S.S.--What Does It Mean?

S.S. on the Notarial Certificate: What Does It Mean?   
ASN Hot Tip, May 2009-#2

Many documents, especially those generated by banks and similar institutions, display the symbol “S.S.” adjacent to the blanks for venue information (State of __________, County of __________). An astonishing number of notaries either don’t know the meaning of the “S.S.” symbol, or erroneously believe it is a request for a Social Security Number!  

In fact, “S.S.” is the abbreviation for “scilicet” – a Latin term meaning “namely” or “in particular.”  It is the predecessor of today’s familiar, and required, venue element. The pronunciation is (forgive our Latin!!) “SILL-le-cet.”  

While the venue on most notarial certificates will appear as follows:

      State of __________,
      County of _________,

the scilicet still makes an occasional appearance.

Here’s a venue example we found in one state’s online notary manual:
      State of _________
      County of ________ SS. (Town/City)
In this usage, the scilicet (remember, it means “namely” or “in particular”) indicates that the notary should further specify the venue by including the town or city name following the county name.

We found this example on another state’s certificate for an acknowledgment:

      State of _________
      County of________  S.S.
This usage is loosely translated, “County of (name of the county) in particular.” The notary simply fills-in the name of the county where the notarial act actually occurred.

The key to properly dealing with the S.S. notation is, always indicate the venue with the standard required information of state and county. Then, decide whether the S.S. notation on the certificate is requiring additional information such as the town or city, or whether the S.S. is simply a formality in the structure of the venue that you have already satisfied by noting the county name. In most all cases, it will be the latter.

If you still have questions when encountering an S.S. (“scilicet”) notation, don’t hesitate to call your ASN members-only, toll-free hotline for assistance.

Questions, comments on this Hot Tip?  Email support@asnnotary.org

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