When a mistake (of any kind) is made on the notarial certificated completed at the time of a notarization, it cannot simply be corrected using the same certificate. The notary must again meet with the original signer, ask to see ID, and in essence, repeat the whole process again, completing a new notarial certificate. The bottom line is that the California Secretary of State’s office issued the following statement in their January-2014 online Notary Newsletter:
“There are no provisions in the law that allowfor the correction of a completed notarialact. If you discover an error in a notarial actafter completing the act, then notarize the signature on the document again.”
The statement informs notaries that they are not allowed to correct mistakes on a notarial certificate after a notarization is complete.
As careful as most notaries are, any one of us can make the occasional mistake. Things such as an incorrect date, a missed stamp, a misspelled name, the wrong county where the notarization occurred. A new certificate can’t simply be rewritten and supplied. The Secretary’s position means that if you discover a mistake after leaving the signer, you must meet with the signer again and complete a new certificate of acknowledgment or jurat. You will need to go through all the steps of a proper notarial act, including positively identifying the signer and completing a full journal entry for the transaction. Essentially, you must perform a new notarization.
The reason for the do-over is that the Secretary’s statement views correcting certificates after the fact to be a form of backdating, which is a criminal act and official misconduct under the law and could result in the notary’s commission being suspended or revoked.
To view the California Secretary of State January-2014 for yourself, click here.