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October 29, 2020

What documents can I notarize?

Filed under: Other Guest Bloggers — admin @ 8:52 am

What documents should I NOT notarize? (better idea for a title)

This is written about frequently but it does require repetition given the penalties associated with it and the # of requests received for unauthorized notarizations.

WILLS – Unless prepared or directed by an attorney, wills are generally witnessed by two disinterested independent third parties.

VITAL DOCUMENTS – Birth and Death Certificates and Marriage Certificates. The Secretary of State has specific laws preventing public Notaries from notarizing vital documents primarily because the Notary cannot verify the validity or authenticity of such a document. In cases such as this, the Notary needs to refer the client over to the agency who issued the document which in many cases is the County Recorder.

INCOMPLETE DOCUMENTS – A notary should not complete any documents that are fully completed at the time of notarization.

DOCUMENTS WHERE NOTARY IS AWARE THERE IS FALSE INFORMATION IN THE DOCUMENT – If you overhear conversation between people talking about the false information contained in the document they are signing, don’t notarize it. If you suspect that the person signing appears to be overly nervous or if it looks like someone else with a beneficial interest is forcing the person to sign the document, don’t notarize it. Always remember that the signer must sign the document willingly and present proper identification and must be able to communicate with the notary.

PERSON SIGNING CANNOT UNDERSTAND THE LANGUAGE IN WHICH THE NOTARY IS SPEAKING. You cannot use an interpreter because you don’t know what is being translated and if the translator has an interest in the transaction. Do not confuse this with notarizing a document in a Foreign Language. You can always notarize a foreign language document and don’t need to speak that language as long as the person signing can communicate with you in English or another common language in which both the notary and the signer can communicate.



  1. Good refresher. Thanks!

    Comment by Cathy Elledge — May 1, 2020 @ 4:08 pm

  2. Valuable reminder, thank you.

    Comment by Lena Recht — May 1, 2020 @ 6:18 pm

  3. Incomplete documents needs to be corrected. I’m sure you meant to say that a notary should not notarize a document that is incomplete. It seems you left out the word not

    Comment by Evelyn pierre — May 2, 2020 @ 1:12 pm

  4. Thank very helpful

    Comment by Lakysa Hines — May 6, 2020 @ 5:15 pm

  5. always good to know and refresh on. Thanks

    Comment by DEBORAH A ABRAHAM — May 6, 2020 @ 7:24 pm

  6. Always good information however the question is I didn’t ask when I confirmed the appointment if a translator was being used and in rural Iowa I just drove 50 miles with 2 sets of 100 pp documents. Let me guess make the call and confirm the travel and printing fee and go home! Thanks

    Comment by Gary Bowers — May 6, 2020 @ 9:56 pm

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