Montana requires that all motor vehicle titles be notarized either by a notary public or another authorized person, such as the clerks in the Treasurers' departments in the counties or personnel at the Title and Registration Bureau in Deer Lodge. The act of notarizing a title causes the title to become a negotiable instrument – readily transferring ownership to the party listed as the buyer. Montana notaries are cautioned to be very careful when notarizing titles.
In a change from previous directions from the Motor Vehicle Division, effective September 1, 2010, notaries are now instructed that they MAY notarize open titles. Notaries are not required to ensure that the buyer’s name has been entered on the title. Notaries may disregard the statement printed on some titles advising them not to perform the notarization if the buyer’s name has not been entered in the upper part of the form.
- The pre-printed notary blocks on most, if not all, Montana titles do not accurately contain all the information required in a proper notarial block. You are responsible for including all nine elements of a proper notarial block.
NOTE: The “venue” is missing on most existing title forms. You must include the location where the notarization was performed: “State of Montana, County of _______”.
- If there are two or more owners listed on a title, they need not have their signatures notarized at the same time or by the same notary. The sellers sign and print their names on the lines provided on the title; the first notary should use the “preprinted block” and be sure to specify whose signature was notarized (“Signed and sworn before me by John Doe (only)”). The subsequent notary completes a full notarial block either on the title (In the Lien Holder’s section, if there is enough room) or on a separate piece of paper.
- If you use a combination seal/stamp, you may place it just to the left of your signature, in the lien holder’s section. It is not necessary to also fill in the same information by hand below your signature, but you should draw a diagonal line through that section so that no one else can use that space.
For more information, please refer to the Montana Notary Handbook.
There are various formats of the the Montana Certificate of Title – this is one example. The one you are notarizing may be slightly different, but the following information should be helpful:
SIX STEPS TO NOTARIZING A TITLE:
1. Have the signer print and sign his/her name in the spaces provided. It is imperative that the seller’s name be exactly as shown at the top of the title.
2.After witnessing the seller sign his/her name, place the seller under oath, swearing that the information entered on the title is true and correct.
3. Complete the notarial block. Be sure you print the name of the person(s) whose signature and oath you are notarizing. NOTE: Many of the older versions of the title do not have spaces for the venue – you must enter it wherever you can fit it in.
4. If you are using the combination seal/stamp you may place it in the lien holder section (as shown above).
5. Then draw a diagonal line below your signature (so no one can enter additional information).
6.If you are a “grandfathered” notary using a crimper or other style seal, be sure you complete the entire notarial block! Try to place your seal so that no information is covered. See a checklist of the nine required elements.