You may need to attach a certificate form to a document in the following circumstances:
When the document contains no certificate wording: This is the most obvious case since the requirement for Notaries to complete a certificate for each notarization is virtually universal. However, there are exceptions. Maryland, for example, does not allow Notaries to add wording to the document if it doesn’t already exist. Michigan repealed its statutory certificates and instead requires that the Notary add certain specified information after signing a document.
When the certificate does not comply with state requirements: Some states, such as California, have laws prescribing exact certificate wording. In Hawaii, a 2009 rule states that Notaries must include a ‘certification statement’ that is either part of the certificate wording or added to the certificate. In these states, Notaries must ensure the certificate complies with the law and add the correct form or certificate statement if it doesn’t.
When the certificate calls for an act the Notary can’t perform: One example is the act of “signature witnessing,” which Notaries can perform in approximately 20 states. Notaries in states that don’t permit signature witnessings, such as Arizona and Texas, would have to perform an acknowledgment or oath (or verification) instead, which would require an acknowledgment or jurat certificate be added to the document.
When there is no room for the Notary’s seal: Many states have laws requiring a Notary’s seal to be legible, and yet some documents provide insufficient space to affix a legible seal. If the seal will be placed over text or signatures in the document, it’s time to complete and attach a separate certificate form.
When there are multiple signers appearing at different times: In this case, a document may be signed in one place and notarized either by the same or a different Notary, and then presented to signers appearing at a different time and place before a Notary. In these cases, a separate certificate must be completed and added to the document because the signers appear separately.
When a Notary makes a mistake: In Florida and California, changes or amendments to a notarial certificate may not be made after the notarization is complete or when the signer and Notary have left each other’s presence. Florida Notaries are also required to use photographically reproducible black ink when affixing the seal impression. A Notary who mistakenly places the wrong date in a certificate, for example, may be asked to correct the error by attaching a new certificate to the original document when the signer and Notary meet again.
When there isn’t enough room for the names of all signers: Most certificates have ample space to write in the names of one or two signers who are having their signatures notarized at the same time. But, what if there are several signers and you run out of room? In this case, you’ll have to add a separate certificate to accommodate the names of any signers whose names won’t fit into the original certificate