I got a call yesterday from someone in Colorado Springs in need of a mobile notary to notarize a Lease Agreement. When I arrived I asked to see the notary certificate on the document.
Instead of the usual notarial wording, all it had was the word 'NOTARY'.
Apparently this was the place where the notary was supposed to do whatever it is that notaries do.
The problem with this is that, notaries may not notarize a document unless it contains a notary certificate. And a notary may not choose what type of notary certificate to add to a document. This is considered the unauthorized practice of law (UPL).
Rather than go through a lengthy discourse on notary law, I told the person that they would have to choose what type of notary certificate to add to the document. I took out an acknowledgement and a jurat from my briefcase. They recognized the wording on the acknowledgement and wanted that. So I used an acknowledgement.
There were two ways to add the notary certificate (notary wording).
I could have attached a loose certificate,
or used an acknowledgement stamp and stamped the wording on the document. Since the document had enough room on it, I used an acknowledgement stamp.
This is a problem that I face often. Signers don't understand the role of a notary, and don't realize that notaries may not notarize a document unless it has a notary certificate. And if it doesn't have a notary certificate, the signer has to give the notary instructions as to how it should be notarized. It isn't enough to say, 'Notarize it.'
If you have a hand-written letter, or any kind of document that does not contain notarial wording, see the section on my website, Acknowledgement or Jurat?, to determine what type of notarization you want the notary to perform. The instructions must come from you, the signer. The notary may not make that decision for you.