According the American Society of Notaries (ASN), nearly every state uses a notary journal for the purpose of notarial acts. This way, notaries can prevent fraud cases through proper identification of all documents presented by a signer. That is why some spaces are left open in this document in order to facilitate notarial acts. Unfortunately, some crafty individuals have taken advantage of this habit to engage in dishonest acts contrary to what is expected of them. In this article, you are going to learn more about what a notary journal is, a bit of notarial acts and the negative side of leaving spaces open in your journal.
Basically, this is an update or record of all notarial acts carried out by an individual referred to as a notary. This journal contains the date and time when the notarial act happened, type of notarization, date of the documents notarized, type of documents under notarization, proof of identification, signer’s name, address and signature and additional information that is relevant to the notarial act. Even though it may not be required by law, this type of journal can play a very significant role in the protection of the notary or the document signer in case of a dispute. Again, the same document becomes important in assisting the prevention of wrongdoing by notaries. All journal entries are always legally presumed to be genuine to the full knowledge of the notary as well as the notarization process. When using a journal, you as the notary, is hereby advised to use that which is permanently bound with empty spaces that are already numbered. So, is it really a good idea to leave spaces open in your journal? Let’s find out more about that.
Several notary journals contain spaces reserved for placing signer’s impression of a thumbprint. This is not a bad idea at all because in the jurisdiction’s point of view notaries are allowed to take thumbprints as proof that they appeared before you. Also, a few in the US require these thumbprints when carrying out certain transactions. If your state doesn’t require any thumbprints, it is advisable to check with your manual first in order to have full knowledge of whether the practice is authorized or not.
In as much as leaving some space on your journal is mandatory there’s a negative side to it. One of the major problems is numerous cases of fraud that arise from time to time and in different situations. For instance, your important documents could get fraudulently notarized when you are unaware or without your consent. You can imagine a scenario where you are coming from a long vacation to find a bold “For Sale” sign right in your front yard. This may sound like a dream, but it happens more often than you can imagine and one way or the other, you can find yourself in the deep end of the pool if you’re not careful.
Another perfect example is when your negligence in performing your duties as a notary result in fraud cases. Your negligence or carelessness comes about when you fail to acknowledge every single document under your care, falsifying stamps, forging signatures or simply allowing someone (a signer) to sign documents in absence of a notary. Whichever the case, you may lose your notary commission, clients, and consequently tarnish your good reputation.
Leaving space open in your notary journal is a sound idea because it’s mandatory. As long as you are up to good intentions of doing so, there’s no problem with that. However, a lot of care is needed to avoid cases of fraud or getting involved in habits that might jeopardize not only your career but your reputation as well as freedom when dealing with notary journals.
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