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WWYD Answer: The Case Of The Crowded Journal

journal-handwriting.jpgLast week, we posed a scenario, The Case Of The Crowded Journal, about a California Notary who ran out of room to record entries in the middle of a notarization. The question was: Do you use your spouse’s journal, stop the notarizations or try to find another solution?

One thing most Notaries agreed on was that the Notary should not use the spouse’s journal. “This happened to me once. I would not use my hubby’s journal, as it’s illegal and unethical,” said Catherine James of California. Instead, James said she wrote the required information on the blank back side of the last page in her journal.

If the spouse is also a Notary, Terry Dion and Barbara Christ suggested asking the husband to notarize the remaining signatures that had not yet been completed. “This is probably the easiest solution,” Dion said.

Texas Notary Carmelina Carrillo suggested the best approach is to prepare ahead of time and have a new journal ready and on hand before the current one runs out of space. “Be ready! Not sorry,” she posted on Facebook.

NNA Vice President of Legislative Affairs Bill Anderson agreed with Carillo. “It’s simple: the Notary must plan ahead to have another blank journal on hand so that this situation never arises,” Anderson said. “However, in this case, the Notary could get a blank notebook, such as a ‘composition’ type of notebook or even a blank diary type of journal. As long as the Notary obtains all information required to be in the journal in a blank notebook, and the entries are sequential, the notebook could be used until such time that the Notary obtained a new journal. Then, the Notary would need to store the notebook used for those few journal entries in a locked and secure area and turn it into the county clerk at the end of the Notary’s career.”

Anderson said that using another Notary’s journal is definitely a mistake. “The problem with the Notary using the spouse’s journal is that it was not the Notary’s journal to begin with,” he said. “Also, by allowing the Notary to use the journal, the spouse violated the statute requiring a journal to be under his or her direct and exclusive control. Finally, after the entries were made, neither Notary could comply with the same statute. A journal can only be kept under one Notary’s exclusive control.”

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

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