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May I Notarize A Document For One Of My Parents?

New Hotline Resized 3My father is going to apply for a handicap placard. Can I notarize his paperwork?C.O., Pennsylvania

Updated 1-16-18. Pennsylvania prohibits notarizing for a spouse, but does not address the issue of notarizing for parents. While notarizing for a parent is not prohibited, as suggested in Article II-B-5 of The Notary Public Code Of Professional Responsibility the NNA recommends that you not notarize for a parent, sibling or other family members related by heredity or marriage because the financial affairs of family members are often intertwined. Such a notarization could be considered a conflict of interest. Thus, it is always the safest practice to avoid even the appearance of a financial or beneficial interest and not notarize documents for immediate family. 57 Pa.C.S. 304 states a Notary Public may not notarize in any transaction in which he or she or the Notary's spouse has a financial interest.

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.

5 Comments

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Tamara Sullenberger

15 Jan 2018

I'm confused with the NNA's response to the notarizing of a parent's paperwork for a handicap placard. There is nothing financial involved nor does it benefit the Notary. Can you please explain the NNA's reply?

National Notary Association

16 Jan 2018

Hello. In this situation, the state where the Notary was located (Pennsylvania) does not specifically prohibit notarizing for a family member unless the Notary has a financial interest. However, just to be safe the NNA suggests not to notarize for the parent to avoid even the appearance of a financial or beneficial interest.

Les Brock

15 Jan 2018

Great newsletter

Lisa Liang

17 Jun 2019

My mom is going to extend her medical membership. Can I notarize her paperwork? --San Francisco, California.

National Notary Association

19 Jun 2019

Hello. The following is from the state Notary Public Handbook: “A notary public may notarize for relatives …, unless doing so would provide a direct financial or beneficial interest to the notary public. Given California’s community property law, care should be exercised if notarizing for a spouse or a domestic partner”

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