Common Notary Mistakes: Avoiding Errors in Notarial Acts

common notary mistakes

Notaries public play a vital role in upholding the authenticity and legality of various documents. However, like any profession, notaries can make mistakes. In this blog post, we’ll delve into some common notary mistakes and provide insights on how to prevent them. From ensuring the preprinted venue on a notary certificate is correct to understanding the importance of accurate dates, we’ll cover key aspects of error-free notarization.

Mistake 1: Incorrect Preprinted Venue on a Notary Certificate

One of the most common notary mistakes is failing to verify the accuracy of the preprinted venue on a notary certificate. The venue should correctly reflect the location where the notarization took place. A mismatch between the venue and the actual location can render the notarization invalid.

How to Avoid: Always double-check the venue on the notary certificate to ensure it matches the notarization location.

Mistake 2: Notary and Signature on Different Pages

Another error that can occur is when the notary’s seal and signature are on a different page from the document signer’s signature. Some jurisdictions require the notary to be physically present when the document is signed.

How to Avoid: Ensure that your notary seal and signature are on the same page as the document signer’s signature, especially if your state requires it.

Mistake 3: Mismatched Dates

The date on the notary certificate must match the date when the document signer appears before the notary and signs the document. Mismatched dates can lead to document rejection or legal complications.

How to Avoid: Always ensure that the date on the notary certificate matches the date of the signature.

Mistake 4: Incorrect Notary Signature

Notaries must sign their name exactly as it appears on their notary commission. Deviating from your official notary signature can cause issues with the validity of notarized documents.

How to Avoid: Sign your name as a notary exactly as indicated on your notary commission.

Mistake 5: Misplacement of the Notary Seal

Notary seals are typically placed to the left of the signature, but the specific placement can vary by state. Placing the seal in the wrong position can lead to document rejection.

How to Avoid: Familiarize yourself with your state’s requirements for notary seal placement.

Mistake 6: Using Whiteout on Notarized Documents

Using correction fluid or whiteout on notarized documents is generally not allowed, as it can raise suspicions of tampering. Avoid this practice to maintain document integrity.

How to Avoid: Make sure all documents are error-free before notarizing, and if a mistake is made, start with a fresh document.

Mistake 7: Failing to Require Proper Identification

Notaries must identify the signer through satisfactory evidence or personal knowledge. Failing to require and verify proper identification is a common mistake.

How to Avoid: Follow your state’s guidelines for identifying the signer and maintaining a record of the type of identification used.

Mistake 8: Failure to Record Notarial Acts in the Journal

Some states require notaries to maintain a notary journal to record details of each notarial act. Failing to accurately document these acts can lead to legal issues or disciplinary actions.

How to Avoid: Keep a thorough and organized notary journal, recording all the necessary information for each notarial act.

Mistake 9: Not Renewing the Notary Commission

Notaries often have a set term for their commission, typically four years. Allowing your commission to expire without renewal can result in the inability to perform notarizations.

How to Avoid: Keep track of your commission expiration date and initiate the renewal process well in advance.

Mistake 10: Misunderstanding the Type of Notarial Act

Different documents may require different notarial acts, such as acknowledgments, jurats, or oaths. Performing the wrong type of notarial act on a document can invalidate it.

How to Avoid: Familiarize yourself with the types of notarial acts and ensure you correctly identify and perform the required act for each document. View Common Types of Notarial Acts and Their Significance.


Avoiding these common notary mistakes is essential for upholding the integrity of notarized documents and maintaining compliance with state requirements. Being diligent, thorough, and well-informed is key to ensuring that notarial acts are error-free and legally binding. Remember that errors and omissions insurance can provide added protection in case mistakes do occur. By staying informed and practicing due diligence, notaries can continue to provide valuable services to their clients while minimizing common errors that can lead to legal complications.

Liked this post? Check out Common Notary Mistakes, 10 Common Mistakes Notaries Make and How to Correct Them, and Have you made a Notary Mistake?

Notary Public Class
Author: Notary Public Class

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