County recorders rely on valid notarizations in order to accept most documents into their official records, but documents are routinely submitted with improperly or illegibly completed certificates. When a notarization is not completed properly, the error often will cause lengthy delays or result in the rejection of a document, which can be “financially, procedurally and often emotionally devastating to all those involved,” according to an open letter from the County Recorder’s Association of California.
As a public service aimed at improving the notarization process, the Association has issued a top 10 list of the most common Notary mistakes that can cause documents to be rejected for recording. Much of the list is applicable for notarizations nationwide.
- Notary seal is not photographically legible, is stamped over printed materials, or is missing from the document
- Title of officer taking acknowledgment is missing (example: the words “Notary Public” are not printed after the name of the Notary)
- Notaries Public are using outdated forms (Not in compliance with California Civil Code requirements)
- Signature and/or notarization is not original
- Venue is improperly completed or missing
- Names listed on the acknowledgment forms are misspelled or do not match what is listed on the document (example: "John William Jones" is listed on the document, but "John Jones" is listed on the acknowledgement form)
- Expiration date is missing from the Notary seal (some states require the expiration date)
- Notaries Public attaching wrong notary certificates to documents (example: acknowledgment attached to affidavits instead of verification or verification attached to Deeds instead of an acknowledgement)
- Names of party or Notary are entered on the incorrect line (example: signer is identified as Notary and Notary’s name where the signer’s name should be written)
- Alterations made to acknowledgment using correction fluid or other means that would cause suspicion
Questions about the notarization standards of your state can be addressed to the NNA Hotline.