Notary Bulletin

Best Practices | What Is ...

What Is ... The Difference Between A Surety Bond And E&O Insurance?

Many people are confused over the differences between surety bonds and errors and omissions insurance. For Notaries, the differences are crucial...More

What Is ... A Credible Identifying Witness?

Every signer must be positively identified for a notarization to take place. But signers do not always possess acceptable identification documents. When that happens, an alternative is to use a “credible identifying witness.”..More

What Is ... Misconduct?

Misconduct is willfully improper or dishonest behavior on the part of a Notary. Deliberately backdating a document, overcharging for a notarization, or notarizing for a signer who is not present or who clearly is unaware or being coerced are all examples of potential misconduct...More

What Is ... Beneficial Interest?

Beneficial interest is a situation that arises when a document you’re asked to notarize would give you some kind of improper benefit beyond the standard notarization fee. Usually this is financial, but it can be any sort of gain or advantage...More

What Is...An Attorney In Fact?

An attorney in fact is a person authorized to sign documents on someone else’s behalf, but is not necessarily a practicing lawyer. It can mean any person who has been empowered to sign documents for another individual...More

What Is...A Deposition?

A deposition is a signed transcript of a person’s oral statements, transcribed for use in a court proceeding...More

What Is... A Loose Certificate?

A loose certificate is a notarial certificate that is contained on a separate sheet of paper that is not part of the original document. It is attached — usually stapled — to the document’s signature page...More

What Is A Surety Bond?

Many states require Notaries to purchase a surety bond as protection for signers...More

What Is… A ‘Notario Publico’?

The term “Notario Publico” causes considerable confusion among members of the public, especially immigrants from Latin nations. In many Hispanic countries, a Notario Publico is a highly trained legal professional who has powers equivalent to an attorney or a judge...More

What Is ... A Living Will?

A “living will” is a written statement of a signer’s wishes regarding medical treatment in the event the signer is incapacitated and unable to give instructions...More

What Is ... An Attorney In Fact?

An attorney in fact is a person authorized to sign documents on someone else's behalf. Any person can serve as an attorney in fact, as there is no requirement for an attorney in fact to be an actual lawyer...More

What Is ... Notarizing A Signature By Mark?

Some signers can't write their full name because of a physical ailment, but it still may be possible to notarize for them as long as they can make an "X" or a similar symbol in a   procedure called "signature by mark."..More

What Is ... Venue?

The venue is the part of a notarial certificate that shows where the notarization took place. It is typically printed as “State of _______” and “County of ______” and the Notary fills the blanks for the location where the act took place...More

What Is ... An 'Apostille?'

An apostille is a certificate that authenticates a notarized document that is sent to another country. A designated state officer — typically the secretary of state — is charged with issuing apostilles to confirm that the notarization was performed by a properly commissioned Notary Public...More

What Is ... A Civil Law Notary?

A civil law Notary is a Notary with additional training and responsibilities beyond those required of common law Notaries, which make up most of the Notaries in the U.S. Civil Law Notaries are authorized to prepare documents and give legal advice...More

What Is ... A Testator?

A “testator” is the term for a man who has made out a last will and testament. The term for a woman making out a will is a “testatrix.”..More

What Is ... Undue Influence?

“Undue Influence” is an attempt to cause a person to do something he or she would not do if left to act freely. During a notarization, undue influence can include a third party attempting to force a client to sign or persuade a Notary to ignore proper procedure. It could even include a Notary improperly giving a signer advice...More

What Is ... A Deed Of Trust?

A deed of trust is a publicly recorded document that accompanies the note in a mortgage finance transaction. The deed of trust — also known as a security instrument — “secures” repayment of the note by pledging the property as collateral and creates a lien on a property...More

What Is ... Imposture

Imposture is when a dishonest person obtains a genuine identification document from a state or federal issuing agency by posing as another person and falsely submitting the other person's name...More

What Is ... A False Certificate?

A false certificate is notarial wording in which the Notary knowingly enters incorrect information or makes a false statement...More

What Is...A Loose Certificate?

A loose certificate is a notarial certificate that is contained on a separate sheet of paper and is not part of the original document. It is attached — usually stapled — to the document’s signature page...More

What Is ... Discrimination?

Discrimination is unequal treatment of someone without due and lawful cause...More

What Is ... The Age Of Majority?

The “Age of Majority” is the age when a person can exercise all legal rights as an adult. Usually the age of majority ranges from 18 to 21 years, depending on individual state law...More

What Is ... An International Driver's License?

An "International Driver's License" (IDL) or "International Driver's Permit" (IDP) is a document that permits a traveler to operate a motor vehicle when visiting a foreign country...More

What Is ... A Corporate Officer?

A corporate officer is an agent appointed to conduct business for a corporation. The term commonly refers to a senior executive, such as a president or chief executive officer...More

What Is ... A Testimonium Clause?

A "testimonium clause" is a phrase in certificate wording in which the Notary formally attests to the truthfulness of the preceding facts in the certificate...More

What Is ... Identity Management?

Identity management is a security process that deals with identifying individuals through multiple levels of verification in order to establish their bona fides and control who gets access to sensitive information in a business, government agency, or other system...More

What Is ... "Locus Sigilli?"

Some notarial certificates are marked with the initials "L.S." which stands for the Latin phrase "locus sigilli" meaning "location of the seal."..More

What Is ... Misconduct?

Misconduct is willfully improper or dishonest behavior on the part of a Notary. Deliberately backdating a document, overcharging for a notarization or notarizing for a signer who is not present or who clearly is unaware or being coerced are all examples of potential misconduct...More

What Is ... A Patent?

Some signers mistakenly believe that notarizing blueprints or other documents describing an invention will provide the same intellectual property rights as a patent. However, notarization merely establishes the identity and willingness of the signer...More

What Is ... An Enhanced Driver's License?

Enhanced Driver's Licenses or EDLs are similar to regular licenses, but include a tiny computer chip containing secure electronic identification data that can be scanned to help verify the bearer's identity when crossing the U.S. border by land...More

What Is ... A Confidential Marriage Certificate?

A confidential marriage certificate is a marriage certificate that is not available as a public record...More

What Is ... The Hague Convention?

The Hague Convention Abolishing The Requirement of Legalization (Authentication) for Foreign Public Documents is an international treaty signed by more than 90 nations, including the United States, which makes it easier for notarized documents from one country to be accepted by another...More

Professional Sections

NSA and Small Business
Healthcare Professionals
Legal Professionals
Financial and Corporate Services
Immigration
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.

(888) 876-0827

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

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

© 2014 National Notary Association. All rights reserved . Privacy Statement . Copyright Statement
National Notary Foundation . Returns . About Us . Contact Us . Feedback