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3. Powers and limitations

a. POWERS

A notary public is empowered to perform the following notarial acts: (1) acknowledgments; (2) oaths and affirmations; (3) jurats; (4) signature witnessing; (5) copy certifications; and (6) any other act authorized by these Rules. (Section 1[a], Rule IV, Ibid.)

A notary public is authorized to certify the affixing of a signature by thumb or other mark on an instrument or document presented for notarization if: (1)  the thumb or other mark is affixed in the presence of the notary public and of two (2) disinterested and unaffected witnesses to the instrument or document; (2)  both witnesses sign their own names in addition to the thumb or other mark; (3)  the notary public writes below the thumb or other mark: “Thumb or Other Mark affixed by (name of signatory by mark) in the presence of (names and addresses of witnesses) and undersigned notary public”; and (4)  the notary public notarizes the signature by thumb or other mark through an acknowledgment, jurat, or signature witnessing. (Section 1[b], Rule IV, Ibid.)

A notary public is authorized to sign on behalf of a person who is physically unable to sign or make a mark on an instrument or document if: (1)  the notary public is directed by the person unable to sign or make a mark to sign on his behalf; (2)  the signature of the notary public is affixed in the presence of two disinterested and unaffected witnesses to the instrument or document; (3)  both witnesses sign their own names; (4)  the notary public writes below his signature: “Signature affixed by notary in presence of (names and addresses of person and two [2] witnesses)”; and (5) the notary public notarizes his signature by acknowledgment or jurat. (Section 1 [c][5], Rule IV, Ibid.)

b. PROHIBITIONS

A person shall not perform a notarial act if the person involved as signatory to the instrument or document: (1)  is not in the notary’s presence personally at the time of the notarization; and (2)  is not personally known to the notary public or otherwise identified by the notary public through competent evidence of identity as defined by these Rules. (Section 2[b], Rule IV, Ibid.)

c. DISQUALIFICATIONS

A notary public is disqualified from performing a notarial act if he: (a)  is a party to the instrument or document that is to be notarized; (b)  will receive, as a direct or indirect result, any commission, fee, advantage, right, title, interest, cash, property, or other consideration, except as provided by these Rules and by law; or (c)  is a spouse, common-law partner, ancestor, descendant, or relative by affinity or consanguinity of the principal within the fourth civil degree. (Section 3, Rule IV, Ibid.)

d. REFUSAL TO NOTARIZE

A notary public shall not perform any notarial act described in the Rules for any person requesting such an act even if he tenders the appropriate fee specified by these Rules if: (a)  the notary knows or has good reason to believe that the notarial act or transaction is unlawful or immoral; (b)  the signatory shows a demeanor which engenders in the mind of the notary public reasonable doubt as to the former’s knowledge of the consequences of the transaction requiring a notarial act; and (c)  in the notary’s judgment, the signatory is not acting of his or her own free will. (Section 4, Rule IV, Ibid.)

e. FALSE OR INCOMPLETE CERTIFICATE

A notary public shall not: (a) execute a certificate containing information known or believed by the notary to be false; or (b) affix an official signature or seal on a notarial certificate that is incomplete. (Section 5, Rule IV, Ibid.)

f. IMPROPER INSTRUMENTS OR DOCUMENTS

A notary public shall not notarize: (a) a blank or incomplete instrument or document; or (b) an instrument or document without appropriate notarial certification. (Section 6, Rule IV, Ibid.)

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