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Quiz: How Well Do You Know Your Notary Duties?

ANSWERS:

1. A customer brings you a signed document. “I signed this statement two days ago, but I was told I need it notarized with an acknowledgment,” he says. “Can you notarize the signature I already wrote if I show you my ID to prove I’m the person who signed it?”

A. Yes, I can notarize the signature with an acknowledgment.
B. No, the signature can’t be acknowledged because it wasn’t made in my presence. 

ANSWER: A. In this case, the customer is asking for an acknowledgment — a notarization where the customer acknowledges to you that he is the person who signed the document and presents satisfactory evidence of his identity according to state Notary laws. For an acknowledgment, the signature does not have to be made in your presence — the customer may sign the document before appearing before you, and then bring the signed document to you to have the signature acknowledged.

2. A friend calls you at your office. “I need to mail a copy of my birth certificate, and I was told it needs to be a certified copy,” she says. “It would be a hassle to go to the county recorder’s office. Since you are a Notary, would it be OK if you certify it instead?”

A. Yes. In many states, Notaries are authorized to certify copies of documents.
B. No. A birth certificate is a vital record, and in most cases only the agency that issued the original record may certify copies of vital records. 

ANSWER: B. While some — but not all — states authorize Notaries to certify copies of documents, in most jurisdictions, Notaries cannot certify copies of vital records such as birth, death or marriage certificates. Even if you are commissioned in a state that does not specifically prohibit certifying copies of vital records (such as Washington state), this is not a recommended practice.

3. A co-worker asks if you can notarize his signature on an affidavit using a jurat. “Just one thing,” he says. “I’m not comfortable using the word ‘God’ because of my beliefs. Can I say that the statement is truthful without mentioning a deity?”

A. Yes. Instead of taking an oath to a higher power for the jurat, a signer can take an affirmation, promising on personal honor to be truthful.
B. No. A jurat requires an oath to a Supreme Being or higher power with no exceptions.

ANSWER: A. When a signer requests a jurat, the signer may choose to either take an oath (a promise of truthfulness to a higher power) or an affirmation (a promise of truthfulness based on personal honor) based on the signer’s preference. Both oaths and affirmations are valid choices and may be used for a jurat.

4.  You have just finished notarizing signatures on a set of loan documents. “Good job,” the real estate agent says. “Just to be safe, can you give me some extra signed and stamped Notary certificates to take with me? If we find a mistake on the documents, I’ll just correct them and attach the new certificates myself.”

A. Yes, if you know the real estate agent personally you may do this.
B. No. Notaries may not provide unattached Notary certificates to anyone else. 

ANSWER: B. Notaries are not allowed to do this because you have no way of knowing if someone will alter or falsify information on the certificate once it’s out of your control. Agreeing to this request could potentially result in you losing your Notary commission, paying large sums of damages in a lawsuit, or even criminal charges if the unattached certificates are used to commit fraud. Only the Notary should attach separate Notary certificate wording to a document during a notarization or make any corrections to the certificate wording. Also, some states (such as California and Florida) prohibit making any corrections to Notary certificate wording after the document has been notarized.

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

 

3 Comments

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Sheila Barton

04 Nov 2019

Why is this necessary to take a quiz?

National Notary Association

04 Nov 2019

Hello Sheila. Can you provide more information what you are referring to, please?

Ola Cox

08 Nov 2019

Very good information

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