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What If There Is No Room for the Notary Stamp or Notary Seal?

by American Association of Notaries
One of the most important steps in the notarization of any document is the placing of the notary stamp seal. This step, along with the notary's signature, is the culmination of all the preliminary steps in notarizing, such as identity checking, document scanning, and making record book entries. The notary stamp contains all the identifying information of the notary public - name, commission state and county, notary commission number, and commission expiration date. It is essential and mandatory that all of this information be placed neatly and legibly on every document that the notary executes.

There are occasions when the notary will observe that there is not enough room for the placement of the notary stamp. The notary stamp impression must not overlap the notary's signature or any other text in the notarized document or notary certificate. Many agencies will reject a notarized document where the notary stamp obliterates other essential writing on the document. When there is not ample room for the full notary stamp to fit on the document to be notarized, the notary should attach a loose notary certificate to the document.

A loose notary certificate is a sheet of paper containing notary verbiage. It may, for example, contain the language for an acknowledgment or a jurat, which are the most common forms of notarization. There are also certificates for less common verbiage, such as an attestation clause or copy certification.

The notary should draw one line through the existing notary certificate that does not contain adequate space for the notary stamp, place his or her initials on it, and write the words, "see attached." The notary will then proceed to complete the loose certificate just as the original would have been completed. It is prudent to add the title and date of the document, the number of pages in the document, and the names of any witnesses who signed in addition to the signer. This page should be stapled securely to the notarized document - preferably in the upper left corner - to prevent separation or detachment. The document may then be handed over to the signer as complete. Loose certificates should be part of the everyday supplies carried by the practicing notary.
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Legal disclaimer: The American Association of Notaries seeks to provide timely articles for notaries to assist them with information and ideas for managing their notary businesses, enhancing their notary educations, and securing their notary supplies but makes no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained . Information in this article is not intended as legal advice. We are not attorneys. We do not pretend to be attorneys. Though we will sometimes provide information regarding federal laws and statutes and the laws and statutes of each state, we have gathered the information from a variety of sources. We do not warrant the information gathered from those sources. It is your responsibility to know the appropriate laws governing your state. Notaries are advised to seek the advice of an attorney in their state if they have legal questions about how to notarize.
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