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Handling Notary Journal Inspection Requests

Handling Notary Journal Inspection Requests

Updated 2-24-16. When someone asks to see a specific entry in your journal, there are six important rules you should follow to protect the privacy of your signers’ important information contained in other entries.

  1. Follow your state’s requirements for allowing access to journal entries. For example, California requires a written request be presented prior to allowing inspection or photocopying of an entry. The request must specify the names of the parties to the notarization, the type of document and the month and year the document was notarized.
  2. If your state doesn’t have any requirements, let best practices guide you. The Notary Public Code Of Professional Responsibility recommends following the procedure mentioned above.
  3. Do not permit “fishing expeditions.” Never let someone asking to inspect a journal entry flip wholesale through your journal pages. This compromises the confidentiality of other signers’ information.
  4. When making a photocopy or allowing someone to view a journal entry, cover other entries on the same page to conceal them from view.
  5. Always be present when an individual examines an entry. Except under special circumstances — such as an authorized request by law enforcement — never allow your journal to be examined or copied unattended. This rule applies when your employer asks to inspect your journal as well.
  6. Do not relinquish control or possession of your journal to an unauthorized person — even to a co-worker, relative or friend — for any reason. State laws can be very strict about this. If your journal is subpoenaed by a court or seized by law enforcement, then obviously you must comply. Short of that, protect your journal at all costs.

David Thun is an Associate Editor at the National Notary Association.

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Additional Resources:

NNA Webinar: How to Complete a Journal Entry

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4 Comments

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Fannie Toner

22 Jul 2015

Thank you -- this was clear and helpful.

Michael Harris

29 Feb 2016

I have only had one request for any information from my journal in the dozen years that I have been in business. The request was in the form of a subpoena duces tecum, which is a legal request for data or documentation (the subpoena actually wanted a deposition). The loan signers' lawyer requested all the data I had--I was fortunate to have good data.

Lavinia Fitzpatrick

01 Mar 2016

Always nice to read & refresh one's memory!

THOMAS, LOUISE

02 Mar 2016

REVISE THE JOURNAL WHERE AS EVERYTHING PER INDIVIDUAL WILL BE ON IT'S OWN PAGE. RIGHT NOW EVERYTHING IS ON THE SAME PAGE.. USE INDIVIDUAL PAGES PER PERSON. BE CREATIVE AND MAKE NEW JOURNAL TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM.

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