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State Laws and Extra Notary Certificates

Notary Signing Agents often are asked by title companies and signing services to include extra signed and stamped notarial certificates in the completed loan packages they return after an appointment.  The reason given is that the company wants extra certificates to rectify any mistake the NSA made in completing a notarial certificate on the mortgage, deed of trust or other notarized document in the loan package without having to send the entire document back for the NSA to correct. That would take precious time that could delay the closing of the transaction.But this is a problem for NSAs. While you instinctively want to follow the instructions your clients give you, this one requires you to violate Notary law.State Laws And Extra Notary Certificates

Many states address the issue of sending pre-signed, pre-stamped certificates, but they do it in different ways.

  • Some states, such as Florida, outright prohibit the practice.
  • Other states, such as California and Mississippi, require Notaries to complete the certificate at the time they sign and affix their seal. Notaries in these states who fail to do this can have their commissions suspended or revoked, and California Notaries could be fined.
  • Still other states’ laws say that a certificate must be completed “contemporaneously” with the performance of the notarial act, not before or after.
  • Maryland takes a different approach. Notaries there may only complete certificates that are already part of the document; they may not complete and use loose or separate certificates at all. So they cannot send additional, unattached certificates.

NSAs in states that do not have one of these explicit laws should follow the established professional standard of practice against providing these extra certificates to clients. In fact, much of the mortgage industry already recognizes that requests for extra certificates are inappropriate. 

The Notary Signing Agent Code of Conduct, drafted by the Signing Professionals Workgroup, specifically prohibits NSAs from complying with such requests.  Saying No To Your Client

As much as you might not want to, you will have to say “no” to any client who asks you to send extra certificates. Simply explain that it is against the law.  Every certificate you complete must be attached to, related to or connected to a specific document. You also can remind the client that if an unattached certificate were to be used for fraud, they could be named in a lawsuit.
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