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Templates for Notary Certificates

It is not unusual for notaries to be presented with documents that have no notarial certificate, an incomplete notarial certificate, or an incorrect, inappropriate or non-compliant certificate.  In those situations, the notary has to determine how to rectify the problem.

Here’s how you handle these issues:

  • If there is no certificate wording on the document, it is the responsibility of the requester to instruct the notary as to the type of notarial act that is needed. The notary may not tell the requester what is appropriate, although it is acceptable for the notary to explain the options.  [Hint – use the “Quick Guide to Notarizing in Montana” to help you.]
    • Once you have determined the appropriate notarial act you have three choices:
      • Hand write a complete notarial certificate directly on the document
      • Affix a pre-printed label to the document and complete it
      • Complete and attach a loose certificate
  • If there is a certificate on the document but it was created with some of the information already entered (such as the venue, the date, or the name of the intended signer) that is not accurately reflecting the notarization you are performing, you must correct the inaccurate details.  You may simply line through the inaccurate words and insert the correct words.  For example:
    • If the document has the venue wording, State of Texas, County of _________, the notary should line through the word “Texas” and insert “Montana”, then continue by inserting the county where the notarization is being performed.
    • If the date was pre-printed in the Statement of Particulars and you are performing the notarization on a different date, you must correct the date to accurately reflect the date the notarization took place.
    • If the certificate language was pre-printed with the names of the expected signer(s) and the person who actually appears before you is not the same person, or if only some (but not all) of the named signers appear to you, you must line through the name(s) of the person who was not present when you performed the notarization.  Bottom line:  The information in the notarial certificate must accurately reflect exactly what happened, when it happened, where it happened and who it happened to.  It is the notary’s job to assure these details are 100% correct before affixing the notary’s signature and stamp.
  • If the certificate on the document calls for a signature witnessing or a jurat, where the notary is expected to actually see the signer sign the document and the document has already been signed, you must ask the signer to sign again in your presence: You may not change the notarial wording to an acknowledgment.

Refer to Chapter 4 of the Montana Notary Public Handbook for more information about the types of Notarial Acts and the recommended short form certificate language for each type of notarial act.

NOTE:  You must always complete a full notarial certificate, including the venue, the date, the type of notarial act and the name of the individual for whom the notarization was performed, as well as your signature and stamp, when notarizing a document.  You can never simply sign and stamp a document; that is a violation of  §1-5-625(1)(d), MCA.

For your convenience we have prepared printable notarial certificates for the most frequently requested notarial acts enumerated in Title 1, Chapter 5, Part 6 of the Montana Code Annotated (i.e., 1-5-610 (1 – 13), MCA).

There are three options:  Full Page Loose Certificates, which can be printed on a standard piece of paper and stapled to the document, Half-page Loose Certificates, or Labels which can be printed out on Avery© shipping labels, #8163, (2 in. x 4 in.) that print out ten to a sheet and can then be affixed directly to the document. NOTE: These labels may not be used on Montana Motor Vehicle Forms.

We suggest that you take a few minutes and download a master set of these certificates so that you can have quick and easy access when the need arises.