The Names Have to Match

The Names Have to Match

One of the core responsibilities of a Notary Public is to certify (write down) the identity of the person(s) signing a Notarized document.

So, when the Notary does not already know you personally, they must see proper I.D., which is defined in Tennessee as Driver License, State-issued I.D. Card, Military I.D. or Passport.

The I.D. MUST have at least as much of the signer’s name as the document being Notarized. In other words, the name on the document can be less than the name on the I.D., but not more.

So, if your I.D. shows you are, for instance, Jo ANN Smith, you can’t sign a Notarized doc that has your name as Jo ANNA Smith — even if you sometimes use Jo Anna as a nickname.

One extra letter means your identity has not been “proven on the basis of satisfactory evidence to be the” same as the person who is supposed to sign the document.

You can sign as Jo A. Smith, as that is less than what the I.D. shows.

If your I.D. shows you as Jo A. Smith, you can not sign the document as Jo Anna Smith, as that is more than the I.D. shows.

If your I.D. shows you as Jo Smith, you can only sign as Jo Smith or J. Smith — not Jo A. Smith or Jo Anna Smith.

If your I.D. has your first name, middle name, and married name (a total of 3 names), you can not sign with your first, middle, maiden and married name (a total of 4 names).

No matter how often this is explained, some people just don’t seem to understand.

Notarizing without satisfactory proof of your identity is a violation of the laws that govern Notaries, as well as Notary ethics and  rules and laws against fraud that are in place to protect the public.

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About Tim Gatewood

55+, male, widowed (May 2016). Mobile notary public and signing agent, freelance writer, and ordained minister. Science fiction and fantasy fan, willing servant to cats, avid reader and collector of books and other stuff. Please see my websites (including this blog and others) for more info on me and what I think about the issues of the day.
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