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What Title Do I Use When Completing A Notary Certificate?

New Hotline Resized 3In the past I have used the notarial certificate with the phrase “Notary Public in and for the State of California,” so I was surprised that my certificate was rejected. What should the Notary’s title be in the certificate?P.H., California

In the state of California, the official title is “Notary Public”.  When you complete a certificate for an acknowledgment taken in California, the certificate should read, “On (date), before me (your official Notary name), Notary Public, …”

Hotline answers are based on the laws in the state where the question originated and may not reflect the laws of other states. If in doubt, always refer to your own state statutes. – The Editors

Confronted with a tricky notarization? Unsure how to proceed? NNA members have unlimited access to our expertly trained NNA Hotline counselors to help you with all of your notarial questions. Call 1-888-876-0827, Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST.



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Bethany Bever

13 Feb 2018

why is this big gray box blocking the reading area?

National Notary Association

13 Feb 2018

Hello. We're sorry for any inconvenience ... you should not be blocked in any way from viewing Bulletin articles. If you are having difficulty viewing, please email us at with a description of the issue and the type of device and browser you are using, and we will try to assist you in resolving the problem.


13 Mar 2018

I live in Florida, and I sign as Notary Signing Agent. Haven't gotten any complaints or return of documents.

Vickie Fitzhugh

14 Mar 2018

What to do about someone signing a will under the influence of alcohol?

National Notary Association

14 Mar 2018

What state are you commissioned in, Vickie? Some states specify in their laws that a Notary may refuse a notarization if the Notary has reason to believe the signer is impaired. Even if not specified by state law, if you have cause to believe a signer is confused or impaired, it is reasonable to stop the notarization and offer to reschedule for a time when the signer is more aware and alert.

Sylvia Lawson

06 Apr 2021

I am renewing my notary status (which is ending 04/21/2021...but I have earned a doctoral degree as of 12/27/2020...and my name on the degree is Dr. Sylvia A. Lawson. Is it proper to renew with this title? When I first became a notary....I just used "Sylvia Lawson". Please advise!

National Notary Association

09 Apr 2021

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

Sylvia A. Lawson

09 Apr 2021

I am in the State of South Carolina

National Notary Association

13 Apr 2021

Hello. Notary law in South Caroline does not indicates anything about a prefix for title to be included in the Notary’s name as it appears on their commission. Additionally, the application to become a Notary Public does not have a space for a prefix or title. As such, it would be best to call the South Carolina Secretary of State to see if including a title would be permitted.

04 May 2021

I have the same concern as Sylvia Lawson. I'm in Florida and my name is Dr. Carole L. Stephens but there wasn't a place for title's on the application. May I use my title and sign as such?

National Notary Association

26 May 2021

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.

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