Notary Bulletin

Hotline Tip: Can A Seal Be Applied To A Document Without Notarial Wording?

By Kelle Clarke

If a client has a document containing no notarial wording, I generally attach a loose certificate. However, I recently had a client insist that the agency that issued the document wants my seal on the original document. I had no choice but to decline the notarization. Was there anything I could have done differently, or was I right in referring her back to the agency that issued the document? – R.R., Anaheim, CA

You did the right thing. If a document doesn’t have notarial wording, or contains incorrect notarial wording, you have to attach the appropriate loose certificate (acknowledgment or jurat). You cannot place your seal where there is no notarial wording or the wording is not proper. If your signer doesn’t want you to attach a loose certificate to the document, or insists that you place your seal where there isn’t proper notarial wording, you have no other choice but to refuse to perform the notarization.

Hotline answers are based on the laws in the state where the question originated and may not reflect the laws of other states. If in doubt, always refer to your own state statutes. – The Editors

Kelle Clarke is a Contributing Editor with the National Notary Association.

Confronted with a tricky notarization? Unsure how to proceed? NNA members have unlimited access to our expertly trained NNA Hotline counselors to help you with all of your notarial questions. Call (888) 876-0827, Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST

Additional Resources:
Have A Hotline Question? Contact An NNA Hotline Expert
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Related Articles:
Hotline Tip: Notarizing Unclear Documents
How to Fix A Bad Seal Impression

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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.

(888) 876-0827

Monday through Friday:
5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST

Saturdays: 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST

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