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How Many Journal Entries Do I Need if One Person Signs Multiple Documents?

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If a person signing has multiple documents, do I need him to sign a separate line in my Notary journal for each document? Or do I just need one line for his signature and just list the documents signed in a single journal entry? — V.G., California

You must record a separate journal entry for every signature you notarize with all required informational elements for the entry. Journal entries must be completed at the time of notarization. California Notaries may not use ditto marks, abbreviations or other shortcuts in recording journal entries.

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

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54 Comments

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Cheryl Kaster

04 Jan 2016

Hawaii requires that a separate journal entry must be made for EACH document notarized, even if there are multiple originals of the same document. Example: Two originals of the same document, for two signers will result in four individual journal entries and each signer will sign two of those journal entries.

Richard J Higgins

04 Jan 2016

When a notary client has 2 or 3 documents to be notarized, are we allowed to list these documents in the Document Kind or Type column and then proceed with the Notarization?

National Notary Association

06 Jan 2016

Hi Richard. Because Notary journal entry requirements vary depending on the state, can you please tell us what state you are commissioned in?

MGUERRERO

06 Jan 2016

I've had signings were the loan package has three borrowers and over 10 pages to be notarized between escrow and lender. Does this mean they all need to sign 10 notary journal entries totaling 30 entries for one assignment? and do they need thumb print on all too or only recorded docs? I'm a notary in California.

National Notary Association

15 Jan 2016

Hello. You would need a separate journal entry and signature for each notarial act. California requires a signer thumbprint in the journal entry for notarizations involving a power of attorney, deed, quitclaim deed, deed of trust or other document affecting real property.

NotaryMeetup

09 Jan 2016

In nevada we can use ditto marks but need separate lines for each item, we can also have them sign diagonally across a few lines in the journal instead of signing ten times

Catherine james

09 Jan 2016

It makes sense, but sure is a chore when signing a loan package with 8 or more notarized docs per person. Plus, you have to record all the personal info on each line (name, address, license, etc) You spend half the time of the appt just filling out the journal. If you're in the business of selling journals, you make a fortune off of loan signing agents. I think they should bring back the electronic journal and thumbprint pad. It would make life so much simpler.

Jeff

09 Feb 2016

I don't see any citation to any statute or regulation that support NNA's opinion about California law.

National Notary Association

09 Feb 2016

Hello. If you are referring to the requirement for CA Notaries to provide a separate line item in the journal for each notarial act and the prohibition against using ditto marks, please see the following instructions from page 4 of the CA Secretary of State's 2014 Notary Newsletter for CA Notaries: "Remember that you may be asked to provide a copy of a line item in your journal, which is why each line item entry must be complete. You cannot use hash marks, ditto marks, arrows, or other shortcuts." The newsletter is available online at http://notary.cdn.sos.ca.gov/forms/notary-newsletter-2014.pdf

Marsha Morales

09 Feb 2016

How long has it been that California notaries are not allowed to use ditto marks?

National Notary Association

09 Feb 2016

Hi Marsha. The instruction from the CA SOS against using ditto marks appears in the Secretary of State's 2014 Notary Newsletter, available online here: http://notary.cdn.sos.ca.gov/forms/notary-newsletter-2014.pdf

Tiffany

09 Feb 2016

NV notaries are permitted to use one signature line for a signer of multiple documents and may use ditto marks for the same info BUT must include a separate individual identifying number for each document.

mjanoyan@gmail.com

09 Feb 2016

How about if it's a loan document?

National Notary Association

09 Feb 2016

Hello. The journal entry format should follow the applicable laws in your state.

Julie barnes

09 Feb 2016

According to the CA Notary Handbook, page 9. You must have the character of each doc notarize and a signature of each person. It doesn't state sign for each doc. There are modernized journals that list most of what we notarize and wheather it's a jurat , acknowledgement. Etc. They are acceptable.

National Notary Association

09 Feb 2016

Hello. Page 9 of the 2016 CA Notary Public Handbook states: "The journal shall include the items shown below. (Government Code section 8206(a)) • Date, time and type of each official act (e.g., acknowledgment, jurat). • Character of every instrument sworn to, affirmed, acknowledged or proved before the notary public (e.g., deed of trust). • The signature of each person whose signature is being notarized. • A statement that the identity of a person making an acknowledgment or taking an oath or affirmation was based on “satisfactory evidence” pursuant to Civil Code section 1185." So yes, the Handbook does state you must obtain the signature of each person whose signature is notarized in your journal. The 2016 Handbook is available as a PDF at the CA SOS website here: http://notary.cdn.sos.ca.gov/forms/notary-handbook-2016.pdf

Julie Barnes

09 Feb 2016

Another thing: you do have customer raise right arm and swear ? That's also on page 9. Whenever I go to sppt. I seem to be the only notary in our area that does this. Look at the verbage on the jurats.

National Notary Association

09 Feb 2016

Hello. Page 12 of the CA Notary Public Handbook states: "When administering the oath, the signer and notary public traditionally each raise their right hand but this is not a legal requirement." The NNA recommends asking the signer to raise his or her right hand because the ceremony helps convey that taking an oath or affirmation should be treated seriously.

Virginia M. Greene

09 Feb 2016

Two days ago, I notarized 3 documents for one client, a Deed Of Trust, An Assignment of Rents, and an amendment to A Trust Agreement, each document was entered into my journal separately, a thumbprint was taken and three separate Acknowledgments were signed.

Anja Parker

09 Feb 2016

I think this is excessive and burdensome, especially if the date, place of signing, and type of acknowledgment are all the same. Is there are a practical reason for requiring the most arduous process possible?

National Notary Association

09 Feb 2016

These are the rules required by state law and the CA Secretary of State's office. If you have questions or wish to offer feedback on state Notary policies, you can contact them by mail at: Notary Public Section P.O. Box 942877 Sacramento, CA 94277–0001 Or you can reach them by phone at (916) 653–3595.

Joseph Reeves

09 Feb 2016

I'm really glad that this topic was brought up for discussion. As in many other states, here in Texas each notarized document (typically each signature) requires its own record entry in the notary journal. I've gone to numerous signing appointments where the signer said something to the effect of "The last time I did this, the notary recorded everything on one line and I only had to sign once." That would be a great time saver with loan refinance appointments where the document package has 22 notarized documents, but it's not in compliance with Texas notary law. Every time my notary seal hits the paper, that's another entry in my journal. Imagine if a private party, or a court, submitted a request for a certified copy of a journal entry for one document I notarized. How could I produce a copy of just that record if multiple documents are recorded in one lone journal entry? There's a good reason for each notarization having its own record in the notary journal.

john nevil

10 Feb 2016

I recently closed a loan that had 214 pages 15 had to be notarized and two signers this requirement takes LOTS of time. The notary is spending a lot of time closing loans and recording information that is duplicated.

Jadene Payton

10 Feb 2016

I have one of the notary journals that allows you to check off all the documents that are notarized & then I have them sign once. I was told in my notary class that this was acceptable.

Alex Rubio

14 Mar 2016

I have someone is signing a lease with a company that has three parts: Lease, Addendum to Lease and Memorandum to Lease; each which a required signature from the client. Do I need to provide them with three individual California All-Purpose Acknowledgement Forms or would one Acknowledgement Form suffice?

National Notary Association

14 Mar 2016

Hello. For three separate documents, three separate notarization certificates would be required because each document would require a separate notarial act.

Elizabeth Bulger

19 Apr 2016

A journal entry per signature, per document. Deed with Sam Smith and Sally Smith. 1 document, 2 signature=2 journal entries. If you fill out an Acknowledgement or Jurat the name of that document MUST be in your journal. For example, Loan Documents IS NOT the name of a document, you must indicate if it's a Deed, Certification of Trust, Affidavit, ect. If it gets called into question you must be able to prove it was the actual NAMED document you notarized. It's the law.

Shelly Gerardo

21 Jun 2016

If someone is signing a document twice on behalf of two different entities, can I notarize one generic acknowledgement or notarize two?

National Notary Association

24 Jun 2016

Hello. Can you tell us what state you are writing from, please?

Maritza Figueroa

05 Jul 2016

The majority of my notaries are from the same person, as it's for work. Do I need to have him sign every single time my journal although I personally know him? Do I need his fingerprint and DL as well? Someone told me I could get away with only one signature and fingerprint. Is this correct? I'm in California.

National Notary Association

05 Jul 2016

Hello. Yes, your signer must sign in your journal entry for each new notarization, and you must record the type of identification presented, the government agency issuing the ID, the ID's serial or identifying number, and the ID date of issuance or expiration. You will need the signer's thumbprint if the document involved in the notarization is a power of attorney, deed, quitclaim deed, deed of trust or other document affecting real property(GC 8206), You may not rely on a previous signature or thumbprint in your journal entry for future notarizations.

Carisa Wilkey

23 Jul 2016

I had to make 8 journal entries last night for each person, so 16 entries. They were confused as they never had to sign the journal so many times. And yes, it took so much time to fill out the information 16 times. Can I just have them sign & thumbprint & fill in the rest before or after the appt so its not so burdensome for the signer?

National Notary Association

25 Jul 2016

Hello. No, the journal entry should be completed at the time of notarization.

Lisa

21 Nov 2016

One document same signer for two different entities. Can I use one notary acknowledgement with one journal entry?

National Notary Association

22 Nov 2016

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

Judy Reyes

03 Dec 2016

As a loan signing agent, this is a dilemma and a real pain. However, I do this "by the book" and recently have seen loan packages with 13 documents PER SIGNER to notarize and we have no discretion to consider anything a "duplicate." so I am preparing 26 separate journal entries. This is very time consuming and I never do it at the appointment. I prepare a minimal journal entry ahead of time so people know what they're signing. I am aware of at least ONE California notary, who recently processed my personal re-fi, who did NOT take this step. All he did was have me sign one time in the book, for 4 or 5 separate notarizations. I did not take him to task or report him. But I feel cheated myself when I do things the right way and no one else takes it seriously.

Margeurite I Gutierrez

18 Dec 2016

If that is the law in California, then how come Title Agencies are not following that law? Before becoming a notary I was a loan officer for ten years. I went to all of my loan signings, that usually occurred at title. No matter what title agency was used, never, not one time, in over ten years, did any notary at the title company have the borrowers sign the notary book more than once and then they simply listed all the docs being notarized in the description section of the book, but only one signature per person no matter how many docs were being notarized in the loan docs.

mikeoffaith@pacbell.net

01 Jan 2017

I'm in the same boat as Judy Reyes. I'm in California. I am very conscientious about doing things by the book and have become pretty quick at filling out journal entries especially when there may be 16+ entries for a loan package with 2 signers. I just finished my refi and the notary showed up filled out one journal entry for the DOT and none of the other 6 notarizations, I challenged her about not doing journal entries. She told me that she's had numerous hours of education and she knew what she was doing. I told her I had the same six hours of education she did and that she needed an entry for each notarial act. She then had the nerve to tell me that I have been doing it wrong all these years. She should not be a notary or a signing agent. She tarnishes the reputation of the entire profession. I really want to report her to the SOS. How does one do that?

National Notary Association

03 Jan 2017

Hello. You can reach the CA Secretary of State's Notary Public Section by phone at 1-916-653-3595 or file a complaint online: www.sos.ca.gov/notary/file-complaint/

Amor

01 Mar 2017

I too am a California Notary and was tired of arguing with my lazy co-worker who does one line and one signature for multiple notary acts, so I called the SOS and here is what they told me. According to the 2017 Notary Handbook, EACH act requires a line entry, meaning that if one customer needs 20 notaries your journal should have 20 lines completed along with 20 signatures and in some scenarios 20 thumbprints. I know this can be tedious, and tiresome, but if it is not done this way, the notary is just being lazy. Notary Public Journal A notary public is required to keep one active sequential journal at a time of all acts performed as a notary public. The journal must be kept in a locked and secured area (such as a lock box or locked desk drawer), under the direct and exclusive control of the notary public. The journal shall include the items shown below. (Government Code section 8206(a)) • Date, time and type of EACH official act (e.g., acknowledgment, jurat)

Kirsten

11 Jul 2017

In CA, if you have one signer that signs one document, BUT the signer signs that same one document twice or three times, then you only need one journal entry per that signer. Another scenario, if there are two signers for that same one document and say they signed two or three times each in that same one document, then you'd need 2 journal entries: one per signer/person. Our law firm contacted the California Secretary of State to confirm this. It would be nice if NNA would cover a scenario like this. We called the NNA hotline and the representative was wrong in telling us to do an entry for each signature of one signer on the same document, and I explained it carefully to her too.

National Notary Association

14 Jul 2017

Hello. The following instructions are from page 4 of the CA Secretary of State's 2017 Notary Newsletter, available on the Secretary of State's website at http://notary.cdn.sos.ca.gov/forms/notary-newsletter-2017.pdf: "Each notarial act must be a separate journal entry, and each notarial act must include the date, the time, and the type of official act." Also from the same page: "Not only must a notary public have a separate journal entry for each type of notarization, a specific description of the document, and the time and date of the official act, California Government Code section 8206(a)(2)(C) requires the signature for each line item."

National Notary Association

14 Jul 2017

Also, Government Code 8206(a)(1) states: “A notary public shall keep one active sequential journal at a time, of all official acts performed as a notary public.”

Jillian

11 Aug 2017

Ok, so my company has multiple LLCs and my boss signed the same signature block twice. One as secretary for LLC #1 and then below that as secretary for LLC #2. Do I need one or two entries for this in my journal?? I am in California.

National Notary Association

14 Aug 2017

Hello. If you notarized both signatures, then you would need two separate entries, one for each signature notarized. From the CA Secretary of State's 2017 Notary newsletter: "Each notarial act must be a separate journal entry, and each notarial act must include the date, the time, and the type of official act. "

Brandi

16 Aug 2017

I am in California and am notarizing 36 signatures for the same person on corporate documents for establishing a new company. Can I attached one acknowledgment for all of the signatures so long as all of the signatures are in the same document? I don't need a separate acknowledgement for each signature - right? I do know that I need a separate entry in my journal for each signature. Thank you!

National Notary Association

22 Aug 2017

Yes, it is appropriate to use one certificate as it the same signer appearing before you on the same day for the same document. You must make a separate entry for each signature in your journal.

Jovanna

03 Oct 2017

So if you have one document that has three signature spots for the client, you must do three journal entries and we may charge $15.00 for each signature? And we could attach just one certificate This is for California. Please confirm.

National Notary Association

06 Oct 2017

Hello. California requires a separate journal entry for each notarial act, and the maximum fee for acknowledgments is $15 per signature acknowledged and for jurats is $15 per person you administer an oath or affirmation to.

Amy Dawn

16 Feb 2019

I am in Oregon and when I worked in a legal office 7 years ago, I was told that I could do one journal entry if I listed all documents that were signed. At my current job however, I've been told that I should do separate entries for each notarized document. Is this true in Oregon? If so, how much trouble would I be in for creating only one journal entry in the past?

National Notary Association

20 Feb 2019

Hello. Oregon provides the following guidelines for information in journal entries: “If a notary public performs notarial acts involving different statements or documents for the same individual on the same date, the notary public may, in lieu of recording individually in the journal the information required by subsection (3) of this section for each statement or document, record a single entry in the journal for all notarial acts involving the statements or documents. The entry shall set forth the number of statements or documents and the information required by subsection (3)(c) to (g) of this section and for each statement or document the information required by subsection (3)(a) and (b) of this section. If there are duplicate originals of any statement or document, the entry shall set forth the total number of duplicates of the statement or document notarized” (ORS 194.300[4][b]). “If a notary public performs notarial acts involving more than one statement, signature or document for the same individual but not on the same date, the notary public may, in lieu of recording individually in the journal the information required by subsection (3)(c) to (e) of this section for each notarial act performed for that individual, record a reference to a prior entry in the notarial journal for that person. The reference shall identify the page and line numbers of the prior entry. The prior entry shall set forth the information required by subsection (3)(c) to (e) of this section” (ORS 194.300[4][c]).

jocelyn

09 Mar 2019

The Oregon law sounds much more practical than the California one. Eg. if the same signer signs multiple documents, and the documents are all listed in the document description, it seems reasonable that the signer should only have to sign the book once, one fingerprint, etc. Saves time and paper. California should change the law.

Notary in CA

07 May 2019

It was my understanding that each "notarial act" is distinguished by whether it is a Jurat or Acknowledgement, etc. Therefore, you can have one journal entry for all Acknowledgements done at the same time, for that same signer, e.g. Acks. in a loan package; separate journal entry would be required for a Jurat in that same loan package.

National Notary Association

08 May 2019

Hello. The California Secretary of State's office has stated that Notaries must complete a separate journal entry for each notarization performed, regardless of the type of act. The following is from page 2 of the CA Secretary of State's 2018 Notary Newsletter publication: "If you are notarizing multiple documents for a signer or signers, each notarial act must be indicated clearly in your journal. Hash marks, ditto marks, arrows, lines, or other shortcuts do not meet the requirements for entering a complete notarial act into your journal."

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