Recently I had a Title Agent tell me the documents I notarized for them got rejected because the county on the venue was “incorrect”. Apparently the company they needed to get the notarization for wanted the documents to have the venue county of the property address, NOT the address the notarization was taking place in. As far as I know, the venue on a notarization should always be the address the notarization is taking place. So it would stand to reason the company that rejected the documents would be wrong in this scenario right? Follow up question, as long as the state is correct, does the county on the venue have huge significance if it is listed incorrectly? For reference, I am asking this for the state of NJ.
You are correct. It is where your feet are planted. Always make sure when you are near a county line when notarizing.
Yes, the title agent is wrong. In the case of face-to-face notarizations, it is the county where the signer and notary are located at the time of the notarial act. In the case of RON, you’d have to check your state law, but usually it would be the county where the notary is located.
If the county were wrong, what would be the consequences? If someone wanted to get out of the agreement, they could take it to court. Just taking it to court is a big mess, no matter who wins. I’ve read some court cases as a way of learning what not to do. Sometimes the court throws out a document for what seems like a minor error. Other times they decide the notary has substantially complied with the law despite a minor error, and uphold the document.
A case where it could really matter is if the person named in the document denies signing it. Suppose notary’s journal says the signing was in-person and occurred at noon on January 5, 2021, but does not list a place. The document says it was notarized in Roberts County, Texas. The person named in the document has proof he was in El Paso County, Texas at 10 AM that day, as well as at 2 PM. Since those two counties are 500 miles apart, there was no way the person signed the document.
What other consequences could there be? The notary could face disciplinary action from whoever regulates notaries in the notary’s state, if the problem were discovered.
This is excellent information, thank you!
Thankfully, Florida has it specifically in our laws - F.S. 117.04(a) & (b): - it’s where the notary is planted:
“(4) When notarizing a signature, a notary public shall complete a jurat or notarial certificate in substantially the same form as those found in subsection (13). The jurat or certificate of acknowledgment shall contain the following elements:
(a) The venue stating the location of the notary public at the time of the notarization in the format, “State of Florida, County of .””
among other requirements for our certificates.
I’d suggest you review your New Jersey Handbook and see what it says; an alternative would be to look up the exact statute which addresses the issue. It’s always been my understanding that it’s always where the notarization is taking place
And I agree with Ashton - it could become a vital element if someone were to dispute the validity of the document and states they were elsewhere at the time.
Best of luck
I was visiting New Orleans many years ago and was stopped on Bourbon Street by one of the many street people with an interesting proposal. He bet me $5 that I couldn’t guess where my shoes are. Of course I took that bet and responded “French Quarter”. Next stop was Pat O’Brians to spend my winnings on a Hurricane.
It’s possible that they were talking about the venue at the top of the document and not the venue shown in the notarization section. Everything above the notarization is considered part of the document and some states don’t want that changed.
This is true but there are documents that have the certification built into the text and the top line venue is the only printed venue on the document and the bottom line might say : Sworn and subscribed before me this x day of x, 2022 without a venue. In that case I would treat the top line venue as the notarial venue as well and make sure it was the county where the notary is located.
In that scenario I neatly print in my venue above the notarial.wording so there is no doubt, i.e. "State of Florida/County of ‘whatever county I’m in’
It shouldn’t matter which state you ar in. You followed protocol for notarizing the documents. You as a notary should not cater to whichever company; because that’s what they want. Always follow the rules for notarization.
You are correct ~ where you are standing is the County for notarization. Having said this let me share other information. Some Title companies in the notarization box have State, County, **Venue for notarization approval. Was something like that on notarization area?? In WA State notaries may sign in any WA State County. When I receive unusual notarization boxes as described above, I insert State, County, and in venue question area make a note authorized for All WA State counties. Once upon a time, I worked for large company in Seattle and managed Notaries for all US States and different laws in each state. Title company representatives are not always familiar with laws in each state. Such as FL requests Notary to be Witness on documents they are notarizing. Not approved in WA State and I’m always sharing RCW with FL when they make this request. Hope I didn’t yak too much ~ just wanted to share information.
@alice2uworld Thank you for the specifics! Helpful.
FYI: For those of us unfamiliar with the meaning of the acronym “RCW:”
" The Revised Code of Washington (RCW) is the compilation of all permanent laws now in force. It is a collection of Session Laws (enacted by the Legislature, and signed by the Governor, or enacted via the initiative process), arranged by topic, with amendments added and repealed laws removed."
Source: Revised Code of Washington (RCW).
It is very important that the state and county be correct on the notarized document. If you get pulled into court and the state information is correct but the county information is incorrect or left blank, you will suffer those consequences.
Sometimes the state and county information is pre-filled, if it’s not the correct state and or county, draw one line through the word, write the correct name and put your initials to show you made the corrections. I always do that part with I receive the documents and check the signing location’s county, then make the corrections if needed.
It might be a good routine for you to ask the signer when you call to confirm the appointment the county in which the signing is taking place. Once you receive the documents, verify that that county is the county that’s on the documents, if not make the correction at that time.
Best wishes to you in all your future signings.
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