Recordkeeping

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My State Doesn’t Require Me to Keep a Recordbook.
ASN Hot Tip, December 2008-#1

The Situation:  A notary performed notarial acts over a package of several documents for a client, on the same day at the same time, one year ago. Now, there is a question about allegedly forged signatures on a document that was submitted to be recorded at a county courthouse as a part of this package of documents.

The Notary’s Dilemma:  The county sheriff called the notary to inquire about one particular document that was submitted in the package of documents to be recorded. The sheriff told the notary that both the signer’s and notary’s signatures appeared to have been forged on the suspect document. Did the notary remember performing a notarial act over this document? (Thankfully, the notary was not being accused of anything in this case. The sheriff was asking for her assistance to uncover facts about the allegedly forged document.)

Although keeping a recordbook or journal was not required by law in this notary’s commissioning state, the notary dutifully kept a record of all her notarial acts in a
bound, sequentially-numbered recordbook. She remembered that the signer of the documents in the package had brought several documents at the same time to her
about a year ago. If the document in question was one she notarized at that time, the details would be in her recordbook.

The notary was summoned to appear in court to testify about the allegedly forged document.

The Solution:  Whether required or not, all notaries should record the details of every notarial act performed in a securely bound volume containing pre-printed,
numerically sequential page numbers and pre-printed, numerically sequential entry numbers. Keeping records of notarial acts is just as important in states that do not
require a notary to keep records as it is in a state that has mandated that notaries must keep records.

Why is it so Important?
The notary in this example has kept accurate records of all her notarial acts from the date she started using her recordbook. She can therefore appear in court with her recordbook and swear under oath that she has recorded every notarial act performed since the date she started that recordbook. She will have recorded information for each document in the package that was presented to her for a notarial act on that date by that client. As it turns out, the notary can show the court that there is no entry in her recordbook on the date in question for a document resembling the one alleged to have been forged.

The notary’s testimony that she did not perform a notarial act over the suspect document is believable because she has no entry in her recordbook describing the allegedly forged document among the entries for all of the other, legitimate, documents in the package. The key to her testimony is the fact that she consistently recorded every notarial act that she has performed since starting that recordbook (and also those notarial acts that she refused or declined to perform).

Oh, yes – it’s also important to note that the notary’s recordbook of choice is ASN’s All-States Recordbook of Notarial Acts©.

Questions, comments on this Hot Tip?  Email support@asnnotary.org

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