Your best protection and defense against civil lawsuits is the use of reasonable care. Reasonable care is the degree of attentiveness and precaution that would widely be expected of a person of ordinary prudence and intelligence. This means, above all, following whatever notarial duties the law and official instructions of your state dictate. You should be particularly attentive in requiring document signers to personally appear, in identifying document signers and in keeping a record book of all notarial acts. The Notary Public Code of Professional Responsibility is a valuable resource in difficult situations as well as in normal circumstances. It offers clear examples and guidelines to follow. The overwhelming majority of lawsuits against Notaries result from their failure to exercise reasonable care in these three areas.