Signing copies of documents and faxing them back

So i had this assignment from a company in TX. They sent the paperwork and in the instruction to me there was a statement from the title company the read, "Do not alter or make ANY changes to ANY document whatsoever. So I proceeded to the signing and came across a document that needed to be notarized but the state on either the jurat or affirmation doc read “State of Texas”. Now normally which is pretty standard procedure I would just cross out the state and write the correct venue state and initial and call it a day.

However the instructions were clear. “DO NOT CHANGE ANY DOCUMENT” So I did have the signer sign and sent it back un-notarized. I get an email from the client telling me that I forgot to notarized one document they attached the document and asked me to notarize the copy and send it back. I refused to notarize the copy although I new that it was the signer that did sign the original. When I was confronted by an irate client she made mention that she was also a notary and has made these type of corrections “ON A COPY” before all the time and that it was not a big deal. I informed her that if I were to do what she was asking me to do I would be breaking the law. That pissed her off even more questioning my integrity for not admitting that I screwed up the signing and that they were at risk of losing a client because I should have crossed out the “Texas” wording on the venue and replaced it the correct venue of NY. She was right that is what I normally would do. But the instructions stated, “Do not alter or make ANY changes to ANY document whatsoever.”

So I offered to returned to the signer inconvenience her and have a sign an original and finally docs were completed.
So what would you do in a similar circumstance?


Correct the venue and initial - or attach a state-compliant jurat or acknowledgement.

I read “no changes to documents” as do not change anything in the body of the document. However, the notary cert is your domain and it must be compliant with your state laws.


Agree with LindaH. They can–and do–have many instructions that are not well-written or not what they really want. This is one example. But, Linda’s point that the notary cert is your domain and it must be compliant with your state laws is a very valid one (and overrides any squirrelly wording on their instructions to you.)


Would you have done what the signing company asked me to do, sign and notarize the copy and fax it back to them? I mean I get the that the certificate is my responsibility but I am still taken aback by her asking me to sign and notarize a copy.

No I would not – if they wanted me to correct it (a) I would correct it on my dime because it was my misunderstanding; and (b) they would have to send me the original and I would have to take it back to the signer(s) to be re-signed or re-acknowledged and then notarized - and the cert would have the date I meet with the signers for the re-sign…

You must always use the correct venue. I read this as ‘do not change the documents’ not ‘do not change the venue’. The state and county are always where your “feet” are. This establishes jurisdiction. In the event the document is challenged by anyone for any reason and it has to be adjudicated it must be in the court of the land where it was signed.

You didn’t give your state, so we can’t answer. In VT since 7/1/2019 filling out the cert must be done “contemporaneous” with the signing, which I take to mean during the signing session or immediately after.

Another reason to refuse would be if you didn’t administer an oath, or didn’t ask the signers to acknowledge their signatures.

The faxing part seems to be ok here. We now file scans of our notary oaths of office.

I just had this happen today. What I always do is contact the company who gave you the signing. Let them know the incorrect areas and get permission from them before leaving for the signing. Once you have permission to cross out the incorrect areas, place corect info plus initial the cross out/ correction. Then you are all set.
Regardless if the package states do not alter, if you contact the company who gave you the signing and get permission, you will never have an issue. And all will be within guidelines and the law.