By National Notary Association—Notaries and their Employers must realize that improper notarizations can lead to serious legal and financial consequences.

If you’re a Notary for your employer…You provide an important service with serious responsibilities, ensuring that your organization’s business is transacted efficiently and successfully.

You must realize, however, that despite your loyalty to your employer, you are required to adhere to Notary laws and procedures.

Your commission is yours and yours alone. Even if your employer asks you to perform an improper notarization, you must abide by the law… or risk potentially serious consequences could be varied. For instance, the document could be rejected and require re-notarization, causing inconvenience and embarrassment.

If your improper notarization causes someone a financial loss, the injured party could sue you and your employer, and you would face having to pay for damages. You could also lose your commission, and criminal penalties, even imprisonment, could result.

By adhering to the law, you benefit your organization – and protect yourself and your employer from serious financial and legal consequences.

Here are some of the more common requests for improper notarizations . . . and why Notaries can’t perform them.

To Provide a Notarial Certificate Not Attached to a Document…
Is improper. It would be unwise for the Notary to trust that a signed and sealed notarial certificate will be attached to its intended document. This could lead to fraud.

To Certify a Translation…
Is not within a Notary’s authority. However, a Notary can notarize the signature of another person on a translator’s declaration.

To Notarize Without Seeing an ID…
Is only allowed when the Notary personally knows the person or has the sworn testimony of a personally known third party who also knows the signer.

To Certify an Object or Event…
Is outside the authority of Notaries in most states. The Notary’s functions are to give an oath, certify a signature after identifying the signer, and in some states, certify a copy as identical to an original.

To Perform a Notarial Act for Someone Who Does Not Seem to Understand the Document…
Would be to violate one of the fundamental duties of the Notary – to screen each signer for identity, willingness and awareness.

To Notarize When There’s a Conflict of Interest…
Is improper since neither the Notary nor any subscribing witness, attorney in fact or other representative should have a personal interest in a notarized document.

To Falsify the Date of Notarization…
Is a fraudulent act that could lead to criminal prosecution for the Notary as well as the person who instructed him or her to do so.

To Use an Interpreter in the Notarial Act…
Is wrong because the Notary must communicate directly with the document signer or oath-taker in order to screen for identity, willingness and awareness.

To Certify the Contents of or Notarize a Photograph…
Is outside the authority of Notaries; it is not a notarial act.