Elections and Government Services Administrative Rules of Montana Business Services Notary and Certification Records and Information Management

How do I change my name on my commission?

Start by contacting your insurance agent or bonding company and requesting a “name change rider.” Once the rider is sent to you, send the rider, along with a completed Contact Information Update Form , to Montana Secretary of State, PO Box 202801, Helena, MT 59620. An amended certificate reflecting the name change will be sent to you, and only then can you replace your official Notarial Seal. [ 1-5-409(2), MCA]

Can I notarize my spouse’s or other family member’s signature?

Yes – as long as you are not named in, or a direct beneficiary of, the transaction referenced in the document being signed. [ 1-5- 416(2)(b), MCA]

Can I notarize something if I am in a different county from where I work or live?

A person receiving a commission as a Montana notary has jurisdiction to perform notarial acts and official duties in every county in Montana, regardless of the notary’s place of residence. [ 1-5-415,MCA] Montana is one of the few states that does have a policy of reciprocity with neighboring states that also recognize that authority. At this time only Wyoming and North Dakota allow a Montana notary to perform a notarial act while in those states. [ 1-5-605, MCA]

What kind of documents can I notarize?

Technically, you do not notarize a document. You notarize signatures, acknowledgments, oaths, affirmations, attestations, or verifications. This is a very important distinction that you as a notary should understand completely before performing any notarial acts.

What is my commission number?

Montana does not issue commission numbers to notaries.

Can I notarize something when I didn’t actually see the person sign the document?

You can take the person’s acknowledgment that he was the one who signed the document. However, the person must appear before you to declare that he is the signer and you must still verify his identity. This cannot be done by phone, fax, or comparison of signatures – ever.

If a person brings in the driver’s license of another person, can I notarize that other person’s signature?

NO. ABSOLUTELY NOT! NEVER! A notary can never notarize the acknowledgement, signature, or oath of a person who is not in the notary’s presence at the time that the notarization takes place. There are no exceptions to this rule and a notary who violates it can be held personally liable for any and all damages or losses suffered by the person whose signature was fraudulently notarized.

Can I do a “medallion signature” notarization?

No, a medallion signature guarantee is not an official notarial act and cannot be performed by a Montana notary public. A medallion signature guarantee is only available from someone who has been authorized by the Securities Transfer Association to verify signature on certain transactions involving stocks, bonds, or other securities.

What is a credible witness and how are they used during a notarization?

Can a notary charge for performing a notarial act? How much?

Montana law does allow notaries to charge for their services. Maximum fees of notaries public are as follows:

For taking an acknowledgment, witnessing a signature, or performing a jurat, a notary may charge up to $5 for the first signature, and $1 for each additional signature of the same person done at the same time.

A notary may charge mileage for travel at the current rate authorized for state employees.

I’ve changed jobs and my former employer paid for my bond – can I still notarize?

Yes, you are still a notary; the fact that your previous employer paid for your bond is not relevant. You do have to notify our office of any changes to your circumstances. You must submit a completed and signed Contact Information Update Form.

Can I notarize something for a person who has a Power of Attorney?

As a Montana notary public you can perform a notarization for someone who is signing for another person or entity. In addition to identifying the person who is in your presence, you also have to determine that they have the capacity to act for the named individual or entity and that they are authorized to sign that particular document, either by personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence. (You can’t just take someone’s word that they have another’s person’s Power of Attorney or that they are the president of a company – you have to have proof!)

NOTE: A Power of Attorney automatically terminates on the death of the principal, so your first question when someone wants to sign using a POA should be, “Is this person still alive?” If the answer is no, you CANNOT go forward with the notarization. If the document does not have a preprinted block, you can download one here.

Do I have to notify the state if I move or change jobs?

Yes. Please complete and send a Contact Information Update Form to: Montana Secretary of State, PO Box 202801, Helena MT 59620, so that the records reflect your current residence and business information, including addresses and phone numbers. [ 1-5-409(1), MCA]

Requests for Montana Notaries Public to Complete I-9 Forms

It has come to our attention that Montana notaries are being asked to complete Section 2 of the federal I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification forms. This is not an authorized notarial act and must not be completed under the notarial seal. The form does not request, or require, a notarization as such.

These forms are to be completed by the prospective employee (Section 1) and the Employer (Section 2) or the Employer’s Authorized Representative. An “authorized representative” would generally be someone who works for that employer – a recruiter, Human Resources personnel, or an individual with a contractual relationship with the employer authorizing the person to act in the capacity of “Authorized Representative” specifically for the purpose of completing the I-9 form.

A Montana notary public who is asked to complete Section 2 must refuse to do so.

Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification