Notaries, Avoid Conflicts of Interest!

Never act in a notary capacity if you have any involvement whatsoever in the transaction taking place. If you are named in the document, or if a family member or close affiliate is named, refuse to notarize. You must be a completely unbiased witness to the execution, and you are not unbiased, if for example, your spouse, your sister, or your boyfriend stands to gain financially or emotionally from the transaction taking place.

Many states exact a high penalty for notarizing a document when the notary has a financial or personal interest. In other words, if the notary stands to gain in any way, the notary must refuse to notarize. Failure to do so may result in the notarization being challenged at a later date, and often if the notary is determined by a court of law to be an interested party, the executed document may be determined worthless and the notary could be charged with wrongdoing.

Suggest the signer find a notary with no connections to the transaction, in order to avoid conflicts later than may negate the action executed. You're not really helping a friend or family member if you cause a rejection of the document, and thereby the transaction being executed, for a claim of conflict of interest.


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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