Every once in a while a Notary will receive a request that is either unlawful and/or harmful to the Notary and/or signer
To ensure you are following the law, it is always advisable to contact the office were the document was drafted or the office where the document will be filled to clarify the requirements BEFORE appearing in front of the Notary.
Below are some examples/requests a Notary receives that are either unlawful and/or harmful to the Notary and/or signer. As a precaution, you should verify if any of these or the acts you are requesting are unlawful in the state the document will be filed.
- Asking the Notary to sign a document for someone who is not present. In Virginia, Notaries are prohibited from notarizing ANY document without the principal signer being present. So keep in mind if you ask a Notary in Virginia to notarize the signature of a person who is not present, you are in essence requesting the Notary to commit criminal act.
- Notaries are not authorized to certify copies of the following documents:
- Birth certificates
- Marriage certificates
- Death certificates
- Patents or Copyrights
- TIP: for getting a certified copy of these documents is to contact the issuing office directly.
- Immigration and Non-Attorney assistance. Notaries should never advise on the subject of immigration nor help prepare immigration documents. For Immigration assistance, you will be better served by visiting one of the following:
- An Immigration Attorney
- The US Immigration and Naturalization Service Office
- The US Immigration and Naturalization Office online
- A Virginia Notary may notarize a “Will” if clear instructions and the proper notarial certificate wording is provided in the “Will”
- Virginia Notaries are prohibited from offering advise regarding “Wills”
- TIP: Due to the sensitive nature of a “Will” it compels a visit to an attorney that specializes in them.
- Translations – Notaries in the United States are not authorized to certify translations, even if they are fluent in a particular language.
- Help with documents – Notaries are prohibited by state law from providing help with document preparation or giving advice on the content of a document. TIP: on where you can get assistance with your documents:
- Contact the office that gave you the document
- Contact the office were you will file the document
- Contact an Attorney
- Falsify a date – It is a criminal act for a public official to knowingly certify false information as true and correct. If you ask that the actual date of the notarization be changed, you can be accused of soliciting an illegal act, which itself is a crime
- Use an interpreter – The proper procedure to follow is to find a Notary who speaks the same language as the document signer. The most important detail to keep in mind is that a Notary must be able to communicate directly with any document signer or oath taker.
- Take another’s Oath – An “Oath” is a personal commitment of conscience that cannot be relayed through a third party. If your document states that the signer “subscribed and swore”, “deposed and said” or something similar, and oath is required. The oath taker must be in the presence of the Notary or other oath-taking officer.
2015 Island Girl Notary