Skip to main content

5 Common Mistakes for Notaries

When it comes to notarizing, careless mistakes can lead to serious legal trouble, not only for the Notary themselves but the signer as well. Being aware and avoiding these common mistakes is the best way to stay out of legal trouble. Therefore, here are five common mistakes that notaries should always avoid:

Happy businessman communicating over mobile phone and working on laptop while being at work.

Absent Signer

Except in rare, strictly limited situations such as when an attorney represents a principal signer, a signer must always be present to sign before the notary. There have been many cases of fraud with stories explaining why the document signer wasn’t able to appear before the notary. The Florida Notary Association is here for you to provide the clarification and resources you need to become a notary in Florida.

In addition, most people agree that failing to require the signer to physically appear before the notary is one of the most common mistakes, which leads to notaries finding themselves in legal trouble. Notarizing without a signer’s physical appearance is illegal in every state, which could result in significant financial and legal fees for a notary.

Florida Notary Laws

Closeup shot of two businesswomen working together on a laptop

Notarization Records

A large number of notaries neglect to track their demonstrations, particularly in states that don’t require it. In these situations, notaries could avoid this issue by maintaining a journal to protect them in case someone was to make a claim against them. Furthermore, if the notary chose not to record their data in a journal when the law requires it, it could lead to a serious offense.

identification cards

Proper Identification

If the signer personally shows up and presents a valid ID, then the notary is safe to go ahead and continue with the process. Reasonable reliance on the presentation to the notary public of any of the following forms of identification, if the document is current or has been issued within the past 5 years and bears a serial or other identifying number, following are the common forms typically presented:

  • Florida Identification Card
  • Florida Driver’s License
  • US Passport
  • Inmate Identification Card
Business People Working in The Office

Different Notaries Acts

It’s important to keep in mind that an acknowledgment is different than a jurat. Notaries often think these two acts are interchangeable. However, the document must be “sworn to” or “affirmed” and then signed in your presence. If a notary performs the wrong kind of action, it could result in the document being re-notarized, or potentially result in a legal challenge. Whenever you’re going through the notary process, it’s imperative you understand the proper instructions and the kind of notaries acts desired for every situation. Also, notaries need to remember that non-attorney notaries are not allowed to choose the notaries act for the signer.

Disputing document

Incomplete Certificates

It’s not uncommon for recording offices to list incomplete notary’s certificates as a reason for rejecting documents. Notaries that fail to write the signer’s name onto the notary’s certificate serves as a prime example an incomplete certificate. Also, notaries tend to omit the location where the actual notarization took place, or forget to write and sign their name on the certificate. When filling out the certificate, Notaries should always make sure they have all the required information documented within the notaries wording.