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Avoid Common Notary Certificate Mistakes

Avoid Common Notary Certificate Mistakes Infographic

Updated 3-18-19. Minor errors on a Notary certificate can lead to major headaches down the road — including rejection of the documents by the county clerk's office or other receiving agency. Factor in potential late fees, penalties, and other costly consequences, and you could be dealing with a very angry, and possibly litigious, client.​

The good news is that many of the most common errors made on Notary certificates are simple and easily avoided. The key is recognizing — and fixing — the mistake before it becomes a problem.

Mistake #1: Not reading the certificate wording carefully 

Read all notarial certificates carefully to make sure you understand what you are being asked to do, and then enter the information accurately. If you don’t, you won’t know how to complete the certificate. One common mistake occurs when a Notary writes his/her own name in a blank that is meant for the signer’s name.

Mistake #2: Not entering the correct venue

The venue space on a certificate refers to where the notarization took place. Always make sure this space is filled in accurately. If the certificate comes to you pre-printed with the wrong location, cross it out and write in the correct location where the notarization occurred.

Mistake #3: Not printing or signing your name as it appears on your Notary commission

The name you write on a Notary certificate must exactly match the name on your official Notary commission. Also, you must sign each Notary certificate with the signature that you filed with your commissioning official. Don’t leave out or add an initial to your signature if it doesn’t match your commission name on file. Florida, for example, prohibits Notaries from using any name or initials other than the name appearing on the Notary's commission when signing certificates. Texas also specifies that Notaries must sign certificates with the name listed on the Notary commission. 

Mistake #4: Improperly dating a Notary certificate

Mistakenly entering the wrong date or post-dating a certificate is a serious error. Check the calendar and make sure the date is the day you perform the notarization.

Mistake #5: Improper placement of your Notary seal or stamp

Documents containing upside down, blurred, or partial Notary seal or stamp impressions are likely to get rejected.

Mistake #6: Stamping over wording or signatures

In this case, the seal or stamp impression covers other parts of the document, including the notarial wording or signature, making them illegible.

Mistake #7: Crossing out the commission expiration date on the stamp and handwriting in a new commission date

Sometimes Notaries think they can use a seal with an expired Notary commission date. If your state requires your seal to include the expiration date, you must obtain a seal with your current commission expiration date. Even if not required by law, correcting a commission expiration date in a seal impression could cause the document to be rejected. Either way, it’s time to order a new stamp.

Bonus Mistake: Not including your title

California Notaries must include their title in the California acknowledgment form after printing their commission name: “Notary Name, Notary Public.” This problem isn’t unique to California. Notaries in other states may encounter widely circulated Notary certificates that may require them to print their title after their name.

Tips For Avoiding Common Errors On Notary Certificates

  • Know Your State Requirements: Certificate wording varies from state to state. Stay current with your state-required certificate wording and other Notary laws.
  • Don’t Rush: Take the time to read the certificate to make sure you know how to complete it. Double-check each entry before you complete the notarization, to catch any issues or errors.
  • Be Prepared: Make sure your Notary tools are current, especially your official seal.

Kelle Clarke is a Contributing Editor with the National Notary Association.

190 Comments

Add your comment

Judi Mosso

10 Aug 2015

I always thought that the seal was *supposed* to go over the signature in order to prevent forgery. I thought this was a historic practice for most official documents, and not just for notaries. Would someone please clarify/confirm?

National Notary Association

10 Aug 2015

Hello Judy. An ink seal should never be affixed in a way that covers or obscures text on the document.

Amy

10 Aug 2015

Regarding #6, what should you do when there is a box for your seal with the words "Place Notary Seal Here" in the middle of the box? If you stamp in the box then you stamp over the words and your seal is obscured. I've run into that issue a few times

Sherry Rector

10 Aug 2015

Wow.. I had no idea I had to put title next to my name on the Acknowledgment form.

Hayward

10 Aug 2015

None

L. A. Rust

10 Aug 2015

All valid reasons for rejection of a document by the Clerk/Recorder's Office, except for the upside down seal -- I've see recorded documents from all parts of California and the U.S. and an upside down seal is usually accepted as long as that's the only problem with it. Best thing to do (if possible) would be to use a clean acknowledgement form and re-do it, but if that isn't possible, and if you have room without covering any printed portion of the document, re-stamp (properly, of course!) close by the original seal. It will make you look stupid, of course, but the document should be accepted, and you should learn from your mistake and not do it again. . .

sandjef_03@att.net

10 Aug 2015

Especially for California Notarizations - Be sure you have the correct Acknowledgement and Jurat. I have notarized documents in which the venue is not correct or not there, the incorrect wording for the certificates. I attach the new California All Purpose Acknowledgement and/or Jurat and I explain to the signer why and identify the civil code as well so when they return the document for processing they have an explanation of why there is the attachment. Also, I cross out the the certificate wordage stating new authorized acknowledgement/jurat attached per civil code ... and initial it.

Jennifer P.

10 Aug 2015

Thanks for the reminder to check venue. I live in an "at-large" state and work close to a country border.

A, DYE

10 Aug 2015

Our Notary forms in California have changed and a lot of the documents I get from out of town lenders do not include the proper forms...takes much more time to attach the right ones..sometimes it requires 10 of them for the loan documents...paying attention is the key

Laura

10 Aug 2015

I have run into a box on documents that states "place Notary Seal Here" and there is absolutely no other place on the document to fit my seal. What do I do in these cases?

National Notary Association

11 Aug 2015

Hello Laura. We would need additional details about your situation in order to answer your question. If you are an NNA member you can contact our Hotline team at 1-888-876-6827 or hotline@nationalnotary.org with the state you are commissioned in and the type of documents you are being asked to notarize, and they should be able to assist you.

Anthony

10 Aug 2015

Will some answer Laura's question

Barbara Stoots

11 Aug 2015

Re Laura 10 Aug 2015 comment. "place Notary Seal Here" on document. Impossible to do without stamping over printing on document. I'm in Indiana - solution?

James Newberry

11 Aug 2015

Read your statute. Determine what is required to be on the certificate. In my state the information on my seal is not part of the certificate and does not fulfill the certificate requirement. I know the number of things required and count them out when I do my quality check to assure that one wasn't missed.

Mister J

12 Aug 2015

Yes, obviously, the problem is that the words "place Notary Seal Here" will obscure the seal if you actually stamp in that exact spot. But there is NO other space on the page that has enough room to put your stamp without it being obscured by other text. So what are you supposed to do? And I'm in Washington State.

National Notary Association

13 Aug 2015

Hello. In a situation where there is no way to affix your Notary seal without obscuring text on the document, one option would be to complete and attach a certificate form with the appropriate notarial wording that includes sufficient room for the seal. Before proceeding, the signer should contact the receiving agency to confirm if an attached certificate form is acceptable or if the receiving agency has other instructions.

Michael Lindquist

28 Mar 2016

I have two stamps. One large round one when there is lots of room and a very small rectangular pocket stamp where space is limited. I always find a space.

Susan A. Van Alstine

28 Mar 2016

Regarding bonus mistake: I don't include the words notary public if they are preprinted on the form. Is this correct?

National Notary Association

31 Mar 2016

Hello. Yes, that's correct.

Mardi Hollowell

28 Mar 2016

I didn't realize that I had to include the entire phrase/title "Notary Public" on my forms. I've just been using "Notary." I have a long name and use a standardized form at work and there really isn't room for the word "Public" in the space provided. Am I out of compliance here in California?

National Notary Association

30 Mar 2016

Hello Mardi. As a precaution against possible document rejection, we recommend writing the full "Notary Public" title when completing the certificate.

Mona Meza

28 Mar 2016

Re: stamp seal here, I just stamp elsewhere on the doc, as long as it is below or next to my signature or attach my separate jurats or acknowledgement and have never had any issues. I'm in Ca.

Geri

28 Mar 2016

My seal includes my full middle name, but for my signature I use only my middle initial. Is this a problem? Which should I use when I fill in my name?

National Notary Association

30 Mar 2016

The name you write on a notarial certificate must exactly match the name on your official Notary commission. Also, you must sign each notarial certificate with the signature that you filed with your commissioning official.

Lucia Borgman

28 Mar 2016

I work in California and had a document rejected because I didn't have the words "Notary Public" after my name. I didn't know about this rule until then.

Darrel Munsey

28 Mar 2016

Texas is notorious for putting Acknowledgements on documents with NO space to place the Seal. It is their form and they make the rules, but they do not allow space for a proper acknowledgement with seal...what is the solution? a separate acknowledgement form?

Emad Doss

29 Mar 2016

Pretty sure you been asked before regarding mistake #4 what about it if the document itself has been dated post date should I ask the principal to adjusted?

Diane

29 Mar 2016

I notarize for a public agency. By far the most common mistake that I see on documents that end up being rejected by the County Recorder is that the other notaries did not list the name of the person on the acknowledgment exactly as it was signed on the document. Sometimes a notary will leave off a middle initial or middle name and sometimes they will add it even though it isn't the way the person signed. Luckily, our County Recorder allows us to write in an "aka" below the person's signature line so that the acknowledgment matches the signature. A not so common misstate that I've seen is when the notary public uses one acknowledgment for two people and writes in "Jane and John Smith" instead of "Jane Smith and John Smith".

Hayden Warren

29 Mar 2016

In AZ there is no requirement for the color of your stamp. I use a blue ink stamp for two reasons, 1) you can usually tell the original from a copy, and 2) if I stamp over "place stamp here" language you can still read the language in the stamp and the text underneath. My second issue is with the blank lines in the certificate wording. I have noticed many notaries just insert the clients names (which were already printed in the certificate wording before the blank lines) instead of the witnesses names. You need to read the wording carefully to make sure you know not only who's name(s) belong on blank lines but also what signatures you are notarizing. When the witnesses names are required to be filled in in the certificate you are also notarizing both witnesses signatures, not just the person identified in the document.

Julie Brouillette

30 Mar 2016

It makes no sense at all to me that the title of the officer, "Notary Public," is not printed on the Acknowledgment form since it is required. Why should we have to write "Notary Public" after our name when it is required? The notary laws are getting out of hand -- I am surprised there are any notaries at all. The laws are making it extremely difficult (not to mention the liability imposed on notaries) for all notaries. If it were not for my job, I would not be a notary. When I retire I will not renew my commission. I am a California notary and have been since 1987.

Marla Singer

31 Mar 2016

The title Notary Public is not included on the certificate because in certain cases other officials such as clerks and judges, who are not notaries, are allowed to execute an acknowledgement.

National Notary Association

31 Mar 2016

Hello. Please be aware that certificate requirements vary from state to state. What is applicable in one state may not be appropriate for another.

S Finestone

04 Apr 2016

I made up a rubber stamp in red ink that says "This stamp attaches these documents together." Never had a problem, and feel that I am protecting my customer from misuse of the attachment.

me@ambermcvicar.com

19 Apr 2016

My notary signature is just my first and last name but the name filed with the Commission is my first, middle and last. They said this is fine. So it does not make sense to me your instructions to sign your name exactly as it is printed on your Notary commission. A signature is a signature and when I filed my bond and took my oath I asked them if I may omit my middle name and they said yes, so my official signature does not include my middle name.

National Notary Association

19 Apr 2016

Hello. Can you tell us what state you are commissioned in and what agency gave you those instructions, please?

Bob

19 May 2016

We are contesting a will in court. The notary signed and dated the will (as did the person making the will) as April 17th 2016. In her journal she recorded the same date when in actuality the notarization occurred on the 18th. The notary made a "correction" in her journal after it was brought to her attention. Is this allowed and is the will likely to be thrown out of probate?

National Notary Association

19 May 2016

Hello. We're sorry, but we cannot answer questions or provide advice regarding the legality of a will. In order to help us answer your question about whether correcting a Notary's journal entry is permitted, can you please tell us what state you are in?

Anet

03 Jun 2016

Greetings. I am a new North Carolina notary. When a certificate asks for my name to be printed below my signature, does the printed name in my seal cover this requirement?

National Notary Association

06 Jun 2016

Hello. No, you should print or type your name where directed on the certificate.

Brendan

05 Jun 2016

I am a first year Notary. Most of the documents I have been notarizing have had an Acknowledgment attached as a last page. My habit is to stamp next to my signature on the Acknowledgment, but then to also place my stamp next to the signature that I am notarizing on the document. Is there anything wrong with doing it this way? I feel better making it clear as to the particular signature that I'm notarizing.

National Notary Association

06 Jun 2016

Hello. No, you should not affix your seal to multiple areas of a document-only in the appropriate area in the notarial certificate wording.

Alla Mcgill

07 Jun 2016

Fantastic writing - I learned a lot from the analysis . Does someone know if my company could possibly obtain a blank CA WV-100 version to complete ?

William George Shahin

09 Jun 2016

I'm down to one page of the California All-Purpose Acknowledgment. Can I make a photocopies or only originals are accepted in California?

National Notary Association

16 Jun 2016

Hello. As long as your certificate conforms to the wording and format required by California state law, you are fine. You can order certificates online from the NNA at www.NationalNotary.org.

cindy knutson

27 Jun 2016

Can a notary notarize their own drafted document,and then the signature. The trust was drawn up by the notary and then notarized by the drafter, the lady was 92 diagnosed with psychosis, and had a Psych eval done 2days before she was confused did not know what a bed was it other answers to questions asked. And then had another eval done 2 days later with no change, she signed twice the document and the final signature do not match this was done in a nursing home she was on 27 meds and had 28 diagnosises was thus a legal procedure.

kathleen lutsch

29 Jun 2016

Maybe it is just me but I recently did a notarization and it was the first time there was a blank for venue. I don't remember this from classes and I have been a notary since 2006 in California, although not extremely active. I did have the client check with the real estate company in Florida to determine what was required. Is this fairly new? It is my belief that there should be access to refresher classes on a regular basis to take care of changes. That has happened only once in my time as notary due to changes in the law. This article was so informative. I agree with the comment made earlier that it is getting very difficult to keep up with all the minute details that change. I know a lot of it has to do with the housing collapse and the notary fraud but very difficult to keep up.

David S

13 Jul 2016

How did you get in the first place your notary commission if you don't know this basic rules, specially not stamping over anything.... notary 101, please!!!!

V smith

12 Aug 2016

Can I fill acknowledgement form via computer instead of handwritten, and place seal and sign after print out if one person needs more then 1 sign to Notarize, just to save time

National Notary Association

22 Aug 2016

Hello. We apologize, but we are not completely clear regarding the details of your question. Can you please tell us what state you are writing from, and also clarify if you are referring to printing out notarial wording from a saved file such as a Word document or PDF? Or are you referring to writing in an saving a signer's name and other information on an electronic document to print out later?

Michelle Londo

20 Sep 2016

What is the Civil Code citation in California which requires use of an Acknowledgement or Jurat with correct California notarial wording?

National Notary Association

21 Sep 2016

Hello. Guidelines regarding CA acknowledgment wording format can be found under California Civil Code 1189. The prescribed jurat wording format is found under California Government Code 8202.

Susana G.

22 Sep 2016

I notarized a Living Trust document with several signatures and reading this article made me realize I didn't put "notary public" after my name on the acknowledgement on any of the pages I stamped. I normally do. Will this be a problem, do you recommend that I request to see those forms again to correct it so it is complete. Also, I think I might have placed a stamp upside down. Please advise. im in California

National Notary Association

23 Sep 2016

Hello Susana. Although California Notaries may correct an error on a notarial certificate at the time of the notarial act, while the document signer is still in their presence, there are no provisions in the law that allow for the correction of a completed notarial act. The CA Secretary of State's office has advised Notaries in their newsletter that if you discover an error in a notarial act after completing the act, then you must perform a new notarization on the document.

lily

02 Oct 2016

My bank notary asked me to provide all the docs prior to notarizing, I refused as the signature page specifically showed it was a Limited POA. Is it legal for notaries to review the entire doc before notarizing? Legally, aren't they supposed to be authenticating my signature only?

National Notary Association

05 Oct 2016

Hello. As a general rule, Notaries are not permitted to notarize an incomplete document, Presenting a notary only with the signature page of a multi-page document could be considered incomplete. This could cause problems later because the Notary has no way of knowing if the notarial wording could be attached to a different set of pages in order to commit fraud after the notarization is completed.

CHERYL

04 Oct 2016

Am I permitted to redo a certificate that Title has asked be corrected?

National Notary Association

05 Oct 2016

Hello. To help us answer your question, can you tell us more details about the correction requested and what state you are commissioned in, please?

MARY JO

08 Oct 2016

If you have a new notary stamp and it blurs, can that be corrected with whiteout and then restamped correctly over it in Illinois?

National Notary Association

10 Oct 2016

Hello. No, you should not attempt to fix a blurred seal impression with correction fluid. Instead, the signer should contact the receiving agency to ask if you can affix a second seal impression as close as possible to the original without obscuring any text or signatures.

Susan

10 Oct 2016

Where it says "name of person making statement" is that the person or the notary?

National Notary Association

10 Oct 2016

Hello. To help us answer your question, can you please tell us what state the certificate is from and what notarial act the wording is for?

bob

17 Oct 2016

State Of California. Someone comes in with a document to have notarized. The document has no date. This okay to notarize? If yes, do you write the same date as being notarized on the certificate where it says document date and then record this in the journal in the section called document type?

National Notary Association

17 Oct 2016

Hello. yes, you may notarize a document that has no date, but you must record the date of notarization in the notarial certificate wording. Also, CA law requires Notaries to record the date, time and type of notarization for each official act in the Notary journal.

Dori Michelle Blades

19 Oct 2016

When someone has me notarize for them, do they have to sign their entire name? I have had a few that state that they should be able to use their signature and I am there to affirm it's their signature by notarizing it.

National Notary Association

19 Oct 2016

Hi Dori. The person may sign their name as they choose, but must provide the Notary with satisfactory proof of identity that verifies their use of that name. For example, a recently wedded woman using the married name "Mary Smith" could not sign and have that name notarized using a driver's license with her maiden name "Mary Doe" as proof of identity before a Notary, because the name on the ID does not match the name being signed.

Veronica Farr

26 Nov 2016

My seal, stamp also has my name on it. Do I still need to sign the document?

National Notary Association

28 Nov 2016

Hello Veronica. To help us answer your question, can you please tell us what state you are commissioned in and what type of notarization you are being asked to perform?

Holly

30 Nov 2016

I am a notary for a bail bond agency and they want me to notarize a Power of Attorney form. The form has that it is to be signed by its duly authorized officer, proper for the purpose and its corporate seal to be hereunto affixed this ____of________,____. Then under that there is a blank space I can add my seal but there isn't a signature line. The only line to be signed it an Executing Agent line, which I'm guessing is the bail bond agent, not myself and the line is far from the stamp. Where would I sign in this case?

National Notary Association

30 Nov 2016

Hi Holly. You cannot simply affix your seal impression to a document without completing and signing the proper notarial wording. You should ask what type of notarization the agency is asking for (such as acknowledgment or jurat). Once they provide this information, you should attach and complete a certificate with the appropriate notarial wording for your state. Remember that as the Notary, you may not select what notarial act is needed on behalf of the signer.

Flint

06 Dec 2016

I just had a document notorized. The notary attached a separate sheet with the notary info, stamp, etc.. But, there is no stamp on my original document. Is that ok? If so,how would someone know that this particular notary seal is associated with the actual document?

National Notary Association

09 Dec 2016

Hello. To help us answer your question can you please tell us what state the notarization took place in?

faicole710@bellsouth.net

19 Dec 2016

My seal is made to use in the left hand. However, some documents want the "seal' on the right. what is the correct way to affix the seal?

National Notary Association

19 Dec 2016

Hello. Your seal should be close to your signature but should not overlap any wording. The goal is to make everything legible.

Dawn

24 Dec 2016

Question, I received a letter dated 11/30/16 that was notarized with a signature and date of 5/16/16. Is the 5/16/16 date of when the notary got their license or is this possibly a forged document? Why would the date by the notary's name be before the date of the document?

National Notary Association

28 Dec 2016

Hello Dawn. In some cases, a notarized document may have separate dates for the date of notarization and the date the document takes effect.

Missy

03 Jan 2017

1) Is it acceptable for a document not to contain the acknowledgment? I have a document that does not contain the acknowledgment but instead the notary completed the paragraph that states the person is of sound mind, 18, signed under no undue influence etc. (which should have been completed by the signer). 2) Is it acceptable for the notary not to date the document? She only wrote the date of the expiration of her commission. This notary is located in Florida.

National Notary Association

03 Jan 2017

Hello Missy. Any notarial act performed by a Florida Notary would require the Notary to fully complete the appropriate certificate wording required by state law. A Notary should not write in any part of a document that is supposed to be completed by the signer.

Jim Dunn

16 Jan 2017

My parents set up a revocable trust the date was typed in May 21 and was notorized an filed on May 4 would this cause the trust to become invalid

National Notary Association

17 Jan 2017

Hello. That's a legal question that would need to be answered by a qualified attorney.

Libby

24 Jan 2017

I work for an auto tags co in PA. Almost all the Penndot forms have, sign in the presence of notary or do not notarize unless signed by applicant in presence of notary, in the box where our stamp goes. On some of the forms in bold letters! What are you supposed to do if you have to use that form and there is no other spot to stamp. I wish i could attach a picture..

Diana

18 Feb 2017

What happens when a notary republic list the persons name incorrectly? For example Richard is getting documents notarized and the notary lists his name as Robert. (In Arizona)

National Notary Association

28 Feb 2017

Hello. The state Notary Public Reference Manual says that if any part of the notarial certificate is incorrect, the Notary should cross out the error, write in the correct information, and initial the changes. Or, the Notary may cross out the entire certificate and type or write in the correct wording. Notaries should not attempt to erase incorrect information and should never use correction fluid or tape.

Michelle

06 Mar 2017

If the Notary does not write in the Name of Signer does that make the Notary invalid and if so what can I reference as proof of it being invalid?

National Notary Association

07 Mar 2017

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

janie

09 Mar 2017

where can i obtain a copy of the notarized item. all i have is the name of the person who notarized it. once a notary notarizes a document and they are no longer a notary where are these documents kept

National Notary Association

09 Mar 2017

Hello. If you are referring to the notarized document, you would need to contact whatever receiving agency the document was sent to. If you are trying to obtain a copy of a Notary's journal entry, and your state requires Notaries to turn in their journals when their commission ends, you would need to contact the agency that holds the journals. Depending on your state this may be your state Notary-regulating agency (such as the Secretary of State's office in most states) or the recording office where the Notary's oath of office is filed.

Patricia R

10 Mar 2017

My stamp reads with my middle initial but when I signed the certificates and filled them at the county clerk I relized that I didn't include my middle initial . I asked the clerk if I needed to change it since my stamp has he middle initial and she did no you just have to use the signature with no initial when notarizing because the certificate is what is used to verify my signniture. Do I need to redo the whole process , file new a cert, or just sign with what's on the stamp which includes my middle initial? Commissioned in CA

National Notary Association

10 Mar 2017

Hello. This issue is addressed by the CA Secretary of State in the 2017 state "Notary Newsletter" page 3 (http://notary.cdn.sos.ca.gov/forms/notary-newsletter-2017.pdf): “The signature and how it appears on the notary public oath filed with the county clerk’s office is the official signature of the notary public. The oath states below the signature that “This signature must be used by you in signing ALL notarized documents.” Each and every time you sign your name in your capacity as a notary public you must use your official signature.”

Jerry Foster

13 Mar 2017

state of Missouri..General Warranty Deed....in the blank following" before me personally appeared " a notary left out the middle initial of the signature being notarized...a problem for the county Recorder....???? this comment written after business hours

National Notary Association

14 Mar 2017

Hello. Your best option would be to contact the county recorder's office to ask if they can still accept the document. If they cannot, ask them for instructions on how to correct the error.

Joyce C, California

14 Mar 2017

When getting a second commission, what do we do with the old journal? The hotline said to just destroy the old stamp. Correct???

National Notary Association

14 Mar 2017

Hello. In California, you would need to keep your old journals secure until you choose to stop being a Notary. If you resign your commission or let your commission expire without renewing, within 30 days you will need to deliver all your notarial journals to the county clerk's office where your oath of office is filed.

Cecilia

24 Mar 2017

We have a document that will be notarized in CA and NY to be sent to India for filing with their court. The question is, India requires just the stamp on all non-signature pages, as well as the final page with signor. Is it permissible to stamp pages that are not signature pages?

National Notary Association

27 Mar 2017

Hello. No, not in California. The CA Secretary of State's office has said that Notaries may not affix their seals to other pages in a document apart from the page with the notarial certificate wording. (CA SOS "Notary News" 2014 newsletter). New York does not address this issue because its Notaries are not required to use a seal of office.

Betty

25 Mar 2017

If a notary stamped but didnt sign a Quit Claim Deed Washington State (my blind mother signed where the notary should have signed) and the county recorder recorded it this way, Is the stamp valid? It was done under misunderstood pretenses. The notary can not be found due to retiring. Mother is sick in hospital and this man who had her sign it is now claiming his rights to her house, which was not what my Mother wants ( she is of sound mind but cannot see).

National Notary Association

27 Mar 2017

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

Julie Simmons

27 Mar 2017

For those who question the box that states "Place Seal Here" - do just that. The "Place Seal Here" has no affect on the wording of the document nor does it pertain to anything in the document that would make it null and void. The company that provides the client with a form with that type of box should accept it with the stamp in the box as indicated.

Joseph Panozzo

27 Mar 2017

I formerly worked at three law firms where the attorneys themselves would notarize their own signatures on documents even though I told them up front I was a notary public. Also, I saw documents come before me already notarized by another notary whose commission had expired and the old date crossed off and a new date written in. When I brought these things up to the attorneys, they just laughed about them and told me not to be concerned. In my humble opinion, these incidences devalue a notary's worth.

LeVenia Cleboski

27 Mar 2017

What if I made a mistake in my signature as notary...Can I cross out and write correct and put my initials?

National Notary Association

28 Mar 2017

Hello. The signer should contact the receiving agency to find out if a correction is acceptable or if a new notarization is required.

Sherry

27 Mar 2017

I wish we could recieve prefilled document samples through email, just to prevent mistakes and so every time we are not sure about where to place our name or any other common mistakes we can refer to it.

Jacqueline Tarleton

27 Mar 2017

Hi me@ambermcvicar.com.The kind person at the apostille office rejected my document because the person who notarized documents for decades had an error on the stamp. The Texas employee educated me about the importance of each part of the notary. I drove from one city to the state capital to get the document apostilled in person only to be turned away after a very long wait. I never want to be the cause of this type of problem because of being too lazy to carefully check my stamp and wanting to sign the way I want to sign instead of how the law says I must sign.

Darin Hymel

27 Mar 2017

I'm in Colorado. My stamp has my name, NOTARY PUBLIC, STATE OF COLORADO, My commission number and my commission expiration date. My question is this: why do so many acknowledgements and jurats have a space to write in the expiration of the commission?

National Notary Association

28 Mar 2017

Hello. Colorado has adopted the Uniform Recognition of Acknowledgments Act, including the short-form certificates (CRS 12-55-208) for several notarial acts. However, the authorization of the above short-form certificates does not preclude the use of other certificates (CRS 12-55-208[1]). This may be why you encounter different wording on some of the certificates you are asked to complete.

Mary S. Mlynski

04 Apr 2017

The stamp should always be clear and never stamped over any text otherwise the signatures are not legible.

Linda Hogue

09 Apr 2017

I very often receive docments that have no date. Am I to just put the date of the signing in my journal as the document's date?

National Notary Association

11 Apr 2017

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

tara

12 Apr 2017

I am seeing more questions/comments/concerns from what look like non-notaries. Is this forum now open to the public? I still receive these through work so I was just wondering.

National Notary Association

17 Apr 2017

Hello. Our Bulletin articles are available for any member of the public to read on our website.

D. Morales

14 Apr 2017

In my notary journal I have not been writing the (date of document) that I am notarizing. Can I get into trouble for not doing so? I am in CA

National Notary Association

17 Apr 2017

Hello. A California Notary's journal entries must include (GC 8206[a]; NPH): • The date, time and type of each official act; • Character (type or title) of every document sworn to, affirmed, acknowledged or proved before the Notary; • Signature of each person whose signature is notarized, including the signature of any subscribing witness and the mark of a signer; • Statement regarding the type of satisfactory evidence relied on to identify the signer; • Fee charged for the notarial act or, if no fee was charged, “No Fee” or “0”; • If document is a power of attorney, deed, quitclaim deed, deed of trust or other document affecting real property, the right thumbprint (or any other available print) of the signer.

Doris

10 May 2017

I recent went into a bank in Florida with a notarized POA for my 90 year old grandmother. The POA was rejected due to the notary not stamping beside her signature on the acknowledgement sheet, and the second witness signed and dated after the POA was notarized. Ok, a second witness isn't required, we can do away with that, but rejecting my POA because the notary didn't stamp beside her signature on the acknowledgement sheet which isn't required, as I'm learning. Is the bank in violation of the law? Or discriminatory practices? I have really enjoyed the Q & A in your forum. Very informative. Thank you

National Notary Association

11 May 2017

Hello Doris. Florida requires its Notaries to affix a seal of office on all documents notarized. (FS 117.05[3][a]). Was the document notarized outside of Florida? If so, what state was it notarized in?

Michelle

15 May 2017

I received a notarized document where the Colorado notary wrote the incorrect year on the "My commission expires" line. The correct date is part of the notary stamp. Can I still accept the document since the notary's true commission expires date is part of the stamp?

borisimo

19 May 2017

I'll be taking my exam tomorrow in CA. Question..if I do all my business in a certain county, can my blank acknowledgment and jurat forms be preprinted with my name/title and venue so I don't have to write them in every time and risk forgetting to do so?

National Notary Association

24 May 2017

Hello. If you are only notarizing in one county, this is not prohibited by law. However, CA jurat certificates do not require you to print your name and title.

Patsy Lillard

08 Jun 2017

Can a Idaho Notarize a Deed Of Trust and then finalize the loan checks at the end .

National Notary Association

09 Jun 2017

Hi Patsy. We're sorry, but we are not clear what you mean by "finalize loan checks." Can you clarify what you are being asked to do here with more details, please?

Angela

20 Jun 2017

Is it the legal responsibility of the notary to ensure or ask that all the papers are presented ahead of the signature page to ensure that one party is not being taken advantage? If so, would that make the court order it was being signed for be reversed?

National Notary Association

21 Jun 2017

Hello. We're sorry, but any questions about the legality of a court order would need to be answered by a qualified attorney.

Ann

22 Jun 2017

I am a new Notary and I have a stamp with my name in it plus the seal. I also received the embossed stamp. Will I need to use both and do I still need to sign when doing a car title. I live in Ohio

National Notary Association

23 Jun 2017

Hello. An OH Notary must use either an ink stamp or embosser as a seal of office, but is not required to use both. (ORC 147.04)

Kelly

20 Jul 2017

My notary signed on the print name line and printed his name on the signature line. Will this keep my document from being recorded in the state of Florida

National Notary Association

24 Jul 2017

Hello. You should contact the recording office to ask if they will accept the document and if not, ask them for instructions.

Janice Dervis, AL

22 Jul 2017

I have an embosser seal. I ordered a stamp with my name, notary public, AL AT LARGE, expiration of comission, and commission number which is mylastname. Can I use both my seal and stamp beside my signature?

National Notary Association

24 Jul 2017

Hello. Alabama Notaries may use either an embosser or an inking stamp as an official seal (COA 36-20-72). Prior to 2012, only an embosser was permitted.

Elizabeth

14 Aug 2017

If the county is prefilled, but is the wrong county, can you cross it out and handwrite in the correct county?

National Notary Association

16 Aug 2017

Hello. If the venue is incorrect on a Notary certificate you are completing, you may cross out the incorrect venue, write in the correct venue location, and initial and date the correction. However, you should not correct information in the main body of the document-only in the notarial certificate wording.

Lindsey willis

15 Aug 2017

Hello, i am a first time notary and i am freaking out that i notarized wrong. I am a notary in Ohio. I just notarized a title and printed my name on the witness line and not on the printed notary name. is this ok? since i used my notary stamp? and if not will i get in trouble?

National Notary Association

16 Aug 2017

Hello. You may wish to contact the title company, explain the situation, and ask if they would like to bring the document back to you to have the notarial certificate corrected.

Linda Seger

18 Aug 2017

I'm not comfortable notarizing a two-page document where the bulk of the document and even the signer signature is on page one and all that is on page 2 is my notary. Isn't that an incorrectly prepared document?

National Notary Association

22 Aug 2017

Hello. There is no prohibition against having the Notary wording on a separate page, this is a common procedure. A standard of care is to attach the Notary certificate to the first page.

Mary wagner

02 Sep 2017

My sis has an spa with acknowledment only from the embassy now we need a Notarial seal on the second page .. any possible way for it to be done when it was created 2002?

National Notary Association

05 Sep 2017

Hello. We're sorry but we would need more information about what type of document you are describing and what type of notarial act you need. You may wish to email our Hotline Team at hotline@nationalnotary.org and provide them with more details to request additional assistance.

B. Gayle Hedrick

19 Sep 2017

I'm wondering if a Will is valid in NC if it has a notary signature, but no seal on my copy.

National Notary Association

19 Sep 2017

Hello. That is a question that would need to be answered by an attorney.

Dave

21 Sep 2017

Here is a good question that was posted but hasn't been answered: I received a notarized document where the Colorado notary wrote the incorrect year on the "My commission expires" line. The correct date is part of the notary stamp. Can I still accept the document since the notary's true commission expires date is part of the stamp? I have the same issue in WA. It seems that this is an immaterial error, at least in WA, where a statute states: "The signature and seal or stamp of a notary public are prima facie evidence that the signature of the notary is genuine and that the person is a notary public."

National Notary Association

22 Sep 2017

Hello. Whether a recipient chooses or not to accept a notarized document is up to them. We can't offer a recipient advice about the legal validity of a notarized document-that person would need to consult with an attorney for advice.

Donna

07 Oct 2017

My client made an error in the phone number of signers. Didn't tell me to correct it and she did not send corrected documents. Is it okay that I strike through the wrong digit and write the correct one AFTER the signing? In Alabama. Or, do we have to do it all over again??

National Notary Association

09 Oct 2017

Hello. Alabama Notary certificate wording does not require the Notary to enter the phone number of a signer. As a Notary you are not authorized to enter or correct information in the main body of a document. If there is an error in the main body of the document, the signer would be responsible for having that information corrected.

Judith

16 Oct 2017

If a document is being notarized with a notarial certificate attached, does the certificate have to have the notary signature and seal or does both the document and certificate have to?

National Notary Association

17 Oct 2017

Hello. The signature and seal should be affixed to the notarial certificate wording only.

Lauren

02 Nov 2017

We are trying to take my step daughter on a trip to Mexico. Her mother has been very difficult to get a travel letter from. When we finally got one it only had the notary stamp (no notary signature, location, etc). Is this still valid to take a child out of the country. We are in Washington State

National Notary Association

03 Nov 2017

Hello. You would need to contact the agency requesting the permission letter to find out if it is acceptable to them or not.

Cindy

03 Jan 2018

Can I cross out or whiteout something on a document I'm notarizing?

National Notary Association

05 Jan 2018

Hello. If you make an error in Notary certificate wording, you can correct the error by lining through the incorrect information, writing in the correct information, and initialing and dating the correction. It's not a good idea to use corrective fluid because some agencies will reject a notarization if the notarial certifcate wording has corrective fluid on it. Also, remember that you may not make corrections to the main body of a document-only the notary certificate wording.

kathleen c scott

20 Feb 2018

Greetings.. How can I find out what signature I used on my notary commission? Thank You

National Notary Association

20 Feb 2018

Hello. If you applied through your commission through the NNA, you can call our Customer Care team at 1-800-876-6827 for assistance. Otherwise, you can contact your state Notary commissioning agency for help.

Yvonne

21 Feb 2018

There was an answer given by NNA that is not correct. The question was can I apply my signature and stamp to a two page document when the only part that ends up on the second page is my signature and seal. NNA answered affirmatively. That was incorrect. the California handbook reads "Note: An acknowledgment cannot be affixed to a document mailed or otherwise delivered to a notary public whereby the signer did not personally appear before the notary public, even if the signer is known by the notary public. Also, a notary public seal and signature cannot be affixed to a document without the correct notarial wording." This last part says it all, you are essentially putting your signature and seal on page two when most of the notarial wording is on page one, therefore the only thing on page two is your signature and seal, this is a no-no.

National Notary Association

21 Feb 2018

Hello. We're sorry, but we are unable to locate the question and answer you mentioned. Can you please provide us with the link or publication where you read the original question and answer so that we can review it?

Michael

02 Mar 2018

Need your help... I had a letter notarized. I signed the letter in the Notary's presence. She then prepared a notarial document (had the CA notart seal on it). She stamped that document, not the letter I wrote. Is this legal? If so, what is to stop anyone from switching out that letter for another one when I need to submit it? There is no reference on the notarial document to the content or title of the letter I wrote, nor any stamp on the letter. Please advise. Much appreciated.

National Notary Association

05 Mar 2018

Hi Michael. Normally, Notaries may not prepare separate documents for a signer. Please contact our Hotline Team at 888-876-0827 and give them the details of the notarization and they should be able to provide you with additional assistance.

Gale

03 Mar 2018

Prenup waiver states to be signed first before signing prenup / notary journal show client signed first document was signed last out of order legality and attempting to invalidate signed notarized document since instructions on signing where signed last

jmejia@chinohills.org

19 Mar 2018

If you are notarizing 17 documents for the same person but all different, can fill out one entry and put an arrow down for the rest? So that I don't have to write their address, and license 17 times/

National Notary Association

19 Mar 2018

Hello. Because the answer depends on your state's laws regarding journal entries, can you please tell us what state you are commissioned in?

Walter R. Doctor, Notary Public

19 Mar 2018

Extremely interesting. I read all the comments and NNA answers. I have been a CA Notary Public and NNA member since 1978.

Theresa

29 Mar 2018

What if you have two acknowledgements on one page and only stamped it once and is ask to go back and stamp the other. Is that okay to do? Never had a double acknowledgement so I thought one stamp would be fine. Virginia is my state.

National Notary Association

29 Mar 2018

Hello Theresa. Please contact our Hotline Team at hotline@nationalnotary.org and one of our counselors will assist you with your question. Please be sure to include your full name and state.

Leslie Colburn

02 Apr 2018

Would need to use a loose certificate if the certificate on the document is split between 3 pages.

Ashlee

19 Apr 2018

I have always signed my name shortened, it is even on my DL. I have also always signed my notories this way as well. It wasn't until just recently when I started working for a new employer that this became a problem with the office manager. My question is this: How do I know if my signature is legal or if I have to write my full length name out, again this is the same siganture that is on my drivers license so this is my legal signature and has been for 10 years.

National Notary Association

19 Apr 2018

Hello. As stated in the article above, the name you write on a Notary certificate must exactly match the name on your official Notary commission. Also, you must sign each Notary certificate with the signature that you filed with your commissioning official.

Sergio

18 May 2018

If my ex wife is still stamping with my last name and no longer has is this legal to do. Her last name was changed in court and don’t want her using last name.

Mattie Sanz

05 Jun 2018

And what about for the signers name? As it appears on the document, as they sign, or as it appears on their ID?

National Notary Association

08 Jun 2018

Hello. Please see here for more information: https://www.nationalnotary.org/knowledge-center/tips-tutorials/handle-name-discrepancies

Hartensia Johnson

11 Jun 2018

I had a commission in Texas over 15 years ago. I am not sure when it expired or the exact date the commission was valid. I would like to be a notary again can I renew my commission or do I start the process as a new requester. Thanks for any help.

National Notary Association

12 Jun 2018

Hello. At this point, you would need to start again and reapply for a new Texas commission. If you need any help with the application process, you can contact our Customer Care team at 1-800-876-6827.

Susan

16 Jun 2018

I notarized a divorce in Nevada and accidentally put my signature where the cobra should've been where ur said this was acknowledged before me in this date____ by___ by was supposed to be the name of the person. I hope it doesn't get rejected.

Michelle

18 Jun 2018

I am in NY State. If the notary accidentially inserts the wrong month in the jurat, can it be corrected by having the notary cross it out, add the correct month and intial the change?

National Notary Association

20 Jun 2018

Hello. Please contact our Hotline Team at hotline@nationalnotary.org or 1-888-876-0827 for assistance. If you are not an NNA member, the team will provide you with complimentary assistance for one call.

Laney

08 Sep 2018

My ex has given me documents with my alleged signature on them and a stamp from a notary. There was not a notarial certificate with it, and there was no seal. Just initials and last name of the notary with the Words "State of Washington". I did not ever sign this documents and believe it to be fraudulent. What can I do? The document is dates 8 years ago. Should there have been a notarial certificate with it to make it valid? Any help would be appreciated.

National Notary Association

11 Sep 2018

Hello. If you suspect you are a victim of document fraud, you may wish to contact local law enforcement or your state atttorney general's office to file a report. Depending on what state you are in, you may be able to contact your state Notary regulating office to file a complaint if you suspect you are a victim of Notary fraud.

Christine

21 Sep 2018

I am in california and completed a Jurat for a friend from the state of Washington. The Washington Jurat is not correct wording for CA so I attached a properly completed Ca Jurat. However I forgot to line through the Washington Jurat and write the words "see attached". I am concerned it will be returned. Comments?

Marc

19 Dec 2018

I have a deed from 1980 that has crossed out lines with no acknowledgement. Also the second page has one sentence continuing from first page, a big blank paragraph, then another small paragraph, then rest of page blank. The page numbers at top of page are hand written in, and the top paragraph that I spoke of visibly looks like it was copy and pasted. Could this deed be overturned?

National Notary Association

19 Dec 2018

Hello. We're sorry, but any questions whether a deed can be overturned or not would need to be answered by a qualified attorney.

Shilo Cikalo

06 Feb 2019

Hi - I have someone that typed their name on the print and signature part of the document. Is that allowed?

National Notary Association

11 Feb 2019

Hello. It is generally not the Notary's concern if a signer chooses to sign using print writing instead of cursive writing. One exception would be if the notarization involves loan documents and the lender's instructions specifically require a cursive signature. If a signer wishes to use a printed signature, it would be the receiving agency's decision whether or not to accept it. If a signer wants a printed signature notarized, the signer should also sign the Notary's journal entry with a printed signature for consistency.

Rebecca

13 Feb 2019

My notary rubber stamp/seal has the wrong date on it. I have to do some signings before I can get a new one. Is it acceptable to cross out the incorrect date and hand write in the new date?

National Notary Association

15 Feb 2019

Hello. What state are you commissioned in, please?

Usman

15 Feb 2019

My notary stamp is partial as notary is clear but public"s P and name is not clear.Will it be accepted in sweden?

National Notary Association

20 Feb 2019

Hello. You would need to contact the receiving agency to ask if they will accept the seal or not.

Alfredo

26 Feb 2019

Hello, I’m Commissioned in California. Some documents don’t indicate or have a place for a Notary Signature, just a blank spot for the Notary Seal. Should the Notry still sign or is the notary stamp sufficient?

National Notary Association

26 Feb 2019

Hello. No, California Notaries may not notarize a signature on a document without completing the statutory certificate wording for the appropriate type of notarization. Please see this article for more information: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2017/07/5-steps-california-notaries-need-to-remember

Marisol

06 Mar 2019

A document I received to notarize in Texas had Title on it. What would be the title I add? Any help on this would be very much appreciated.

National Notary Association

06 Mar 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.

Linda

09 Apr 2019

In NJ, it is not necessary to use seal, and the stamp includes all identifying info. but many look for the seal because of past practice, so I will use both. My question is does the seal go below the stamp or does it matter where I place the seal if not specified?

National Notary Association

10 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.

Terry Osterdock

10 Apr 2019

I am a CA Notary. I received a document from a bank that included Jurats that were for the individuals which I completed properly. However, they included additional jurats that included wording that I have never seen before and believe it requires me to certify a representative status. Otherwise it includes the normal CA jurat. The questionable wording is as follows: Sworn to and subscribed before me on __________________ by subject name, Trustee of the Subject and spouse name Trust, ____________________ trust on behalf of the trust. Seal: _______________________________________ Notary Public I do not believe this is a valid or legal version of the CA Jurat. Is it? I couldn't find a direct reference to it in the CA Handbook..

National Notary Association

11 Apr 2019

Hello. You are correct that you cannot use the jurat wording you described. California Notaries must always used the jurat certificate wording set by state law. For more information, please see here: https://www.sos.ca.gov/notary/jurats/ and here: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2017/06/what-california-notaries-need-to-know-about-notary-certificates

amy

22 Apr 2019

Does FL law require you to record the date and time if the document has no date from the parry who signed it?

National Notary Association

22 Apr 2019

Hello. Florida requires any jurat or acknowledgment certificate to include the true date that the notarial act took place (FS 117.05[4]).

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