Notary Bulletin

Hotline Tip: What Are The Best Practices Regarding The Notarial Seal?

DO: Affix a seal on every document.
While a number of states do not require a seal, they don’t prohibit them either. A seal has several advantages: It serves as a deterrent to forgers while enhancing Notary professionalism and the ceremonial prestige of the office. It also eliminates potential recording problems when a document is sent to a state where Notaries are required to use seals.

DON’T: Store a manually scanned impression of your seal in your computer.
Even if your state doesn’t prohibit it, resist the temptation to conveniently print out documents with your seal pre-printed on the notarial certificate. This presents a security risk because anyone who gains access to your computer can misuse the seal. This should not deter you from using an electronic notarization system, such as the National Notary Association’s upgraded ENS® (Electronic Notary Signature), which incorporates significant, built-in security measures.

DO: Safeguard your seal when not in use.
When not in use, your seal must be kept locked away to prevent unauthorized access. An unattended seal is an invitation to misuse.

DON’T: Surrender your seal to your employer.
Even if your employer paid for your commission and Notary supplies, your seal belongs to you and should never be turned over to anyone. If you stop being a Notary, make sure to destroy or deface your seal unless state law dictates a different course of action.

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Quiz: The Many Types Of Notarial Acts

Notaries perform many different duties for the public — and it’s easy to lose track of the different acts and what states they’re authorized in. Test your familiarity with common — and uncommon — notarial acts.

(A link to the correct answers is provided at the end of the quiz.)

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