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Notary Public Underwriters Blog

Improper Pressure to Notarize

 

All notaries are governed by state laws (including administrative rules) that address which notarial acts a notary may perform, and in most states also address when the notary may not notarize.

Though notaries are public service-oriented and want to help, the seasoned ones also know that mindset must never keep them from refusing to notarize when the law—or their reasonable care—demands it.

Sadly, lack of respect for a notary’s duty to refuse or stop a notarization when the notary cannot lawfully proceed leads to conflict with those who insist the notarization must be performed anyway. “Conflict” is not too strong a word… many notaries who improperly notarize do so because they feel threatened with punishment, including loss of income, their job or their clients.

Here are some examples of improper pressure that many notaries will recognize:

  • An employer with a well-known client wants an employee notary to notarize the client’s signature on a document, but the client is not personally present before the notary.
  • An employee notary is given several unsigned documents and told to “streamline” the workflow by completing the notarial certificates beforehand, including signing and sealing them.
  • A family member pressures the notary to sign and seal a notarial certificate on a signed document, outside of the signer’s presence, so the document can be submitted by its looming deadline.

In all these examples, the notary’s correct course would be to refuse the pressure to notarize improperly.

In addition, remember that many states require notaries to create a record, in a record book or journal, of all the notarial acts they perform. By falsifying a notarial certificate, then creating a journal record based on that false information, a notary is merely compounding their misconduct. Not to mention, compromising the trustworthiness of the notary’s official records.

It’s incredibly difficult to tell others in positions of authority that you will not notarize improperly, but remember what is at stake. Your reputation, your employment, your very livelihood will be damaged when your misconduct is discovered and punished. The only way to handle demands that you commit improper* “notarizations” is to firmly refuse to break the law.
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*NOTE: If you’re commissioned in a state that requires notaries to hold a surety bond, then at least any parties harmed by your improper acts can file a claim against your bond. But you must always repay your surety bond company for any amount paid out under your bond. To protect yourself against damages resulting from your unintentional error or omission, you need to purchase an errors and omissions (E&O) policy. Contact Notary Public Underwriters for more information about this essential insurance coverage for notaries.


Related Article(s)

Declining a Notarization: A Guide to Handling a Delicate Situation With Professionalism

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

How to Handle Out-Of-State Documents

Tips to Protect Your Notary Stamp and Journal

What to Do When the Notary Certificate Is Missing?

Category: Notary Blog