Notary Bulletin

Hotline Tip: Can I Notarize An Acknowledgment That Has Already Been Signed?

A common misconception about Notaries is that they are always required to witness a client signing the document in the Notary's presence. But that is not always true. Many states allow Notaries to execute acknowledgments on documents that already have been signed. However, a signer does need to always sign a document requiring a jurat in the Notary's presence.

When a pre-signed document is presented to you for acknowledgment, it's a good idea not to take for granted that the signature belongs to your client. There's nothing to prevent you from asking, "Is this your freely made signature?" After all, it is part of your duties as a Notary to verify that your client signed the document willingly. This simple question might also spook someone trying to commit fraud just enough to have second thoughts. It will also help you determine your client's willingness and awareness.

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Quiz: The Many Types Of Notarial Acts

Notaries perform many different duties for the public — and it’s easy to lose track of the different acts and what states they’re authorized in. Test your familiarity with common — and uncommon — notarial acts.

(A link to the correct answers is provided at the end of the quiz.)

Confronted with a tricky notarization? Unsure how to proceed? NNA members have unlimited access to our expertly trained Hotline counselors to help you with all of your notarial questions.

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