A notary’s register is a public record. The Department of State requires a specific way to deal with a notary’s registers upon retirement, resignation or revocation of a notary commission and it does not involve burning or trashing those registers. All of a notary’s registers must be delivered to the county recorder of deeds where he or she maintain their office of record within 30 days. Additionally, a notary should give instructions to their heirs or legal representative on where to deliver their registers within 30 days of the notary’s death.
With all of that said, if a notary does not deliver their registers to the county recorder of deeds office within 30 days, and instead, burns or throws them in the trash, under Pennsylvania law, the notary could be charged with tampering with a public record.
In Pennsylvania, public records tampering ( destroying them, changing them in some manner, etc.) is usually considered a misdemeanor. The punishment for tampering with public records is typically up to two years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
So remember, when you resign, retire or have your commission revoked, make the quick trip or box them up and mail them to the county recorder of deeds office within 30 days. Don’t tamper with public records.