Blank Spaces in Documents
Colorado Notary Training classes must include the duty not to notarize a document with blank spaces. This means that the document must be complete before it is notarized.
Blank spaces must be filled in, or if not applicable, they should be crossed out or N/A should be written in the blank space. The notary should scan the document for blank spaces and ask the customer to fill them in. The notary must not fill in the blanks for the customer since modifications to the document might be considered as unauthorized practice of law (UPL).
The document must also be a complete document, with all pages included, and all schedules or exhibits attached. The notary should scan the document to check that all pages are included, and look for any reference to any attached schedules or exhibits. The notary should make a note of the total number of pages in the notary journal.
A primary role of the notary is to prevent fraud. Notarizing a document with blank spaces or missing pages makes it easier to commit fraud. A notary commission may be revoked for notarizing a document with blank spaces.
There may be situations where some blanks need to be filled in by the receiving party, such as a court form, government form, application form, or other document, where the receiving party will add their information or signature. The relevant document information must be adequately completed so that the signer can give his/her acknowledgment, or make an oath or affirmation, as appropriate.
If multiple signatures (signature bank) are required on a document, but the signers will sign at different locations or on different dates, (a split signing), the notary must specify only the name of the signer(s) that appeared before the notary in the notary certificate. A separate notary certificate must be attached for the other signer(s) when they appear before a notary.
A signer cannot make an oath or affirmation for a sworn statement, that the facts or statements in a document are true and correct, if there are blank spaces in the statement. A signer cannot make an acknowledgment, to agree to the terms of a document, if there are blank spaces in the terms of the document.
Colorado Notary Training teaches required elements to help the notary avoid errors and omissions and provide good customer service to the public.