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State Notary Journal Laws Affecting Legal Professionals

Keeping a journal provides important information about past notarizations and is the best protection a Notary has if they are named in a lawsuit. But Notaries working in the legal profession also need to be aware that a handful of states — including Arizona, Massachusetts and Oregon — have additional rules that directly affect legal professionals. Below is an overview of each state’s special journal laws.

Arizona — Arizona is the only state that permits Notaries to keep two separate journals — one for public records, and one for entries whose disclosure would violate attorney-client privilege or that contain confidential information under state or federal law. (ARS 41-319[F]) A Notary’s journal of public entries is turned in to the Secretary of State when the Notary’s commission ends without reappointment. However, a journal of confidential entries may be kept by the Notary’s employer. (ARS 41-319[E]) Also, under ARS 41-324, court reporters are exempt from recording oaths and affirmations administered in judicial proceedings in their journal, though they must record all other notarial acts they perform.

Massachusetts — Though Massachusetts requires Notaries to keep a record of notarial acts, the state exempts certain legal professionals such as attorneys-at-law, counselors-at-law, paralegals, legal secretaries and other legal staff from maintaining a journal. (GL 222, Sec. 12) However, state officials still recommend keeping a journal as a best practice for Notaries who are legal professionals, even when not required by law. (EO Sec. 11[f])

Oregon — Recording certain notarial acts in Oregon — including oaths, affirmations, affidavits and verifications upon oath or affirmation — are optional under state law. (OAR 160-100-0230) The state Notary Public Guide still recommends voluntarily recording optional notarial acts in the journal.

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Carmelina Taylor

09 Aug 2018

I have proof of notary fraud against a New Jersey Notary. How do I proceed filing if they don’t have to keep a Notary Journal? Who do I contact?

National Notary Association

10 Aug 2018

Hello. If you suspect you are a victim of Notary fraud, you can file a complaint with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504- 6200. You can also file a fraud complaint online at https://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/Pages/File-a-Complaint-old.aspx.

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