Notary Bulletin

Hotline Tip: Be Wary Of Incomplete Documents

Notarizing an incomplete document exposes a signer to fraud, so no official instrument should be notarized unless it is complete and free of blank spaces.

Incomplete documents have great potential for fraudulent misuse. A borrower, for example, might sign an incomplete promissory note trusting the lender to fill it out, and then later find that the lender wrote in twice the amount actually borrowed, or an increased interest rate. In these cases, the document signer could be severely damaged, and the Notary may be required to testify in a subsequent lawsuit.

The prudent Notary will ask a signer to fill in any blank spaces, or have the signer take the document back to the issuing agency for completion, before notarization. If the spaces are inapplicable and intended to be left blank, the signer should be asked to line through each space or write “NA” in the blank space.

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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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