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 is committed to providing accurate and up-to-date information. However, it is important to note that the information provided on this page is for general informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. We do not claim to be attorneys and do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information provided. It is your responsibility to know the appropriate notary laws governing your state. You should always seek the advice of a licensed attorney for any legal matters. In no event shall the American Association of Notaries, its employees, or contractors be liable to you for any claims, penalties, losses, damages, or expenses, howsoever arising, including, and without limitation, direct or indirect loss, or consequential loss, out of or in connection with the use of the information contained on any of the American Association of Notaries website pages. Notaries are advised to seek the advice of their state’s notary authorities or attorneys if they have legal questions. 

Notary bonds and errors and omissions insurance policies provided by this insurance agency, American Association of Notaries, Inc., are underwritten by Western Surety Company, Universal Surety of America, or Surety Bonding Company of America, which are subsidiaries of CNA Surety.