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November 21, 2011

Can a notary get in trouble?

Can a notary get in trouble?
Notary trouble…
Do you know a notary in trouble?  Have you ever heard of a notary losing their commission or getting fined for misconduct or neglegence?  The answer is — yes, but they generally don’t get caught.  If you are a notary public, it is your responsibility to know your state notary laws, and keep up to date with law changes.  Notary laws change little by little, year by year.  As a general rule, if you deliberatly do something fraudulent that injures another party, you could get in huge trouble or even jailed.  If you make an honest mistake and someone else has a financial loss, you might get in trouble too. If you make a minor mistake or are neglegent in maintaining your certificates or journal, you could get in trouble, but there would be no pressing reason for the authorities to catch up to you.  My advice is to be an expert in your trade and don’t goof!!!  Don’t take liberties, and follow the law to the letter without going to excesses.  Some notaries on our site go overboard and don’t want to advise someone to breath without consulting an attorney — those people are extremists!!!
Can a notary get in trouble for notarizing a family member?
Notaries can not notarize a document that they have a beneficial interest in, and family business might be of financial interest to you.  I would avoid notarizing your spouse’s signature or close family member’s signature especially if the document has any financial overtones.  However, distant family members where you have no financial entanglements might be okay.  This is a gray area, and it is better to be safe than sorry. It’s more “kosher” to find a notary who is a third party who is not involved in your life.
Can a notary get in trouble for not witnessing a signature?
A notary must witness the signing of a document when performing a Jurat.  However, the notary is NOT responsible for witnessing the signature in an Acknowledged signature.  But, the notary MUST witness the signer signing the notary journal (if your state requires journals — and it is a good idea to keep a journal in any case).  A notary is not exactly a witness except they can function as a witness as an official notary act in Delaware and New Hampshire as far as I know.  The notary’s main responsibility is to identify the signer and be sure that the signer is the one who really signed the document.
Can I get in trouble for being a notary?
Just follow the laws and have E&O insurance, and you will most likely be okay.
Can notaries get in trouble? Can a notary be in trouble? Could a notary be in trouble?
Yes they can get in big trouble, but if they follow the law, then they will most likely be okay.
Can a notary get in trouble for goofing a signature?
The notary signs their own signature on the certificate form generally nearby where their stamp goes.  But, it is the signer who signs the document, and it if the signer goofs their signature, they can sign again.
Can you get in trouble for signing a loan document?
Yes, the borrower is responsible for the loan that they sign. The notary is responsible for making sure everything is signed properly.
Have notaries ever got in trouble?
I have only heard of one serious case where a notary commited some serious intentional fraud and was put in jail.  Most notaries do not know what they are doing and fill out forms incorrectly, but for some reason don’t seem to get in trouble.
How can a notary get in trouble?
If you engage in fraud involving real property you can be jailed, and that is the most serious crime that I have heard of for notaries.  Assisting a party forge a signature and getting notarized is very serious in any case.  If you send notary certificates without a party being notarized, that is a case where a notary can be fined and lose their commission.  There are notary handbooks that go over several dozen types of violations and what the fines are. The fines are different across state lines, but notaries can be fined, and their commissions can be revoked, suspended, terminated, or their notary division could refuse to renew their commission, etc.
So, now you have learned a few of the ways that a notary can get in trouble.

You might also like:

Can a notary be a witness?

Things that get notaries complaints

13 ways to get sued as a notary

Can a Notary get in trouble? 2019 Version



  1. Hello,

    If a notary (for whatever reason) allowed a forged signature that resulted in a very large amount of loss, who is responsible for paying back the victim?

    Comment by mary — June 18, 2017 @ 1:58 am

  2. I had to appear in court and sign STATE LEGAL DOCUMENTS and my case worker from DHS signed all the papers before I even signed them on the “Witness” part and then had me sign them even tho there was not a notary present, she just said it’s okay I have a notary that will sign them…. my court appointed attorney tried to tell her that wasn’t okay but she ignored him.. the entire time was I was an emotional wreck and crying because I didn’t want to sign these papers and she just didn’t seam to have a care in the world except to clear a case off her desk.. does this mean the papers I signed are void and we should have to go back to court and redo them?

    Comment by Mariah Teves — November 24, 2018 @ 8:12 am

  3. My friend’s Ex-wife signed notarized a document and sent it through her someone to my friend. He submitted that document to a government agency and now she is saying she didn’t sign that and someone did her forge signature. Who can be in trouble ?
    My friend, his exwife or notary person ? How it can be verified whether she was present at the time of notary ? If she was actually present there and saying lie now then ?
    Can you please advise ?

    Comment by AK — March 26, 2019 @ 1:29 pm

  4. What about a brand new notary that knows they are not supposed to notarize for spouses, especially when they are committing perjury and financial gain can enfold? who do i contact then?

    Comment by AKF — December 16, 2019 @ 2:40 am

  5. Two people that works in the Ouachita Parish Assessor’s Office sign off on some documents out of the Courthouse as Witnesses and one of them work in the assessor’s office wife notarize the paper that document should be null and avoid in Monroe Louisiana and the other documents they try to submit in court was faded out why did I out including the dates on some of the documents and I stated to the judge Ellender uhyou can’t let them submit those type of documents in your court house and they white it out

    Comment by Augie Bosley — January 11, 2020 @ 2:30 am

  6. My brother forged a signature and or had some 1 else pose and or sign as my parent.
    clearly,it’s not my parent signature, on a fraudulent, power of attorney.
    Ray Charles can see it’s a forgery. The print is not the same as my parent write, and or the signature. Not 1 bit.
    Trying to press charges,but if it is only a civil charge, that is great too, to hold such party accountable.

    We are going to take him to court, immediately asap this month to have him taken off as mom agent.
    Mom has feared this illegal action with an out of state violent,dangerous high-tempered son would pull this, or try to again.

    He did not, only to gain access to what is NOT his. Currently, we are trying to reach the notary herself, to get her side, before we file a complaint, against her directly. Luckily, i know my parent signature and GOD is good, so i am sure we will win at the end of the day, and mom will revoked and he will be banned again from our loving parent, who we even told her don’t go anywhere with him. It is clear, it was forged, and we will reach the notary to hear her side of this in the morning

    .Then, hiring an investigator, and or a handwriting forensic expert on signature. This shall be proven he forged or someone the notary allow to sign CLEARLY WAS NOT my parent. We shall be also suing, such estranged brother, and he will have to under penalty of perjury answer in court.” and all others involved.”

    Comment by Morgan0131.1031 — September 14, 2020 @ 9:58 pm

  7. If healthcare power of attorney is signed on one (oct.21) and then it was notarized the next day (oct.22) also it was 16 days after a major surgery on my 76 yr. old step mother without her husband of 32 yrs. was not there ,but he was the original POA he son son did this behind his back .. they also did that with Durable Power of attorney and the son locked her up in a nursing home take her car and controlling and spending 1.8 millions in assets .. Her husband of 32 yrs. and two other brothers are just visitors. But at any time the new POA can and has prohibited visitations. this hole thing is heartbreaking.

    Comment by lisa tischler — October 6, 2020 @ 2:22 pm

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