The rule of thumb in the notary world is that legal documents and other documents that are to be notarized need to be complete. This means that there should be no blank pages or spaces. In some situations, it may be necessary to leave certain spaces blank. Such situations include when some of the details need to be filled in by the recipient of the document. When the recipient needs to sign the documents it might also become necessary to leave spaces for the signatures. It is the duty of the notary to check the documents and ensure that there are no blank spaces before notarizing the document. There are several ways that the notary can deal with the blank spaces in legal documents.
One of the ways to deal with the blank spaces is to contact the customer and inquire as to why these spaces have been left blank. The customer will most likely provide an explanation that the blanks will be filled by the recipients. But in some situations, the customers may do not know the proper way to fill out the document. In these situations, the notary can provide advice on how to appropriately fill out the document so it can be properly notarized. The importance of consulting the customer is that there are people who use the blank spaces to commit fraud. Such people usually add information and details that were not there when the documents were being notarized. By consulting the customer one gets the assurance that the customer does not intend to commit such fraud. Remember, you are liable for any information that appears on documents you notarize.
Another effective way of dealing with blank spaces in legal documents is crossing them out or writing N/A. By doing this one ensures that no other details can be added to the legal documents. Even if the customer wants to commit fraud through adding extra information it will not be possible since the lines used to cross out the blank spaces can be clearly visible and will already be filled. Even while crossing out the blank spaces it is advisable to notify the customer. This will ensure that the customer is aware that there are no blank spaces that have been left on the documents.
One can also note the blank spaces on the notary journal. The journal acts as a proof that a certain document was notarized and certain spaces were blank. By noting on the notary journal one gets evidence which can be used in case the legal document is changed. The details entered on the notary journal are enough to show the condition of the legal document while it was being notarized. In the case of a dispute, the parties can readily refer to the notary journal to confirm which spaces were blank.
As a last resort, the entire legal document can be discarded and the notary can request that the customer provide a fresh document which does not have blank spaces. This usually happens when the spaces left have major consequences as to the meaning of the document. Some spaces are left in areas where, if they are crossed out, they will distort the meaning of the legal documents. Such spaces can only be avoided by preparing a fresh document that does not have these spaces. The notary will advise the customer on ways to prepare a fresh document in a way that it is recognized by the law.
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