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Things to Know before a Notary Signing Appointment



1. DO NOT SIGN document until you are in the presence of the notary. Acknowledgment Certificate is OK to have been signed years ago.


2. If you have questions about how to complete the document, contact the person who drafted or requested the document. A Notary Public is unable to provide legal advice or assistance in the drafting and/or completion of documents.


3. Every signer must physically appear, be coherent and present acceptable ID at the time of notarization.  IDENTIFICATION PROBLEMS- SEE BELOW


4. Original documents must be presented for all Copy Certification.  Vital records (birth, death and marriage) cannot be notarized.


5. Know which Notary Certificate you need. Notary cannot give advice on which one to use.





All identification cards must be ORIGINAL, current or issued within the last 5 years, contain a photo, physical description, signature, and serial number. Identification procedures are mandated by the Michigan Secretary of State. The following forms of identification are acceptable:


• Driver's License

• U.S. Military ID card

• Identification Card

• U.S. Passport

• Foreign Passports Stamped by U.S. Customs

The name you will be signing on the document must match or be "SHORTER THAN" the name on your ID. An ID in your maiden name along with a marriage license evidencing your married name is not acceptable. (see below how to use Credible Witnesses).


CORRECT ID: Document Signature = John Smith (SHORTER THAN)  Id = John Adam Smith







If none of the above-mentioned Identification is available, or the name on your ID is different or shorter than what is on the document then you can use:



TWO CREDIBLE WITNESSES - that can swear to the signer's identity. They must have proper ID, is age 18 or older, know the signer by the name on the document, is not named in the document nor have a financial interest in the transaction described in the document. 


SIGNING BY "X" MARK  -  If signer is unable to sign and has Valid ID, two “disinterested” witnesses need to be present and be witnesses on the document. One witness should write the person’s name next to the person’s mark and then the witness should sign his or her name as a witness. The witnesses are only verifying they witnessed the individual make his or her mark on the document.​


I am not an attorney licensed to practice law, and I may not give legal advice, or accept fees for legal advice.


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