A customer who is unable to sign their name because of illiteracy, blindness or other disability may ask you if a stamped signature is acceptable. Although a stamped signature is never acceptable for notarization, there are alternatives you may suggest to your customer.
The customer may sign by mark (with an X) or with assistance, or a designated individual may sign for the customer. In all cases, the signer must be able to communicate with you and indicate a willingness and intent to sign. The signer must also indicate his or her understanding of the document.
Someone who is illiterate or disabled may choose to make a mark – an “X” is common – on the line where a signature is required. You may read the document to the customer if necessary. Print or type the customer’s name and the words “his mark” near the signature line.
Someone who is physically unable to make a mark can rest his or her hand on the hand of an individual holding the pen for them. However, to remain an impartial witness to the transaction, the notary should not be the individual holding the pen.
If your customer is unable to sign by mark or with assistance for any reason, he or she may direct another person to sign a document. The customer, the designated signer, and two witnesses must all be present and properly identified at the time of the signing. Additionally, the customer must clearly indicate to the notary and witnesses that signing the document is his or her intention. In this case, the designated individual should sign his or her own name in such a way as to make it clear that forgery or fraud is not being attempted.
Remember: two witnesses are required when the customer signs by mark or with assistance or designates another to sign on his or her behalf. The notary normally may act as one of the witnesses as well as the notary on such a document. All signers, witnesses and agents must personally appear before you and be properly identified at the time of the notarization.