A Properly Notarized Document

One of the things that inspired me to start writing a book for notaries is the fact that I’ve seen many documents that were incompletely or improperly notarized.

It’s no mystery as to why this is: Tennessee (and most other states) does not require any education or testing of its Notaries, so people come into the office with little or no awareness of what it entails. Something as basic as the elements of a properly notarized document are not fully explained in the Tennessee Notary Handbook and, as most notaries are employees whose employers don’t know the details of being a notary, there is no obvious way to learn what’s required.

It is my hope that my books and these blog posts will help fill in this gap in education so that American notaries (and Tennessee notaries especially)  can do a better job of serving the public.

So, here are the essential elements for a properly notarized document.

  • Body of the document
  • Venue
  • Notary Certificate
  • Notary Commission Expiration Date
  • Notary Seal
  • Notary Signature

Before the Notary can notarize the document, they need to do the following:

  • Verify the Identity of the Signer(s)
  • Confirm that the Signer(s) is/are present before the Notary and are signing freely, willingly and with awareness of what they are signing
  • Record the document(s) being notarized in the Notary Journal (which is now required in Tennessee, regardless of whether you charge a fee to notarize)
  • Have the Signer(s) sign the Notary Journal for each document being notarized

I will cover each of these elements in detail in my series of books. Please Follow this blog for news about my books, as well as other information on being a notary public  and on making money as a notary.


About Tim Gatewood

55+, male, widowed. Mobile Notary Public and Signing Agent, Freelance Writer, and Ordained Minister. Willing servant to cats. Science fiction and fantasy fan, avid reader, Founder of the Darrell Awards. Author of _Getting Started As A Notary Signing Agent_ (available from https://notarymemphis.wordpress.com/books). Please be kind to one another.
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