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Notaries: Pay Close Attention to Document Details

Document Details When performing the notarization of a document, most notaries public focus on the signer:
  • Is the signer present?
  • Is the signer who they say they are?
  • Is the signer related to the notary public performing the notarization?
The document itself, however, is just as important. There are a lot of details that can easily be overlooked. To reduce your risk of an improper notarization, make sure you pay stringent attention to the following:
  • Is the document written in a language that the signer understands?
    • YES = Continue with the notarization.
    • NO = Decline Notarization: the understanding of the document by the signer cannot be verified; therefore, the document should be rewritten in a language that the signer understands.
  • Is the document blank or incomplete?
    • YES = Decline Notarization: you are responsible for everything you notarize; notarizing a blank or incomplete document opens you up to significant liability should the information that is later filled in turn out to be fraudulent.
    • NO = Continue with the notarization.
  • Are you named in the document?
    • YES = Decline Notarization: you can no longer be considered an unbiased third party. It is illegal to complete a notarization that you stand to benefit from.
    • NO = Continue with the notarization.
  • Is the date of the document earlier or the same as the date of the notarization?
    • YES = Continue with the notarization.
    • NO = Decline Notarization: you may legally notarize the document beginning on the document’s stated date.
  • Is the date of the signature the same as the date of the notarization?
    • YES = Continue with the notarization.
    • NO = If the signer signed the document on an earlier date, then the document will require an acknowledgment.
  Remember, it’s all in the details!