Notary Public Underwriters Blog
May A Notary Correct Their Error or Omission on a Notarial Certificate?
- Published: May 8, 2023
It’s embarrassing, but it happens even to the most careful of Notaries: the Notary completes and signs a notarial certificate on a document, but later learns that they added incorrect information to the certificate, left out required information, or forgot to add their stamped or embossed seal.
Most states don’t prohibit their Notaries from correcting an error or oversight in a notarial certificate after the notarization, and may even have specific procedural requirements or guidelines.
If you are later asked to correct an error or omission on an notarial certificate, here’s how you can proceed.
- First, verify what your state laws and administrative rules allow or require you to do. For example, Florida law prohibits a Notary from amending a notarial certificate after the notarization has been completed, period. In contrast, Montana law allows a Notary to correct a mistake or omission if the Notary’s journal entry for the transaction provides evidence of the information.
- Require the entire original document, including the certificate that you previously completed, to be returned to you. Never accept only the notarial certificate.
- Carefully compare the returned document containing your notarial certificate to the description of the document in your Notary record book (journal).* You must feel certain you have been given the actual document containing the certificate of your notarial act—this is an important fraud prevention measure.
*This necessary step highlights the importance of recordkeeping. If you aren’t regularly using a Notary record book, order one today.
- Make the needed correction(s) to the notarial certificate. Draw a single line through the incorrect information, then legibly print the correct information. Initial all changes (including any line-outs of wrong information) and additions you make.
- In the record book entry for the original notarization, make a note that you corrected the notarial certificate, the nature of the correction, and the date of the correction. Add any other information you think is helpful, such as the party requesting the correction. Use an additional recordbook entry if you need more space to record information about the correction. In both record book entries, include a cross-reference to the other, related entry.
Final tip: Correcting errors in a notarial certificate should only be performed under an active, unexpired Notary commission. Do not correct any past notarial certificate errors if you allowed your commission to lapse and you’ve not renewed it.