Mistakes. We all make them. We can all fix them.
With time, comes an ease to being a notary public—the notarial acts become second nature. Even when you’re used to doing something a million times, mistakes can happen; sometimes even more frequently since you are not having to purposely focus on each step.
Being aware of common mistakes helps you double check your own work. A mental checklist can also ensure you are not missing any steps.
Not having the correct venue (or the venue missing)
The venue tells where the notarial act took place. At the top of the notarial act will be a place to write in the location of the notarial act. Usually they will state “State of ” and “County of ” with blanks for you to write them in.
The venue does not have to match the county or state where the document is being submitted, but has to pertain to the location of the notarial act—so where the notary and the signer were when it was completed.
Notary Seal is not photographically reproducible.
One of the requirements of Florida notaries is for their notary seal to be photographically reproduced. You should always check before purchasing your supplies to ensure the notary seal can be reproduced (all of Troy Fain’s seals are reproducible).
Notarial Acts can get confusing. There are certain words that tip you off to what kind of act should be administered. The correct notarial certificate should be attached to the document. Ensure you know which one is correct, or ask the signer. If the signer is unaware of the type of notarial act required, advise them to call the person receiving the document or whomever issued it; you cannot advise which notarial act should be completed.
Using Correctional Fluid
Florida does not allow the use of correctional fluid, such as White Out, on their documents anymore.
Correction Fluid has been banned from use on your notary application, and is not recommended for use in notarial acts either. A simple strikethrough of the error with the new information as close to the error as possible will suffice—do not try to completely black out the error with multiple strikethroughs either. You do not want the document to look like it was tampered with.
The date on the document should correspond with the date of the notarial act. The document should not be backdated or dated for a future time. Sometimes, people will ask you to change the date on the notarial act, but this goes against notary public regulations. The document itself can have a previous date on it, but the notarial certificate should correspond to the date the notarial act was completed.
Signature Not Matching Printed Commission Name
A common mistake for the application is the printed name of the applicant not matching the signature they will use on their seal. The signature and the printed name must match. For instance, if I print my name as Jane M. Doe, I could not sign as Jane Doe.
Being aware of these mistakes will make you keep an eye out for them, and hopefully help you become a better notary public.