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Keeping Up With Your Notary Commission Part III

notary commission

Recordkeeping

The notary record book (also referred to as a notary journal, log, or register) is an essential tool because it enables Notaries to easily document every notarial act they perform. This documentation reflects the facts if you are diligent of every notarial act you perform. Although recordkeeping requirements vary across states, there is universal agreement among Notary experts that recordkeeping is an essential practice. The regular use of a record book can help minimize a Notary’s exposure to liability by reducing omission of vital steps of notarization and creates credible evidence of every notarial transaction the notary performed.

In this context, regularly maintaining a record book is in the best interest of you, the public, and your employer.

 

Record Book Entry

The single most important piece of information you will record in the record book is the signer’s original signature in ink because this establishes that the signer personally appeared for the notarization. By recording details about the signer’s form of identification, such as type of ID and distinguishing digits, you are also demonstrating that you satisfactorily identified the signer. Recorded information about the notarial act includes date and time of the notarization, document type, and type of notarial act performed. Fees you charge for your services should also be recorded because any fees collected must be reported as taxable income. The record book is an accurate and reliable means of documenting this fee collection.

Advantages of Keeping Records

The design of a record book entry can help remind you of all your responsibilities when performing a notarial act. This tool not only can provide the notary with a ready-made checklist of information to verify prior to the notarization, but it also provides a reference if the notarization is questioned at a later date. An accurate entry may demonstrate your compliance with the law by recording facts such as the time and date, how you identified the signer, what type of notarial act you performed, and other supporting facts. It is these facts, among others, that may convincingly establish that:

  • the person for whom you notarized personally appeared before you
  • you took every reasonable step to satisfactorily identify the signer as provided by your state’s notary law
  • the signature you notarized was made by the person who claims to own it