy

09 May 2016

I would decline to perform the notary based upon my moral belief that it is not lawful to purchase a human being and/or purchase the service of an individual without the consent of the individual being hired.

nwatson@desertairps.com

10 May 2016

Can California Notaries perform marriage ceremonies?

National Notary Association

11 May 2016

Hello. No, CA Notaries are not authorized to perform marriages. However, you may be able to obtain certification to perform weddings through other sources. For more information, please see this article: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2014/05/how-notaries-add-wedding-services

Joakim

16 May 2016

How do you discard a notarized document that you don't need?

emmy

18 May 2016

A couple came to me to notarize a marriage certificate that was already signed by them. Because i did not witness their signature, i did not notarized it.

Darla D Connors

26 May 2016

Hi I live in hutchinson ks i was denied services by a notary at a credit union because I'm not a customer there all my paper is is a letter of demand to an ex landlord they didn't even look at it or anything they just said no we won't do it because you are not a customer here it really made me angry I would never want to be a customer there now but I read they are not allowed to refuse simply because you are not a customer what should I do i feel like telling them off but then that makes me just as bad as them help please

National Notary Association

03 Jun 2016

Hi Darla. This article discusses the issue of workplace notarization policies in more detail: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2014/08/notarizing-on-the-job-boss

Tara Dailey

07 Jun 2016

Quick Question- I've been asked to notarize 1 signer on a document that shows that there will be 2 signers ( 1 buyer and other the seller) Can I notarize just for the 1 person selling it? If so would I just position my stamp right night to the Sellers signature so that the buyer would have to sign it when he receives it- with his own notary? Thanks in advance (sorry I am a new notary)

National Notary Association

07 Jun 2016

Hi Tara. Yes, you may notarize a single individual's signature on a document with multiple signers. You should make a note in your journal entry that while the document was signed by multiple people, you only notarized 1 signature. Regarding placement of the seal, be sure that the seal does not cover any printed text or signatures on the document. If you have additional questions during the notarization, please call our Hotline at 1-888-876-0827 and one of our counselors can assist you.

MUSHTAQ TAHIRKHELI

26 Jun 2016

I am interested be a notary public in the State of California. I am ready for exam, but a little bit confused that notary public have too many responsibilities for just ten dollars and secondly, a lot of threatens by the State Government. NNA is doing good job and very helpfull

David Grider

28 Jun 2016

Not sure if it was in the comments above - question for you all. I am a notary. I needed a document notarized. I wen tot my job, where in the legal department they have a notary on staff. She said she could not sign a document for me since the comapny pays for her registration fees, and it's not work related. Now, Nptary PUBLIC infers that it is NOT private. Can she do that?

National Notary Association

29 Jun 2016

Hello. In some states an employer is permitted to set policies regulating when employees may notarize documents that are not work-related.

Bob

14 Jul 2016

Chase bank refused to notarize a Quit Deed for my wife. Is there any reason for that action

National Notary Association

14 Jul 2016

Hello. You would need to contact Chase to ask for that information.

Lisa A. Holliday

18 Jul 2016

There seems to be a lot of confusion among signing agents versus straight notaries on this. I just want to reiterate that refusing a notarization is not the same as refusing or leaving a signing agent assignment. We have a different role, we aren't showing up at someone's home as a notary, we are showing up as a signing agent. If I walk in and there's a table full of guns, and the environment feels unsafe to me, I can leave. I don't need to suspect that the guns are illegal, nor that any of the above situations apply. I am There as a signing agent and I'm refusing a signing agent assignment, I'm not refusing a notarization based on that. My services are 80% outside of the actual notarization itself in most cases. Sometimes I'm not even notarizing anything, I'm getting an application signed. So correct me if I'm wrong about signing agents can refuse situations with a lot more latitude based on their sense of personal safety or aggressive clients. Of course refusing to do a motor re-signing agent job because of race creed religion color sex pref, etc. well do that at your own peril, because if they can prove you have a history of such nonsense you could be putting yourself at a liability, Not to mention it's just completely uncool.

Tom Hillard

18 Jul 2016

I don't think it should be legal for a bank, credit union, or anyone else to refuse to do a notarization if the people meet all the legal criteria they have the right to have their signatures notorized. It should be Ok to charge for the service but not to refuse just because they don't belong to that bank or credit union.

James

18 Jul 2016

Thanks for this. For some reason here in New Jersey, some notaries don't know when they have to and when they shouldn't perform notarization. There are times when I myself have needed something notarized and taken it to another notary but they've refused based on the type of document. The notary at my bank will notarize anything except affidavits for example saying that it's a "legal issue". However when I've called the bank hq up they said that there is no specific rule stating that for their bank notaries. So in other words, someone who doesn't know what they're doing. Some of these notaries have apparently been notaries for 10 or so years too. It's just sad, there's pending legislation for NJ to require training for notaries can't wait until it's passed.

Stacy

18 Jul 2016

I am a Missouri Notary and my employer paid for my commission. They do not nor cannot control what I do with my commission. When I retire my present employment my commission will still be valid and there will be no control by my former employer. Not sure how or why in other state, folk's employers can tell them what they can do with their commission.

Maria

18 Jul 2016

My question relates to the Journal, the section under Identification of signer. When is it okay to use Personally known by the Notary? Our company continuously notarizes our manager's signature, is it okay to mark off that section off or do we have to ask for his Identification every time he signs and we notarize his signature?

National Notary Association

21 Jul 2016

Hello. In order for us to answer your question, can you please tell us what state you are commissioned in?

Artur

18 Jul 2016

In the Signer Bias section, it should say: "As a public official, you CANNOT refuse a notarization based on personal feelings you may have about the signer’s nationality, religion, race, age, lifestyle, gender, or disabilities." Saying you should not makes it sound like it may be ok in some instances.

Karen Ross

18 Jul 2016

The article does not address refusing service because the signer is verbally abusive to the notary or the notary feels physically unsafe. Both reasons to pack up and walk quickly out the door

Karen Ross

18 Jul 2016

The article doesn't address refusing to do a notary when the signer is verbally abusive or you do not feel physically safe. Maybe those are no brainers however should be pointed out. And if a signer is screaming and yelling at their realtor or loan officer, they will have no problem doing the same to the notary.

Micheal McLoughlin

18 Jul 2016

This replies to Donna Schweiger’s message above. It sounds like the notary acted improperly *in part* but it depends upon other facts that are not discussed in your post. Certainly slamming the book shut was unkind but I refer to the notarial act. I address the issues presented in your post, point by point. Proving Your Husband is Alive: The purpose of the document is also irrelevant. Notarisation does not prove a person is alive. Notarisation proves that a document was signed by the person who claims to have signed it. That said, because a dead person cannot sign a notary’s journal, even if somebody wheels the corpse into a notary’s office, you must be alive in order to have a document notarised. Document in German and English: The language of a document is not relevant because the notary’s job relates only to the signature. However, the notary must be able to tell that the document is complete (i.e. has no blank spaces or missing attachments). Language of the Signor: The signor need not speak English. But if the notary cannot speak the language spoken by the signor, s/he must direct the signor to a notary who *can* speak his/her language, since the notary will not be able to explain what the notarisation means. This is especially important if the notarial act involves the administration of the oath, since it may be necessary to administer the oath in the signor’s language. Use of a translator is not explicitly prohibited but the Secretary of State strongly cautions against it. Foreign Notarial Certificates: Many documents have “built-in” certificates of acknowledgment or jurat. You do not say whether with your German document did but it sounds like that was the case. California law permits notaries to use a foreign jurisdiction’s certificate of acknowledgment when the document is filed with a state or local government outside of California but still *within the United States*. California law does not permit this practice for jurats; or for acknowledgments for documents filed outside the United States. Otherwise, the notary must use a California certificate. - Since the document you presented was to be filed in Germany, which is not part of the United States, any built-in notarial form in the German document could not be used by a California notary. So, the notary was quite right to insist on using a California certificate or, alternatively, the notary could have used a stamp to place California notarial language directly onto the document. When to Sign: Whether the document must be signed in front of a notary depends upon the notarial act. If it’s a jurat or any other act that requires administration of an oath, the signor cannot sign the document until *after* the notary has administered the oath and *must* sign the document in the notary’s presence. Basically, if the notarial certificate contains the words “Subscribed and sworn before me …” or something to that effect, you must wait until after you take an oath and then sign the document in the notary’s presence. Otherwise, for certificates of acknowledgment, California law only requires that the signor acknowledge the signature on the document is his/her signature. It is best practice to wait until you get to the notary to sign the document, but it is only mandatory to do so if you are requesting a jurat or some other notarial act that involves the administration of an oath. You do not say whether you were requesting an acknowledgment or a jurat, so I cannot tell you whether your husband had to wait until he got to the notary’s office to sign it. I can also tell you that, IF your husband did need to sign the document in front of the notary, he would have to have signed it a second time in the same place he signed it the first time. He could *not* have signed on the certificate of acknowledgment or jurat – only a notary can sign those documents. Notaries are not Lawmakers: California notaries are not allowed to change the law. If the law says a notary must do something a certain way, then the notary must do it that way or the notary is effectively changing the law to suit his/her own purposes. Likewise, if the law does *not* say a notary must do something in a certain way, the notary cannot require that it be done in a specific way. Example: California law establishes what is and is not acceptable identification. A notary cannot vary from the list. Neither can a notary require more than one piece of identification where the law says only one piece of identification is required. Your husband’s driving licence *alone* was sufficient to prove identity. The notary should not have asked for more than one piece of identification that is acceptable under the law. That *could* have been discrimination on the basis of nation origin, which is unlawful throughout the United States. So, I would say the notary acted property in requiring a California certificate of acknowledgment or jurat form, because that is what California law requires for documents that are filed with governments outside of the United States. But the notary acted *improperly* in require so much identification – one piece was legally enough. The notary also acted improperly IF your husband did not need to sign the document a second time.

CM Partlo

20 Jul 2016

What if the signer brings you a document that has already been signed and offers to sign over the signature in front of you?

National Notary Association

20 Jul 2016

Hello. To help us answer your question, can you please clarify if the signer is the same person who signed the document previously? Also, is the signer requesting an acknowledgment or jurat, and does the signer have a specific reason for writing on top of the previous signature?

Keith

21 Jul 2016

I signed consent papers outside of court without a notary present. I asked the lawyer if I needed to resign in front of a notary but she said she was the notary. When I received my papers from the courts it showed a different notary that never witnessed my signature. I filed a grievance with the NC State Bar and they agreed lawyer was in wrong. Does this nullify the consent papers as far as them being legal?

National Notary Association

21 Jul 2016

Hello. We're sorry but because we are not attorneys we cannot give you legal advice regarding your consent papers. You would need to consult with a lawyer to determine whether the documents are invalidated or not.

Suzy

21 Jul 2016

I have many Punjabi clients that wants CA ID notarised. Is this legal? They often show me a request letter from India. Should this be done by someone else?

National Notary Association

22 Jul 2016

Hello. California Notaries are not permitted to certify copies of documents, except for powers of attorney (GC 8205[a][4]; Probate Code 4307[b][2]) and copies of entries from the Notary's own journal if ordered by the Secretary of State (GC 8205[b][1]) or by a court (GC 8206[e]).

Jerry Lucas

30 Jul 2016

Health risks- I might decline if I feel the environment poses a threat to my health. Filthy, contaminated or polluted location, foul odors, insects or rodents, signer is sick and might be contagious. Several times on hospital calls, I was required to wear a disposable gown and gloves to avoid physical contact with the signer. After the signing, I used disinfectant wipes to clean my notary journal and briefcase, and I threw the cheap Bic Cristal pen away. I take thumbprints and since the ink pad might be contaminated, I wiped it with a disinfectant wipe. When I got home, for good measure, I put the thumbprint ink pad in the microwave for 2 minutes. I also keep hand sanitizer in my briefcase, car and home office.

Ellen

29 Aug 2016

I got a phone call from a woman wanting me to notarize her signature on her marriage certificate (I live in Florida). In her words, she didn't want a ceremony, she just "wanted to get it over with". To me, my notarizing the document wouldn't make it legal since there was no ceremony involved, which I shared with her. She didn't make a fuss thankfully. What do you think of this?

Yvonne

11 Oct 2016

what should you do if you believe a notary from another state notarized a quit claim deed to a guardian of state ward

National Notary Association

11 Oct 2016

Hello. We apologize, but we are not clear from your question what took place in the situation you are describing. If you have reason to believe that some type of fraud took place during a notarization, you may wish to report it to local law enforcement, your state Attorney General's office or your state Notary regulating agency.

Jill

12 Oct 2016

My office (a Commonwealth agency in PA) is always encouraging employees to become notaries public so we have someone on hand when documents need notarized. My employer would not pay my registration fee or anything; it would not be recognized as an official title or job duty. If I did it, I would *only* want to notarize for stuff at the office, not open up shop for anyone to bring other documents to me. Would that be legal?

National Notary Association

14 Oct 2016

Hi Jill. Pennsylvania law does not address employer-Notary agreements regarding the notarizations you perform, so it would be between you and your employer to determine your policy for notarizing during business hours.

CindyC

18 Oct 2016

I'm a notary in Illinois...I was asked to notarized a revised will. The person signing the will has hand tremors and can not sign her name. Can she make a "X" and I witness that as her signature?

National Notary Association

19 Oct 2016

Hello Cindy. Wills are complicated legal documents and a nonattorney Notary should not advise a signer how the will should be completed. The signer would need to contact a qualified attorney for advice on how to proceed if the signer cannot write.

Dianne

01 Nov 2016

I am in Florida but a registered voter in Oklahoma. I needed to mail an absentee ballot back to Oklahoma that required to be notarized. I went to several banks and the courthouse but they all refused to notarize it because I was not a bank member or it was not offical court business. I was under the understanding that once you become a notary you become a public servant. None were aware that it is unlawful to charge a fee to notarize a ballot but all refused. I would assume based on the fact that a notary is a public servant that it wiuld make no difference whi pays for the notary license they are still required to serve the public. I wish to file a conplaint do I have cause to do so? And who would I file a complaint to?

National Notary Association

02 Nov 2016

Hi Charmaine. Some states have different guidelines regarding the issue of employees providing notarization to non-customers during business hours. In Florida, the Reference Manual for Notaries says: “(L)imiting bank employees to notarizing only for bank customers is not considered unlawful discrimination. Most notaries are employed in businesses or government agencies which conduct business beyond the provision of notary services. These entities are not required to permit their employees to neglect their duties of employment so as to be available to the general public for notary services” Some mailbox services, tax preparers and other businesses offer notarial services during business hours. You may wish to cotnact other businesses in your area to find out if any are available during the day to notarize your document.

Danielle

05 Nov 2016

Chase bank refused to notorize my mortgage modification documents. She indicated that due to the bank's policy, they can't notorize mortgage modifications. Is this true?

National Notary Association

09 Nov 2016

Hello. State laws regarding whether businesses may limit or restrict notarizations during business hours vary. If you can please tell us what state you are located in, we can provide more information whether your state has rule addressing this issue.

Shannon

07 Nov 2016

It's best to NOT notarize a drunk person....I am a notary in the state of TX, where cash out refis must be signed at a title company, lender office or attorney office. Here, the notary has to pay the accommodating office a fee for the use of their conference room or back office. I had a regular title company office where I completed 2 - 4 closings a week for three years. Suddenly this came to a halt when the VP told me that a different outside notary completed a closing for a couple who was drunk. They ended up defaulting on their loan and attempting to sue the accommodating title company for completing the closing when the were drunk. The title company settled with them outside of court, and immediately stopped allowing outside notaries to use their office for closings not originated with them. Morale: Don't sign drunk signers.

tlawler@jhsf.org

10 Nov 2016

I work in a nursing facility in California. When a resident has had a stroke or other situation that makes them non-verbal - cannot answer any questions - I don't feel comfortable notarizing documents. Am I required to?

National Notary Association

14 Nov 2016

Hello. If the signer cannot communicate directly with you verbally, in writing or through some other alternate means, then you should not proceed with the notarization.

rather not for job security

10 Nov 2016

Me and my wife live in the state of delaware. We are both property managers for a motel. we are being asked as tenants and managers who are on site 24/7 to sign a notarized contract. however.. among other things that have happened and documented the contract is dated for july and it is november. aso as tenants with no lease being asked to move out within 48 hours at any given notice as well as no description of our income or how we pay rent. just the amount for rent and thats it. when i brought all these issues up to the owner i got yelled at and threatened to be kicked out. so today we went and signed that contract with that fear as well as being pushed to do so. Now me boss and notary signed an stamped then he went and picked my wife up took her there abd signed after already being stamped. boss didnt sign untol after all was signed and stamped. i never saw his signature or even talked to notary.. i feel like something is very wrong about all of this please please please help us.

National Notary Association

14 Nov 2016

Hello. If you have reason to believe that fraud took place involving this document, we suggest you contact local law enforcement or the Delaware Attorney General's Consumer Protection Unit (http://www.attorneygeneral.delaware.gov/fraud/cpu/index.shtml) to report the incident and ask for assistance.

Teresa

23 Nov 2016

My bank refused to notarize car loan that we are refinancing . Said conflict of interest because could do loan with them.

Dayle Hudson

29 Nov 2016

Too far to drive. Can they send it to me to sign then I can send it back?

National Notary Association

30 Nov 2016

Hello Dayle. If you are asking if a Notary may notarize your signature without your personal appearance, the answer is no. You would need to appear in person before the Notary to present proof of your identity. Alternatively, you may wish to consider contacting a mobile Notary in your area to come to your location to perform the notarization if driving distance is an issue.

Danielle Dunton

02 Dec 2016

Hi. I currently reside in the state of Maine. I am originally from Canada and today I tried to have a document notarized at the York county probate court, however two seperate notaries within the probate court refused to notarize my document soley based on never having seen the immigration I.C.E issued government ID card I had which I had been told is my "government issued photo ID and qualified for any legal purpose which otherwise required a state issued ID card" as it was issued by the immigration court it had no signature on it, but although I very concerned question at the time of issue I was assured that the lack of signature would not be an issue for legal purposes. The reason both notaries gave for refusal was "we are uncomfortable dealing with a form of ID we have not personally seen" and suggested going to a bank or utilizing a lawyer or other such person who has a personal tie to me. My two questions are these: 1. Were the notaries right in refusing notarizing? 2. If somebody with a personal tie could legally notarize, could a case manager or Doctor legally notorize the document?

National Notary Association

05 Dec 2016

Hello. Maine's state Notary Public Handbook recommends that identification credentials must have a photograph to properly identify the signer. The Secretary of State strongly encourages Notaries Public to accept only government issued credentials. All credentials accepted by Notaries Public for identification purposes should still be valid. For example, do not accept a driver’s license that has expired." If your document does not include a photo or has expired, then the Notaries were correct in not accepting it as proof of identity. Another option for identification is a "credible identifying witness." If there is a person available who personally knows both the Notary and yourself, that person can appear at the notarization with you and serve as a 'human ID card' to vouch for your identity. A credible witness should not be named in the document being notarized or receive any benefit from the document.

Andy

10 Dec 2016

Hello, I am a notary public for the Commonwealth of Virginia. I had a customer who brought a document that looked to have already been signed, and when I asked for her ID she provided a document that did not look like any legal form of ID I had seen (an unclear image and no printed, legible name, only her illegible signature was present on the ID). I did not notarize for three reasons: 1) because the ID itself was not a legal form of ID of which I was aware; 2) because I has suspicions the document itself may have been fraudulent or illegal because it appeared to have been photocopied several times over and was distorted; and 3) because I was unsure if, according to VA Notary laws, it was a document I was allowed to notarize (nor would she instruct, other than saying that she "needed it for court" what kind of notarial act was needed). I tried to explain this to the customer, but she did not agree with my assessment. Was this a valid refusal? To me, it seemed that not only could I not confirm the identity of the person in front of me, but also that I couldn't tell if it was a document I was legally permitted to notarize.

National Notary Association

12 Dec 2016

Hi Andy. Virginia permits Notaries to use personal knowledge of the signer's identity, the oath or affirmation of one or two credible identifying witnesses, or the following identification documents as proof of identity: 1) a United States Passport, 2) a certificate of United States citizenship, 4) a certificate of naturalization, 3) an unexpired foreign passport, 3) an alien registration card with photograph, 4) a state-issued driver’s license or a state-issued identification card or 5) a United States military card(COV 47.1-2). If the ID the signer presented was not one of these, and further the photo and signature were not clear on the ID, then you acted correctly in not accepting the ID. In these situations, you can offer the option of rescheduling for another time when the signer may bring a valid form of identification or one or two credible witnesses that meet state requirements.

gorman

12 Jan 2017

I was refused notary service at a nearby bank (where I was doing share-branch banking because my own bank is in another state). The reason I was given had nothing to do with my ID or the document. I was flat out told that the notary is not allowed to notarize except for customers of that bank... That seems odd, even if I was not already there doing share-branch banking (which is a quasi-customer, of sorts). If the IL law gives these people an offiicial capacity position, regardless of who ultimately pays for the application, they ought to sign for any properly ID'd person who is pleasant and presents themselves. There was no line and no even practical (if not legal) reason for this otherwise nice lady to turn me down. She had been extremely helpful in my banking needs. So, I do believe it is some improper policy by her employer. I hate a bunch of laws, but this is one that should be on the books. Employers should not be able to enjoy the convenience of having a notary on staff and then refuse to let the public benefit from the public service they are sworn to do because they aren't making profit from the person standing there. The business would have in no way suffered by the time it would have taken as there were no other customers waiting. I had to head back out in a snowstorm to find a notary. I have never found a notary that wasn't working SOMEWHERE, so this goofy idea that there are notaries just magically available for the rest of us who aren't customers of a business where they are found is nonsense. The state needs to force the issue or create some way to get things notarized without having to buy something from a business to get something notarized by their sworn notary officer on staff. It isn't like there is some app that shows me where to find you people, you know. We are good citizens just trying to file our dang papers to adhere to the laws that require notarized signatures to do the fillings out wandering around in a ridiculous guessing game. - Frustrated in cold Chicago winter weather.

Michael

24 Jan 2017

Is there a comprehensive list of which states require loan modifications to be notarized? Can anyone provide this information, it would be much appreciated.

Bob

26 Mar 2017

California notary. Lady comes in with document that had blank spaces. Told her I cannot notarize cause of blank spaces. She later returns with document filled out. I check her I'd and place everything in journal such as type of notary act, date, time and etc. I then told her I must attach a loose certificate to document cause the one should was using had a part missing. I went to print the certificate but it would not print. I told her I had to reboot computer. She said forget it and said no pay for this. So in journal I wrote print not working and refuse to pay so notaru of document no complete and had here sign there. Was this the right thing to do?

National Notary Association

27 Mar 2017

Hello. If for some reason a notarial act is stopped before completion, it is appropriate to make a note in your journal why the notarization was not completed in case there is a question later.

Albina

14 Apr 2017

Can a Financial Institution force you to be a Notary? And Transfer your individual appointment to the bank? I am Notary in the Fl. State for more than 15 yrs. I am harrased by my manager to be a Notary w/o any additional profit. I refussed few times to this change. Can the Bank force me to change my bond and be covered by the bank? The mgr said that is part of my work requirements. However not all the representatives with my cathegory are Notaries.

National Notary Association

17 Apr 2017

Hello. We're sorry, but we can't answer questions or provide advice regarding your employer's job requirements. Any issues you are having with your employer would need to be taken up with your manager or your human resources department. However, regarding your question about transferring a Notary commission to a bank or other organization, no, that is not possible in any state. Regardless of who pays for a Notary's commission, that commission is the sole property of the Notary. No other person may use that commission or the Notary's tools to perform notarizations. Arizona, Oregon and Tennessee however do have special rules regarding employer access to a Notary's journal records under certain conditions. For more information, please see here: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2014/08/notarizing-on-the-job-boss

Colleen Reed

24 Apr 2017

How do I report a notary that refused service which I believe was due to a personal bias? She had just notarized a document for us last week for proof of residency for my son to enter kindergarten. Today we asked her to notarize a religious exemption form for vaccines and she said she didn't feel comfortable doing it. We ended up having someone at our bank do it but I just feel like she should be reported because she knew we were who we say we are and we have proper ID. Her personal feelings should stay out if it.

National Notary Association

24 Apr 2017

Hello Colleen. Can you please tell us what state you are located in?

Jen

10 May 2017

I live in Kentucky. My employer is requesting someone in our Administrative Office become a notary. Can I only notarize internal business documents and refuse to notarize for coworkers or other customers personal documents? Is additional personal liability insurance suggested?

National Notary Association

11 May 2017

Hello. The "Notary Guidelines" section of the Kentucky Secretary of State's website says, "A notary should not refuse to notarize a document based on an individual’s familial status, race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age over forty, or disability.    Moreover, a notary should not refuse to notarize a document solely because the individual requesting notarization is not a client or customer of the notary or the notary's employer." For more information, please see here: http://www.sos.ky.gov/bus/businessrecords/notaries/Documents/NotaryGuidelines.PDF. Errors and Omissions Insurance provides coverage if a Notary is named in a lawsuit due to unintentional mistakes. For more information, please see here: https://www.nationalnotary.org/support/faq/insurance

Gene

17 May 2017

As the seller, can I notarize the title 1 month before the sale actually happens. In my state only the seller's signature has to be notarized. Thanks!

National Notary Association

18 May 2017

Hello. We're sorry, but we can't answer that question. You may wish to contact the title company to see if they can assist you.

Tamara Moxham

18 May 2017

Are notaries who are employees of banks allowed to refuse service to customers who don't hold accounts at that bank? In my experience most do serve the public but charge non-members/account holders

National Notary Association

22 May 2017

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

Lucia

19 May 2017

Someone's father is dying He has some things that he wants notarized is this something that i should take on? i dont feel comfortable doing it.

National Notary Association

19 May 2017

Hello Lucia. Can you explain more about what is making you uncomfortable? For example, are there problems communicating with the signer, or were there indications someone was trying to force the signer to sign the documents against their will?

Marcia

10 Jul 2017

I work as a receptionist at a small (only one attorney) but very busy law firm in Nevada. Our office policy is that we don't notarize any documents that our office has not produced for our clients. In the 8 years I've been employed here, it has only happened once or twice that people just drop by and need something notarized. Is this legal?

National Notary Association

10 Jul 2017

Hello. The NV Secretary of State's office does not directly address this question, but has posted the following FAQs about notarizing during business hours on its website: Can my employer deny me the right to notarize after hours? No, your appointment belongs to you, the notary, not your employer (see NRS 240.010, 240.100(4), and 240.143). May I set aside certain hours to notarize documents for the general public and limit notarization to those hours? (Example: 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. only) This is a business decision to be made by each notary. The law does not prohibit such a practice. Do I have to declare that I am a notary if a person off the street asks, "Where can I find a notary?" No. The notary law simply states that "a notary public may, during normal business hours, perform notarial acts in lawful transactions for a person who requests the act and tenders the appropriate fee" (see NRS 240.060).

Mscummins

10 Jul 2017

In MS is it appropriate to put a seal on each page, when a document is many pages. It doesn't seem legitimate if only the back page has a seal when it has so many pages. EX: I had a recent documnet with 17 pages and felt the need to put a seal on each one. If one is misplaced or lost, how could it be proven it was actually notarized?

National Notary Association

11 Jul 2017

Hello. No, this would not be appropriate. Mississippi Notary law states: “Near the notary’s official signature on the notarial certificate of a paper document, the notary shall affix a sharp, legible, permanent, and photographically reproducible image of the official seal ...” (1 MAC Pt. 5, R. 050.5.20[A]). Also, “A notary shall not affix an official signature or seal on a notarial certificate that is incomplete." (1 MAC Pt. 5, R. 050.5.5)

Richard Cornell

11 Jul 2017

Try gut feeling. Since what I sign becomes a legal paper in my State if I feel that the person standing in front of me is asking me to do what a local bank notary will not do. Then I can not notarize the paper.

Tammy

26 Jul 2017

Im trying to get a handicap placard. The doctor was told it had to be signed in front of the notary. The notary has been gone for 2 weeks. Waiting on her to return. If this is true, then every drs office would have a notary. Is this the case? I cant just take it to a notary after he signs it?

National Notary Association

26 Jul 2017

Hello. If the doctor's signature is being notarized, the doctor must be physically present before the Notary.

Steve Pringle

11 Aug 2017

My NJ notary is not listed on the NJ notary lookup. Since they can't be found there the party requesting the documents are refusing the documents. How can I should proof? Thanks. PS. Copy of commission was sent as well.

National Notary Association

14 Aug 2017

Hello. You may wish to contact the Treasury Department's Notary Public Unit to find out why you are not showing up on the list of currently commissioned Notaries, and if they can help you resolve this. Their number is 1-609-292-9292.

robert

06 Sep 2017

My mother lives in Pennsylvania and needed to have a document from Holland notarized. She has to do this every year to receive her pension and never had a problem. It is both in Dutch and English but the notary refused to sign it saying she had problems with German documents and there was no place for her to put her seal even though at the bottom of the document has lines for the date, signature, and seal of the notary. So I brought it to the banks attention where my mother is a customer and was told some notaries would and some would not but could not give me an explanation as to why not. In 20 yrs she's never had a problem and always has been the same document.

Cytnhia Rutherford

16 Oct 2017

Hello! A previous Ph.D. student in our program here in Texas is requesting me to notarize a "General Power of Attorney" "By Individual For The Collection Of Certain Checks Drawn On The United States Treasure" which is already signed and emailed to me. Can I legally notarize this document? SIDE NOTE: She is now in her home country of Turkey and isn't available in person. I think she is requesting me because I have notarized documents for her in the past when she was here in the US. I feel that anyone can notarize the document for her and discovered that she could even go to the US Embassy.

National Notary Association

17 Oct 2017

Hello. No, you cannot notarize the signature of an absent signer in another country who cannot appear in person before you. The signer would need to appear before a Notary in her own country or contact an embassy or consulate for assistance.

Mary

14 Nov 2017

My ex husband never got a paper notarized but now wants me to sign again.

Emily

13 Dec 2017

Hello! I have a document that is written in English and after sentence is the Chinese translation. A Colorado notary declined signing because they couldn't verify what the Chinese characters said. Are they allowed to deny that?

National Notary Association

15 Dec 2017

Hello. Please see this article for more information: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2014/09/questions-for-foreign-language-issues

Jet

08 Jan 2018

I find it amazing that on a pre-printed bank form, DSG7322 (11-07-111984FO), by Wells Fargo, immediately following the customer signatures there is a note which states: "Note: Customer signature(s) must be notarized when customer(s) is not present." Now while that may not seem like a big deal to many of you, this raises a huge concern to me, as I have studied foreclosure, mortgage, and contract law for the last six years. The notary may actually witness the act, but it is extremely odd to note this in the document - as I think back to the the robo-signing days of all the fraudulent mortgages.

Michael Hamilton

11 Jan 2018

I had a Power Of Attorney drawn up and it must be notarized. The guideline suggest calling ahead to make sure Notary would notarize a POA. Why wouldn't a Notary notarize a POA?

National Notary Association

11 Jan 2018

Hello. A Notary would be required to refuse if the notarization being requested did not meet the requirements of state law.

Jay

11 Jan 2018

In Illinois can a notary at my bank refuse to sign off on my document. It was a basic letter where I acknowledged that the co-owner had no further financial responsibility to the house. It also stated that the co-owner has agreed to sign a quick deed releasing all interest in the property in exchange to agreeing to release financial responsibility. This is a one page document typed by me, I have not received the quick deed yet. However, because the document referenced a quick deed the notary refused. He told me to take it to a title company because the bank don’t allow him to notarize real estate document. I have many documents notarized at my previous bank but this guy read my entire letter and took him time to go through my bank account before denying me service.

Jay

12 Jan 2018

In Illinois can a notary at my bank refuse to sign off on my document. It was a basic letter where I acknowledged that the co-owner had no further financial responsibility to the house. It also stated that the co-owner has agreed to sign a quick deed releasing all interest in the property in exchange to agreeing to release financial responsibility. This is a one page document typed by me, I have not received the quick deed yet. However, because the document referenced a quick deed the notary refused. He told me to take it to a title company because the bank don’t allow him to notarize real estate document. I have many documents notarized at my previous bank but this guy read my entire letter and took him time to go through my bank account before denying me service.

National Notary Association

12 Jan 2018

Hello. Illinois Notary law does not provide specific guidelines regarding employers restricting an employee's notarizations during business hours. For more information on this topic, please see this article: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2014/08/notarizing-on-the-job-boss

Perez

14 Jan 2018

Hello

Joshua

21 Apr 2018

My ex wife lost the house in court but she won’t sign the quick claim deed. She says I ha d to write her a note stating I will still give her half if I refinance or sell the house. Can she do this? If I still sign the paper and notarize it so she would sign the quick claim deed is she entitled because I sign her paper or is it done what the court says is final

National Notary Association

23 Apr 2018

Hello. We're sorry, but these are legal questions we cannot answer. You would need to contact a qualified attorney for legal advice.

Marina Cepeda

07 May 2018

I am a notary, but I am not using my notary commission, Do I need to cancel it?

National Notary Association

08 May 2018

Hello. No, you are not required to resign your Notary commission simply because you are not performing notarizations.

Hugh

25 Jun 2018

This is Re: notarizing the document sent every year for pension from Germany and France. This document does not require the signature of the person, just to witness she/he is alive in front of you. What is the proper procedure in that case? In Washington, notaries may certify an event or act (RCW 42.44.080[7]), but it involves a form with words like, "I certify that the event or act described in this document has occurred or been performed". The German form may or may not have suitable wording.

National Notary Association

27 Jun 2018

Hello. Please see this article for more information: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2017/08/faq-notarizing-proof-of-life-documents

Christine Kempczenski

23 Jul 2018

Back in June 2018, my brother was in the hospital. In the event he would not be able to take care of his personal matters, I had a General Power of Attorney document, a Advanced Healthcare Directive and another document prepared for him to sign. These documents would appoint me as my brother's agent to make decisions on his behalf. While I was visiting him one day, I asked a hospital notary on staff if she could notarize all the documents. She then told me they already prepared a Healthcare Directive for my brother and would only notarize that document and nothing else. Was she correct to reject all the documents I brought for notarization?

National Notary Association

24 Jul 2018

Hello. We can't answer that question without more information on the reason for the Notary's rejection. You may wish to contact the hospital administration office to speak to them about this situation and ask if they have policies in place regarding their staff notarizing healthcare directives.

Erick

26 Jul 2018

Can you decline a notarization because you don't carry a business license in the county you are notarizing in?

National Notary Association

01 Aug 2018

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

KK

06 Aug 2018

I'm in Washington State. I have a sell/purchase business issue between both parties. we both agreed to sell/buy my business, and we have a contract, signed, notaried. In this agreement, it also required an earnest money. Now, the buyer is trying to discontinue the contract. At our 1st agreement, its clearly stated that if one party declines to get qualify, the earnest money will be forfeited, nor seller will be penalized. The question is that the notary service automatic return buyer's earnest money without my permission. Can notary itself invaild action? Does notary have a legal effect?

National Notary Association

08 Aug 2018

Hello. We're sorry, but these are questions that would need to be answered by an attorney.

paula nallan

13 Aug 2018

can someone refuse to notarize based on the fact that they are not carrying their notary stamp? this is New York State

National Notary Association

15 Aug 2018

Hello. The use of a Notary stamp is optional in New York.

Bijan amid

15 Oct 2018

I am a notary and I have permission from a church to perform marriage ceremonies in California. Do I also need permission from Secretary of State?

National Notary Association

17 Oct 2018

Hello. In California, Notaries are not authorized to officiate weddings. However, if you are authorized to perform marriages through another source, such as being ordained by a church or by obtaining a temporary license to perform a civil ceremony, you do not require permission from the Secretary of State's office.

Jill

14 Dec 2018

I just returned from having two documents notarized in the State of North Carolina. Only two signature blocks required notarization, but this was a real property closing, and the notary charged me for EACH SIGNATURE that he saw on the packet of documents. Is this legal, or even ethical?

National Notary Association

19 Dec 2018

Hello. North Carolina Notaries are allowed no more than the following fees for notarial acts (GS 10B-31): 1. For acknowledgments, jurats, verifications or proofs: $5 per principal’s signature; 2. For oaths or affirmations without a signature (except when given to a credible witness vouching for the identity of a principal or a subscribing witness): $5 per person.

Solomon J Green

01 Feb 2019

Asking for confirmation. An agoraphobia person is trying to authorize her friend to pick up checks for them. After a letter is signed and notorized, is it possible for the company to reject the notorized letter?

National Notary Association

05 Feb 2019

Hello. Any legal questions about whether the company can be compelled to accept the document would need to be answered by a qualified attorney.

patricia

11 Mar 2019

New Hampshire, conflict to create a document the notarize it for your client

National Notary Association

12 Mar 2019

Hello. According to the state Handbook for Notaries Public And Justices Of The Peace, " All notarial officers ... have both a statutory and common law duty to avoid conflicts of interest in the performance of their duties." If you are unsure whether or not you may have a conflict of interest, the safest course is to refrain from notarizing and have another Notary with no interest in the transaction perform the service.

Walaa

30 Mar 2019

I’m VA notary, my question is can we notarize document use ( certify ) wording?? Like I’m .......... notary public in VA HERY BY CERTIFY THAT .....,.. please verify Thanks

National Notary Association

01 Apr 2019

Based on what you’ve described, we think it would be best if you contacted our Hotline team by phone and provided them with a more detailed description of the situation. The NNA Hotline: 1-888-876-0827 Mon – Fri: 5:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (PT) Saturday: 5:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (PT) If you’re not an NNA Member or Hotline Subscriber, they will provide you with a one-time courtesy call.

Lance Reed

02 Apr 2019

I am a correction officer and a notary public in NY State. My superior has given me a direct order to refuse to notarize documents that are not legal in nature that inmates bring me. (Specifically, handwritten complaints against the facility with a jurat at the bottom. Can I obey the direct order without breaking the law, (Penal law 195.00).

National Notary Association

03 Apr 2019

Hello. The Department of State's Notary Public License Law publication states the following regarding refusing a request for an oath or affirmation: “The Penal Law (§195.00) provides that an officer before whom an oath or affidavit may be taken is bound to administer the same when requested, and a refusal to do so is a misdemeanor (People v. Brooks,1 Den. 457.)” (NPLL). You may wish to share this information to your superior. If he still insists that you refuse to notarize, we suggest contacting the NY Department of State at 1-518-474-4429 to request guidance.

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