Notary Bulletin

Hotline Tip: What's A Notary's Best Protection Against A Lawsuit?

Acting as a Notary is only one of my responsibilities at work, and I’m worried about what will happen if I make an error resulting in financial liability. Will my employer be responsible, or will I be made to pay for the mistake? How can I protect myself?

Notaries are always individually responsible for any errors or mistakes made when notarizing. Whether the Notary’s employer is also liable for the mistake is a matter of agency law, but that will not absolve the Notary from responsibility. It is not uncommon for the Notary to be individually named in a lawsuit along with his or her employer.

Given this financial responsibility, Notaries can protect themselves from honest mistakes by carrying an errors and omissions insurance policy, which will covers the claim, legal defense fees, and court costs, up to the policy’s limit.

The best way to protect yourself is to prevent and avoid errors by always following best practices, and by investing in a journal of notarial acts, in which you diligently enter the details of every notarization you perform. Your well-organized journal will illustrate that you showed reasonable care, and it could protect you from liability, should a specific notarization ever be questioned.

Hotline answers are based on the laws in the state where the question originated and may not reflect the laws of other states. If in doubt, always refer to your own state statutes.– The Editors

Confronted with a tricky notarization? Unsure how to proceed? NNA members have unlimited access to our expertly trained NNA Hotline counselors to help you with all of your notarial questions. Call (888) 876-0827, Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST

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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.)

Confronted with a tricky notarization? Unsure how to proceed? NNA members have unlimited access to our expertly trained Hotline counselors to help you with all of your notarial questions.

(888) 876-0827

Monday through Friday:
5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST

Saturdays: 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST

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