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Signing Agent tip: Sending extra Notary certificates

Hand writing on a document

Updated 5-22-23. Notary Signing Agents often are asked by title companies and signing services to include extra signed and stamped notarial certificates in the completed loan packages they return after an appointment.

The reason given is that the company wants extra certificates to rectify any mistake the NSA made in completing a notarial certificate on the mortgage, deed of trust or other notarized document in the loan package without having to send the entire document back for the NSA to correct. That would take precious time that could delay the closing of the transaction.

But this is a problem for NSAs. While you instinctively want to follow the instructions your clients give you, this one requires you to violate Notary law.

State laws and extra Notary certificates

Many states address the issue of sending pre-signed, pre-stamped certificates, but they do it in different ways.

  • Some states, such as Florida, outright prohibit the practice.
  • Other states, such as California , require Notaries to complete the certificate at the time they sign and affix their seal. Notaries in these states who fail to do this can have their commissions suspended or revoked, and California Notaries could be fined.
  • Still other states’ laws, as in Mississippi, say that a certificate must be completed “contemporaneously” with the performance of the notarial act, not before or after.

NSAs in states that do not have one of these explicit laws should follow the established professional standard of practice against providing these extra certificates to clients. In fact, much of the mortgage industry already recognizes that requests for extra certificates are inappropriate. The Notary Signing Agent Code of Conduct, drafted by the Signing Professionals Workgroup, specifically prohibits NSAs from complying with such requests.

Saying no to your client

As much as you might not want to, you will have to say “no” to any client who asks you to send extra certificates. Simply explain that it is against the law. Every certificate you complete must be attached to, related to, or connected to a specific document.

You also can remind the client that if an unattached certificate were to be used for fraud, they could be named in a lawsuit.

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Related Articles:

When and how to use a loose certificate

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Signing Agent Tools


Add your comment

Barbara Morgan

30 Jan 2017

So, California forces us to do what other states prohibit?

Jeanne Fortier

30 Jan 2017

I was asked to attach a separate certificate when I had already notarized the document. It was not a real estate transaction. He was trying to cover all his bases, he said. Could I have written on the separate certificate the title of the document I had notarized?

National Notary Association

31 Jan 2017

Hello Jeanne. Just to clarify, did the signer ask you to re-notarize the document using a separate certificate, or did he want to you to provide him with an additional blank, incomplete notarial certificate?

Jennifer Baniqued

02 Feb 2017

Finally, the rules laid out! I've been a California Notary for over 8 years & now I'm in my 3rd term renewal. In my careers, I've been a signing agent, bank notary, mortgage loan officer, & am now an active real estate agent. During the time I've done signings via signing companies, I was appalled that they asked for "additional signed & stamped" loose notary certificates.. "just in case". California law requires me to document each certificate, but how can I do this if it doesn't belong to anything? (Oh signing company, so your telling me to provide 3 signed & stamped certificates for that 1 deed or you won't pay me? Uh.. no.) I know my job & know it pretty well, and although I understand that errors occur during these signings (usually from inexperienced notaries), the $50-$60 signing fee is not worth breaking the law. I know these companies continue to do this, and although getting notary jobs is important, Notaries must stick together. We all should start reporting these signing companies to the CFPB for investigation. I think Notaries can have a lot more business if they've eliminated the number of unethical signing companies out there. It's harder now to become an approved notary via a title company, which I'm not sure how these signing companies are doing it. Don't get me wrong, not all signing companies are bad. The ones who ask you to break the LAW in order for you to secure a job, there has got to be a better way to regulate.

Elizabeth Thomas

20 Feb 2017

Would you happen to know the statute number for Florida where it is prohibited? I'd like to print this out for reference and attachment to documents where I'm asked to do so. Closings for time-shares here in Florida are notorious for asking for the extra certificates and I'd like to be able to notate exactly why I'm refusing to sign them so that they cannot dock my fees. Thanks!!!


22 Apr 2019

Where does it state in the MD Handbook that we are not allowed to put a loose certificate. It says we cannot choose one. If for example it is a split signing and the first notary used the section. We cannot just do one without it being for a specific document. I would think no notary could.

National Notary Association

22 Apr 2019

Hello. The FAQ for Notaries at the Maryland Secretary of State's website ( states the following answer under the question: "May a notary public notarize a document which does not contain a notarial certificate after the signature line?"--"Please remember a notary should not affix certificate wording to a document if it does not already exist. Adding certificate wording could change the legal meaning of your notarization."


22 Apr 2019

I always put the title of the document I’m notarizing on the bottom of my notary page. I’ve noticed lately too that some company’s are sending notary pages with just notary verbiage and the page with no suggestion as to what it’s being attached to. Cover yourself notaries. Also, I was asked to notarize an incomplete document recently. Signing service and the title company knew what they were asking was illegal yet wanted it done anyway for the convenience of not having to be notarized later. It was a grant deed not naming a buyer (to be filled in later). Uh NO!

Mr. Oswald J. Bien-Aime

22 Apr 2019

It's common sense to know to put your foot down and say hell no!!!!

charlotte ann smith

22 Apr 2019

Seriously, who would even think this is a good idea. ….can you say "blank" check....


22 Jun 2020

ANYBODY can remove a staple and thus remove your loose Acknowledgement/Jurat. Why do we use them? Because the lender creates a notarized document that has no space to stamp, at least that is why I USED to use them. My atty (DH) has advised me to stamp over the verbage if there isn't any room, so I have no reason to attach a loose Acknowledgement/Jurat.

Ms. McLean

20 Dec 2021

What does this mean for NJ?

National Notary Association

25 Jan 2022

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.


12 Jun 2023

I want to renew my notary stamp but want to get sure I'm doing things correctly. I've run into people that charge upto $50 just for one page and I felt that was an insane fee. I want to do it as a business and travel as well as do out if state or online. What do I need to do or what classes do I need? I want to ve honest and fair.

National Notary Association

13 Jun 2023

Hello. The fees Notaries may charge for notarization and travel fees depend on the laws of the Notary's state. For more information, please see here: and here:

Rosanne Elaine To Toncevich

05 Feb 2024

Is there an ink stamp with the verbage for Arizona notary acknowledgments available instead of the extra sheet?

National Notary Association

29 Feb 2024

Hi Rosanne. Our support team could not locate anything that would prevent the use of an inked stamp. We would recommend that you contact the SOS directly to confirm its acceptance instead of a document.

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