Prohibited Notarial Acts

It is important that all notaries follow the state guideline for executing notary act with the utmost care and with a sense of duty. The state administrative rules and statues define the prerogative of notaries as well as the acts they are forbidden to perform.

The purpose of defining the prohibited acts is to enhance the credibility and integrity of the notarization procedure and to protect the public. Any law-abiding notary will decline from performing any of the prohibited acts, even when under pressure. Some clients may see these limitations as inconvenient, but they are essential for facilitating lawful transactions

Listed below are the common prohibited acts for notaries.

A notary is forbidden to officiate an agreement if any of the signers is not physically present. However, the states of Montana, Texas Michigan, Minnesota, and Virginia currently allow remote notarization. Further information is available at the Notary Administrator website of the respective states.

The following are some of the common prohibited acts.

• A notary cannot officiate if the document signer is not physically present. (Currently, allow remote notarization, please see their states' Notary Public Administrators website for more information.)

The notary is not permitted to officiate if the document contains missing pages or blank pages that ought to be completed at the time of notarization.

The document for notarization must not carry a date later than the day of notarization.

The notarization certificate (official statement at the end of the notarization procedure) should not be dated prior or later than the date of notarization.

A notary is prohibited from signing or sealing a blank notarial certificate.

The procedure of notarizing a document cannot proceed if the signatory cannot be identified through personal knowledge or by presenting valid evidence of identification. However, California presently demands that a valid identification MUST be presented before the notarization procedure can continue.

The document presented for notarization must be the original document that bears the wet ink of the signer for the notarization procedure to continue. It must not be a copy or faxed document.

If the required notarization act is not indicated within the document, by the signer, or another person connected to the document, the notary cannot continue.

Notaries are not authorized to validate or substantiate objects.

Notaries are not allowed to provide any advice or opinion which is the prerogative of an attorney. The notarization procedure is an unlicensed practice of the law

A notary is not permitted to advertise his/her services in a foreign language without a disclaimer that he/she is not a lawyer.

The notary is not permitted to translate the English word “notary public” for any purpose, including the advertisement of notary services.

It is not allowed for notaries to sign a document with a name or initial that differs from the one that is documented in the official commissioning certificate issued by the state authority.

The notary is not permitted to continue with the notarization procedure if the signer seems to be confused or unable to understand the transaction.

A notary is not permitted to continue with the notarization procedure is he/she is a party in the transaction, or stand to gain financial or material benefit from the transaction (This cause does not relate to a notary employee that earns a regular salary)

A notary is not permitted to certify the accuracy of a transaction. However, notaries are allowed to perform an oath for an individual who swears that the transaction is accurate.

Notaries are not permitted to proceed with a transaction if he/she suspects or knows that the transaction is illegal.

Notaries must not proceed with a transaction in scenarios whereby the impartiality of the notary may be compromised.

Notaries are not permitted to notarize documents where he/she is a signatory. I.e., notaries are not permitted to notarize their own signature.

Prohibited Notarial Acts


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