While keeping a journal of your notarizations may seem unnecessary, you never know when a record of your acts may keep you out of trouble. That is particularly true for Notaries who routinely handle real estate and mortgage transactions.
These high-value transactions have greater potential for fraud. And voluminous loan packages have lots of places for mistakes to happen — before and after they go through your hands. What’s more, issues with notarizations often do not surface for years after they were performed.
NSAs on LinkedIn have described how they were told by customers that they had made mistakes during notarizations and needed to correct them.
- One NSA checked her journal records and discovered the alleged faulty notarizations never happened in the first place.
- Another asked to see a copy of the document in question after finding no entry in her journal for the notarial act the customer described. When she received the document, she saw the signatures were completely different from the original ones she notarized and refused to correct the notarization.
- A Florida Notary was contacted by a borrower about a set of loan documents notarized more than a decade earlier. This Notary still had her journals from that time, even though Florida does not have a journal requirement. Her journal entries showed that she performed the notarizations properly. Evidently, however, another Notary was asked to re-perform the notarizations on the loan documents, and they may have been fraudulently notarized.
Most states do not require Notaries to maintain journals. In those that do, the law varies from state to state about how to keep journals.
In California, Notaries are required to keep their journals for as long as they remain Notaries. Once they stop being a Notary, they must turn their journals in to the county clerk in the county in which the Notary’s current oath of office is on file.