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Notary Bulletin

Recommended Notary Practices: Using And Protecting Your Seal

A Notary’s seal signifies that a Notary is a public officer, and its application to a document authenticates the Notary’s signature and makes a notarization official. That’s why the NNA’s Recommended Notary Practices encourages all Notaries to:

Always use a seal when you notarize, and be sure to keep it in your custody and control at all times.

Because the seal is a critical tool of notarization, Notaries must always protect the seal from falling into the wrong hands and being misused. You should never loan your seal to be used by another person. When not in use, a seal should be kept in a secured area such as a safe or locked drawer. Never leave your seal unattended in the open where it may be stolen or used by someone else.

State laws vary regarding the type of seal required for notarizations — some require Notaries to use inking seals, some embossing seals, and some allow either. Some states do not require Notaries to use seals, or allow the use of seals without commission expiration dates. In such jurisdictions, Notaries may be required to write, type or stamp a commission expiration date or other information on the certificate. A large percentage of Notaries in states not requiring seals still opt to use them instead of adding this mandatory information. Always be sure to follow your state’s requirements for use of a Notary seal.

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