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Hotline Tip: How To Properly Destroy An Expired Notary Seal

NNA Hotline Tips For NotariesI’ve been told that I should destroy my expired Notary seal. Any tips on how to do so? Also, once my Notary journal is full, am I required to mail it to the State of California? – M.B., San Diego, CA

When your current commission expires, you should destroy your Notary seal. We recommend taking a razor blade and defacing the rubber plate so no one can use the expired seal. You can also use a hammer to destroy the seal, as long as it renders the seal unable to make an impression. If you have an embosser, you should separate the plates, and take a hammer and screwdriver and deface the plates so no one can use the embosser.

If a Notary resigns, is disqualified, is removed from office, or allows his or her commission to expire without obtaining another commission within 30 days, then his or her notarial records (journal) must be delivered to the county clerk’s office where the Notary’s oath of office and bond are on file within 30 days of commission resignation, revocation or expiration.

If none of the conditions above apply, then the Notary should keep all journals — including filled ones — under his or her direct supervision and control.

Hotline answers are based on the laws in the state where the question originated and may not reflect the laws of other states. If in doubt, always refer to your own state statutes. — The Editors

Kelle Clarke is a Contributing Editor with the National Notary Association.

Confronted with a tricky notarization? Unsure how to proceed? NNA members have unlimited access to our expertly trained NNA Hotline counselors to help you with all of your notarial questions. Call (888) 876-0827, Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST


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Sandra Hughes

30 Jun 2022

In the case of death of a notary public, how long do the heirs have to submit their notary logs to the state of Washington?

National Notary Association

05 Jul 2022

Hello. The Notary's personal representative would need to retain the journals for 10 years after the performance of the last act in the journal, after which the journal must be destroyed. (WAC 308-30-210[3] and RCW 42.45.180(6))


18 Mar 2023

It’s coming up on 10 years since the last journal entry. For Washington State, how best to destroy the journal?

National Notary Association

28 Mar 2023

“Ten years after the performance of the last notarial act chronicled in a tangible journal, the journal is to be destroyed by shredding or other destruction that leaves any entry in the journal illegible” (WAC 308-30-210[1]).

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