We’re only human, mistakes happen. But as a notary public, you should take precautions to make mistakes as minimal as possible. Even the best notaries make mistakes; the key is they should be unusual and minimal. Having set procedures so you remember all aspects of a notarization is your first step to avoiding errors. The second key to being prepared is to know what to do once a mistake happens.
Here is a list of the most common mistakes and what to do when they occur:
Loose certificates are needed when there is no notarial wording attached to a document.
Some notaries jump first to the loose certificate when they see that the notarial certificate is missing from the document, but you should first try to write in the wording underneath the signature or on the back of the document. Pulling out a loose certificate is a last resort.
Don’t forget to take extra precautionary measures when you do utilize them. You can identify the document in such a way that the loose certificate could not be removed and used on another document. For instance you may write:
This certificate is attached to a _(# of pages)_ page document dealing with/entitled _____________ and dated _________.
The Notary and the signer should initial any changes made to the document.
Occasionally, changes, such as the date, location or other specifics, will need to be altered on the document. In order to comply with regulations, not only should you the Notary be initialing the changes, but to ensure the signer fully understands what is happening and is aware of the change, they should be initialing as well.
If both of you have not initialed the changes, the notarization is technically not valid and a new one must be completed.
Can’t change the notarial certificate
Notaries sometimes forget to check the county, assuming it is correct, or skim over the date without checking it is correct. After the notarization, if you notice an error on the notarial certificate, such as the incorrect date or county, you cannot change them. You MUST complete a new notarization.
Sometimes, you are in a rush or the signer is, and it seems like a straightforward notarization you have completed a million times. This is when most errors occur—treat every notarization like you would your first, be detailed and thorough. Mistakes can be avoided by having a mental or physical checklist, such as this one. If you find yourself in a situation where you are confused as to how to proceed, call our Customer Care Team (800.385.7015 or 850.224.3156).