You know how to use your seal and journal of notarial acts, but what happens if someone asks to borrow them? What do you do with them when traveling, and what steps must be followed when they are obsolete? Take our quiz and test your knowledge of caring for tools of your office. ANSWERS: 1. Who is authorized to use a Notary’s seal of office? A. The Notary or anyone the Notary designates as a lawful representative B. The Notary or any other Notary currently commissioned in the same state C. The Notary or the Notary’s employer D. The Notary and no other person Answer: D. The seal of office is the sole property of the Notary and may not be lent to anyone or used by any other individual. 2. If you resign your commission, your obsolete seal should be: A. Given to a commissioned Notary to store B. Surrendered to your attorney C. Returned to the manufacturer D. Disposed of according to your state’s laws Answer: D. State laws vary widely regarding disposal of an obsolete seal. Some states simply require the seal to be thrown away, before doing so, the NNA recommends defacing the seal so it cannot be re-used by anyone else. Arizona requires Notaries to turn the seal in when they resign; Hawaii requires the seal to be sent to the state Attorney General’s office upon resignation. Always be sure to follow your state’s rules regarding the disposal of an obsolete seal. 3. When traveling on assignment, the NNA recommends keeping your journal and seal: A. In a locked, secured carrying case or travel bag in your possession B. In any suitable purse, backpack or travel bag that can be zipped up or fastened shut C. Anywhere in your vehicle, as long as you remember to lock it when your tools are inside D. In any easily visible location, so you do not forget where it is Answer: A. To minimize the risk of unauthorized access or theft, the NNA recommends keeping your tools in a locked, secured traveling case or bag under your control when traveling. An unsecured purse, backpack or travel bag may be accessible to would-be thieves. Similarly, leaving your tools unattended in an easily visible location leaves them vulnerable to being stolen. Even a locked car presents risks; a thief who sees a Notary seal or journal left unattended in a vehicle might be tempted to break in the car and take the items. 4. True or False.In every state, when an employer pays for a Notary’s commission, the Notary’s tools must be turned over to the employer if the Notary changes jobs. Answer: False.In most states, the opposite is true — the Notary’s tools are the sole property of the Notary regardless of who paid for the commission, and remain with the Notary if the Notary changes jobs. There are some exceptions, however — Arizona laws permit Notaries to keep separate journals for “public records” and “non-public records” such as information protected by attorney-client privilege. An Arizona Notary’s non-public records of notarial acts may be kept by the Notary’s employer (ARS 41-319[E]). Oregon has a provision where the Notary and the Notary’s employer can agree to have the journal stay with the employer upon termination of employment; however the Notary is required to obtain and keep a copy of the written agreement to do so and be prepared to show it to the Secretary of State if requested (ORS 194.152). Always follow your state’s laws regarding possession of your notarial tools. David Thun is an Associate Editor at the National Notary Association.