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Notary Bulletin

May I Notarize For Employees Who Are Family Members?

New Hotline Resized 3I am a Notary, and I have a process server business. I want to have my spouse and my brother perform process service for me. I know there are rules against notarizing for family members, but they will be contract employees of my sole proprietorship. Can I notarize their returns in a business capacity? K.F., Michigan 

No, you may not notarize for a spouse or sibling in Michigan, regardless of their employment status. “A notary public shall not perform a notarial act for a spouse, lineal ancestor, lineal descendent, or sibling including in-laws, steps, or half-relatives” (MCL 55.291[8]).

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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6 Comments

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Imani Richards

08 Oct 2018

Can I notarized documents for family members in the State of California.

National Notary Association

10 Oct 2018

Hello. The state Notary Public Handbook says the following: “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."

Mary

26 Oct 2018

Can a notary notarize for relatives in NY?

National Notary Association

31 Oct 2018

Hello. There is no prohibition against notarizing for relatives in New York. However, a Notary may not notarize if If the Notary is a party to or directly and pecuniarily interested in the transaction.

Becky Sterling

13 Jan 2021

I work in the office for my Son's small construction business that he owns in partnership with another individual in Tennessee. If I become a notary would I be able to notarize either his or his business partner's business documents?

National Notary Association

15 Jan 2021

Hello. Opinion No. 10-97 (September 13, 2010) of the Tennessee Attorney General states with respect to Notaries taking acknowledgments: “The Tennessee Supreme Court has recognized that it is unwise and contrary to public policy for any officer to take an acknowledgment to any instrument to which he is a party, or in which he is interested directly or indirectly. In either event the officer should be disinterested and entirely impartial, as between the parties…. Acknowledgments before parties related or interested are voidable, but not ipso facto void; and, while such acknowledgments will not per se be declared void, still they are open to attack, and the court will lend a ready ear to evidence of undue advantage, fraud, or oppression arising out of the fact of such relationship or interest in the officer taking the acknowledgment.”

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