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4 Do’s And Don’ts When Storing Your Seal And Journal


How To Protect Your Notary Stamp And Journal From MisuseWhile not every state sets rules for storing your Notary seal and journal, keeping your tools secure will protect you and your customers from fraud and breaches of privacy. Here are four important practices to follow when keeping a seal and journal.

1. Don’t Leave Your Journal And Seal Out In The Open

Whether you notarize at home or the office, never leave your seal and journal unattended in the open where they can be taken or used by unauthorized persons. If you work as a mobile Notary, don’t leave your seal and journal visible in your car where someone might break in and take them.

2. Do Store Your Tools In A Secure, Locked Area

When not using your Notary tools, the best place to keep them is a locked, secure area such as a safe or a locked drawer. California state law requires seals to be stored in this manner (GC 8207). Texas requires a Notary’s journal records to be retained “in a safe and secure manner” for either the length of the Notary’s commission or three years after the date of notarization, whichever is longer (1 TAC 87.44). Even if state law does not specify how your tools are to be stored, it’s a good practice to keep them in a secured location when not in use.

3. Don’t Lend Your Seal And Journal To Other People

Your seal and your journal are your responsibility, and you should never lend or entrust them to other people. That includes family or co-workers — no one other than the commissioned Notary is authorized to use the Notary’s seal of office. Florida law states that the seal is the exclusive property of the Notary and must be kept under the Notary’s control at all times. Florida also prohibits surrendering a seal to an employer if a Notary leaves a job, whether or not the employer paid for the seal or the Notary’s commission. (FS 117.05[3][b]). Arizona and Oregon are the only states that allow Notaries to turn journals over to employers, and only under special circumstances.

4. Do Follow Your State’s Rules For Storing And Disposing Of Old Seals And Journals

Different states have different rules for storing and disposing of old Notary seals and completed Notary journals. Always be sure to follow the rules of your state regarding old seals and journals. California requires Notaries to destroy or render their seal unusable when their commission permanently ends (GC 8207). Maryland require Notaries to keep their journal records of every notarial act for five years after the notarization was performed.

If your state does not provide guidelines for disposal of obsolete seals or journals, the NNA recommends destroying or defacing your seal when your commission ends, but keeping your old journals for a period of time in the event one of your old notarizations is questioned or challenged in court.

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

2 Comments

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Richard Arrington

15 Jan 2018

good advice

Sandra Sloboden

15 Jan 2018

This is very helpful. I have. Notary seal since 2010 and have been wondering how to dispose of them

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