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Hotline Tip: How Do I Properly Dispose Of My Outdated Notary Seal?

NNA Hotline Tips For NotariesI recently renewed my commission and received my new Notary seal. How do I go about properly destroying my old Notary seal? – J.N.

If the outdated item is a self-inking seal, you should deface the rubber part of the seal in a way that renders it unable to make an impression. I many cases a sharp object would suffice. An embosser must also be defaced so it is unable to make an impression. In this case it is necessary to use a tool or method that is capable of obscuring the embosser plates.

There is no statute addressing specifically how to destroy your seal, so your goal is to simply ensure that the seal is no longer useable, thereby preventing theft and/or fraud.

44 Comments

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Linda Lopez

29 Mar 2015

My husband was a notary and he just passed in Jan. What do I do with his notary things that have not expired?

National Notary Association

01 Apr 2015

Hello Linda. We're sorry for your loss. In order to answer your question, can you please tell us what state your husband was commissioned in? If you need a response quickly, you can also contact our Hotline counselors at hotline@NationalNotary.org.

Catherine Wilson Puhala

15 Jun 2015

My father was a Notary Public in Kanawha County, WV. He has been deceased since December, 1978. His seal is the old type that actually makes an imprint. No date is contained on the imprint. Is it of any value and if not, how should I dispose of it?

National Notary Association

16 Jun 2015

Hello Catherine. We don't know if the seal is of any value as an antique. If you wish to dispose of it, you would need to disassemble or deface the seal so that it could not be used by another person after disposal.

Lillian Sims-Travers

19 Jun 2015

I recently updated my last name due to marriage. I ordered & received my new stamp and my old one needs to be returned. It doesn't expire until Oct. 3, 2015. Do I just deface the rubber imprint and return it to NNA or just deface the stamp, so it can't be used?

National Notary Association

22 Jun 2015

Hello. Please contact our Customer Care team at Services@nationalnotary.org to confirm if you need to return the obsolete stamp.

Johnette Jeffcoat

21 Jul 2015

My Notary Seal was stolen from my vehicle. I will order a new one but wondered if I should report this to someone.

National Notary Association

28 Jul 2015

Hello. You may wish to report the theft to local law enforcement and get a copy of the report for your records. That way, if someone attempts to fraudulently use your seal, you will have evidence that it was stolen. You may also wish to contact your state Notary-regulating agency and report the theft to them.

Amber

06 Sep 2016

Where can I securely recycle my expired notary stamp? I live in Colorado.

National Notary Association

12 Sep 2016

Hello. Colorado requires that an expired seal be delivered to the Secretary of State's office when the Notary's commission expires and will not be renewed. (CRS 12-55-115[2])

CM Rohlin

07 Oct 2016

I've been looking on the internet to find out if New York State requires me to return my expired seal but i can't find out anything. Can you help?

National Notary Association

10 Oct 2016

Hello. The use of a seal is optional in New York, so there are not any state requirements regarding disposal of an expired seal. If you throw away your seal, we recommend first making sure the seal can't be re-used (for example, by cutting the rubber stamp) before throwing it away. Always be sure take proper safety precautions when using sharp tools or other objects to render an expired seal unusable.

Nancy

09 Dec 2016

The previous office manager was a notary and the company payed for her stamp.. by law would we need to return to her or dispose of it?

National Notary Association

09 Dec 2016

Hello. A Notary's stamp is the property of the Notary regardless of who pays for it. Only the Notary may use the seal and the seal must remain in sole possession of the Notary if the Notary changes jobs, even if the company paid for the seal. A company may not retain possession of an employee's seal if the Notary changes jobs.

Catherine Tabb

28 Jun 2017

My notary expired over ten years ago and I still have my original Journal and stamp. II was a notary in the state of California. Where and do I properly dispose of these items?

National Notary Association

29 Jun 2017

Hello. The journals should be delivered to the county clerk's office where your oath of office was filed. Your seal should be first rendered unusable and disposed of.

Patricia Consterdine

04 Jul 2017

I am no longer a notary I have to seals a stamp andembossed I live in New Mexico how do I dispose of them properly?

National Notary Association

05 Jul 2017

Hello. New Mexico law states, “As soon as reasonably practicable after resignation, revocation, change of name, expiration of a commission or death of the notary public, the seal or stamp shall be destroyed or defaced so that it may not be misused” (NMSA 14-12A-18[G]).

Kathy Flynn

06 Aug 2017

Hello. What are the laws for Minnesota and disposing of my expired seal and stamp? Thank you!

National Notary Association

08 Aug 2017

“Upon removal from office by the commissioner of commerce, a notary public shall deliver the notary’s official notarial stamp to the commissioner of commerce” (MS 359.12).

Barbara Roles

08 Aug 2017

I have a notary seal that is metal, not rubber. How do I distroy it?

National Notary Association

09 Aug 2017

Hello. Please see this article for more information on how to dispose of a metal embosser: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2016/01/what-do-with-old-notary-seals. If you are using tools to deface or destroy an old seal, be sure to take proper safety precautions against accidents. Examples include gloves to protect your hands from being cut by sharp objects and protective eyewear as a safeguard against debris.

Van Max

05 Sep 2017

What is the law for Washington state for disposal of your stamp? Thank you!

National Notary Association

06 Sep 2017

“If a notary public voluntarily resigns his or her notary appointment or if the notary appointment is revoked, suspended or restricted, the notary public must mail or deliver his or her notary stamp or seal to the Department of Licensing. No voluntary resignation of a notary appointment shall be effective until the notary seal or stamp is mailed or delivered to the notary section” (WAC 308-30-040).

Carol

12 Nov 2017

I'm a notary in the state of Georgia but have many years of expired stamps and embossers. After I remove and destroy the rubber seal is there any place to recycle the plastic and metal? Thank you.

National Notary Association

13 Nov 2017

Hello. We would recommend contacting local recycling centers in your area to ask if they will accept scrap metal and plastic for recycling.

DIANE MCNATTIN

16 Nov 2017

I have two older steel seals from my deceased father. I live in Illinois. What is protocol in my state?

National Notary Association

16 Nov 2017

Hello. The Illinois Notary Public Handbook states that when the Notary’s commission terminates through revocation, resignation or death, “the notary, or the notary’s heirs, should destroy or deface the seal so that it may not be misused.”

Jill Turso

27 Nov 2017

I am now living in PA but I was a notary several yrs ago in NJ. I have my expired rubber stamp and the metal type also. Are there any special requirements for disposal?

National Notary Association

28 Nov 2017

Hello. No, because New Jersey does not require use of a seal there are no statutory guidelines provided for seal disposal. For recommendations on how to dispose of your seal, please see this article: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2016/01/what-do-with-old-notary-seals

Joni Erwin

17 Jan 2018

The company I work for had me become a notary, the stamp belongs to them but with my name on it I do not want to leave it behind is there a way to commission a stamp? I live in Arizona.

National Notary Association

18 Jan 2018

Hello. Regardless of who paid for it, the Notary seal belongs to you under Arizona law. “A notary public is a public officer commissioned by this state and the following apply without regard to whether the notary public’s employer or any other person has paid the fees and costs for the commissioning of the notary public, including costs for the official seal and journals: … A notary public’s official seal and commission and any journal that contains only public record entries remain the property of the notary public” (ARS 41-312[C][1]).

Susan Larsen

22 May 2018

I work for a law office and we are needing to get rid of several different old stamps. Can i just deface them and through them in the dumster.

National Notary Association

22 May 2018

Hi Susan. To help us answer your question, can you please tell us what state you are commissioned in?

Jose L Hernandez

01 Jun 2018

I just received my new notary stamp. What do I do with my old expired one. I live in California.

National Notary Association

04 Jun 2018

Hello. “The notary, or his or her representative, shall destroy or deface the seal upon termination, resignation, or revocation of the notary’s commission” (GC 8207).

ivy

02 Jul 2018

are there any requirements in the state of connecticut or is defacing the seal plate sufficient?

National Notary Association

02 Jul 2018

Hello. CGS 3-94j says that the seal must be destroyed upon resignation, revocation, lapse or expiration of a Notary's commission, but does not provide specific guidelines how the seal must be rendered unusable.

Gwen Morgan

10 Oct 2018

My term expired and I ordered and received my new stamp and seal. How do I properly dispose of the state seal (Michigan)?

National Notary Association

10 Oct 2018

Hello. Since Michigan Notary law does not require use of a seal, the state does not provide guidelines for their disposal.

Rosaura Solano

19 Dec 2018

I do have an expired seal from Wisconsin I haven't been able to find how to dispose it. Could you please help me? Thank you.

National Notary Association

19 Dec 2018

Hello. Wisconsin does not provide specific guidelines for disposing of an expired Notary seal. We recommend before you dispose of the seal, disassemble or damage it so that it cannot be used by another person.

Bette

19 Feb 2019

I have an expired seal. Massachusetts says to destroy the seal. How do I remove the seal disk from the holder so I can hammer it? Thanks

National Notary Association

20 Feb 2019

Hello. It depends on what model of seal you have and what material the seal disk is made of. If you have a metal seal disk, you may need to use tools to pry the disk apart from the handle. If the disk is plastic, it may be required to break it to render it illegible. If you are using tools to deface or destroy an old seal, be sure to take proper safety precautions against accidents, include gloves to protect your hands from being cut by sharp objects and protective eyewear as a safeguard against debris.

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