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How should I handle extra pronouns on a Notary certificate?

On the acknowledgment form, we were taught to line through the nonapplicable pronouns (his/her/their) as an extra layer of security? In this new age of gender X, is this still the preferred practice for completing an acknowledgement?P.P., California

The NNA no longer advises Notaries to line through certificate wording when completing a certificate of notarial act. This decision was made for many reasons. No state that we know of has a law or regulation requiring Notaries to make cross outs, and few, if any, recommend it in guidelines published online or in state Notary handbooks. Notaries were known to make mistakes in crossing words out on a notarial certificate. Those mistakes led to documents being rejected for recording. In all the years the NNA recommended that Notaries cross out words in a notarial certificate to prevent fraud, we did not learn of any instance of a Notary making cross outs that prevented fraud. You bring up one that we hadn’t been considered. We suspect that over time states will modify their statutory notarial certificates to make them more gender neutral.

Hotline answers are based on the laws in the state where the question originated and may not reflect the laws of other states. If in doubt, always refer to your own state statutes. – The Editors

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4 Comments

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Joe Ewing

20 Jun 2022

The certificate of acknowledgment must be filled completely out at the time the notary public's signature and seal are affixed. The certificate of acknowledgment is executed under penalty of perjury. (Civil Code section 1189(a)(1). The completion of a certificate of acknowledgment that the notary knows to be false not only may cause the notary public to be liable for civil penalties and administrative action, but it is also a criminal offense. The notary public who willfully states as true any material fact known to be false is subject to a civil penalty not exceeding $10,000. (Civil Code section 1189(a)(4). So by not completing the acknowledgment can the notary comfortably say that the NNA suggested the notary ignore the California civil code? I do know that if an incomplete acknowledgment is submitted to the California Secretary of State it will be rejected. Until the civil code is changed it should not be ignored.

National Notary Association

21 Jun 2022

Hello. The CA Civil Code ( https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=CIV§ionNum=1189. ) has no languge requiring California Notaries to cross out any part of the certificate wording.

Luz Rose

20 Jun 2022

Some lenders ask me to complete it. I don’t want to have docs rejected by them, so I still do it.

Joe Ewing

21 Jun 2022

Government Code 8214.1. Subdivision (J)

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