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How To Become A Notary Public In Kentucky

If you are interested in becoming a Notary Public in Kentucky, this practical guide will answer many common questions. Learn about notarial duties, and find out how you can become a commissioned Notary. Once you are ready to begin the process of becoming a Kentucky notary or renewing your Kentucky commission, we'll walk you through step by step.

Kentucky Notary Process

Requirements to be a Notary in Kentucky

General Notary Public Information

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Kentucky Notary Process

What is the process to become a Notary Public State at Large?

  1. Make sure you meet all of Kentucky’s eligibility requirements (see below).
  2. Complete the application and make the $10 filing fee payable to Kentucky State Treasurer.
  3. Send the application and fee to Notary Commissions in Frankfort, KY.
  4. Once processed, your certificate will be sent to the county clerk in the county you applied.
  5. You will receive written notice to go to the county clerk’s office within 30 days to post your bond, take your oath of office, file and record your commission.
  6. Buy your Notary seal and journal (optional, but strongly recommended).
  7. Consider purchasing E&O insurance to limit your financial exposure.
  8. Continuing education and Notary experts are always available if you want additional training or guidance.

What is the difference between a Notary Public State At Large and Special Commission?

A person commissioned as a Notary Public State at Large is only authorized to perfom Notary services within the state's borders. The documents may be recorded in Kentucky or in other states.

A person with a Notary Public Special Commission may perform Notary services inside or outside of the state's borders. But they can only notarize documents that will be recorded in Kentucky. The application process for a Special Commission is similar to the steps above, but your oath must be filed with the Secretary of State, and your commission will be issued by the Governor. You must also use this special signature format:

"I, ______________________, a Kentucky Notary Public Special Commission, for acts performed in or outside Kentucky for recordation in Kentucky; my commission expires: ______________________."

How much does it cost?

The state filing fee is $10. The cost of your bond, and optional seal and journal will vary based on the vendor you choose.

The cost of commissioning can differ depending on whether you are a new or renewing Notary. Supply package prices vary among vendors. New Notaries may need more “how-to” assistance than experienced Notaries. Books, training and live expert assistance are often must-haves for most new Notaries.

Some vendors may package items with additional fees — processing fees for example. Training can be included in package prices for new Notaries, although the quality of education can vary. Some providers offer their own Notary courses while others do not have the on-staff expertise to develop and support educational content. Several vendors offer Notaries live question and answer support, and others are not able to offer such assistance.

What kind of training will I need?

Training is not required for Kentucky Notaries.

Do I need to take an exam?

No, passing an exam is not required to become a Notary in Kentucky.

What kind of supplies will I need?

A Notary seal is optional; however, you may want to get a Notary seal, as it imprints information required for every notarization you perform. If you do choose to get one, your Notary seal may be a stamp or an embosser, but must contain your name, the words "Notary Public – State at Large” or “Notary Public – Special Commission”, and “Kentucky”. Your commission expiration date on the seal is optional, but strongly recommended, as this is required on all notarizations performed.

While a Notary journal is not required by law, Kentucky considers it a best practice for Notaries to use a Notary record book. It is strongly recommended that you use a journal of notarial acts to keep record of your notarizations, even though your state doesn’t require it. When purchasing a journal, there are a few important features to which you must pay close attention. A journal with numbered pages and tamper-proof sewn construction allows Notaries to identify missing pages in their journals, which becomes extremely helpful if you’re ever named in a lawsuit. Simple notebooks or glue-bound journals simply do not offer the same level of security.

When shopping for seal stamps, quality and durability can vary greatly among vendors. Stamps should not bleed during or after use, as this can cause county officials to reject documents due to smudging. A second seal can help you avoid downtime if your seal is ever misplaced, and an embosser can help add an additional layer of fraud prevention security.

Supplies are sold by most vendors in packages, which can sometimes provide savings. However, not all vendor packages are created equal — they can vary greatly in terms of quality and content. If you are a new Notary or renewing your commission, the types and quantity of notarizations can require different tools of the trade. For example, if you are a mobile or retail Notary, an ID checking guide is recommended because you are constantly dealing with different people, as opposed to someone who notarizes in the same setting for the same group of people day after day.

Do I need a bond or insurance?

Yes. A $1,000/four-year bond is required for Kentucky Notaries. Additionally, many also choose to purchase optional errors and omissions (E&O) insurance policies to protect themselves from legal expenses. E&O insurance is not a requirement in Kentucky.

You do not need to purchase insurance, although you have the option of doing so. Errors & Omissions (E&O) insurance helps protect the Notary - if you make an unintentional mistake or a false claim is filed against you, an E&O policy will cover your legal fees and awarded damages up to the coverage you select.

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Requirements to be a Notary in Kentucky

Who can become a Notary?

There are basic qualifications for a person to become a Notary in Kentucky. All applicants must be 18 years of age. You must be a Kentucky resident living, or non-resident of Kentucky employed, in the county where you apply. You must also be able to read, write, and understand English. Applicants must also be of good moral character and had no felony convictions unless civil rights have been restored.

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General Notary Public Information

Although Kentucky does not require training, where can I get it?

You can find several reputable Notary Public training providers with a quick online search. It’s important to note that the Secretary of State does not provide workshops or seminars, nor does the Secretary endorse any business that advertises Notary Public training. Since the Secretary of State doesn’t have jurisdiction to take action regarding a business that offers Notary training, make sure you thoroughly review any company you plan to work with.

How much legal risk will I face?

It depends. Even the most careful and detail-oriented people can make mistakes. As a Notary Public, any unintentional mistake you make or intentional misconduct you engage in could be very costly for everyone involved. Notaries have been sued for financial damages that signers incur and lawsuits are expensive even if you’re innocent. If you are diligent in following the law and keep thorough records, you’ll be better prepared if any legal action does come your way.

Can anyone help me become a Notary?

Yes. Several companies offer Notary training, supplies, insurance and assistance with the entire application process. Also, the Secretary of State’s website has the application with submission details, if you want to get the process started on your own.

Where will I be able to notarize?

You will be able to notarize anywhere in the state of Kentucky.

Who can I notarize for?

You can notarize for everyone, excluding yourself. You cannot notarize your own signature, nor can you notarize documents you are named in or would benefit from. Kentucky law doesn’t specifically prohibit notarizing for a spouse or relative or for a spouse’s business. If you perform notarizations as part of your employment, your employer may limit the notarizations you perform during your work hours.

What is the process to renew my commission as a Kentucky Notary?

The process to renew is the same as it is to apply for a new Notary commission. You should submit your renewal application no earlier than four weeks before your commission expires. You may purchase a new Notary seal to reflect your updated commission expiration date. You may also choose to get a new record book (journal) if your old one is full.

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