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3 questions signers should never ask Notaries

While good customer service is an important part of any Notary business, your duties require you to say ‘no’ to any improper requests from a signer. Here are 3 requests that no signer should ever ask of a Notary — and no Notary should ever agree to.

Question 1: “I don’t have ID — can’t you just skip that part?” 

A frequent request from signers lacking proper identification — and one you should never accept — is asking a Notary to skip the identification process and notarize without it.  As a Notary, you must always follow state Notary laws when identifying a signer. In some states, a signer who lacks identification can be identified through alternative methods, such as credible identifying witnesses. But if a signer asks you to notarize without being identified, always say ‘no.’

Question 2: “I need this signature notarized — but I can’t be there. Can’t you just notarize it anyway as a favor?”

Many Notaries have lost their commissions and faced costly lawsuits by saying ‘yes’ to this question. If the person who made the signature is not present for the notarization, there is no way for you to tell if the signature was made willingly — or even if the signature was genuine!

Never accept a request to notarize an absent person’s signature without the signer being present — even if the person asking you is a spouse, relative or friend. There have been cases where a trusted family member or colleague has convinced a Notary to do so, only for the Notary to find out later that the person making the request was committing fraud. And once that happens, the Notary faces serious potential legal penalties and liability for negligence.

Question 3: “I need to meet a deadline — can you change the date of notarization on the document to help me out?”

Many documents you are asked to notarize are time sensitive, especially real estate documents. Sometimes a Notary will be asked to back-date or post-date the date the notarization took place. Doing so is against the law in every state. Never falsify the date a notarization takes place on a notarial  certificate — doing so is illegal and could lead to serious civil and criminal penalties against you.

Need guidance?

If you have questions about a customer request, contact your state Notary agency or a resource such as the NNA Notary Hotline for guidance before you proceed.

David Thun is the Assistant Managing Editor with the National Notary Association

 

 

 

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3 Comments

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Eloise Brown

03 May 2022

I what is the process in being a remote notary? What are fees for Arkansas?

National Notary Association

10 May 2022

Hello. You can find more Arkansas RON information here: https://www.nationalnotary.org/knowledge-center/remote-online-notary/how-to-become-a-remote-online-notary/arkansas

LaThomas odell white

07 May 2022

I want to learn more of what to do not to do at a notary Republic

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