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May I Notarize A Thumbprint In Place Of A Signature?

New Hotline Resized 3I’ve been asked to complete a jurat on a passport application from India for a 5-year-old boy and to accept his thumbprint as his signature. How should I proceed? T.R., California

Your question really has two parts: first, can you notarize for a minor? And second, can you accept the minor’s thumbprint as a signature? To the first part, you may notarize the signature of a minor provided the minor can comply with all the same requirements for notarization as an adult. To the second part, there has been some discussion of whether a thumbprint may constitute a signature. In a 2013 New York estate case, a fingerprint was accepted as a valid signature on a last will (Matter of Albert, N.Y.L.J., April 23, 2013 at 25 [Sur. Ct. Kings Co.]). But we do not know of a legal case in California that deals with this issue. Until it can be clarified in the law, we’d recommend that you not accept the minor’s thumbprint as his signature.

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

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Daniel G. Despeignes

25 Jun 2018

Merci de votre initiative


27 Jun 2018

Can we notorize an electronic document? like the document was printed off and they wanted it notorized as a copy

National Notary Association

28 Jun 2018

Hello. Please see here for more information:

Aqueela Bowie

17 Jul 2018

What identification document do you obtain from a minor if it is ok to notarize a minors signature?

National Notary Association

19 Jul 2018

Hello. In most cases, the identification requirements for a minor are the same as for an adult signer. However, because of their age, many signers lack an ID that typically meets state Notary law requirements, such as a driver's license. You may wish to contact the minor signer's parents prior to the notarization to ask if the minor has ID acceptable for signers in your state. If not, you may need to arrange an alternate form of ID such as credible witnesses who can vouch for the minor's identity, if permitted in your state. For more information, please see here:

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