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Documents that cannot be notarized?

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Posts: 4
Topic starter
New Member
Joined: 10 years ago

Hello. So I recently had someone come to me with documents that were to be sent to Hong Kong China in regards to court proceedings. They included a affidavit, which could obviously be notarized with a jurat. But the lawyer also said that 7 supporting documents needed to be notarized. They included copies of bank statements showing a wire transfer, copies of emails sent between two parties, etc. that all pertained to the case at hand.
Is there any way to legally notarize bank statements? The lawyer was arguing with me that simply the lady signing the page meant that i was able to notarize it, but I disagreed because there is no statements being made so I can't exactly just notarize it because it has a signature on it.
It has always been my understanding that there must be a statement of some sort, which is original to the signer, in order to notarize.
I know a document custodian is an alternative, that would have been allowable right? I did not tell the client about that as it is legal advice, and the lawyer did not suggest it.
I told her no, and they ended up going to UPS where the notary said its none of their business what the contents of the document are, as long as they have a signature on it they can notarize it.

So confused. But pretty sure if i would have just attached jurats or acknowledgment to a bank statement with a signature written in it would have been illegal.

Thanks for any advice!

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Posts: 8
(@Anonymous 1293)
Active Member
Joined: 10 years ago

The options depend on the state.

In any state, you can take an acknowledgement of the signer's signature, and complete an acknowledgement certificate. Whether this will be acceptable to the court in Hong Kong is the lawyer's problem.

Some states allow notaries to make certified copies; there may be restrictions on what kind of documents can be certified. The safest thing for the notary to do would be to only certify copies if the notary is certain the document presented to him/her is an original and is what it purports to be. The notary would not be in a position to know if a bank statement or email is genuine and unaltered unless the notary works for the bank or ISP respectively. An example of a document where the notary could be certain would be a document that is prepared in front of the notary. And you already mentioned the possibility of a certification by the document custodian.

Posts: 104
(@Anonymous 1186)
Estimable Member
Joined: 13 years ago

Rachaelmc7, Most Notaries Public make things more complicated then they have to be. Always keep in mind that
we notarize signatures, not documents. Somebody writes a letter on lined paper and signs the paper and wants their
signature notarized, no problem. As long as you have proper I.D. and tell me the type of notarial act you want.

You can show them a blank Acknowledgment, Jurat, Copy Certification by Document Custodian, Jurat with Affiant Statement and ask if any of these will work for them. People ask all the time, what is the difference between an Acknowledgment and a Jurat. I find it easier to hand them a copy and let them decide. I never choose for them.