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November 17, 2015

Filling out your journal before the appointment?

One notary on Linked In wrote about filling in their journal before the appointment. Honestly, there is nothing illegal about this. However, if one of the parties doesn’t show up for the signing, you might have to do a lot of crossing out in your journal which might not look good if you ever get audited. I have not heard of notaries getting audited, but your state could raise its standards any time, so behave as it if could happen.

If you have limited time at a signing, you might be tempted to pre-fill the Acknowledgment forms and journal entries. It is illegal to stamp the certificates before the signer has signed your Notary journal and the document. However, putting the wording in is okay. The problem is that last minute changes do happen regularly. Signings can be postponed until the next day, and if you put the date in, or there is a last minute name variation change, you will not be able to use that form.

Personally, I feel that you should not fill in forms before or after the appointment. It is easier to make career-ruining mistakes if you divide these tasks into two sessions. You are more present at the signing (at least I am) and you should fill in the forms with the signer in front of you. As a Notary, saving a few minutes at the signing is not an important goal. Filling out these Notary certificate forms is generally very quick if you have experience. The main goal for signing agents should be to develop good practices which keep your error rate near zero.

So, my advice is — avoid the possibility of messy situations. Don’t preword your forms or journals. Do it at the time of the notarization. Be safe! You could call this a “Best Practice” or the avoidance of a “Non-Best Practice”

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November 19, 2011

How do I fill out a Notary Journal Entry?

How do I fill out a journal entry?
Please keep in mind that rules and standards for notary procedures can vary from state to state across the United States.  As a general rule, there are certain areas of confusion that we want to make it a point to clarify.
Q. Do I need to have a separate journal entry for each signature that I notarize
A. Yes!  Imagine that you are notarizing signatures on a set of loan documents.  Let’s say that there are four documents to be notarized and both husband and wife need to sign each one — you have eight notarized signatures and eight journal entries. 
One journal entry per notarized signature.
Q. Does each journal entry need to be signed?
A. Yes!  The individual whose signature you are notarizing needs to sign the corresponding journal entry.
Q.  What about thumbprints? Do I need to take a thumbprint?
A.  Sometimes!  For Deeds and Power of Attorney documents in California, you must take a thumbprint.  For other states, there are different standards, but it is always better to have a journal thumbprint just so you can be 100% sure of the signers identity.  ID’s can be forged, but thumbprints of a live person in front of you can not be forged!
Q.  What goes in a notary journal entry?
Date &Time,
Type of notarization (i.e. acknowledgment, jurat, oath, affirmation, protest, etc.)
Name of the document being notarized (i.e. affidavit, deed of trust, occupancy affidavit, etc.)
Document date (documents don’t always have a document date, but if you have 20 documents called “affidavit”, you need to distinguish them somehow and a date might help)
Name and address of signer
Identification of signer
Additional notes
Signature of the signer
Thumbprint of the signer (optional in many states)
Q.  What if I’m doing a signing that starts at 11:55pm and ends at 12:05am the next day, what date do I use?
A.  You can use either day, but I would date the notary act at the exact time that the signer signs your journal since that is a definitive POINT in time, rather than a range of time.  Some notary acts allow the signer to sign the document BEFORE they see the notary making the document signing a poor choice for a definitive point in time to date the transaction.
Q.  Can I make recommendations for what type of notarizations the signers should get since I know more than them?
A.  No! That is considered giving legal advice  (unauthorized practice of law) in many states. Let them choose on their own, although you can tell them what is “normal” as well as explaining the characteristics of each type of notary act in your state.
Q. What if many documents I am notarizing all have the same name?
A. It is good to distinguish documents by other characteristics. If you have 20 Grant Deeds to be notarized by the same signer on the same day, you can note the property addresses indicated on the Grant Deed to distinguish which document you were really notarizing. Otherwise, if you ever go to court, you will not be able to tell the judge if you notarized a particular Grant Deed for that particular signer. Imagine what would happen if he did a 21st Grant Deed after you left and forged your seal on the certificate section and claimed that you notarized it.  If your journal doesn’t describe EXACTLY which documents were notarized, you can get duped by a sophisticated fraud!
Q.  Name and address of signer, do I have to write this for each entry?
A.  You can write the name and address of a particular signer, and then draw an arrow down for all documents with that person’s signature being notarized. Each document gets it’s own journal entry per signer.  If you have Joe signing four documents and Sally signing four documents, make sure the journal entries for Joe are all sequential so that they will be consecutive and all in the same place.  Then below those entries you can write Sally’s name and address and a separate entry for all of her documents that she is signing.  Example: Lets say your journal page has eight entries.  Entry 1, 2, 3, and 4 would be for Joe. Joes name and address would be on the first entry along with a particular document name and other information.  For entry 2, 3, and 4, you would see different document names, and an arrow indicating that the signer was still Joe and that his information was the same.  Journal entries 5, 6, 7, 8 would be for Sally and her information would go on entry 5 along with a particular document’s name, and then 6, 7, 8 would have document names and an arrow in the name/address field to indicate that it is still Sally who is the signer.  Make sure Joe signs all four of his entries, and that Sally signs for all four of her entries, otherwise you get in trouble if audited.
Q.  How do I identify a signer?
A. Rules are different from state to state.  Some states allow a notary to personally know a signer to constitute being positively identified.  Others allow credible witnesses.  All states allow a signer to be identified through the use of current identity documents such as drivers licenses, passports, state identification cards, etc.  The documents (cards) must have a photo, signature, physical description, name, address, expiration date, and serial number to be acceptable.  Some states allow a card to be used for a grace period after it expires.  If your state allows the card to be used five years after it’s issue date, then you need to be able to read the code on the card to figure out when it was issued.
Q. Additional notes — what is that for?
A.  If you use credible witnesses, you document their signatures and other information in the additional notes section.  If you want to document unusual situations, or unusual characteristics of the signers, that is the place to put it.  If you are ever called to court, the information in your journal is the ONLY way you will remember the signing in many cases, especially if you do four signings per day over a course of 12 years.  Example: “The male signer Joe looked like a walrus.Sally had a squeeky voice and seemed nervous.”
Q.  Signature area – who signs in the signature area?
A.  The signer of a particular document signs in the signature area (not the notary).  Only one signature per journal entry.  If two people are signing the same document, just create a new journal entry for the second signer with the same document name.  This is not rocket science!
Q.  Thumbprint area – do I need to have a thumbprint?
A.  Please educate you on your state law. Some states require thumbprints for particular documents and others don’t.  It is better to have a thumbprint just in case you are called into court.  Your court case might be faster (or not happen at all) if you have proof of the identity of the signer such as a thumbprint.

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October 7, 2019

How often do you do a clean up job because Notary #1 botched the signing?

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 11:21 pm

Most of the more experienced Notaries out there have done clean up signings. It is amazing to see what types of errors the initial Notaries made. Forgetting to have borrowers sign, forgetting to have acknowledgment wording, or forgetting to cross out the pronouns. Sometimes it is missing initials, or missing pages. Many Notaries do not know how to date a Right to Rescind, and I find this out when I test them.

No wonder so many companies want you to fax every page to them. There are so many careless and sloppy Notaries out there. Notaries used to do better on my testing 15 years ago. Things have gone downhill and so have fees. This gives more work for people I call, “The cleaners” — sounds mafia.

What are the sloppiest errors you have seen while doing a clean up job?

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August 27, 2019

Notary class where students are full of wise cracks

Filed under: Humorous Posts — admin @ 10:52 pm

TEACHER: Okay class, please turn to page four.

CLASS: Yes, teacher.

TEACHER: Now who can tell me what an embosser is?

JOHNNY: An embosser is a type of notary seal that leaves a raised impression.

TEACHER: Very good Johnny. You may sit down now.

JOHNNY: Does that raise your impression of me?

TEACHER: Yes Johnny, you are a fine young man.

TIMMY: Will he get a raise?

TEACHER: Enough out of you Timmy. No raise for you. Now, a Notary must keep a journal of Notarial acts, does any one know why?

TIMMY: Because the state makes us?

TEACHER: Yes, Timmy, but I was looking for more of an intrinsic reason.

TIMMY: Umm, because it would look more official?

TEACHER: No class, it is because you need a record of what you notarized just in case someone claims that the particular document was fraudulently notarized. Now, do we know why the State of California requires thumbprinting for recorded documents and Powers of Attorney/

FRED: Umm, so you get to hold the signer’s hand… like if she is a hot woman?

TEACHER: No, it is because an identity document can be forged but you cannot fake a thumbprint, at least I don’t think you can. So, how would you rate this class so far?

JOHNNY: Two thumbs up, but two thumbs not from the same signer as you are only supposed to use the right thumbprint in your journal unless it has been amputated.

TEACHER: Very good Johnny, that is the first intelligent and non demented thing you have said all semester. How did you acquire this knowledge?

JOHNNY: I broke down and actually did something called (pause) reading.

TEACHER: God forbid! Now how do we fill in a certificate?

TIMMY: Won’t it fill in on its own shortly after it hits puberty?

TEACHER: Only if it is a female certificate Timmy. But, good try. You need to fill in the county, name of notary, signer, date, and cross out unnecessary information in the pronoun section. But, the optional information below is also critical. You should mention the number of pages in the document, the document date, and the name of the document just in case someone wants to put that certificate and attach it to some other document.

FRED: Hmm, I think we’re on the same page here. But, I didn’t know documents had dates. Do they kiss on the first date?

TEACHER: I think that depends on — what kind of document it is.

TIMMY: I tried kissing a document and it said very loudly, and I quote — “I’m not that kind of document.”

TEACHER: Well, if you are the one trying to kiss it, I think that most documents would say the same thing.

JOHNNY: Yeah, maybe you should try to kiss a blind document, that way it would not realize what it was kissing.

TEACHER: Another intelligent point Johnny. We are really on a role now! Well, that concludes class for the day. Thanks for coming. Don’t forget to initial on your way out!

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May 16, 2019

Notary Quiz of the day

Filed under: Humorous Posts — admin @ 11:30 am

Notaries hate being tested, but love reading Notary tests on blog entries for some reason. I’ll have to ask my psychic why that is. Maybe it is because they are not on the spot with this. Here is a fun quiz of the day.

1. Notaries notarize
(a) Documents
(b) People
(c) Signatures
(d) Signatures on Documents
(e) People’s signatures on documents.

2. Initials. If you initial a change on a loan document, where should the initial go?
(a) To the right of the crossed out text
(b) To the left of the crossed out test
(c) Above the crossed out text
(d) Anywhere around the crossed out text
(e) Below the crossed out text to the right.

The processor I used to work for did not want me to cross out the text, but initial below the text and below the right end of the text. The processing dept. would do the rest according to good old Emily. I wonder how she is.

3. What is the difference between a conflict of interest, interest, financial interest, and beneficial interest? This reminds me of the joke about the Mortgage Broker who left the industry in 2008 because he lost interest.

4. A Notary was asked to notarize a document with no signature line. What should the notary do?
(a) Ask the borrower to write in a signature line.
(b) Tell the borrower that he cannot notarize the document without a signature and signature line.
(c) Write in the signature line himself.
(d) Refuse to notarize the document.
(e) Call Carmen at 123notary and ask for help.

5. A Notary does a job for an old lady at a hospital notarizing a document. The notary asked the lady if she understood the document and she said yes. Two months later all parties were in court because the lady did not understand what she had signed. What should the notary have done?
(a) Ask the lady to paraphrase the document.
(b) Tell the lady how he went to the white house to visit President Johnson and see how she reacts.
(c) Stick to jail signings — they might be criminals, but at least they are in their right mind (whatever that means.)
(d) Start a conversation about current events to do a “reality test.”

6. A Notary was asked to notarize at the peace process. The Palestinians said you can’t have peace without a process. The Israelis said you can’t have peace without security. The Notary said you can’t have a notarization without a signature. After a long discussion, the Palestinians wanted to be acknowledged twice for one signature, Since the Israelis wouldn’t acknowledge the existence of their people, at least a Notary could acknowledge their signature twice to compensate. What is wrong with this picture?

(a) The Palestinians wanted to trade one Israeli signatures they had captive for two hundred Palestinian signatures as a peace initiative.
(b) The signer is the only one who can acknowledge a signature, not a Notary.
(c) An Israeli Notary will not acknowledge a Palestinian signature until they acknowledge the State of Israel’s signature.
(d) Yes, a single signature can be acknowledged multiple times, but it is the signer who does the acknowledging.

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October 16, 2018

A guide to notarizing documents with blanks or multiple signatures

Filed under: Technical & Legal — admin @ 1:04 am

Don’t notarize documents with blanks!!!
That’s the end to the guide!

Dealing with Blanks
However, the main thing to understand is that as a Notary, you have many responsibilities. You have to identify people, keep a journal, staple things together, give Oaths, fill out certificates. You are so busy, that you might not have time to scan a document for blanks. But, you need to scan every single page.

If you spot a blank, you can put a diagonal or horizontal line through it. The main thing is to make sure that no new information is added to the document after the notarization.

You can also refuse to notarize and make the signer or document custodian complete the document before submitting it to the Notary.

Notarizing Individual Pages (or not)
Additionally you cannot notarize particular pages of a document separate from the document. Sometimes a particular page needs to be fixed or changed in a document and you might get a request to notarize just that page. You simply notarize the entire document as a whole.

Multiple Signatures
However, sometimes you get a document such as a health directive which has multiple notarizations within a very long document. I have seen health directives or living wills with fifty or more pages. Sometimes at a notarization you are notarizing signatures in the middle of the document as well as at the end of the document when the certificate is at the end of the document. I have also seen cases where there are multiple signatures in the middle of a document and a certificate in the middle of the document. This is confusing. Affidavit of Support forms have Jurats in the middle of the form too, and not enough room for your stamp (dumb government workers.)

The 1003 is a great example of a document with an entire page intentionally left blank. But, that is a signed document, not a notarized document.

The main point of this quick article is to remind you that you have to scan documents for blanks.

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September 12, 2018

Redaction – the legal Eraser

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 11:39 am

Redaction – the legal Eraser

When something needs to be changed, typically the spelling of a name; there are many wrong ways. There is only one right way.

Wrong Redactions

If you wish to destroy, as in making it generally unacceptable for most filing and legal purposes, the surest way is to plaster on the White Out. Equally bad is to simply erase the error (not so easy with LaserJet printouts) but it still can be done with a white ink eraser. There is also the time honored method of obliteration via multiple cross outs. Neater, but equally inappropriate to simply overwrite one letter with a different one. The classic example is adding a second loop to the bottom of a capital P to make it a capital B. Less neat, but still wrong is to simply write a new letter on top of the old one. There are probably other wrong ways, I have not seen them all.

Proper Redactions

Simply draw a THIN line (a Pilot Precise V5 RT pen does this well) thru the middle of the WORD (not a single letter) or phrase that is in error. Thus, “Kenneth A Ebelstein” becomes “Kenneth A Ebelstein”. Note that the thin line allows the underlying text to remain fully readable. Few can draw a thin straight line, use a credit card as a line guide. Initials (more on whose are used later) go at either end of the strikethru line or in the margin at either side of the text. Lastly write the correct value “Edelstein” as nearby as possible. It WILL look bad, you will think a discreet “overwrite” looks better. Perhaps, but that overwrite is never acceptable.

The Two Parts of a Notarized Document

Documents to be Notarized consist of only two parts. There is the document itself, almost always first. The document is followed by the Notary section. One tiny exception is the possibility of the Venue (State of xxx, County of xxx) residing at the top of the document. Even though it is “first” the Venue is always considered as part of the Notary section.

Who makes Changes Where

This is simple. Only the notary can make changes to the Notary Section (including a top most Venue). Affiants make changes as needed outside of the Notary Section. I have been told to “correct the name spelling everywhere it appears” and refuse to do so. I do not make any writing of any type outside of “my” area. Nor, do I permit others to make changes in “my” area. Any change to the body of the document should be made by someone who will be signing THAT document, and by nobody else. Thus, you MUST teach them proper redaction procedures.

Who Initials in the Notary Section

I’m sure you guessed this one. ONLY the notary. Correcting a misspelled name in the Notary Section is NOT initialed by anyone else. I have had “low IQ” persons tell me that the named person should initial a name correction in the Notary Section; sometimes they want me to ALSO initial the fix, I do not allow anyone other than me to write anything, including initials in my area.

Who Initials in the Body of the document

ONLY persons whose signature appears at the end of the document, never the Notary. Take care to check who will be signing. Often one spouse is on some documents, but not all; and that is the one needing name correction. If they are NOT signing – even though their name is in the body of the document they do NOT initial the correction.

This can lead to strange looking corrections with a split signing. The prior affiants will not be initialing changes made during the “second session” – that’s one for the attorneys to argue.

Some Parting Thoughts

Get the initials right. When I change a Venue it’s KAE as my middle initial is on my stamp. The same applies to affiants. If the signature line of the document has Jr. Sr. III or similar, those attributes follow the regular initials EG: KAE Jr. or KAE II. As the name attributes are part of the legal name, they follow into the legal initials.

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June 26, 2018

Which rules are laws, Lender practices, or best practices?


Notary Rules or Industry Rules?

It is confusing with all the standards in the Notary business. When 123notary teaches Notary practices, we are not teaching laws, but solid practices. Many Notaries argue with us about our practices because they are not required by law. That is the whole point — we are not teaching law because we are not authorized to, and because we don’t know it. We do know solid notary practices, and teach it as you can get into trouble for not knowing your basics. However, notaries have many misconceptions about the rules of the industry. So, let me clarify.

1. You can always over sign — industry practice (not a law)
Is this a Notary law, industry practice, or what? This statement means that you can sign a document with a name that is longer than the name typed in the signature line. However, that does not make it legal to notarize that longer name unless you can prove the name with an ID. Pleasing the Lender is one aspect of being a Notary. Obeying the law is a much more important one. If you displease the Lender you get fired. If you get in trouble with the law you can end up in jail. Pick your poison.

2. The name on the ID has to match
Please keep in mind that there are four names we have to keep track of:
(a) The name on the ID
(b) The name typed on the signature section of the document.
(c) The name signed on the document
(d) The name on the acknowledgment.

In theory these names could all be different variations, but it is cleaner if they are identical. The critical points are that:

(e) The name on the Acknowledgment must be identical or matching but shorter than the name on the signature line of the document. If the signature on the document says John W Smith, you can put John Smith or John W Smith in the Acknowledgment to please the law, but the shorter name might not please the client.
(f) The name on the Acknowledgment must be provable based on the name on the ID, but does not have to be an exact match. The ID could say John W Smith and you can put John Smith in the Acknowledgment if you like.
(g) The name signed on the document can be identical or matching but longer than the name typed on the document to please most Lenders, but legally notarizing the longer signature or shorter signature is dependent on proving all of the components of their name with an ID.

3. The Lender is the boss of the Notary Public (true for signings, but not for the actual notary work)
The Lender is your boss as to the general assignment, and what happens with loan documents. They are NOT your boss about Notary issues and you should not ask them for Notary advice ever as they might have you do something illegal out of ignorance or greed. You ask your state’s notary division if you have a Notary question and perhaps the NNA hotline and that’s it. The Notary can ask the Lender their preference in how something is notarized if there is more than one legal way to do it, but you can not ask a Lender how to do your job. You are the appointed Notary, not them. If they want to do it their way, they should come over with their stamp and do it their way which hopefully is legal — but, it is their commission at stake if it is not legal. Don’t risk your commission depending on the Lender or Title for Notary advice.

4. The Notary is the boss of the Lender?
The Notary is a state appointed official who represents their state, although the state is not the entity that pays them. If there is a discussion between the Lender and the Notary as to how a Notary act is done, the Notary dictates how it should be done. If there are multiple legal ways to do something such as fixing a mistake by crossing out and initialing vs. attaching a loose certificate — then, the Notary can ask for the Lender’s preference, but not for advice. However, there are liability issues with doing cross outs and initialing. It looks like tampering and you don’t want to end up in court. So, once again, it is the Notary’s discretion as to how problems are solved when there are multiple methods to solve. You can ask the Lender what they like or you can dictate to the Lender what you are going to do. But, the Notary is the boss of Notary work. If they don’t like it, they can find another Notary. It is best if you explain the reasons why you want to do something a particular way. If your reason sounds prudent, there is a chance you might get some respect for your decision. Most Notaries don’t think issues out carefully and do not have well thought out reasons for anything they do. Read our course more and become reasonable! Your commission might depend on it.

5. Send me a loose certificate or jurat in the mail (illegal)
Acknowledgment or Jurat certificates must be stapled to the documents they are associated with. If there is one floating around, you cannot create another one until you destroy the original yourself. Some states do not allow creating new certificates for botched notarizations and require you to do the notarization all over again. Consult your notary handbook on this issue, especially in California where there are many new rules created in the last few years that I have heard about but not actually read to my satisfaction.


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April 4, 2018

123notary Elite Certification Study Guide

Filed under: Loan Signing 101 — Tags: , — admin @ 12:24 am



To get elite certification, you need to do well on the regular certification topics, and then know a lot more. Here are the items we quiz about for elite certification. We test by phone for the elite, and if you study hard and know your basic documents, scenarios, and Notary knowledge plus the content on this page, you could pass.


Documents you have to understand intimately

Recorded Documents
Subordination Agreement
Residency Affidavit
Owners Affidavit
Deed of Reconveyance
Deed of Trust
CD & HUD-1
Please read the details of the required documents. Read more…


Procedures or Acts to Understand

Signature by X or Mark — read more…
Apostilles and Authentications — read more…


Other Terms or Information
Please click on the links below to get detailed information on the following points.

The term Elizor — read points 23 on this link. An Elizor is a court appointed official that can sign over property when the owner refuses to cooperate in court.

Explaining beneficial & financial interest. A Notary may not have beneficial interest or financial interest in anything he is notarizing. A beneficial interest could be construed as …

Federal Holidays in chronological order (memorize these). Let’s start with New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Independence Day …

Fraud Prevention & types of fraud that happen in the Notary world. Falsified identification, incorrect dates on certificates, using someone else’s Notary seal …

Authority – Who has the highest level of authority if there is a question about a notary act or document at a signing? The Notary is the authority as to how a notary transaction happens, but…

Annual Percentage Rate — a detailed understanding is required. The APR is based on the amount borrower after certain (but not all) fees and closing costs have been deducted, and expressed as a …

Pros & Cons: — Adding an Acknowledgment rather than fixing the original. if there is a mistake on a preprinted form. It is cleaner to add a new form, but there can be recording fee issues involved…

What to do if John & Sally’s names are inscribed in an Acknowledgment by the Lender and Sally can’t make it. — Cross out or add a new form? This is similar to the last point, but there are some extra snags…

Handling name variations and discrepencies such as: ID Name, vs. Typed Name, Signature on Doc, and Name on Ack. Relationship between these names if they don’t exactly match. The main thing is to obey the law first…

Understanding dates such as: Transaction Dates, Signature Dates, Rescission Dates, and Document Dates… A transaction date is the same as a signature date, but a document date is arbitrarily chosen, but by whom?

Loan Signing FAQ’s that Borrowers ask. FAQ’s have been greatly reduced by Lenders being required to explain documents to the borrowers in advance. But, you still might be asked why the APR is …



April 1, 2018

Scenarios: What is the cleanest way to rectify an error on a certificate?

Notary Certificates

In this article I will address multiple points affecting fixing errors on certificates.


Most Notaries like to cross out and initial changes in certificates. Keep in mind that these are legal documents affecting million dollar properties. Cross-outs look like tampering and there is always a small chance that your cross-out will cause a long and drawn out delay in a court case if an Attorney suggests that perhaps there was tampering. It is CLEANER to take a fresh acknowledgment form from your Notary bag, fill it out thoroughly including the additional information section with the name of the document, number of pages, etc., And then staple it on to the document.

To be prepared for this type of situation, please do the following:

1. Keep Notary certificate pads on your person
Buy Acknowledgment, Jurat, and Copy Certification forms from the NNA. These forms come in pads and fit in your notary bag or at least in your trunk. A good Notary carries these and uses them regularly.

2. Ask for preferences, not for advice
Know when to ask the Lender or Title company for their preference. Please remember that as a Notary, it is your exclusive jurisdiction to be the expert and sole authority as to how Notarizations should get done and how Notarizations do get done. However, if there are two legal ways to handle a situation such as fixing an error on a certificate (does not apply to Maryland as I have heard that you may not add a loose certificate there — look it up in the MD Notary Manual to be sure) you can ask for a preference as to which legal way the Lender prefers. But, you must not ask a Lender if it is “okay” to do something in a Notary form, but only if they have an “issue” with it.

The way you think about asking Lenders questions matters as many Notaries think of Lenders as their authority and boss. As to completing the assignment, loan documents and shipping, they are your boss. For the actual Notary procedure, the Secretary of State Notary Division (or whatever they are called in your state) is your only authority and YOU are the authority over the Lender in this regard. You have the right to say no, and they do not have the right to boss you around about Notary issues, but only to voice preferences.

3. Recording fees & issues with adding forms
If you add a loose acknowledgment to a notarized document in a loan signing, that will change the recording fee which might be recorded on the CD, Closing Statement or HUD-1. You are opening a can of worms if you do that. However, in my opinion, the integrity of the notarization trumps any recording fee issues as you are not likely to end up in court because the recording fee went up by $10 or $50, but you might end up in court if someone thinks there is tampering due to initialing and changing information on a Notary certificate.


Lenders are particular to the fact that they might have trouble reselling their loan if there are too many abnormalities in the Notary section such as adding certificate forms. Additionally, recording fees can go up if you add a certificate to a recorded document, and that affects the information on the CD or HUD which opens up a can of worms. However, please consider that if there are any accusations of tampering, it is you who might spend a long time in court. Adding a fresh certificate that has its additional and optional information filled out, which identifies the document clearly, eliminates most possibility of suspicion.

Assuming the form is acceptable in all other ways other than the state, just cross out the state, write in the new state, initial, and you are done. Do NOT let the borrower initial Notary certificate forms — that is exclusively the jurisdiction of the Notary.

Having a cross-out in the county of the venue would probably not affect the nature of the contact. Whereas changing a date would affect rescission which could nullify the effectiveness of a loan if challenged in court. Crossing out a name on a certificate can really change the contractual significance of a loan document. I cannot recommend how to handle situations with any authority. However, please realize that changing a county is a small issue while crossing out and initialing a date or name on an acknowledgment for a loan document could cause havoc down the line.

You might also like:

Cross out and initial or use a fresh form?

Index of posts about Notary certificates

Fixing certificates is a state-specific nightmarish issue

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