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Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do I need to go through a notary association?
The Secretary of State’s Office is the government office that commissions notaries in Nebraska and administers Nebraska notary laws. Nebraska notaries public or those desiring to become Nebraska notaries should be aware of out-of-state notary associations offering notary training. These associations often charge a fee for their training. Please be advised that the Secretary of State’s Office does not endorse these associations, nor are the associations affiliated with our office in any way.
These associations may offer additional “certification” training that is marketed to help notaries perform their duties. Our office does not sanction this training, which is not required to be a Nebraska notary. These associations may also offer notary supplies for sale. The only required notary supply that a commissioned notary needs to lawfully notarize in Nebraska is his or her inked stamp seal. (Journals are optional under Nebraska law but are recommended by our office.)
2. Can I notarize the signature of a relative?
By law, you may not notarize a document signed by any of the following: your parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, spouse, brothers or sisters. This includes in-laws, step, or half relatives.
In additional, except as provided in 64-211to 64-215, a notary may not notarize a document if the notary has a financial or beneficial interest in the transaction other than receipt of the ordinary notarial fee or is named as a party to the transaction.
3. Do I need to include my commission expiration date on my Notary Seal?
Yes, all notaries must include their commission expiration date on their notary seal.
You must use an ink stamp seal engraved with the following:
- State of Nebraska.
- General Notary or General Notarial.
- Your commissioned name.
- The expiration date of the commission.
4. If a document to be notarized does not have an 'affix seal here' notation, where is the best place to stamp my Seal?
It is best to affix your Seal in the general area of your signature (typically below or to either side). Be sure that you press firmly so that all information on the Seal is legible. Do not affix your stamp over printed text in the document or over signatures.
5. Must the attestation clause and notarization appear on the same page as the principal's signature?
Ideally, both the attestation clause and notarization would appear on the same page; however, it is not required by law.
6. If a document to be notarized does not have an attestation clause and there is not sufficient room on the form to add it, how should I notarize the document?
An attestation clause may be typed on a separate piece of paper and then signed, notarized, and stapled to the document presented for notarization.
7. If someone signs an Acknowledgement as President of a Corporation, Trustee of a Trust, etc., in addition to proof of personal identity, does the Notary also need to ask for proof of their official capacity with the Corporation or Trust?
No, proof of official capacity is not required.
8. I was recently married and need to know how to change my name on my Notary Commission.
You have two options for changing your name on your Notary Commission:
To change your name prior to your Commission expiration date, complete and submit the name/address change form, new bond, and $30 fee to our office. Upon receipt of these items, our office will assign you a new commission with a new expiration date. Then you may purchase a stamp with your new name and new commission expiration date.
You may keep notarizing using your current stamp and signing the name you are currently commissioned under until your commission officially expires. You will need to specify your new name when you renew your commission.
9. What should I do if a document is brought to me by the principal and the principal has already signed it?
First, if you don’t know the person, follow the identification procedures outlined in the next section. Second, ask the principal to sign again directly above where he/she had already signed the document and cross through the prior signature or use an acknowledgment to notarize the document.
10. Will you please list the methods to identify someone whose signature we will be notarizing?
The principal must be identified through “Satisfactory Evidence”:
- A government issued identification card with picture, signature and physical description.
- A passport.
- The oath or affirmation of one credible, unaffected, witness who is personally known to the notary and who personally knows the principal or the oaths or affirmations of two credible witnesses unaffected by the document or transaction to be notarized who each personally knows the individual and shows to the notary public documentary identification as described above.
- The principal is personally known to the notary through interaction over a period of time.
11. A document was prepared in another state and sent to our client here in Nebraska to be notarized. Since the document originated in another state, the venue (location) in the attestation clause section of the document was pre-filled. What is the proper way to correct this?
The notary should cross through the error, in this case the incorrect name of the state, and write in Nebraska and the county where the notarization takes place. NEVER use correction fluid or tape to correct errors appearing on a document to be notarized.
12. When I resigned from my job, my previous employer kept my Notary Seal and Certificate because my employer paid my Notary commission fees. Do I need to begin the Notary commissioning process all over again?
No, you do not need to be re-commissioned. We can issue you a new commission certificate for your records and you may purchase a new Notary Seal to use when notarizing. The fee for a replacement copy of the commission certificate is $15.00.
13. Can I notarize the signature of a minor?
The law does not prohibit notarizing a document signed by a minor; however, you should be cautious because a minor may not understand the document they are signing. You would still need satisfactory evidence of identification as discussed above in FAQ #9.
14. Can I notarize my own signature?
No, A Notary may not notarize their own signature!
15. Am I required to maintain a journal? If so, where might I purchase a journal?
Notary journals are not required under Nebraska law; however, we highly recommend that you do use a journal. You can purchase a journal from your local office supply store or use the example journal on our website: Notary Journal.
16. What should I put in the venue (State of ….County of….) section at the top of the notarial certificate?
This section is for the venue (or location) where the notarization actually took place. So, if you are notarizing a document in Lincoln, Nebraska, you would fill in the venue section of the notarial certificate with the following: State of Nebraska, County of Lancaster. If the venue section is already completed before your receive the document, you should cross through the State and County information if it is incorrect and write in the correct information.
17. Is a Notary Public required to read the document to be notarized or offer advice about the content of the document?
No, A Notary is not required to read the document and may not offer advice about the legality of the document. Nor should you prepare or complete documents unless you are an attorney or professional in a relevant area of expertise. You should point out blanks to the principal (person signing the document) and explain that others could complete them after the notarizing without permission (see #18 below). If you keep a journal, note how the principal decided to deal with them.
18. A document is presented to me to notarize that contains blanks. How should I proceed?
Refuse to notarize until all blank spaces are either filled in or lined through and initialed by the principal.
19. Can someone be commissioned as a Notary Public after being convicted of a felony?
Yes, but only if they have received a full pardon prior to being commissioned as a Notary Public.
20. Can someone be commissioned as a Notary Public if they have been convicted of a crime involving fraud or dishonesty?
Yes, however, the conviction must have occurred 5 or more years prior to being commissioned as a Notary Public.
If you have further questions, please contact us by email at email@example.com or call (402) 471-2558.