Can I notarize a document that is already signed?


Can I notarize a document that is already signed?

If yes, what is the process.

No you can’t notarize a already signed document. That is the whole reason you are notarizing…to witness/authenticate their signature along with their identification. The document needs to be replaced with a unsigned document.

@MobileRonNotary depends on your state’s notary laws. In Florida, as in most states, if it’s an acknowledgement, then yes you can notarize it by having them acknowledge to you, in person, that it is their signature and they did sign the document … if a jurat where an oath is required, then no - it must be signed in your presence.

Check your state’s notary laws.


@MobileRonNotary Concur :100: percent with the post above by @LindaH-FL particularly regarding:

  • Review your specific state’s laws (with respect to ANY notarial act query)

  • Most states notary laws specify that an acknowledgement can be executed prior to meeting in-person with the notary, but that a jurat (which does require an oath to be administered by the notary) must be executed in the presence of the notarial officer



If it’s an Acknowledgment the answer is yes as long as the signer personally presents it, acknowledges their signature and has proper ID.

If it’s a Jurat (part of or attached to an affidavit) the answer is no. The document must be resigned in the presence of the notary, swear or affirm an oath to the truthfulness of the document and prove their identity to the notary.


Where are you located ~ what state?? Do you know your state laws? Are you a new Notary? Do your homework.

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She asked the question, which got her closer to the answer. That’s homework.

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Quite a few states, including most or all of the states that passed RULONA, allow signature witnessing as a notarial act. All the laws I looked at about signature witnessing require the signature to be affixed in the presence of the notary. (Presence may include appearing over a secure audio-video link, depending on the state.)

That’s not true. See Linda’s explanation.

Hi I just checked the law in my state like someone have mentioned, that it depends what kind of notarization it is, there’s one kind of acknowledgment that you are able to and another kind of affirmation can’t and it has to be resigned (not saying the state or the law so that everyone should look up their own States law, but in my state it is allowed if it meets that criteria)

An affirmation and an acknowledgement are two different things…as are an affirmation and a jurat

Yes, you may notarize a document previously signed as long as it doesn’t have a Jurat attached to it.

When in doubt have them sign it again

In my state, as in most states, an acknowledgment is acceptable if appearance is made personally before by the signer to the notary on the date of the acknowledgment. The date it was signed is irrelevant and no requirement exists compelling the signer to resign the document at the time of the appearance. I find it hard to believe that this confuses so many notaries.

remove the word “before” from my post

I’m not surprised notaries are confused, considering the poor quality of manuals issued by many notary commissioning authorities, and the even worse quality of some web sites offering advice to notaries. For example the 2020 Oregon Notary Public Guide, Chapter 5 “How to Notarize”, section 2 “Identify the Signer” discusses how to identify the signer.

But on page 41 we find a description of certifying to a copy of a document, and page 54 shows a sample certificate for a copy certificate. There is no signer. There is no one who has to appear or be identified. So the part of the manual that implies you always have to have a signer appear and be identified is misleading.