Section 6 - Prohibited Acts

It is important that the notary public know their duties and how to perform them. It is also important that the notary know the types of notarial acts that they are prohibited from performing. Here is a list of acts that a notary public is not authorized to perform.

A notary may not notarize a signature on a document if:

  1. The person whose signature is being notarized is not present in front of the notary at the time of notarization.
  2. The document is incomplete.
  3. The notary knows that the person signing the document is mentally incapable of understanding and signing the document.
  4. The person whose signature is to be notarized is the spouse, son, daughter, mother or father of the notary.
  5. The notary has a financial interest in or is a party to the transaction.


A notary public may not:

  1. Give legal advice, unless the notary public is a licensed attorney.
  2. Take an acknowledgment in lieu of an oath if an oath is required.
  3. Obtain or use a notary commission in a name other than his/her legal name or nickname of his/her legal name.
  4. Notarize his or her own signature.
  5. Charge more than $10 for any one notarial act or more than $20 for solemnizing a marriage.
  6. Notarize a signature on a document unless the notary personally knows the signer or has satisfactory evidence of identification.
  7. Act as a notary public after his or her commission has expired.
  8. Translate the phrase "Notary Public" into a language other than English in an advertisement for notarial services.
  9. Attest to the trueness of a photocopy of a public record if a copy can be made by another public official.
  10. Use a name or initial in signing certificates other than that by which the notary public is commissioned.
  11. Sign a blank form of affidavit or certificate of acknowledgement.
  12. Take the acknowledgment of a person who is blind until the notary public has read the instrument to such person.
  13. Take the acknowledgment of a person who does not speak or understand the English language, unless the nature and effect of the instrument to be notarized is translated into a language the person does understand.
  14. Change anything in a written instrument after it has been signed by anyone.


Other Prohibited acts:

  1. Do not notarize a photograph.
  2. Do not notarize a copy of a birth certificate or any other vital record or public record
  3. Do not certify a translation of a document from one language into another.
  4. Do not provide signature guarantees. Officials in the banking and securities industry usually perform this duty.
  5. Do not certify the authenticity of objects, such as art or sports memorabilia.
  6. Do not judge contests or certify contest results.
  7. Do not certify a person's residency or citizenship status.
  8. Do not prepare legal documents or immigration papers unless you are an attorney
  9. licensed to practice in Florida.



1.   A Notary may notarize for a person when they are not present.
  True
  False

2.   Which of the following are prohibited acts for a notary?
  Notarize a photograph
  Notarize a birth certificate
  Prepare legal documents when you are not an attorney
  All of the above
  None of the above

3.   A notary may not change any wording in a document that they are notarizing.
  True
  False