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Preparing Notarial Certificates


Can I type a notarial certificate on a document that does not contain one so that I can notarize it, or can I add a notary clause with my signature and seal to a separate sheet and attach it to a document?

No. The document requiring a notarization must already include a notarial certificate. Because state law imposes statutory requirements for certain instruments to be legally valid, a notary public may not, of his or her own initiative, decide which notarial certificate to add to a document that does not include one. The notary may be accused of practicing law without a license for such action. Furthermore, if a notary public adds an incorrect notarial certificate to a document that causes it to be invalid, it may subject the notary to civil and criminal liability. The notary’s responsibility in such situation is to decline the notarization as a preventative measure.

My ex-wife and I are entering into an agreement for our three
children’s summer visitation with conditions. What is the proper format and wording needed for the notary to sign?

Because state law imposes statutory requirements for certain instruments to be valid, a notary may not determine which notarial certificate is appropriate for a document that does not contain one. Moreover, when a notary public adds an incorrect notarial certificate to a document that causes it to be invalid, that notary may be subject to civil and criminal liability.

I was presented with a document that did not have a notarial certificate so I added an acknowledgment certificate, and my co-worker told me that I should not have done that because it is illegal. Is he right?

Yes. If a notary public adds a notarial certificate to a document that does not include one, the notary may be accused of the unauthorized practice of law. A notary’s incorrect notarial certificate could corrupt the legitimacy of a document. Such action subjects the notary public to potential civil and criminal liability.