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Quiz: Sorry, No Can Do!


1. Your boss asks you to notarize an important business document. One of the signers is a wealthy client. Your boss says not to ask for his ID. “He’s a VIP and I don’t want to offend him,” the boss says.

A. I do as my boss asks.
B. Sorry, no can do!

ANSWER: B. A Notary cannot waive a notarization requirement simply because it might inconvenience or offend an important client, customer or benefactor of the Notary’s employer or obligation. What’s more, if the person making the request is your boss, you might suggest that it’s improper to ask you to ignore any identification requirements in state law.

2. A customer brings you a document from another state. You notice the venue section on the notarial certificate has the wrong state listed. “Can you just fix it?” the customer asks. “I was told not to attach anything else to the document.”

A. I do as the customer asks.
B. Sorry, no can do!

ANSWER: A. Yes, in this situation you can correct the error in the notarial certificate wording. You could line through the incorrect venue information, write in the correct state and initial and date the correction.

However, it’s important to remember that as a Notary, you may only correct errors in the notarial certificate wording — you are not authorized to correct errors in the main body of the document.

3. A neighbor asks if you can notarize a loan document. “Can I ask you a question?” he says. “If I sign this, will I get into legal trouble if the loan doesn’t go through?”

A. I answer the neighbor’s question.
B. Sorry, no can do!

ANSWER: B. Notaries who are not attorneys cannot answer a signer’s legal questions about a document. Doing so may lead to fines, loss of commission or even jail time for the unauthorized practice of law. It’s also prohibited for nonattorney Notaries to advise a customer how to prepare or complete a document — Notaries are not even allowed to choose a type of notarial act on a signer’s behalf. 

Even answering seemingly harmless questions like, “How do I fill in this section?” or “What kind of notarization is required for this type of form?” could get you into serious trouble. If a signer has questions about a document, they should contact the agency that issued the document or that will receive it. Or the signer can contact a qualified attorney who can answer legal questions about the document.

4. One of your co-workers stops by your desk. “Hey, can I borrow your Notary seal?” she asks. “I need to process some forms quickly. Your boss said it’s OK since the company paid for your commission.”

A. I lend my co-worker my seal.
B. Sorry, no can do!

ANSWER: B. It is fraud and a criminal act for anyone other than the Notary to use their Notary seal. A seal is not a business tool that can be shared around the workplace — even if your employer paid for your Notary commission or tools. Any person who unlawfully uses your seal could potentially be subject to fines, jail time or both. You also could be subject to legal penalties. For these reasons, your seal must remain under your direct and exclusive control at all times.

David Thun is an Associate Editor at the National Notary Association.


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Add your comment

Mary K. Cathey

18 Dec 2017

thank you

David Schlosberg

18 Dec 2017

A little too basic for me.

Patricia Adams

18 Dec 2017



20 Dec 2017

Enjoy this small quiz, Suggest more of these type quizzes for more complex questions.


23 Dec 2017


Don Wilkins

25 Dec 2017

As a Document Signing Agent, part of my responsibility is to assist signers in filling out the forms correctly. How can you say we are not to help the signers fill out the forms correctly? We have to know, and if we don't, we contact the lenders or Title to find out how to do it correctly. Even your training teaches us that. Please clarify.

National Notary Association

26 Dec 2017

Hello. It is illegal for Notaries who are not attorney to help other persons prepare documents. A Notary is not authorized to explain the terms of a document or provide a signer with instructions how to complete a document.

Barbara Whitmer

28 Dec 2017

Thank you


05 Jan 2018

Re Question # 2: In California specific civil code wording is required to be on the document we are being asked to notarize and if it is missing we have to use an attachment. In my experience, if the venue is incorrect the likelihood of the other civil code wording appearing on the document is slim-to-none. The document could not be notarized but an attachment must be used.

Loretta Morton

09 Jan 2018

i actually have a question, i have a person whom their mother is a notary with a different last name and the notary was asked to notorize paperwork for insurance and retirement for the daughter they have in common, since the father is worried that if he should pass away he did not want his siblings in charge of anything regarding him just his one and only child, how should this be handled ?

National Notary Association

09 Jan 2018

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

Perla Runge

17 Jan 2018

Scored 100%. Thank you!

Louis Gonzales

28 Nov 2018

good infor


09 Apr 2019

I like the quiz ideas! This is GREAT information! Make them harder to answer for year appropriate notaries. (Example: 0-1, 2-?). Thank you for the brainmover!

Rosa A. Apodaca

09 Apr 2019

Interesting information. Thank you


14 Apr 2019

Thank you, the quiz although basic is refreshing.

Rebecca G Longoria

06 Apr 2020

Although basic, great refresher, thank you


01 Sep 2021

TN- Could the boss be considered a credible witness? Presumably you know the boss and the client is personally known to the boss. Seems to fit Tennessee's definition at least.

National Notary Association

10 Sep 2021

Hello. TCA 66- 22-106[c] states that a credible witness used to identify a signer must personally know the Notary and the signer.

07 Jul 2023

I love the quizzes. Teaches me along the way. I like the suggested readings at the end

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