Can I notarize my own signature?

Many new notaries frequently ask if they can notarize their own signatures. While this may seem convenient if a notary has a document to be notarized, the short answer is no, you cannot notarize your own signature.

First, there is an obvious conflict of interest. A notary cannot notarize a document in which he or she has an interest, financial or otherwise. If you are the document signer, you obviously have some interest in the transaction. That alone disqualifies you from notarizing.

In addition, it is illogical to take your own acknowledgment or administer an oath to yourself and then witness yourself sign the document. Remember that when notarizing a document, you must perform the notarial ceremony. You have to ask the signer to acknowledge signing the document freely, willingly, and for the purposes stated therein, or you have to ask the signer to swear or affirm that a statement he or she is making is true. You are not simply examining identification, signing, and sealing. 

In addition, a notary must be an impartial witness to the execution of notarized documents. How can you notarize your own document, from which you may benefit, and yet remain impartial?

There are two exceptions to the rule that you must never notarize your own signature:

  1.  In states where a notary journal is required, notaries can, upon request, self-certify an entry from their notary journal as a true and unaltered copy.
  2. In states where certifying copies of nonrecordable documents is allowed, a notary can self-certify a copy of the original document presented by a customer.

In both cases, the notary will complete a notarial certificate swearing that the copies are true, unaltered copies of the originals. The notary will then place his or her signature and notary seal on the document and make an entry in the notary journal.

Except in the above circumstances, it is against the law to notarize your own signature in every state. In most states, such an act is grounds for suspension. If you have observed another notary trying to notarize his or her own signature, you should report the violation to the appropriate authority.

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