Can I Notarize A Document For My…
Who can I notarize a document for? My Spouse? My Child? My Great Aunt’s 2nd Cousin Twice Removed?
As a notary you will find yourself being asked to help friends and family with their notarial needs. But how do you know who you can notarize a document for and who you cannot?
The question to be asking is not “Can I notarize a document for my family members?” but instead “In what circumstances should I NOT notarize a document?” In general, it is not illegal to notarize something for a family member, including your spouse or children. However, many states have statutes that make it illegal to notarize documents in which you will benefit.
More specifically, DO NOT notarize a document if you are directly a party to that instrument by way of:
- Beneficial Interest – your motive could be questioned if you are to receive a benefit later. So will you prosper in the future? (i.e.: notarizing your father’s deed when the house will be left to you in the will.)
- Financial Interest – monetary reward/value. (i.e.: receiving part of the settlement proceeds from the document you are notarizing for your brother-in-law)
- Emotional Interest – something that would cause you to influence the signer. (i.e. overseeing the signing of a Power of Attorney whereby your grandmother is giving your mother the power to act on her behalf).
Something else to consider is the probability of a direct interest is typically greater with immediate family members, such as a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter, sister or brother — than with non-immediate members, such as in-laws, cousins, nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles.
In many instances, a notary will have no interest in notarizing for a relative and will not be prevented by law from doing so. However, to avoid later questioning of the notary’s impartiality, as well as accusations of undue influence, it is always safest for a signer to find a notary who is not related. To help with this and many other questions a potential notary may have, we recommend that every notary take one of our training courses because knowledge will help you to avoid legal or financial problems from negligence. Ignorance of the law is not a valid legal defense.
Faced with a complex notarization? Unsure how to continue? Do you need answers? We can help you with all of your notarial questions and we don’t charge a fee or require membership! Call (888) 263-1977 , Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. CST; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST.