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Notary Bulletin

Notary Quiz: Tricky Signer Questions


ANSWERS:

1. A signer brings you a document to notarize. There’s no notarial wording on the document. “I didn’t know there are different notarizations,” says the signer. “Which do you think I should use?” How do you respond?

A. I pick the notarization for the signer, based on my experience with similar documents.
B. I tell the signer I can’t perform the notarization, since the signer doesn’t know the type of notarial act needed.
C. I tell the signer that they will need to choose the notarial act or contact the issuing or receiving agency to ask for instructions.

ANSWER: C. Notaries are not allowed to choose the type of notarization for a signer—this would be the unauthorized practice of law.  Either the signer would need to choose the type of notarization, or the signer would need to contact the agency that issued or that will receive the document and ask them to provide the answer.

2. You’re a Signing Agent notarizing home loan documents for a couple. The husband points to some numbers on the documents. “I don’t remember those figures,” he says. “Will this change my loan terms?” How do you respond?

A. You explain what you think the numbers mean but remind the husband you are not a real estate agent or lender as a legal disclaimer.
B. You tell the signer you can’t answer questions about loan terms, and suggest he call the closing agent or lender.
C. You recommend the couple cancel the signing, since a discrepancy could mean possible fraud.

ANSWER: B. Notary Signing Agents should never answer questions or offer advice about the terms of a signer’s loan. Any questions a borrower has about the details of a home loan should be answered by the closing agent or lender. 

3. A customer brings you a form you’ve notarized before. You see blank spaces in the text of the document. “How do I fill this out?” the customer asks. “You’ve seen a lot of these forms; what goes there?” How do you respond?

A. You tell the signer you cannot advise him how to complete a document.
B. You tell the signer how to fill in the document based on your experience.
C. You fill out the document on the signer’s behalf, since you’ve seen this form before.

ANSWER: A. The only part of a document a Notary is allowed to complete is the notarial certificate. Notaries cannot advise a signer how to fill out blank spaces in the other parts of the document. The signer would need to contact the agency that provided the form to ask for instructions how to complete the missing information.

4. A friend who is getting divorced asks you to notarize a child custody document. During the notarization, she says “I’m worried this won’t hold up in court. Should I get more witness signatures to be sure?” How do you respond?

A. You ask her to give you written permission to advise her before responding.
B. Since she is a friend, you tell her doesn’t need additional witness signatures to be valid.
C. You tell her she needs to speak with an attorney to answer the question.

ANSWER: C. Notaries who aren’t attorneys should never answer questions from signers about the legal effect or requirements of a document. Any such questions would need to be answered by a qualified lawyer.  

David Thun is Assistant Managing Editor for the National Notary Association.

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10 Comments

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Crystal Davis

16 Aug 2021

Great quiz

Theressa cobb

16 Aug 2021

I’m starting my notary service again coming back since pandemic of Covid interference with renewal 2019?

Geeta Narine-Sankar

17 Aug 2021

I am a Notary signing agent and looking for more business in New York..

Gary Mendenhall

17 Aug 2021

How about a more difficult quiz?

Angelo DeArco

19 Aug 2021

Useful, Relevant questions, Thank you!

Angelo Michael DeArco

19 Aug 2021

Useful, Relevant Questions...Could've had more! Thank you!

Phyllis Little-Jenkins

15 Sep 2021

I have always a notary for and Prison inmates always needed letters notarized now I’m getting my own stamp and I do appreciate the quiz. Do more with more detailed Questions

Okey Eleweke

15 Sep 2021

I want become a Notary Signing Agent. How do I sign up?

National Notary Association

17 Sep 2021

Hello. You can get started here: www.NationalNotary.org/SigningAgent.

Marsha Hall Shafer

23 Sep 2021

i appreciated the Notary Signing tests. I am in process of obtaining Notary Agent so all the education possible.

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