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Notarizing Handwritten Documents


Perhaps a father needs to have a statement notarized that authorizes his child to go on a trip with a friend's family. He might decide to handwrite it. The same could be true for a building tenant who needs to provide a letter to a housing authority verifying household income. Or, perhaps a separated couple facing an income tax issue may need to quickly submit a notarized declaration that they have lived apart for several months.


Handwritten documents can be created on the fly. They can be notarized if they are complete and attached to proper notarial certificates.

Below are the steps to follow when notarizing a handwritten document.

  1. Check the document for completeness. In other words, check the document for blank lines or missing information; have the signer fill in blank spaces or enter "N/A."

  2. If the handwritten document includes a notarial certificate, ensure that the notarial certificate complies with your state's notary laws. (Handwritten certificates are perfectly legal and acceptable as long as they include the correct language.)

  3. Review the venue. If necessary, make corrections to the venue; simply draw a line through the incorrect words, initial it, and print the correct venue information. Do not use correction tape or apply a product like White-Out to any part of a notarial certificate.

  4. If no notarial certificate has been included, provide the signer with samples of your state's acceptable jurat and acknowledgment certificates; allow them to make a selection. Never choose for the signer.

  5. Properly identify the signer. Refer to your state's notary laws for acceptable forms of identification.

  6. Record the required information in your record book. You may want to include a comment that the document was handwritten. You could also add a note that the signer presented the document without a certificate and that he or she selected one.

  7. Ask the signer to sign the document if it is not already signed. (If the notary certificate is a jurat, the document must be signed in the notary's presence. If the document is attached to an acknowledgment, the signer may sign the document before meeting with the notary.)

  8. Perform the appropriate verbal ceremony.

  9. Complete the notarial certificate with the date of the act; add your seal.
Legal disclaimer: The American Association of Notaries seeks to provide timely articles for notaries to assist them with information for managing their notary businesses, enhancing their notary education, and securing their notary stamp and notary supplies. Every effort is made to provide accurate and complete information in the American Association of Notaries newsletters. However, we make no warrant, expressed or implied, and we do not represent, undertake, or guarantee that the information in the newsletter is correct, accurate, complete, or non-misleading. 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 notaries' best practices, federal laws and statutes, and the laws and statutes of each state, we have gathered this information from a variety of sources and do not warrant its accuracy. In no event shall the American Association of Notaries, its employees, or contractors be liable to you for any claims, penalties, loss, damage, 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 in the American Association of Notaries newsletters. It is your responsibility to know the appropriate notary laws governing your state. Notaries are advised to seek the advice of their states' notary authorities or attorneys in their state if they have legal questions. If a section of this disclaimer is determined by any court or other competent authority to be unlawful and/or unenforceable, the other sections of this disclaimer continue in effect.

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