How to Handle Multiple Signers
While there are some variables, one thing never changes no matter how many people crowd into your office: Each signer must appear before you and be properly identified. There are no exceptions.
Depending on the act, aspects of the notarization that do change with multiple signers are the notarization procedure, your notarial register entry, and the fees that you may charge. Let’s take a closer look at multiple signers with regard to the two most common notarial acts: acknowledgments and affidavits.
Having multiple signers on acknowledgments is not uncommon. For example, transferring the deed to real estate or getting a home mortgage often requires both husband and wife to acknowledge their signatures.
All signers must appear before you and be identified in order to acknowledge their signatures.
Note: If signers appear before you at separate times to acknowledge their signatures, you will need to complete a separate acknowledgment for each signer instead of one acknowledgment for multiple signers. The signers do not need to sign the document in your presence. In many cases the document will have been signed already. The signers only need to tell you that they signed the document, they intended to sign the document,and they knew what they were signing. In the body of the acknowledgment,insert the name of each individual who appeared before you to acknowledge his or her signature.
Make one register entry for an acknowledgment for multiple signers, but be sure to include the name of each signer in the entry.You may need to use more than one line in your register to record all of the names.
You are permitted to charge a notarial fee of $5 for the first signer and $2 for each additional signer who acknowledges his or her signature. Record the total notarial fee in your register.
An affidavit is a written statement signed under oath or affirmation, usually by an individual. When a printed form requires more than one individual’s sworn signature, it usually contains multiple affidavits on the same form or a separate jurat for each sworn signature.
One notable exception is the correction affidavit on the back of a Pennsylvania birth certificate. When the baby’s name is misspelled or the date of birth is wrong, both parents need to sign a sworn statement to make the correction.
In addition, you may encounter affidavits created specifically to be signed by more than one individual. For example, customers making a claim on their homeowners insurance will sometimes have to provide a single sworn statement or eyewitness account of damage to the house, signed by all owners or residents.
Each signer must appear before you and be identified in order to take an oath or affirmation and sign the statement in your presence.
Note: If signers appear before you to sign the statement at separate times, you will need to notarize a separate affidavit for each signer instead of one affidavit with multiple signers. Unlike an acknowledgment, an affidavit must be signed in front of you. When possible, insert into the notarial wording the names of the signers whose signatures you witnessed.
Make one register entry for an affidavit with multiple signers, but be sure to include the name of each signer in the entry. You may need to use more than one line in your register to record all of the names. Do not make a separate register entry for the oath or affirmation you administer as part of an affidavit. It is not a separate notarial act.
The notarial fee for one affidavit, no matter how many signers have signed it, is $5. Do not charge a separate fee for any oath or affirmation administered as part of an affidavit.