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Do I need to cross out unused pronouns on Notary certificate wording?

Photo of woman with long dark hair on phone. She is looking at papers in her hand. Text on image reads NNA Hotline Tip.

On the statement of particulars on a jurat and an acknowledgement, if the signer is a woman, can I cross out the words “his” or “their” and circle the word “her” because the signer is female? Or am I not allowed to cross out any words on the statement of particulars? — E.H., Kansas

It depends on the agency receiving the document after it is notarized. The NNA no longer recommends that Notaries line through certificate wording when completing a certificate of notarial act. No state we know of has a law or regulation requiring Notaries to make cross-outs. Crossing out certificate wording may lead to documents being rejected for recording.

For more help with completing certificates, please see our article “How to fill out a Notary certificate.” 

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

Confronted with a tricky notarization? Unsure how to proceed? NNA members have unlimited access to our expertly trained NNA Hotline consultants to help you with all of your notarial questions. Call 1-888-876-0827, Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. PST; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST.

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Yolanda Adams

13 May 2024

In my opinion, by not crossing out the unnecessary pronouns, you open the opportunity for fraud. If you're notarizing Robert and don't stipulate the appropriate pronoun, name may be changed to Roberta (female). Or, additional names may be added to the certificate for multiple signers rather than the just the one signer who appeared before the notary. jmpo

13 May 2024

When I renewed my commission a little over a year ago (California), I distinctly remember the NNA instructor telling us it was no longer required to select his, her, or their and cross out the other two, due to the current use of people selecting which pronouns by which they want to be referred.

Suzanne Laitner

13 May 2024

I've had deeds in California rejected by some Recorders offices if the unused pronouns are crossed out. They don't want the wording in the statute changed.

Henny Balar

13 May 2024

Yes I agree with Yolanda Adams. In the name of to avoid gender discrimination, by not crossing out the unnecessary pronouns. It will create the opportunity for fraud. I don’t like it either and it’s not hard just to crossing it.

Barbara R Robie

13 May 2024

The Financial Industry Regulatory Industry (FINRA) forbids a financial advisor to alter any document. Rather, the signer is the one who should cross out and then initial and date a change. As a notary in the financial services industry, I request to witness the correction or any cross outs in the same manner.

Georgia Boles

14 May 2024

That's an awesome example 👏 👍

Steven D Ransom

14 May 2024

If the person's identification does not indicate the person's true identity I would not perform any take of notarization for that person. This grinder identity/pronouns is crazy. JMO 🤨🙄🤷‍♂️


14 May 2024

I always circle the correct designation. I’ve not had a problem so far. I’m from California and now reside and do loan signings in Arizona.

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