Notaries sometimes encounter situations or 'gray areas' such as having to question a signer's mental state or reject a request that seems suspicious. There are occasions when something seems off about a notarization, even if the signer has satisfactory proof of identity and seems willing to sign. Your suspicions could be raised by something as simple as the document’s title, or the odd behavior of someone present for the notarization.


Another tough situation many Notaries face is employer requests that conflict with what your state allows. Some employers mistakenly assume that if they pay for your commission and tools, they may direct you to ignore your state's requirements. 


State laws and guidelines don't always provide specific guidance or procedures to evaluate whether a notarization is suspicious or not. When your state laws don't fully address such situations, take these precautions.


If a signer’s mental state or demeanor raises concerns, engage the signer in a casual conversation.

If the signer cannot coherently engage in conversation, you may decline to continue with the notarization. If your state laws do not specify otherwise, this should be sufficient to decide whether you can continue the notarization.


If your employer makes a request for you as a Notary Public, ask yourself the following questions:

If an employer asks you to do something clearly prohibited by state law — such as ignoring ID requirements, backdating a notarization or falsifying a journal record — your duty is to refuse. But there are other situations that aren’t addressed in every state’s statutes.


Is the employer’s request taking place during business hours? 

Some employers have tried to prohibit Notaries from performing notarizations outside of business hours. While in most states an employer may dictate when a Notary-employee may perform notarizations while on the job, outside of business hours, a Notary may perform any lawful, reasonable notarization requested by a member of the public.




Ada N. Crenshaw

Nfinite Legacy Mobile Notary

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