Can a form that contains blanks still be noratized?

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Can a form that contains blanks still be noratized?

Is it legal to notary a document with unfilled blanks on it? For examples, is a POA notarized on Jan 1 that is effective _________ (later filled in as June 15) a valid document?

Asked on August 7, 2010 under Estate Planning, Minnesota

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, though it is unwise in the extreme to do so. What a notary does is witness a signature; the notary confirms that the Joe or Jane Doe who signs a document is the Joe or Jan Doe who is supposed to sign and whose signature appears. The notary does not otherwise guarantee that there are no changes to a document made subsequently; the notary is not a witness for the document as a whole, only for  the signature. So getting a document with blanks notarized is similar to signing a blank check--the signature may be valid and enforceable, but it's being signed to something that could have harmful or not-agree-upon information filled in later. So, legal, yes; a good thing to do, no.

 


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