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Notary Notes

What to Do When There's No Notary Wording

by PAN

More often than not, customers do not know what type of notarization they need. If the document doesn’t have the proper notary wording to indicate what act to perform, your customer has to choose a notarial act to be performed. But how can they choose if they don’t understand?

You cannot choose what notarial act to perform on the signer’s behalf, but there are steps you can take to help your customer pick which notarization suits their needs.
Upon discovering that there is no notary wording on the document, inform your customer of the situation and explain why the wording is required on the document, and that you must add it to move forward. You should then ask the customer if they know which act they want you to perform. If the customer does not understand what the different acts are, you are permitted to explain them. To save time, we suggest summarizing the acts in one or two sentences:
  • Verification on oath or affirmation - “You would swear or affirm that the contents of the document are true and sign in my presence.”
  • Witnessing or attesting a signature - “You would simply sign the document in my presence.”
  • Acknowledgement - “You would confirm your understanding and willingness to sign the document.”
Although you can explain the acts to the customer, be sure to avoid making any suggestions or influence the signer in any way. If the signer is having a hard time, consider showing examples of various notarizations to help with any confusion.

If the customer cannot choose the notary act, you must refuse to notarize. Without the proper notary wording, the document cannot be notarized. If the customer chooses a notary act, ask permission to add or attach the notary wording. Once you complete the notarization, make a complete entry in your notary journal. We suggest including a comment in the remarks column about adding the wording.

Taking extra time to explain the type of notary acts and why notary wording is necessary will help your customer to make an informed decision regarding their document, and build your credibility as a notary.

Are you more of a visual learner? We have a video on Steps to a Notarization Without Notary Wording on our YouTube channel! You can also access helpful documents and notary wording documents on PAN’s member portal.

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