A notarial certificate is part of or attached to a notarized document and is completed by a notary public. It bears the notary public’s title, signature, notary registration number, date of notarization, state the document was notarized in, and commission expiration date of the notary. This document also contains the facts certified by the notary public in a particular notarization.
Sometimes, clients will request that the notary leave additional notary certificates with the notarized document. They do this for a number of reasons, mainly, in case there are any mistakes in the notarized document. The client feels that it would be faster and more convenient if they can just make corrections on the extra notary certificates rather than having to contact the notary and have them come out and make the corrections. This brings about some very serious questions and concerns that we will address in this piece.
Should you provide an extra notary certificates to your clients?
Keeping in mind that notarial law varies from state to state, the general consensus is that it is not proper legal practice to leave pre-stamped and signed certificates with clients. Florida has made it completely illegal, whereas, states such as California and Mississippi have special stipulations for the practice. In these states, the certificates must be completed at the time the certificate is sealed and signed. Failure to do so could land a notary in a lot of legal trouble including suspension or revocation of their notary privileges or possible fines.
Other states require that the certificate be filled out in conjunction with the completion of the notarial tasks and that stamping and signing follow immediately afterward. In states such as Maryland, only notary certificates that are actually part of the document may be completed. No notary certificates may be attached to a document or completed independently of the document, therefore extras may not be left with the client.
Some states do not have specific stipulations for this practice, so it is advised that notaries in these states follow the standard professional practice of not providing extra notary certificates to clients. The reasons for this are quite simple. As a notary, you are ultimately responsible for everything that is documented and contains your seal and signature. You have no way of knowing what another person will document on a blank notary certificate when they are not in your presence, yet you will still be held legally responsible for that particular document. It is better to err on the side of caution and not place your career and your good name in jeopardy all for someone else’s convenience. In most circles, it is considered bad business practice to even ask for an extra notary certificate, yet some still do.
As much as we all like to see our clients be pleased with the services we provide, it is our duty first and foremost to uphold the law. If you have a client who asks for an extra notary certificate, never hesitate to explain to them the legal ramifications for both of you should fraudulent information be presented. You can also simply tell your client that, while you would like to comply with their request, you simply cannot break the law.
Coast2Coast Signings is a global signing service dedicated to providing the most convenient, efficient and professional signing services. Our goal is to provide our clients’ with excellent customer service, a knowledgeable staff, and the ability to find experienced notaries wherever and whenever they are needed. Our team is on staff 24/7 to fulfill any of your signing needs. With a combined 50 years of experience, our mission is to help fulfill our clients’ needs with the utmost respect and adaptability. Coast 2 Coast is the only signing company proficient in completing signings on a global scale, on any coast and in any country.