Can a notary notarize a document already signed?

PandaDoc Notary knowledge center

If you’re wondering, can a notary notarize a document already signed? Well, the answer is not as straightforward as you might think. In layman’s terms, no – you cannot notarize an already signed document. You can notarize documents like power of attorney, wills, and affidavits.

Ordinarily, you just need to sign a document in the presence of a notary, and you’re good to go. But people often run into the fourth wall when they wonder about notarizing an already signed document. The fact of the matter is that there is no generalization when notarizing documents. And this is where some exceptions that facilitate unique situations come into play.

Typically, there are some prerequisite requirements that you have to fulfill in order to notarize a signed document. Interestingly, business professionals in different industries now use dedicated tech tools to notarize and sign documents. In fact, new technology continues to make notarizing documents more straightforward and secure for end-users.

Now, let’s take a look at the fundamental mechanics and process of notarizing an already signed document.

Can a notary notarize a document that is already signed?

On the surface, you cannot notarize an already signed document. But some situations allow you some wiggle room to notarize an already signed document. Remember, you can notarize a variety of documents. And the general idea of notarizing documents is to make it possible for the notary public to cross-reference and verify the signature.

Whether it’s a financial transaction or a legal matter, notarizing documents has become crucial. However, if you want to notarize an already signed document, you have to follow the standard process to notarize a new document.

Predominantly, the presence of a notary works as a witness during the signing of the document. You probably have to repeat the process if there is no notary to witness the document signing. 

Remember, the same rules apply when there is a need to notarize an already signed document. You’d be surprised how many people are still unaware that the notary has to be present to witness the document signing. In some instances, it is also crucial to understand that a notary can get a copy of the signed document from a different source.

Does a notary have to witness a signature?

If a person needs to sign a document by taking an oath, the notary should be present to witness the document signing. But this rule does not apply in every situation. You have to understand that witnessing a signature is the main responsibility of a notary. But this notarial act is not applicable in every state.

Oftentimes, notaries receive a signed document to move forward with the notarization process. Now, the reasoning behind notarizing an already signed document depends on the document. 

You may not be aware of it, but notaries often deal with incorrect or incomplete documents. In these situations, it becomes tricky whether or not to move forward with the notarization process.

Technically, notaries review notarial acts through the lens of oaths and acknowledgments. In fact, the difference between the two paints a clear picture of whether or not a notary should witness the signing of the document.

How does a notary validate an already signed document?

When dealing with a signed document, a notary cannot afford to divert from the standard notarization process. The validity of a signed document depends on whether or not there is an attached jurat or acknowledgment certificate.

Focus on the key parameters to validate an already signed document:

  • Name of the individual on the signed document
  • Location of meeting with a notary public
  • Performing acknowledge or jurat

But no matter “when” the signing of the document took place, the notary will use the current date in the notary certificate when dealing with both acknowledgment and jurat.

Acknowledgment in notarial certificate

  • Acknowledgment serves as a declaration of a signed document with free will.
  • As the title indicates, a person acknowledges their signature on the signed document in a specified period. A notary ultimately compares the signature on the document and the person’s ID.
  • The good news is that there is no need to re-sign a document after confirming the signature of the person.
  • Confirming the signature of the person translates into the validity of the signed document.

Jurat in notarial act

  • When dealing with a jurat, the person has to re-sign the document.
  • Jurat in an affidavit propels a notary to cross references the signature, describe the reasoning to get the new signature and get the positive signal for a new signature.
  • A notary also asks the person to take an oath before signing the document and ensure there is no subdued pressure or forced will at play.

How to notarize an already signed document with PandaDoc Notary?

Instead of going through time-consuming and traditional methods, you can use the unique remote approach of PandaDoc Notary to notarize already signed documents. Leveraging PandaDoc’s dedicated features makes it easier and simpler to notarize already signed documents.

And most importantly, it won’t have to wait weeks until the notary receives, processes, and validates the signature. Follow the other business professional’s lead and make the most out of PandaDoc’s eSign notarization. It is the best way to notarize an already signed document and ensure legal transparency.

One of the hallmark elements of using PandaDoc Notary to notarize a signed document is added convenience for end-users. In fact, you can notarize a signed document in a matter of minutes.


The state-approved and dedicated solution is perfect for users to create, edit, eSign, and notarize a wide range of documents.

Whether it’s mobile e-Sign, electronic journaling, secure ID verification, or document bundling, you can avail the most compact and modern services and added features from PandaDoc Notary. 

Whether it’s electronic or online notarization, PandaDoc Notary offers notaries the “right” remote tools to perform secure and transparent RON acts.

If you’re ready to notarize a document with PandaDoc Notary, here are the steps you can follow:

Step 1 

On PandaDoc, you can find notaries ready to take up your notary request in the blink of an eye.

Step 2 

You’ll receive a confirmation email. Use the link in the email to upload the document you want to notarize. At this stage, you may have to answer some questions so that the notary can verify your ID.

You can reach out to your notary via an audio-video session inside PandaDoc Notary. You don’t have to worry about the technicalities. Your notary public will guide you through the process and notarize an already signed document. You can count on PandaDoc’s agent to confirm an identity, navigate through the notarization process, and serve as a witness to a signature.

Step 3

After the session, you can expect your document to be notarized. Next, you should be able to download and submit that document. With PandaDoc Notary Remote Online Notarization (RON), you can save valuable time and resources.

Final thoughts

The last thing you want to do is submit a document without notarization, leading to rejection. The truth is that notarizing has become an essential tool to verify and validate different kinds of transactions. If you’re ready to notarize a document, follow a standard process and lean towards a dedicated solution like PandaDoc Notary.

Notarizing documents has never been easier with PandaDoc Notary. Our unique approach to notarizing has cut out all the traditional tactics to notarize and sign documents in a prompt fashion. PandaDoc Notary understands that remote notary is the future and will transform verification and authentication of digital and electronic documents.

The most frequently asked questions

Can you sign a document before getting it notarized?

Usually, there should be no signature on the document so that the notary public can verify it. But in a few exceptions, you can notarize a signed document in the presence of a notary public.

Does the signer have to be present for the notary?

Yes, the presence of a notary is fundamental to ensure the completion of the notarization process. If it is acknowledgment, then the notary may not have to be present to witness the document signing. 

Is a document legal without the notary stamp?

Across 50 states, public notaries have made it mandatory to place a state-specific stamp on numerous documents. Without a notary stamp, you cannot authenticate the rendered service and would make the notarized document illegal.

Can you notarize a stamped signature?

Most states allow you to notarize a stamped signature. However, states require a notary to sign and attach a seal certificate during notarizing.

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