Notary Bulletin

Guest Column:
Education Is The Foundation
For Sound Notary Practices

Beth Chapman has been the Alabama Secretary of State since 2007.

By Beth Chapman
Alabama Secretary of State

There is no doubt in my mind that education is the cornerstone of Notary best practices  and Notaries know it. I saw this firsthand while hosting my states first-ever Notary Public conference. Attendees were deeply engaged in the program of information and professionalism we provided. Perhaps I should not have been surprised by this enthusiasm; I should have expected it.

Guiding Principle X of The Notary Public Code of Professional Responsibility  a set of ethical standards I encourage all Notaries to become familiar with  states that Notaries should continue their notarial education. The Code not only organizes best practices, but reflects the long-standing traditions and attitudes of Notaries in general. As the Alabama Notaries demonstrated, they want to live up to the highest principles of the office.

The conference I sponsored was specifically aimed at educating our Notary Public attendees about Alabamas statutes and best practices. Since it was an inaugural event, we expected a small number to attend; at most, a hundred or so. To our great surprise, the response was overwhelming. More than 2,000 signed up (and many more were on our waiting list). From this experience, it is clear that not only do Notaries want to learn, but they want to expand their education beyond the basics.

Witnessing the eagerness of the Notaries at our conference was thrilling. But what satisfies me even more is that we now have 2,000 better trained Notaries serving their clients. These Notaries have a new determination to assist and protect the citizens of Alabama through their work.

I believe these dedicated Alabama Notaries are symbols of a larger trend in this profession  a desire to serve clients with the highest standard of care and adhere to best practices. Notaries are dedicated, engaged people who want to serve their clients and the public the best way they can. There is no better way to serve than by learning everything you can about the office  how to fill out a certificate, adequately identify a signer, record the particulars of a transaction, and even handle the unexpected.

At the end of the day, the Notaries at our conference recognized the power and importance of education with regard to their invaluable public position: to protect the public and to fulfill their duties to the best of their ability.

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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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