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Notary Bulletin

Can I copy documents I notarize for my personal records?

Am I allowed to make a copy of the documents that I notarize for my own records? — H.S., Montana

No, you should never make copies of documents for your own records. Those documents may contain personally identifiable or other private information. In addition, Notaries are not required to read the documents they notarize, so it follows that they never should make and keep copies of these documents.

The proper way in Montana to keep a record of the notarization is by completing a thorough journal entry for the notarization.

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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6 Comments

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Angela M Gaviria

25 Oct 2021

Hello, I just have a question and a concern, I am a Notary Public and I am also a translator. I notarize Certification of translations and I recently visited a notary and she not only charged me ten dollars per one acknowledgment ( it should be $5.00) here in PA, and she also made copies of all the documents I gave her. Is this legal?

National Notary Association

29 Oct 2021

Hello. Notaries in Pennsylvania are not required to retain copies of a customer's documents, and should not do so as this could be a potential breach of privacy.

Larry Tooson

31 Oct 2021

I’m Notary commissioned from state of CA. It is illegal to photo copy any L.S.A documents & retain on file personally or professionally.

National Notary Association

01 Nov 2021

Hello. Notaries should not keep a photocopy of a signer's document. Photocopying a signer's document simply for your personal records could potentially violate a signer's privacy, as it gives you access to sensitive information on their documents that may not directly relate to the notarization. Please see this article for more information: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2019/07/avoiding-privacy-breaches-during-and-after-a-notarization

sergio garcia

01 Nov 2021

i believe the copies are basically for liability protection purposes and nothing else

National Notary Association

01 Nov 2021

Hello. Notaries should not keep a photocopy of a signer's document. Photocopying a signer's document simply for your personal records could potentially violate a signer's privacy, as it gives you access to sensitive information on their documents that may not directly relate to the notarization.

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