Multiple Signers, One Document

Handling Multiple Signers  
ASN Hot Tip, August 2009

When was the last time you were presented with one document featuring multiple signers, all of whom required a notarial act? It’s a relatively uncommon event for many notaries, as evidenced by the questions and comments we receive on the subject:  For example:

  Can I use the one notarial certificate on the document for all signers?
  Do I complete separate notarial certificates for each signer?
  I have multiple signers for this document, but only one place for the notary’s signature… what am I supposed to do?

Multiple signers will occur most commonly on documents requiring an acknowledgment… more rare will be multiple signers on a document requiring an oath/affirmation.

There are two very important considerations here, and how you proceed to handle a notarization with multiple signers will depend on whether some or all of the signers are appearing before you, simultaneously.

Example #1: All the signers of the document appear before you together, at the same time, for the notarization.

 

Example #2: Not all, but only one or some of the signers of the document will appear before you together, at the same time, for the notarization.

1.  You may use one notarial certificate to record the events of this “group” notarization. As customary, you will sign/seal the certificate just once, in the usual space.

1.  Same

2.  Having assured yourself that all the elements for proper notarization are in place, including positive identification of each signer, you will administer the appropriate verbal ceremony for the notarial act to each person. 2.  Same
3.  You will list every person’s name in the notarial certificate, for example, “…before me personally appeared John Doe and Susie Smith and Jane Simon….” 3. In the notarial certificate, you will clearly indicate that only certain signers appeared before you.  For example, “…before me personally appeared John Doe and Susie Smith ONLY….”
    4.  To make it difficult for any absent signer’s name to be fraudulently added to your certificate after the fact, try filling the white space around the names you properly listed with a border of X’s or similar.
5.  If one of the signers who did not appear for the original notarial act comes before you with this document for notarization on a later date, you must complete a separate, new, and properly dated notarial certificate. You cannot “add-on” the subsequent signer to your original certificate.
Additional Considerations, Both Examples:
  If there is not enough room on the notarial certificate provided to list every signer, you will strike through the original certificate with a single diagonal line, initial the line, and then print, stamp or attach another notarial certificate that provides the necessary space for multiple signer names.
 To be very clear in your recordkeeping, we recommend that you create a separate entry in your recordbook for each signer, even though they all signed the same document. Make a note in the “Comments” section of each entry that links all the separate entries together (“Entries X, Y and Z are related; multiple signers of the same document” or something to that effect).
Are there other considerations that we didn’t list here? Please share! Email your comments to Kathleen@asnnotary.org.

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