Notary Bulletin

Hotline Tip: If I'm Unable To Certify Copies, Can I Use A Document Custodian?

In states that do not allow Notaries to certify copies, a possible alternative is copy certification by document custodian. To perform this type of certification, the person who possesses the document writes a declaration, similar to an affidavit, stating that the copy is a true and accurate reproduction of the original document. The Notary then administers an oath to the document custodian — who swears or affirms that the declaration is true — then attaches jurat language, such as “subscribed and sworn to (or affirmed) before me…”, to the declaration.

As is the case with regular copy certifications, Notaries may not perform this type of act on vital records such as birth certificates, death certificates or marriage licenses; or on documents whose original is not in the custody of the bearer, such as a college transcript. The agency that holds the original is the only entity that can certify those copies. Another note of caution is that some receiving agencies might not treat a copy certification by document custodian as equivalent to a regular copy certification, so the document holder should check with the agency to make sure it will be accepted.

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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.)

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