It’s not a notary’s responsibility to act as a collection agent of unpaid or overdue bills for a company or business entity. So placing your notarial seal on a final notice doesn’t give the document any legal authority. However, if a customer wants a final notice notarized so it can be entered in the public record (county and court records, recorder of deeds), then an acknowledgment should be used.
Final notices of payment for overdue bills generally do not contain any notarial language. Simply stamping, signing and dating a final notice isn’t enough since the notarial wording (indicating what your seal and signature certify) is missing.
An acknowledgment allows a customer to authenticate his or her signature on a final notice that will be mailed out to the delinquent account holder. If the final notice is being issued by a company, the customer should present to you some authorization, such as a letter or company ID, to sign on the company’s behalf. The customer must also present personal ID.
There are six different forms to fit various circumstances in which an acknowledgment might be used. The acknowledgment forms are:
- Attorney in fact (agent)
- Limited liability company
- Attorney at law
- Public officer or deputy or by any trustee, administrator, guardian or executor
An acknowledgment contains the following information:
- title (type of acknowledgment)
- identity of the notary taking the acknowledgment
- personal appearance (words “personally appeared” indicate that the individual making the acknowledgment appeared in person)
- identity of the individual acknowledging the signature
- acknowledgment (statement tells the receiver of the acknowledgment that the signer admitted signing the document and knew what he or she was doing at the time)
- notary’s signature and seal
Make sure the name of the individual acknowledging his or her signature on the acknowledgment is exactly as it appears on the final notice and that the acknowledgment is securely attached to the document.
If an acknowledgment form is not available then one can be typed or handwritten in ink on a separate piece of paper.