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Notary Bulletin

How to get the most out of your Notary Hotline call

A major benefit of NNA membership is access to our Notary Hotline. This one-of-a-kind service helps Notaries when you need it most — when questions or issues come up during a notarization. Our trained Notary Counselors can help you with information about correct Notary procedures and help ensure that you follow your state laws and standards of proper professional conduct.

There are certain steps you can take that will help you get the best help during your Hotline call. Following these steps will help our counselors ensure that you get the right information and help you need for any notarizations you have questions about.

How the Hotline can help you

While rules and regulations differ from state-to-state, we can assist you with any questions involving Notary issues in the United States. We can also review documents with you that you have been asked to notarize during your call.

Hotline Counselors can answer questions about completing Notary certificate wording, including filling in blanks in the certificate and whether specific certificate wording is acceptable in your state. We can also help you by describing authorized Notary acts in your state so that the signer can choose what type of notarization they want.

Hotline Counselors also can provide help with identification rules and guidelines for accepting an ID in your state. This includes advising you of the types of identification you can accept from signers in your state and information about whether you can accept an expired ID or an unfamiliar identification document. We can also assist with credible identifying witness requirements for your state if a signer lacks ID and wishes to be identified by one or more credible witnesses.

Mistakes can happen to the best of us. If you need help correcting an error during a notarization, we can provide you with the statutory requirements for correcting Notary acts in your state, and answer questions about corrections to certificate wording, seal placement and journal entries.

Different states have different regulations regarding witnesses. We can assist if you need to know more about witness requirements or when witnesses must have their signatures notarized in addition to the principal signer of the document.

We can also help if you receive any unusual Notary requests and you aren’t sure how to proceed. Examples of these types of requests include such things as copy certification, signers acting with power of attorney for another person, foreign language documents and subscribing witnesses. We can provide details about the nature of these unusual requests, and tell you if you may perform these services in your state.

What the Hotline cannot do for you

Before you call, it’s important to know that our Hotline Counselors are not authorized to answer certain types of questions or provide legal advice. Hotline Counselors cannot assist you with selecting or preparing documents for a customer or completing information in the main body of a customer’s document. These are legal questions that can only be answered by an authorized legal professional such as an attorney.

Some companies that have Notaries on staff have internal policies and procedures with regards to notarizations. Hotline Counselors cannot assist you with questions regarding your employer’s internal office policies.

While we are happy to assist you with a notarization in progress, Hotline Counselors cannot speak directly with your customers. The Hotline is a benefit of membership in the NNA, and, as such, we can only answer questions and speak directly with NNA members.

We cannot provide test questions for any state exam, and Hotline Counselors cannot provide answers to questions for the Notary Signing Agent Exam.

Since the NNA is not an oversight agency, we cannot investigate complaints or reports of misconduct against Notaries Public. This would need to be reported and handled by the appropriate regulating agency in your state.

Tips before you call the Hotline

You can reach the Hotline at 888-876- 0827. Alternatively, you can send a question to us at our NNA Hotline contact web page.

When calling, please make sure to have your NNA member ID number ready; this way we can quickly find your profile information.

If you have a question about the notarization of a specific document, please have that document and any Notary certificate wording ready. This is so you can reference the document and certificate wording during your Hotline call.

Did you know that you can email or fax a document in question to us before calling? All you have to do is scan the document and email it to HotlineServices@NationalNotary.org. Alternatively, you can fax it to (818) 332-4947. Any Hotline Counselor that answers your call will be able to access the documents you send.

Be prepared to take notes. Please remember to have a pen and paper so that you can write down any important information the Hotline Counselor may provide. This will allow for easy reference as you complete the notarization.

Tips during your Hotline call

After providing your NNA member number to the Hotline Counselor, let us know if you emailed or faxed a document prior to the call. If you’re calling regarding the acceptability of a form of identification, please have the ID ready, if possible.

Describe in detail the issue that your calling about. Some examples of questions we receive are:

  • My customer has provided an expired ID card. Can I still accept it?
  • The notarial wording on the document looks different. Can I review it with you?
  • Am I allowed to certify a copy of a document?

Of course, the issues that are handled on the Hotline are not limited to those listed above. Just be sure to describe your issue clearly so that we can provide the best service to you.

Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. After we provide an answer to your questions, feel free to ask additional questions regarding any information we provide.

As part of answering your questions, we might send a follow-up email to you. These follow-up emails might include specific laws related your questions. Other follow-up emails may include step-by-step instructions for a particularly challenging notarial request, or other information that may assist you.

After your Hotline call

Review any notes you took during your call. If we sent you a follow-up email, be on the lookout for it.

As an NNA member, you have unlimited access to the Notary Hotline, so, you can always call us back you have any other questions.

Other Hotline considerations

Remember: the NNA’s Notary Hotline is not a government oversight agency, nor can we provide legal advice. Also, we cannot advise you about the contents of a document. As Notaries Public, we cannot provide advice on a document’s legal validity or advise you how a document should be completed or used. These questions should be directed to a qualified attorney.

NNA Members can also access more information on Notary rules and procedures at the Knowledge Center on our website.

John Jacobson is a Notary Consultant with the Information Services team at the National Notary Association and regularly answers questions from Notaries on the NNA Hotline.

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