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October 30, 2018

How important is direct communication with the signer?

Filed under: Technical & Legal — admin @ 12:54 am

It is illegal in almost all states for a Notary to notarize a person with whom he/she does not have direct communication. However, the traditional confusion is regarding whether or not the document needs to be in English.

Some states require documents to be readable by the signer.
Some states require the documents to be readable to the Notary
But, 49 states require the signer to be able to communicate directly with the Notary.

I cannot teach individual state notary laws because I am not authorized and because I do not know the laws and cannot keep up with the regular changes. However, general best practices are something I teach.

If you use a translator to communicate with a Notary, and the translator translates incorrectly, the Notary could end up getting sued, or end up in jail (far fetched, but makes for a more interesting blog article.) The Notary needs to rely on himself/herself to verify that the signer understands the document and wants to be notarized. The Notary needs to give direct answers to any other questions.

There is no need to translate the document unless your state requires that.
As a general rule (state specific though) the Notary notarizes the signature on the document and not the document itself. So, the Notary just needs to be able to verify that the signer signed the document and take all legal measures to properly notarize the signature.

It is common for children of immigrants to call the Notary, and haul you down to the signing only to find out that mom doesn’t speak a word of English. The common rationalization is — don’t worry, I’ll translate for you. At that point you need to either get mom to speak English, or politely leave the appointment.


You might also like:

Vague communication is not acceptable

Affidavit of support and direct communication with the signer

Notary Public 101 – Real Life Notary Scenarios


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