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Multiple Document Signers – Not All Are Present


In real life, there’s no such rule of “only one named signer per document.” Many documents require the signatures of multiple persons, and any number of those signatures may require notarization.

Often, only one of the multiple signers named in a document is present for notarization of their signature. Newly commissioned Notaries—and sometimes even experienced Notaries—worry that perhaps all named signers must be present so all signatures may be notarized at the same time.

Worry not-- a Notary may notarize for any present signer and need not require the simultaneous presence of all named signers. Here’s a step-by-step process for dealing with this circumstance:

  • Review the document and notarial certificate to observe whose signature requires notarization, and what notarial act shall be performed.
  • Positively identify the present signer(s).
  • Strike-through the preprinted notarial certificate on the document if it doesn’t enable you to clearly indicate (only) the exact parties whose signatures you are notarizing. (Draw a single diagonal line through the certificate and initial the line.)
  • Complete a notarial certificate with only the name(s) of the signer(s) who appeared before you on that day (for example, “…before me personally appeared Sam Signer ONLY…”). Be sure your completed notarial certificate correctly reflects the signature notarial act you performed. Your certificate may be written or stamped on the document if there is room, or you may use a separate-sheet certificate that is attached to the document once completed (using a staple, never just a paperclip).
  • Create a separate record book entry for each present signer. Tie any separate record book entries together by a note in each entry’s “Comments” section (for example, “Entries X and XX and related…”).

Finally, remember that a Notary may never “add” onto a previously completed notarial certificate… each of the multiple Notaries who might officiate at different times for the various named signers of a document must complete their own, separate notarial certificate.

Related Article(s)

What Do I Do With My Record Book (Journal) Entry When a Notarization Is Cancelled (Not Completed)?

“Signature Witnessing” – A “No” for Some States’ Notaries

Can a Notary Also Serve as a Witness to a Document They’re Notarizing?

Category: Notary Blog