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Question & Answer Center

Here are some questions that are frequently asked by notaries public. For your convenience, we divided the FAQs into several categories. If an answer to your question is not listed below, please email us at members@usnotaries.com. Our members-only Help Center will research your question and respond within two business days.

Requirements for Proper Notarizations: Alterations

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  If I accidentally notarize in the wrong space (the wrong name was notarized), how do I correct this mistake?
If a notarial certificate requires corrections, the notary marks a line through the incorrect information, initials it, and writes in the correct information at the time of the notarization. The corrections must only be made at the time of the performance of the notarial act when the principal signer is present. A notary must never white-out any mistakes, errors, or other information in the notarial certificate.
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  Can I simply “X” out my notary signature and stamp on a notarial certificate that contains mistakes?
No. A notary public may not simply “X” out his or her notary signature and seal on a notarial certificate that contains mistakes. Changes to a notarial certificate must be made only at the time of the execution of the notarization when the principal signer is present. If a notarial certificate requires corrections, a new document with a new notarial certificate will be required for the performance of another notarial act so that the certificate can reflect the correct facts of the notarization. Please consult with an attorney for legal advice.
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  If the notary failed to complete the blank spaces in the notarial certificate, will that invalidate my document?
The notary had a responsibility to complete the blank spaces in the notarial certificate at the time of the execution of the notarization. When a notary fails to execute proper notarial procedures, only a court with the proper legal jurisdiction can determine whether the failure and/or errors made by the notary public will invalidate the instrument.
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  Can I make changes or corrections to an already notarized document?
No. A notary public must never change, correct, or amend a notarial certificate at a later date. Such alterations can only be made at the time of the execution of the notarization when the principal signer is present. If a notarial certificate requires corrections, a new document with a new notarial certificate will be required for the performance of another notarial act so that the certificate can reflect the correct facts of the notarization. Please consult with an attorney for legal advice.
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  The preprinted notary wording on the document had incorrect
information such as the state, county, and the name of the signer. What am I required to do?
If a notarial certificate requires corrections and/or has missing information, the notary marks a line through the incorrect information, initials it, and writes in the correct information at the time of the notarization. The alterations must only be made at the time of the performance of the notarial act when the principal signer is present.
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  What county do I put in the venue? The county where I was certified, or the county where I performed the notarization?
The venue should reflect the county where you performed the notarial act.
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  Can I notarize a notarial certificate that has incorrect information or errors?
No. A notary public who completes a notarial certificate that contains false statements, incorrect information, mistakes, or errors that were not corrected at the time of the notarization of the document may be subject to civil and criminal liability.
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  Am I allowed to type elements of the venue and/or jurat on the bottom of the original document that my client has to swear to and sign?
If the jurat certificate does not include a venue, it is acceptable for a notary to include one. However, a notary should not be adding the most important elements of a notarial certificate to any document, such as “sworn and subscribed before me” or “this instrument was acknowledged before me.”
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