Common Mistakes to Avoid

1. No Notarial Certificate (Jurat)

Remember: Colorado Notary Law requires that a complete notary certificate appear on the document whenever a notarization is performed. When a person goes before a notary public to sign a document, the notary must perform one of three notarial acts:

a. Administer an oath or affirmation to the person signing the document.

b. Take an acknowledgement from that person regarding the execution of the document in the notary’s presence.

c. Certify a copy of an original document.  [1]

The complete notary certificate must include:

a. The county and state in which the notarization took place.

b. The date of the notarization.

c. The type of notarial act performed by the notary. This is indicated by language such as "sworn and subscribed", "signed and affirmed", "acknowledged", or certification language found in the statutes.  [2]

d. The notary must also include his or her official signature and stamp his or her seal.

Important: Notary seals must be rectangular ink stamps and include the:

  • Notary's legal name,
  • Words "NOTARY PUBLIC",
  • Notary's ID number, and
  • Notary's commission expiration date.

This applies to all Notaries Public whose commissions are issued or renewed on or after August 8, 2012.

2. Jurat Incomplete or Incorrect

It is important to carefully read over the jurat to ensure that all required information is complete and correct.

a. Notaries commonly make the mistake of inserting their own name in the jurat instead of the name of the person who has come before them to sign a document.

    Example: “Subscribed and affirmed before me this ___day of ___20__ by (client’s name – not the notary’s name!)….”

b. Documents must be notarized in English in order to receive an Apostille or Certificate of Magistracy.

    If the country to which the document is going requires a foreign language notarization, the notary is free to do so. However, the notary must also notarize that same document in English.

c. The notary has the client sign the notary journal in his/her presence but does not have the client sign the affirmation statement (document) in his or her presence. Yet, notary’s jurat states that the affirmation was signed and affirmed before him or her. This makes the jurat an inaccurate statement. The signature of the client must appear on the document, above the jurat.

Be Careful: The notarization is often included within the client’s document, and there are blanks for the notary to fill in his/her name. Be sure to read these types of documents carefully, as some statements that you may be putting your name to may be outside of your authority as a notary. In fact, you would become a party to the document.


3. Use Of Official Notary Name Within a Notarial Certificate

Always use your official notary name in any statement which requires the notary public’s name, and always when signing the notarial certificate. The notary’s official name can be found on the notary’s commission certificate.

Example: Official notary public name is Jane A Doe, and the notary writes, “I, Jane Doe, notary public in and for said county and state…”  Wrong! The notary’s official name must be used.

Points to remember:

a. Be sure to sign all notarizations with a consistent signature. The notary’s signature must be the same as shown on file with the Colorado Secretary of State on the notary's signed application form.

b. You are responsible for using a Notary Seal that is in compliance with Colorado Notary Law.  It is important to read the statute regarding the way the seal should look and what information should be on the seal.  Be sure to proofread the seal upon delivery.  The name must match your legal name as it appears on your Commission Certificate, and the required notary ID number and commission expiration date must be exactly correct.  The provision, keeping, and use of notary seal embossers is now prohibited.

    Stamps and seal embossers obtained prior to August 8, 2012, that are not in compliance with current standards are only valid until the next time you renew your commission. [3]

4. Stay Informed

Most importantly, take time to read the Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S. 12-55-101, et seq.) regarding Notaries Public. The information contained within the statutes will govern everything you do in the state of Colorado as a notary public. Refer to it often, especially when notarizing. Additionally, the Secretary of State has created a Notary Handbook, which is available on our website along with other useful information. If you have any questions or concerns, or if you don’t quite understand parts of it; please contact the office of the Secretary of State.


[1] 12-55-120, C.R.S.
[2] 12-55-120(2), C.R.S.
[3] 12-55-112, C.R.S.