Would you Notarize for another Notary?

I got a random call this afternoon from someone who described herself as a Notary/LSA with 19+ years of experience. She called me as I was local to her area and she needed a document notarized for herself and her mom. Apparently, both will be signing and, obviously, she can’t notarize for herself.

As a courtesy, I asked her to email me a copy of the doc in advance so I could preview it. She refused to do so, saying that she didn’t want her information “out in public.” She had stated that “as a Notary,” she knew that was “not needed” and that “all I’m doing is notarizing… just witnessing signatures.”

Now, maybe it’s just me being a relative newbie to this (newbie compared to her, anyway), but the fact that she wasn’t willing to let me preview the doc caused a little concern for me. I’ve never had anyone do that. For me, this is starting to approach “JDFR” status. If she doesn’t trust me with the doc in advance of the signing, am I to trust her? What if she only lets me see the last page with the signatures and the cert page? What if the cert page is incorrect and doesn’t have the proper Florida language? I’m sure she’d know what’s needed, but if the atty preparing doesn’t… Furthermore, she being a 19+ year Notary probably has some set ways. She probably uses hand written journal books. I tend to use an smart phone based electronic journal that captures info. by reading the indicum on the back of the DL. I’m thinking that might be a problem for her… that is, if me previewing the docs is a problem.

Am I overthinking this? Should I be as concerned as it seems I am? Is this a JDFR? And, foremost, would you as a Notary be willing to notarize things for another notary you hadn’t met yet and didn’t know? I want to leave myself some room to withdraw while there’s still time. The absolute last thing I want is to show up to her house and still have problems, per the above.

If it’s any indication, I gave this notary my email address so she could (at least) send me her physical address, etc.This was 2 hours ago and it hasn’t yet happened. Now, it could be that she’s out on mobile and couldn’t email it to me, but we’ll see.

So, again, would you as a Notary be willing to notarize things for another notary you hadn’t met yet and didn’t know?

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That’s kind of a weird question. Of course you can notarize documents for other notaries. You should do it for free as professional courtesy. I do.

You’re overthinking this. She’s well with her rights to decline your request unless she hired you as her lawyer. You see notaries are not notarios, meaning you don’t have to “give faith” to any document you notarize. Your “territory” starts at State of Florida and ends at notary’s signature. Anything above that is private information except her signature and date.

So I reread your question and did you know that Florida doesn’t require you to keep a sequential journal either. I’m a little curious as where you got your training.


I haven’t needed to notarize for a notary I didn’t know, and I haven’t had a situation where I didn’t already know what the document said. I’ve done dozens of notarizations for other notaries where I administered oaths of office, or oaths that they would fairly hear property tax appeals. The last are required of justices of the peace who serve on the town board of civil authority; many justices of the peace are notaries.

The question of ID didn’t come up because I know them all, so didn’t need to see ID.

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Of course, I’m aware that one can… the question is, is one “willing” to do it?

I wish I were wealthy enough to be able to afford that “professional courtesy.” I can’t. And what “professional courtesy” is she showing me by not letting me preview the docs? Yes, I’m aware that it is her right not to do that. But, by exercising that right, what is she saying? That she doesn’t trust me? If she doesn’t, then I respect that, but she should find another notary. I’m not going to notarize anything I can’t read in full and, preferably, in advance.

That said, as it turns out, I believe the situation is now “moot.” I received a text from her 1/2 hr ago indicating the she had to “delay” the signing for a few days, and that she would “contact me at that time as to my availability…” Somehow, I suspect I won’t be hearing from her again on this. And that’s OK. I replied to her text that it was “not a problem.” And it isn’t.

Problem Solved… Well… the “immediate” problem.

Late & unneeded opinion. I agree with Joe. But they’d have to come to me or pay my travel fee, at least.


Hi, Mag3_notary.

Notaries are people, too; occasionally they need the services of a Notary Public to witness a signature.

Notice I said… “to witness a signature.”

That is the function of a Notary Public - to ensure that the individual signing the document is indeed the person named as the signing party within our notarial certificate.

We do not read documents prior to notarization. That is a violation of the signing party’s privacy.

Perhaps you are mistaking general notary requirements for those of loan signings. With loan signings, we are often asked by title companies to preview documents to ensure correct spelling of names, correct dates, to complete NRTCs… etc. This is not considered a privacy violation, as we are instructed to provide those functions in our assignment sheets. Assignment or order sheets act as a limited contract between the Notary and signing services or title agency.

When acting as a general Notary Public, you have no such function UNLESS the signing party requests you to read the document prior to notarization.

So my answer is… of course I will provide notarial services for another Notary Public, just as for any other member of the general public. I do expect to be paid, just as I pay when I require such services for myself. And no, I do not expect to preview documentation prior to performing a notarial act. Valid government issued photo ID is my requirement.


@mag3_notary yes, you could have and should have notarized (if you had the time in your schedule); I, too, would have done it for free as a professional courtesy; no, you don’t need to see the document in advance - she was right about that being unnecessary - you get there and if the cert is incorrect you either correct it or attach your own compliant cert; and yes, you are overthinking this


When you say, “prior to notarization,” do you mean “anytime before the appointment” or at the appointment itself? For example, if, at the appointment, the document was a 4 page document with (admittedly) sensitive information to the signer and all the signer wanted you as the notary to see is the last page where the signatures were located along with the pre-printed certificate? Would that be all you are allowed to see before notarizing?

I quote from the NNA’s Florida Notary Primer, page 20, in the chapter entitled, “Reviewing the Document”

Incomplete Documents - DO NOT NOTARIZE. Florida Notaries are specifically prohibited from notarizing a signature on a document that is incomplete… (FS 117.107[10]).

We cannot notarize a document that contains blank fields, The signer needs to fill in the blanks or write “Not applicable” were needed. How can I ensure that the document is complete if I can’t review it?

I can understand keeping it private before the appointment. I was only trying to save time at the appointment by previewing it in advance. But if the signer wants me to notarize it, I’ll have to review it in full at the appointment and take the time to do it there. If it’s a POA, for example, I cannot allow a document to be notarized if there are blanks where the POA relationship might change if the info is “filled in later…” especially if it’s the Atty-in-fact designation that is left blank. And yes, I need to review it be it GNW or a loan signing package.

I thought that part of the job of a Notary and one of the reasons why we go through all those background checks, etc, is that we are to be trusted to keep private information “private…” and confidential. Am I mistaken about that? Does the signer’s “right to privacy” take priority over my legal requirements to do the job correctly (by reviewing the document, ensuring it’s complete and correct)?

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I did offer that (i.e. have her come to my location), in an effort to save the transportation fee. But, apparently, her mother (and a signer to the document) was bed-restricted and not terribly mobile. Even if I were to offer that “professional courtesy” for the stamping, I’d still have to charge the transportation fee if I were to go to her. That’s a direct and up front cost to me since I have to use Uber/Lyft to get to my appointments.

The “cert” is not the issue… it’s the document itself. If I can’t see it in advance, then I will insist on seeing it in full (and taking whatever time needed to do that) at the appointment to ensure that I am notarizing a Florida compliant document. How can I be expected to do the job (and risk my commission) otherwise? I will not notarize a document that is not compliant with Florida law (at least, no blank spaces). And if that means I walk away from the appointment because the signer is insisting on a right to privacy, then that’s what it means. I’ve actually done that. My one and only “Open call” I caught on Notarize. The document had way too many blanks and the signer was insistent on not filling it out during the appointment.

I terminated the session, accordingly.

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Correct. Florida does not require it but definitely encourages it for the notary’s protection. And it was the NNA that trained me. And they encouraged it as well. Now, I admit that, perhaps, the NNA has a financial interest in encouraging the keeping of a journal because they sell the journal books and the accessories that go with them.

Me being the IT Professional in my former life, I had always wondered if there was such a thing as an “electronic journal…” a laptop app or smart phone app. where I could keep everything. And I found one. It’s called “Notary Act.” It holds all the info. a regular bound book journal holds, and a bit more. And it automates capture of some info, such as the signer’s name, address, by scanning the indicum on the back of the signer’s driver license. You then take a picture of the front face of the ID (unless it’s a Military ID - you can’t capture that), and there’s also a signing tool where you have them sign with a plastic tipped pen. It captures where you are for the “signing location” by GEO location and then lets you input everything else (Doc type, stamp type).

Point being, it might be an “acquired taste” for well established notaries that are used to the bound books. I suspected that the notary that contacted me might be very “well established” in that context.

Think there’s 2 things going on here… 1. You’re a newb and want to be sure you do it right; hence, wanting to see it in advance. 2. The signers refusal to provide it & lose control of private info.

You are correct in wanting to quickly scan the whole doc prior to notarization, which you do at the table, but you really do not need to read a doc word by word to determine whether or not it contains blanks and insist they be completed. or it’s a no-can-do.

Chalk this up to a learning experience and do better next time.


The problem being, if it turns out to be a “No-can-do,” you’re now sitting at the signer’s table with the signer breathing down your neck! “WHADDAYA MEAN YOU CAN’T NOTARIZE IT?” And you’ve also incurred travel expenses (in my case, direct Uber/Lyft fees) that one certainly should not expect the signer to pay if you bail on the signing.

I get the signer’s concern. I really do. It’s not a standardized doc like a parental athletic permission form or something, where I might be able to preview the “blank” form. It was an “attorney prepared” document with specific PII, financials, etc.on it (like a Will or POA). And, yes, I’m willing to stipulate now that a doc that sensitive should not be “out in public” in advance of the signing. Review it at the table only.

But I also get the concerns of some notaries that aren’t willing to notarize docs like that, in general. UPS, for example, won’t do Wills or POAs, or VIN verifications, etc. I’m wondering if that’s the reason. I think, going forward, I’ll have to be very careful when choosing such an assignment. And, if I do accept one, it will be by RON only (if possible), so I can bail on the assignment if it becomes a “no-can-do.” I don’t ever want it to be, but I have to protect myself.

That said, I will do better, next time. I will ask the signer some pre-qualification questions about the doc without having to “preview it,” and then advise them that I reserve the right to not notarize it if it’s a JDFR. They can then choose to move forward or not. And if they don’t, then no harm/foul. I understand.

GNW undoubtedly has more potential issues than anything else we do. Which is most likely the reason UPS, etc. won’t do them. There is also a learning curve to GNW as you will run into all kinds of people/issues. The guy who wants you to make change for $100; the gal who only has $3; the idiots who think the state pays you (yeah, really), the unconscious signer in hospital; the scared old lady w/overbearing kid. Develop a tough hide cuz it’s necessary for GNW.

After getting stiffed on my 1st ‘no-can-do’, I have a script I read to them when they call & confirm it via e-mail. Haven’t been stiffed since. It’s lengthy and state-specific so best advice is WRITE YOUR OWN. Travel fee is $X and due me regardless of outcome; $X/notarization; Signer/s need gov-issued photo ID; must be alert/aware’; witnesses? their problem…anything state-specific. This IS ‘business’…treat it as such.

Oh, and what is a JDFR???


Understood, and advice well taken. :slightly_smiling_face:

Just Doesn’t Feel Right. It’s a close cousin to an acronym used a lot by Law Enforcement… JDLR (L = “look”).

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Ah! Run into a lot of JDFR & JDLR with GNW. Good luck going forward. It can be lucrative, but usually is only 1 or 2 Ns…so be sure your mandatory travel fee covers expenses & your time.


I would never keep a journal where anyone’s PII ends up in the cloud. but that’s just my personal opinion. I can say this with certainty, though - I would never allow anyone to take a picture of my ID/DL. That’s a deal breaker



Right now, my primary focus has been building the client base. As I get more and more established, I’ll start to worry more about the “Benjamins.” I’m willing to absorb some travel costs right now if it gets me more business and builds my clientele. But I do have some limitations. I have to limit my service area to pretty close where I live (within a 10-15 mile radius) as the Uber/Lyft fees would be ridiculously cost prohibitive. And no, I don’t own a vehicle. I sold it a few years ago at the start of the pandemic when I was paying a ton for gas, maintenance and insurance and not traveling much anywhere.And with the plethora of services that now deliver groceries (even WAL-MART does it now) and Amazon, etc, I made the decision to sell the car and use Uber/Lyft, figuring it would be cheaper. I also figured that if I needed to, in a pinch, I could rent a car for a day or so. Up until I started being a Notary (3 years after I sold the vehicle), I was actually saving $$$. And should I find that the Notary business is working out and I’m making $$$, I’ll consider leasing a vehicle at that time, or perhaps purchase a “pre-owned” vehicle (never done that before).

By the way, for the “$100.00 guy” you mentioned, I do accept “Square” CC processing, Zelle, and other forms. But, again, more to add to my “pre-appointment script” it seems.

I confirmed previously that the firm uses “Private Storage” to hold the uploaded information and that it’s not anywhere near a “public” cloud. I am, however, re-confirming that with the owner.

As an alternative, would you allow the Notary to take a facial picture of you directly (Don’t want to use the term “mug-shot” as it’s politically sensitive these days :laughing:)? This, as evidence that you did actually appear before them personally? Is your concern the “image” being stored or the info on the ID being stored? If that does concern you, then I suggest you not get into RON as all of that will be recorded on video.

No, I would not allow a picture of me - and this has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous.

I said previously you were overthinking this - and you are…seriously. And BTW, I have also said previously many many times I have no intention of getting into RON - I don’t trust it.

Best of luck to you