One of the top reasons notaries get in trouble with the Department of State is that they did not complete the commissioning process of getting sworn in at their respective county recorder of deeds office. Subsequently, they were fined, had their commissions suspended and were ordered to take a six-hour notary education course. If they notarized documents before getting sworn into office, they were, in effect, impersonating a notary.
Receiving a notice of appointment from the Secretary of the Commonwealth and obtaining a rubber stamp seal from a notary supply company does not mean you may begin notarizing documents. The Pennsylvania Notary Public Law requires that you appear before the recorder of deeds to record your bond and take the oath of office to be considered a commissioned notary.
You must appear within 45 days of being appointed, i.e., receiving that notice of appointment, or your commission will be declared null and void and you’ll have to start the application process over again.
Remember to register your signature with the county prothonotary as well. Call the recorder’s office to ask what fee will be charged to take the oath and to record your bond. Call the prothonotary’s office to ask what fee will be charged to register your signature.
Follow through on your commission process. Remember you are not officially a notary until you take the oath of office, record your bond at the county recorder of deeds office and register your signature at the county prothonotary’s office.
If you have any questions, please call the Pennsylvania Association of Notaries at 800-944-8790 or visit our Web site at www.notary.org.