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Lesson 4:  In Depth Review of Law Subsections


Instructions: Review each of the subsection below in conjunction with the New York State License Law Booklet pages 2-14

Each Subsection corresponds to this material.  Also note you will not be asked to memorize actual subsection numbers (ie: §130) for the Exam.  However, you will be expected to know the information contained in the subsections.  Pay special attention to dates, time frames , monetary amounts, Class A Misdemeanor, Class D & E Felony.  NOTE violations of Professional Conduct = CLASS A Misdemeanor = 1 Year in Jail.  Some passages contain extra snippets of information.  These snippets are not part of the New York State booklet.




Notaries are considered Local & State Public Officers and must adhere to the laws pertaining to their office.  Must act impartially, take reasonable care, and avoid a lawsuit: take every precaution expected of a person with ordinary prudence and intelligence.


Professional Conduct (p.5)

*      Signer and ID must always be present at the time of Notarization

*      Signer must be competent and aware

*      Legal entities (i.e.: Corporations and partnerships) cannot take an oath. 

*      An individual/officer of the corporation/partnership may take an oath when their relationship to the organization is clearly stated within the document.

*      Only permitted to advertise  the words: “Notary Public”

*      Administer Oath or Affirmation if an Affidavit is being presented (fee $2.00)

Affidavits carry penalties of Perjury


Oath (Verbal/Oral)

“Do you solemnly swear that the contents of this affidavit subscribed by you are correct and true?”


If a person refuses to take an oath administer an affirmation



“Do you solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that the statements made by you are true and correct?”


The only difference between an Oath and an Affirmation is the fact that you are using the word SWEAR in an OATH and DECLARE in an AFFIRMATION.  Both are equally binding, meaning that if it is found out later that the signer lied to the Notary, the signer will be charged with Perjury on either administration.


*      Forms of acceptable ID Must contain: 1. Photo 2. Signature 3.Physical Description 4. Expiration Date

*      Acceptable ID refers to those issued by a State/Gov’t agency only; the following is a partial list:

*      US, Canada or Mexico Driver’s/Non-Driver’s License

*      Driver’s/Non-Driver’s License issued from any US Territory: (Puerto Rico, Guam, Virgin Island, US Samoa)

*      US Military ID

*      INS Card *USCIS Card (green card) – (*formerly INS) – now U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

*      US Passport

*      Foreign Passport (only if stamped by US INS Official)

*      Most US Professional Licenses (ie: Pistol License)

*      Sign by Mark “X” signature

*      Permanent Resident Card

Alternative to ID Card

*      Personal Acquaintance (known to the Notary for several years)

Identifying a signer with improper ID:

            Use of a credible witness: Rules: Must be personally known to both the signer and notary.  Both signer and credible witness take oath and sign the document.  Credible witness may not be a party to or have an interest in the document.  [Fact #’s 23 & 24]

            Alternatively; Identifying an absentee signer:

            Use of a subscribing witness:  Rules: Signer signed document in the company of said subscribing witness.  Subscribing witness brings document to Notary, takes an Oath, Signs document and produces their place of residence on the document. Subscribing witness may not be a party to or have an interest in the document. [Fact #44]

Non-Compliance with the above rules = serious professional misconduct commission revocation

Reason: Real Property (land, buildings, housing) is at stake.  The faith (authentication) of these documents (deeds) and security (ownership) of them relies on your Notarial signature.

            Prohibited Practices of Non-Attorney Notaries

Never engage in the practice of the law directly or indirectly by doing any of the following:

*      The drafting and/or advisement of legal documents

*      The solicitation and or referral of any lawyer with whom your do business with or where receiving monetary compensation for doing so

*      Dividing or agreeing to accept any part of a lawyers fee on any legal business



Executive Law §130 (p.5)

*      Secretary of State appoints &/or revokes the commissions  of Notaries Public

*      Your Notary Public Office is valid and may be used within the boundaries of NYS only

*      The Secretary of State is appointed a Non-Resident Notaries’ official Process Server

*      Non-Resident notaries are assigned to the County Clerk’s office where their place of business is situated


Qualifications for Holding Office


*      US Citizen

*      Good Moral Character

*      Common School Education (6TH Grade)

*      Pass Examination

*      Be a NYS resident; or if Non-Resident, maintain a place of business within NYS.

*      A Non-Resident Notary who does not maintain a place of business in NYS vacates/forfeits their commission

*      Must be 18 years of age


Automatic Qualifying Individuals (No Exam Required):

*      Attorney admitted to practice law in NYS

*      Appointed Court Clerk’s of the Unified Court System that passed the Civil Service Promotional Exam.


Notarial Term & Renewal


*      4 Year Term

*      Fee $60 (Divided as follows: $40 Secretary of State $20 County Clerk)

*      Must renew within 30 days of expiration – max extension = 6 month of expiration or notary must re-take the exam

*      Notaries seeking re-appointment must submit their applications to the County Clerk , NOT the Department of State (renewal applications are sent out by the County Clerk within 90 days prior to the Notary’s expiration of term)

*      No exam or surety bond is required for re-appointment

*      Military personnel receive 1 year extension (only after honorable discharge)

*      Thumbprints are required for all applicants at the time of the Notary examination

*      The Month (MM) and Day (DD) of a Notarial term will remain the same throughout (Only the year changes)


Secretary of State


*      The Secretary of State is the ONLY governing body that can remove a Notary Public from office, if they’re found guilty of charges against them

*      A Notary Public has the right and opportunity to be Heard regarding such charges 


Rejection of Application by the Secretary of State


*      Conviction of a felony or certain other crimes, including:  carrying or possessing a firearm or other dangerous weapon, making or possessing burglar’s instruments, buying or receiving stolen property, unlawful entry of a building, aiding escape from prison, drug-related offenses and vagrancy or prostitution; (Executive Law, §130)

*      Removal from office as a commissioner of deeds for the city of New York; (Executive Law, §140)

*      Violation of the Selective Draft Act of 1917 (Public Officers Law, §3)

*      Also includes violating subsections of Notary Laws

*      May not be a as they are barred from holding another public office, they may not be commissioned as a Notary Public (Art. XIII, §13[a] of the Constitution of the State of New York).


Acts to overturn an Application for Appointment Rejection after a prior conviction or Felony


*      Executive Pardon

*      Certificate of Relief from Disabilities

*      Certificate of Good Conduct


Official Allowable Notarial Acts

            Notaries may perform the following official acts:


*      Acknowledgements, certifying that a signer personally appeared before the Notary, was identified by the notary and freely acknowledged the signing of the document;

*      Depositions, certifying that the spoken words of a witness were accurately taken down in writing, though this act is most often done by skilled court reporters;

*      Jurats, as found in affidavits and other sworn documents, certifying that the signer personally appeared before the Notary, took an oath or affirmation from the Notary and,  signed in the Notary’s presence.

*      Oaths and Affirmations, which are solemn promises to God (oath) or solemn promises on one’s own personal honor (affirmation).

*      Proof of Execution, certifying that a subscribing witness personally appeared and swore to the Notary that another person, the principal signed a document and affixed their address to the instrument.

*      Protests, certifying that a written promise to pay, such as a bill of exchange, was not honored.

*      Safe Deposit Box Openings by a bank must be witnessed by Notaries.

*      Swear – the act of swearing  an individual to a document or into office


Unauthorized  Notarial Acts


*      Never perform marriages

*      Never notarize a corporation – only an individual

*      Never Certify Copies of documents.  Requests for certified copies of documents should be directed to the agency that holds and/or issued the original, such as the county clerk’s office.  The document owner, not the Notary certifies the copy. The custodian makes a photocopy of the original document; makes a written statement about the trueness, correctness and completeness of the copy; signs that statement before a Notary; and takes an oath or affirmation regarding the truth of the statement

*      A Notary must never notarized their own signature or where their interest is involved

*      Notarizations – including acknowledgments and jurats – performed over the telephone are absolutely forbidden

*      Never perform Will or Codicil notarizations

*      Never act as attorney or give any legal advice

*      Never receive money for making court appearances

*      Cannot form Articles of Incorporation

*      Never create false documents




§131 Procedure for Appointment & Fees (p.6)


*      Pass Test

*      Submit Notarized Application to Secretary of State with $60 fee

*      Secretary of State will Index your commission, keep $40 of the $60 and sends certified copy of your info and $20 to County Clerk by 10th day of the following month

*      Secretary of State will mail you a Notary Public ID Card

*      County Clerk receives $20 of the $60 and makes an index of your official commission


    The first time you are appointed everything goes to the Secretary of State, thereafter your re-appointment will go to the County Clerk where you reside.  Both places will always have your commission on file (Checks and Balance System).


Procedure for Reappointment (same as above just reverse order)

    You should receive a renewal application 90 days prior to the time your commission is expiring.  Your commission will expire the same day of the same month every 4 years.


Submit to County Clerk notarized application with “official signature” and “oath of office” $60.


County Clerk will issue a commission and send your “Official signature” and “oath of office” to the Secretary of State along with $40 (apportioned from app fee) by the 10th day of the following month.


Secretary of State makes an index of the commission.


Other fees

$10 name change

$10 address change (must notify w/in 5 days of move) - Secretary of State in conjunction with the County Clerk serve as your official process server.  Therefore, if they need to serve you with papers requesting a court appearance for a document you notarized and you no longer reside at the location they have on file, you cannot assert that as a defense as to why you did not show up at court.

$10 duplicate card (lost, stolen, damaged), “duplicate” stamped on face, bear same # as one it replaces.  Report Lost or Stolen cards immediately.  In the event someone is illegally using your public office, this gives you a defense if your stamp is ever  misused or mishandled.


If changes occur during renewal period there is no fee.


§132 Certificates of Official Character (p. 6) [Fact #46]

*      You may obtain another commission number for any other NYS County.  No reason to do this.  Your commission is good in any County within NYS. (old law). Cost $10 for certificate issuance $10 filing fee and $5 if Seal attached.

*      These fees are payable each time your commission is renewed and must accompany your application.

*      Additionally, this information must also be included on your stamp

    There is no need to file your signature in other counties.   Your commission/jurisdiction is good in any county within New York State.   Sometimes people elect to file their signatures in other counties so that it makes verification easier.  For example, if most of your notarizations occur in a Suffolk County, but you were originally qualified in Nassau County (your place of residence), an individual seeking a certificate of authentication wouldn't have to go to the Nassau County Clerk's Office to obtain one.


§133 Certification of Notarial Signatures (AKA Authentication Notarial – Definitions) (p. 6)

*      County clerk certifying that your signature is authentic/genuine and you are/were a commissioned Notary Public for NYS at the time you notarized a specific document.  (signature of said document is matched against clerk’s file) Cost $3 paid by requestor


This Certification allows for said notarized document to be introduced/read into evidence in a court of law or recorded in any county either within or out of State. 


Executive Law (p. 7)

§134 Signature and seal of county clerk

*      A County Clerk may stamp, print, photograph, engrave or fax a document confirming the authenticity of a Notary Public when issuing a “Certificate of Official Character” or a “Certificate of Authentication” (when documents will be used outside NYS – needed prior to obtaining an Apostille).

Note: Notary’s cannot notarize faxed, photocopy or triplicate signature ONLY ORIGINAL INK SIGNATURE.

 Executive Law §140

*      If a Commissioner of Deeds is removed from his/her Office by the Secretary of State, they may not sign or execute any instrument in the capacity as a Commissioner of Deeds nor a Notary Public, otherwise guilty of a Misdemeanor.


Election Law §3-200 and 3-400

*      A Commissioner or Inspector of Elections may hold 2 Public Offices (ie: Notary and Commissioner of Elections = 2 Public Offices).

    Generally, New York State prohibits you from holding 2 Public Offices, however a "Commissioner" or "Inspector" of elections is eligible.


Public Officers Law

§3 Qualifications for Holding Office

Acts that will prohibit one from becoming a Notary Public:

*                  A Military Violation

*                  Convicted of Violating the U.S. Selective Draft Act

*                  Convicted of Violating the Federal Selective Training and Service Act



§534 County Clerk; appointment of notaries public

*      One County Clerk member is required to offer their Notarial services to the public free of charge during normal business hours. 

*      This staff member is “Fee Exempt” from Exam ($15) and Application fee ($60) (§131 Executive Law)




Members of the Legislature


*      A Legislator may be a Notary, hence hold 2 public offices.

*      If a Legislator is appointed to any civil office in NYS, thereby vacating their seat as legislator they would additionally resign their Notary Public commission

*      However, if such appointment be w/o monetary compensation, they may retain their Notary Public Office.


NOTE: Only legislator, commissioner of election & inspector of elect may hold two public offices simultaneously.




*      May not be a Notary (Can’t hold 2 public offices simultaneously)


Notary public disqualifications


*      A Notary disqualifies themselves from Notarizing documents where they have any type of Interest in the transaction/document (directly - pecuniary or otherwise):


            A Notary Public is prohibited from notarizing a document where:


*      They are named in document

*      A party to the Instrument

*      Beneficial – receiving a benefit

*      Emotional – emotional involvement (family member)

*      Financial – monetary reward


Do not participate in the notarization of documents where you may have any type of interest and therefore cannot be an impartial witness:


*      Beneficial Interest. - The interest of a beneficiary, tangible or intangible, gain or advantage.  Your motives could be questioned if you receive a benefit later.  Special interest in influencing the signer. (i.e.: you or family member benefits)


*      Financial Interest. – Of monetary reward or value.  (It would not be considered financial interest. If you had no prior knowledge i.e.: bonus)


*      Emotional Interest. - something that would cause you to influence the signing (i.e.: power of attorney for relative)


§138. Powers of notaries public or other officers who are stockholders, directors, officers or employees of a corporation (p.9)


*      A notary public, mayor, examiner of title, recorder of a city, commissioner of deeds... empowered by the State, should never notarize documents by or to a corporation in which he/she is a stockholder, director, officer or employee, if, and only if, you personally are a party to that instrument --signee--(individually or as a representative of the company) or where making a protest for nonpayment of such you directly/indirectly have a financial interest in the collection of such funds.  Otherwise you may notarize general documents for the company  


1.  Do not notarize your own signature

2.  Do not notarize documents that you are a party to (deeds, mortgages, trusts)

3.  Do not notarize transactions where the notary receives an advantage, right or fee in excess of the lawful Notarial fee.

4. Do not notarize for relatives if it violates any of the above restrictions.


When in doubt, refer to another notary.  Notarize where “nothing to lose; nothing to gain”


When in doubt, refer to another notary.  Notarize where “nothing to lose; nothing to gain”


§135 Powers and duties; in general; of notaries public who are attorneys at law: (p. 8)


This passage discusses what both Notaries and Attorney Notaries are empowered to do. Same functions with the following exceptions:


*      Attorney’s are Exam Exempt (they qualify after passing the BAR Exam)

*      Attorney may notarize for their client with respect to claims, actions or proceedings (Conflict of Interest)

*      An Attorney may, at their discretion, substitute the words “Attorney and Counselor at Law” for the words “Notary Public.” (§137. Statement as to authority of notaries public)


Functions of a Notary and Attorney:


*      Administer oaths and affirmations

*      Take affidavits and depositions

*      Receive Acknowledgments

*      Certify Acknowledgments, proof of deeds, mortgages, and powers of attorney

*      Demand acceptance or payment of foreign and inland bills of exchange, promissory notes... and obligations in writing.

*      Protest all of the above for non-payment or non acceptance of same. (You cannot demand or receive more than $.75/ protest, $.10/notice (not to exceed 5) on any bill or note and affix your seal free of charge.


*      Protest - formal written statement made by a Notary that a specific bill of exchange or promissory note was presented for payment and refused.


*      Note - written warning with the intent  to inform a person of a hearing or trial in which his/her interest is involved.       




*      Notaries are liable when they commit a wrongdoing (ie: overcharging)




§135-a Notary Public or Commissioner of deeds; acting without appointment; fraud in office: (p.8)


*      Don’t assume use or advertise your title as a Notary Public or Commissioner of Deeds unless you’re officially appointed (ie: When you receive your Notary Public ID Card)

*      Once appointed don’t practice

      FRAUD = Misdemeanor

(Intentional deception resulting in injury to another -- misrepresentation, concealment or non-disclosure of a material fact and misleading conduct or

      DECEIT = Misdemeanor

(A false representation of a material fact made recklessly, or without reasonable ground for believing its truth and with intent to induce reliance thereon)


*      NY Notaries have unlimited financial liabilities for any and all damages caused by their mistakes or misconduct in performing Notarial acts.  If a person is financially injured by a Notary’s negligence or failure to properly perform a Notarial act whether intentional or unintentional, the injured party may sue the Notary in civil court and the Notary, possibly, may be ordered to pay all resulting damages, including attorney’s fees. (Executive Law, §135).



§135-b. Advertising by notaries public

(This section does NOT apply to Attorney’s)


*      A Notary Public who advertises in ANY language OTHER than ENGLISH must include in their advertisement the following statement: “I am not an attorney licensed to practice law and may not give legal advice about immigration or any other legal matter or accept fees for legal advice.”

*      May not use any terms or convey in a foreign language anything that would imply in your advertisement that you are an Attorney for the State of New York  or any US Jurisdiction




§136 Notarial Fees (p.7) also see last page of book & definitions


To administer:


Oath $2.00

Affirmation $2.00

Certify (verify) signature $2.00


To take and certify:

Acknowledgment $2.00

Proof of execution of a written instrument (subc. witness) $2.00/person.

Swearing in witness $2.00

*      A Notary is entitled to collect $2.00/signature and $.75 for protest $.10 each additional not to exceed 5

*      All other fees in the schedule relate to what someone OTHER than the Notary are entitled to for services noted:

*      $3 to County Clerk to Verify your signature

*      $20 to County Clerk to Index your Commission

*      $40 to Secretary of State to Index your Commission

*      $10 Lost, Duplicate Card, Change of Address



NOTE: unless other fee is prescribed by statute.  Check website periodically for any "Legal Updates".


§137 Statement as to authority of Notaries Public


*      The following information should appear on a document when properly Notarized:

*      Venue Properly filled (State of New York; County of _____)

*      Notaries Signature

The following information would be affixed to a notarized document via rubber stamp or handwritten in black ink.

*      Permanent black ink handwritten or stamped the following five lines:

*      Your Name

*      Notary Public State of New York

*      Commission #:

*      Qualified in ___ County

*      Date Commission Expires 


*      A notary public who has qualified and filed a certificate of official character in an additional county, must also affix to each notarizing instrument their second official number and County in black ink.[Fact #46]


Note: The signature and stamp of a Notary should always appear below that of it’s constituent.  The Venue refers to the Geographical location of the Notary Public and their constituent upon execution of the document.  Lastly, a challenge to the legitimacy of a Notarial certificate (signature and stamp), is held as circumstantial evidence, provided that such person could prove otherwise



May substitute the words “Attorney & Counselor @ Law” with “Notary Public”.


§138 Powers of notaries public or other officers who are stockholders, directors, officers or employees of a corporation:  (p.8)


A notary public, mayor, examiner of title, recorder of a city, commissioner of deeds... empowered by the State, should never notarize documents by or to a corporation which he/she is a stockholder, director, officer or employee, if, and only if, you personally are a party to that instrument --signee--(individually or as a representative of the company) or where making a protest for nonpayment of such you directly/indirectly have a financial interest in the collection of such funds.  Otherwise you may notarize documents for the company.


    This has to do with the "Conflict of Interest" concept.


§142 Validity of acts of notaries public and commissioners of deeds notwithstanding certain defects:  (p.9)


1. Except as provided in subdivision 3


Acts performed by notaries public and commissioners of deeds dealing with official certificate & other acts, shall not be deemed invalid, impaired or defective if they are questioned for defects under the following circumstances:


2. This section applies to the following defects


(A) Ineligibility of notary or commissioner of deeds

(B) Misnomer or misspelling of name or other error made to document while serving your appointment.

(C) Omission of the notary or commissioner to take or file your “official oath”or otherwise qualify

(D) Expiration of his/her term, commission or appointment;

(E) Vacating his/her office by change or residence, acceptance of another public office, or other action;

(F) The fact that the action was taken outside the jurisdiction where notary or commissioner is authorized to act.


3. No person shall be entitled to assert subdivision 3 to overcome a defect in subdivision 2 if:


A. You knew of the defect and B. The defect was apparent on face of certificate of the notary or commissioner


However, subdivision 3 shall not apply after the expiration of 6 months from the date of the act of Notary or Commissioner.


4. After the expiration (6mths) from when the act occurred, subdivision one will apply to a defect consisting of omission (whereby commissioner need state the date and place the act or error occurred)


5. This section does not relieve any notary or commissioner from “criminal liability” imposed by reason of his act or limit any rule which would deem the act valid.


    Generally speaking, if you have UNKNOWINGLY caused a defect to a document, you may not get in trouble, however if you INTENTIONALLY caused the defect you could be sanctioned.


Real Property Law (p. 9)


§290 Definitions; effect of article:


*      Conveyance as covered in the definition section, includes all instruments (except a Will) pertaining to the transferring (buying, selling, inheritance or gifting) of property and title/ownership thereof.


*      The term conveyance includes every written instrument, by which any estate or interest in real property is created, transferred, mortgaged or assigned, or by which the title to any real property may be affected, including an instrument in execution of power, although the power be one of revocation only, and an instrument postponing or subordinating a mortgage lien; except a will, a lease for a term not exceeding three years, an executor contract for  the sale or purchase of lands, and an instrument containing a power to convey real property a the agent for the owner of such property.


Types of Real Property Instruments include: postponement or subordination of a mortgage lien, lease less than or equal to three years, executory contract to sell or purchase land and an instrument allowing an agent or attorney to convey real property on behalf of the owner.



§298 Acknowledgments and proofs within the state


*      Discusses WHOM can take an Acknowledgement in a Real Estate Transaction and WHERE they can be filed:


When conveying real property in the State of NY, Acknowledgements can be taken anywhere within this state by:


            (a) Justice of Supreme Court

            (b) Official examiner of title

            (c) Official referee

            (d) Notary Public



(a)   Judge or clerk of any court

(b)   Commissioner of deeds

(c)   Mayor or recorder of a city

(d)   Surrogate or special county judge

(e)   County clerk or other recording officer


3. WHOM (Village Residents)

(a)   Justice of the peace

(b)   Town councilman

(c)   Village police justice

(d)   Judge of any court


*      For an acknowledgment, the document does not have to be signed in the Notary’s presence; however, the signer must appear before the Notary at the time of notarization to acknowledge having signed the document.


*      A document could have been signed a hour before, a week before, a year before, etc. – as long as the signer makes personal appearance before the Notary with the signed document at the time of notarization to admit that the signature is his or her own. (However, for a jurat notarization, requiring an oath, the document usually must be signed in the presence of a Notary.


*      A Notary takes or executes an acknowledgment while a signer makes or gives an acknowledgment.


§302 Acknowledgment and proofs by married woman:


*      The acknowledgement or proof of conveyance of real property located in NYS or any other type of written instrument where a woman is named solely as the owner of such instrument may contain only the married woman’s signature.


    Many years ago woman were prohibited from transferring property, even if solely named, without her husband signing the deed in conjunction with her signature (even when husband was not named on the property).  This is the subsection that tells you this is no longer the case.


§303 Requisites of acknowledgements


*                  Satisfactorily identify your constituent

*                  Personal Acquaintance (known to the Notary for several years)

*                  Use of Identification

*                  Use of a Credible Witness

*                  Use of a Subscribing Witness



§304 Proof by subscribing witness (p.10) [Fact #44]


*      In the absence of the actual document Signer, the Subscribing Witness presents a document before a Notary Public to wit they have previously witnessed the signature of the document signer. Proof must not be taken unless the officer is personally acquainted with such witness, or has satisfactory evidence that he is the same person, who was a subscribing witness to the conveyance.


*      Such subscribing witness MUST:

*      Sign

*      Take an Oath

*      Produce their place of residence on the document

*      Not have an interest


Note: Notary should be personally acquainted with or satisfied with evidence provided by such an individual appropriate for the transaction in question.

Proof should not be taken unless the above is established and you are personally acquainted with such witness or you have satisfactory evidence to believe that he/she is the same person who was a sub. wit. to the conveyance.  [see Fact #44]


    Although a subscribing witness is mentioned in this section, it will most likely not be allowed in any transaction that involves real estate.  An appropriate situation where an owner cannot be presented on the sale or purchase of property would be the use of a "Power of Attorney" or " Attorney in Fact".


§306 Certificate of acknowledgment or proof


*      This is a specific Certificate attached to a Real Estate transaction signed by a Notary Public stating:

*      Name & address of persons who appeared before them

*      Testimony of witnesses (if any)

*      Proof that Identification was taken


  [see Fact #44]


[see state book (p.9-11) §309-a & §309-b]


    These are Acknowledgment forms used in Real Estate transactions.  You do not need to memorize the wording in these forms, only when to use each.


§309-a –Uniform Acknowledgment forms concerning Real Property located in New York State.  Used when the (purchasers) signatures are taken within NYS. Used when property and purchasers are both from NY State.


§309-b – Uniform Acknowledgment forms concerning Real Property located in New York State.  Used when the (purchasers) signatures will be taken outside of NYS.  Used when property is in NY State but purchasers are from out of state.


NOTE: US Serviceman must include rank, serial# and command in real estate transactions.


§330 Officers guilty of malfeasance liable for damages (p. 11)


*      When a Notary interferes with any Real Estate documents, (give advice, explain or otherwise frauduleuze) you are committing malfeasance, which holds you liable for damages to the injured party.


§333 When conveyances of real property not be recorded (p.11)


*      Any instrument in the Conveyance of Real Property to be filed in NY State requires that it be written in the English language.  Therefore, foreign language documents (with the exception of a proper name within the document written in English letters) are prohibited and will be dishonored for recording purposes.


Foreign Language Translation Filing Acceptance (As it relates to this Real Property Law section only)


            Unless accompanied by and attached thereto a translation in the English language duly executed and acknowledged by the person making such conveyance and proved and authenticated, in the manner required of conveyances for recording in this state




            Unless accompanied by and attached thereto a translation in the English language made by a person duly designated for such purpose, by the county judge or a justice of the supreme court - and be duly signed, acknowledged and certified under oath or upon affirmation by such person before such judge, to be a true and accurate translation and contain a certification of the designation of such person by such judge of the county where it is desired to record such conveyance


Special Notes (Updates) :


The need for a Certificate of Authentication of a County Clerk as a prerequisite to the recording or introducing into evidence has been abolished. The certificate of authentication may possibly be required where the instrument is to be recorded or used in evidence outside the jurisdiction of the New York State


Effective September 23, 2012, recording officers (County Clerks) may receive and record digitized paper documents and electronic records affecting real property, (ie: deeds, mortgages, notes and accompanying documents).  Rules are instituted and overseen by the Office of Information Technology Services (ITS)



In addition, you cannot notarize for an individual whom you cannot communicate with due to a language barrier and therefore, a third party translator is present.  You must be able to communicate directly with your signer.  If not, they must seek a bilingual notary.


Special Notes (Updates) :


The need for a Certificate of Authentication of a County Clerk as a prerequisite to the recording or introducing into evidence has been abolished. The certificate of authentication may possibly be required where the instrument is to be recorded or used in evidence outside the jurisdiction of the New York State


Effective September 23, 2012, recording officers (County Clerks) may receive and record digitized paper documents and electronic records affecting real property, (ie: deeds, mortgages, notes and accompanying documents).  Rules are instituted and overseen by the Office of Information Technology Services (ITS)



§335 Banking Law (p.11) [Fact #47]


Deals with what a Notaries responsibility is with respect to the opening of a Safe Deposit Box due to lessees’ non-payment of rent

*      If rent is not paid in 1 year bank has the right to open box

*      With 30 day prior written notice to lessee and no response Bank opens Box on the 30th day with Notary present

*      Notary inventories each item removed from Box and Bank Officer signs off (signature notarized)

*      Bank must send notice of itemized list of content to lessee  within 10 days of opening

*      Bank must send notice to lessee showing contents removed (inventory) within 10 days of opening

*      Bank holds contents for 2 years and rent continues to be billed for safekeeping

*      After 2 years bank holds Public Auction of inventory to cover fees

*      After 3 years remaining property becomes Abandoned Property (turned over to the Government)

*      Articles of paper value (ie: deeds, wills, stock certificates) must be held by bank for 10 years before they are destroyed.



Rule 3113 Civil Practice Law and Rules

*      This law authorizes a deposition to be taken before a Notary Public in a civil proceeding


§11 Domestic Relations Law

*      A Notary may not Solemnize Marriages (Marry People) or take Acknowledgments of parties and/or witnesses to a Marriage contract in N.Y. State


§10 Public Officers Law

*      This law authorizes a Notary to administer an Oath to a Public Officer (ie: swear in the Mayor)


    One of our functions as a Notary would be to swear in people.  This means you could swear a Mayor in to Office...


Judiciary Law (p.11)


§484. None but attorneys to practice in the state


*      A Notary should never act as Attorney

*      A Notary shall not Act nor Collect a fee for acting in any legal capacity including:

*                  Court Appearances

*                  Preparing Legal Documents


Compensation may only be collected by the following person(s):


*      Attorneys

*      Officers of the Societies for the prevention of cruelty (animals and/or people)

*      Law students & graduates



§485 Violations of certain preceding sections a misdemeanor


*      Violating sections §478-§484 guilty of a misdemeanor



§750 Powers of courts to punish for criminal contempt


*      Practicing  or assuming to practice law by a Notary is punishable by the Supreme Court, District Attorney or Bar Association with a proceeding for a  Motion of Criminal Contempt




Illegal practice of the law by notary public


*      Counsel & Advise

*      Drafting legal documents/agreements/wills

*      Organization of Corporations and the preparation of its papers




Wills (p. 12)


*      A Notary may never draft nor execute a will – Nullifies and Voids

*      In NYS, a self proving Will may require the signatures of the witnesses to be notarized. A Notary should notarize signatures of the witnesses on a document described as a will only if a Notarial certificate is provided or stipulated for each signer and the signers are not asking questions about how to proceed.

*      The New York State Department of State warns Notaries not to execute an acknowledgement certificate when asked to notarize a will: “Such acknowledgement cannot be deemed equivalent to an attestation clause accompanying a will.” (The attestation clause is the statement at the end of the will wherein the witnesses certify that the document was executed before them (NPLL, “Professional Conduct,” “Restrictions and Violations”)




Public Officers Law


            Notary must not act before taking and filing oath of office


*      You must file your oath before acting as a Notary, otherwise consequence = Misdemeanor

*      An oath accompanying your official application must be taken and filed with the Department of State within two years of the exam date. (Executive Law, §131).

§67 Fees of public officers


*      Notary is governed by the laws under which they’re appointed and as such may only charge a fee designated by those laws

*      Never charge in excess of the lawful Notarial fee $2.00/signature

*      Never collect payment prior to performing a Notarial service

*                  However, an Attorney may charge a retainer fee

*      If these laws are violated a Notary may be sanctioned with monetary penalties, civil law suits, criminal prosecution, possible removal from office  and treble damages (3x’s a jury  verdict)



§69 Fee for administering certain official oaths prohibited


*      A Notary may never charge a fee to another public official/employee/officer

*      Hence a Notary shall never be charged to have something notarized


The following is a partial list of public officers/ public employees:


*      Legislator

*      Military Officer

*      Inspector of Elections

*      Clerk of the Poll 


Executive Law (p. 12)


            Misconduct by a notary and removal from office


*      A Notary in the practice of Fraud or Deceit in performing their duty may be charged with a Misdemeanor & possible removal from office


            The following  acts constitute a misconduct:


            Misstatement of fact on your application for appointment

            Preparing and taking an oath of an affiant to a statements the Notary Public knew to be false or fraudulent (prior knowledge issue)



Penal Law


            §70.00 Sentence of imprisonment for felony


*      Unclassified term = 3 years

*      Classified “D” Felony = 7 years

*      Classified “E” Felony = 4 years


§70.15 Sentences of imprisonment for misdemeanors and violations

*      Classified “A” Misdemeanor = 1 year


§170.10 Forgery in the second degree


*      When a Notary intentionally alters, falsifies, creates  or has an affect (such as the transferring, terminating, legal right, interest, obligation or status) of any written instrument which represents a legal document, commercial paper, public record (including those to be filed in or with a public office or servant) or official instrument created by a public office, servant or government. (ie: creating a false deed)

*      Constitutes Class D felony = 7 years


§175.40 Issuing a false certificate


*      When a Public Servant – (an officer authorized by law to make such official instruments) intentionally issues the instrument knowing that it contains false information. (ie: issuing a false birth certificate by someone who works for that agency) – prior knowledge

*      Constitutes Class E felony = 4 years

    The difference between 170.10 & 175.40 is that in 170.10 the Notary was NOT an authorized officer to make these official instruments and did so in a false way.  Subsection 175.40 the Notary WAS authorized to make these instruments but did so in a false way.  Because in the latter situation the Notary was authorized to make the instrument is what gives them the lesser sentence. 


§195.00 Official Misconduct


*      When a Public Servant – (an officer authorized by law to serve the public) knowingly receives a benefit at the detriment of another by:

*      Knowingly performing an unauthorized act in the performance of their duty (ie: backdating a Notary Certificate)

*      Knowingly refraining from performing a service which is clearly inherent in the nature of their office (ie: refusing to Notarize).

*      Official misconduct = Class A misdemeanor = 1 Year


Notary must officiate on request The Penal Law (§195.00)


*      A Notary must perform a Notarization when requested (so long as it’s proper)

*      Refusal = misdemeanor = Class A = 1 Year


Perjury (p. 13)


*      When one willfully gives a false statement or testimony under Oath or Affirmation they are charged with Perjury


    Remember, those who lie under oath or affirmation  will receive a perjury charge in addition to what they are being convicted of.  This is why it is so important to administer the oath or affirmation with an Affidavit form.