Notary Bulletin

Hotline Tip: Exercising Reasonable Care Is Best Defense

The best way to protect yourself from being held liable in a lawsuit is to exercise “reasonable care” while performing notarizations, which means obeying all laws and carrying out your duties professionally.

Applying reasonable care can mean going beyond the minimum legal requirements and following the best, most professional practices for every notarization. For example, many states provide vague guidance regarding what constitutes satisfactory evidence of identity. But if you insist that every signer produce a valid, government-issued identity document, such as a driver’s license or passport, you will protect yourself and everyone depending on the notarization.

Another good practice is keeping a detailed journal of notarial acts, whether your state requires it or not. That record will demonstrate that you conscientiously follow proper procedures and best practices in the event one of your notarizations is challenged.

Professional Sections

NSA and Small Business
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Legal Professionals
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International

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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