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5 things Notaries should always check before the signer leaves

Updated 1-3-24.

There's nothing as awkward as finishing a notarization, watching the signer walk out the door and then realizing you forgot something.

This checklist can help you make sure you have done everything needed to properly complete a notarization before the signer departs.

1. Is the main body of the document complete with no blank spaces?

During the notarization, take a quick glance at the document to confirm there are no blank spaces. To respect the signer's privacy, you don't need to read through the document in detail, just make sure all necessary information is filled in before finishing.

2. Is the Notary certificate complete with no blank spaces?

One of the most common causes of document rejection is an incomplete Notary certificate. Before finishing the notarization, review the Notary certificate to make sure you have written in all required information and there are no missing sections.

3. Have you proofread the Notary certificate to make sure it is correct?

If the certificate includes misspelled or incorrect information, the notarization's validity could be questioned or outright rejected. Take a few additional moments to proofread the certificate to confirm:

  • The signer's name is spelled correctly and entered in the correct section of the certificate.
  • Your name is spelled correctly and entered in the correct section of the certificate.
  • Your name is written the way it is spelled on your Notary commission — don't use nicknames or abbreviations that don't match the commission name!
  • The venue (the location where the notarization takes place) is correctly listed.
  • The date of the notarization is correct.

4. Are your signature, seal and commission information correctly affixed and legible?

Make sure that your signature and Notary seal are affixed in the proper section of the Notary certificate, and your seal image is not blurry, smeared or covering any document text. If you are in a state that requires you to add your name and commission information to the certificate, confirm they are correct and that your name matches your Notary commission as described in #3 above.

5. Do you have all required information or signatures from the signer for your journal entry?

Be sure that the signer provides you with any information and signatures required for your Notary journal entry. If they leave without providing you with needed details, you will be left with an incomplete journal entry and little or no chance of fixing it once they leave.

To prevent this situation from happening, the NNA suggests filling out the journal entry and obtaining any required journal signatures at the start of the appointment. This will ensure the signer doesn't leave before providing the necessary information.


Add your comment

Venita B, Timpson

07 Dec 2020

Thank you for this valuable reminder.

Bruce E Pfender

07 Dec 2020

I am looking for some training material with plans to become a notary. I thought I had some some months dack but have not received any.

National Notary Association

11 Dec 2020

Hello. Please see here for more information on how to become a Notary:

Thurman C Thompson

07 Dec 2020

Thank you

Linda Millstone

07 Dec 2020

As your example is showing a notarization in the State of California, it is my understanding that the notary must write "Notary Public" after their name.

Alina J. Johnson

07 Dec 2020

I find it helpful to get the MOJO signed first (ID verified) - up front - before proceeding with anything because literally ANYTHING can happen after that, including the signer needing to be somewhere else in the midst of the transaction!

Gilbert R Gomez

07 Dec 2020

Great reminder - Thank you!

Deborah Smith

07 Dec 2020

This is a necessary reminder, the volume I am doing now causes me to move swiftly sometimes missing important steps. Thanks for the reminder.

David A Bailey Jr

08 Dec 2020

Initial lines at the bottom of the lender docs (specifically the note, mortgage, PUD riders, and 1003s. I always flip back through and double-check those as they are easy to miss.

09 Dec 2020

This is very helpful to me. I am just starting my new venture and can use all the help I can get. Thanks

Yolanda Owens

09 Dec 2020

Very informative.


09 Dec 2020

Very helpful. Thank you! I am also new to this business and need all the help I can get.

Gary Thornton

09 Dec 2020

Thanks for the update

A Deloris Blair-Cannon

10 Dec 2020

It’s good to be reminded of the steps and the importance of checking the paperwork before leaving a signing.

Tracy S

10 Dec 2020

I always triple check documents before I insert them into the shippng package.

Jonathan Roution

11 Dec 2020

Thank you!

J London

14 Dec 2020

Can you direct me to specific training in the State of Texas for mortgage refinancing?

National Notary Association

14 Dec 2020

Hello. You can find information on NNA training for Texas Signing Agents here:

18 Dec 2020

Thank. Much needed information.

01 Jan 2021

Good information. It would be helpful to note that the particulars should be circle and X out, especially for new notaries.


27 Mar 2021

I am a notary but haven’t done too many. Need a refresher on what to do if someone needs a notary.

Cheryl L Richman

29 Mar 2021

Hello, if a document does not ask for your seal, but asks for the owners signatures are you suppose to put your seal on the document anyways? I had a problem with this the other day and the signing changed my stays from excellent to very good . Thank you Cheryl Richman Loan signing agent Notary public

National Notary Association

31 Mar 2021

Hello. To help us answer your question, can you please tell us what state you are commissioned in?

Martha Herrera

14 Apr 2021

Great reminder thank you✍🏻

Nekewon Stephanie Konah

14 Apr 2021

Thanks, These informations are very helpful.


13 May 2021

Awesome! Thank you so Much!


05 Dec 2022

Very good!

Anthony Solomon

05 Dec 2022

Great reminder on needed steps

Rebecca Jordan

06 Dec 2022

Is it ok to notarize for a person in the hospital in Louisiana.

National Notary Association

07 Dec 2022

Based on what you’ve described, we think it would be best if you contacted our Hotline team by phone and provided them with a more detailed description of the situation. The NNA Hotline: 1-888-876-0827 Mon – Fri: 5:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (PT) Saturday: 5:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (PT) If you’re not an NNA Member or Hotline Subscriber, they will provide you with a one-time courtesy call.

Kristina ring the bell notary

12 Dec 2022

Thank you for all the helpful information!

Denise O'Dell

15 Dec 2022

One VERY important detail you left out: Always be sure the TITLE of the notary is either written or typed after the name of the notary. One time a document I notarized was rejected by the county recorder's office because I did not make sure the title "Notary Public" wasn't put in after my name. Could cause big problem if the title is not there.

Andrea Harris

24 Jun 2023

Thank you!

Nafisa Jalal

15 Jan 2024

Reminders are valuable. Thank you

Ellen Parker

15 Jan 2024

Thank you for sharing this information.

Natalia D Dimaano

15 Jan 2024

Very good article for refresher, even if not current. Just like a checklist for notary public.

Sharon McClure

15 Jan 2024

Your example omits circling the correct verb and pronouns in the language.

E Shinault

17 Jan 2024

Great Information!! Does TN require us to sign " Notary Public"?

National Notary Association

09 Apr 2024

Yes, the title of “Notary Public” should be included when you sign.

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