You’ve finished your training and testing, you’ve received your commission, and now you’ve scheduled your first notarization. You’re ready! Or … are you?
If you are nervous about getting your first notarization right, you’re not alone. Aside from making sure you perform the notarization properly, you also want to make sure you’re prepared for any issue. Our NNA Hotline team receives calls like this every day from nervous first-time Notaries. These are the tips that our expert counselors give them:
1. Bring your Notary reference books and materials with you.
Having your state Notary handbook or NNA Notary Law Primer handy can mean the difference between a smooth first notarization and having to reschedule or stop altogether. With information on your state laws and official procedures at your fingerprints, you’ll have easy access to the answers to any questions that might come up while notarizing. And if you’re unsure you’re following proper procedure, your reference books can make sure you don’t accidentally forget anything important.
2. Don’t forget your seal and journal.
These are vital tools of your trade — before you set out on your first assignment, be sure you have them with you. If you have an ink seal, be sure that it has enough ink to make a clear seal impression.
3. Bring blank copies of the correct notarial certificate wording for different acts.
If the signer’s document doesn’t have preprinted certificate wording, or it has notarial wording from another state that you aren’t authorized to use, you will need to complete and attach a separate certificate with the correct wording to the document to complete the notarization. Having copies of the correct wording for your state’s notarial acts can save both you and the signer valuable time and avoid the need to postpone or re-schedule the notarization.
4. Don’t forget a stapler.
Bringing preprinted notarial wording won’t do you any good if you can’t attach it to the document. In addition to your notarial certificates, be sure to have a portable stapler. Before the appointment, make sure that it has staples.
5. Carry extra pens with you.
You can’t finish the notarization if nobody has a pen, or your pen runs out of ink during the notarization. Always be sure to carry plenty of extra pens in the event a spare is needed. Good luck.
David Thun is an Associate Editor at the National Notary Association.