Knowing the limitations of your power as a notary is just as important as knowing the Notary Public Law. Here are some circumstances in which your authority to notarize is limited or prohibited.
If you want to obtain extra notary education and must ask your boss’ permission, here’s a sample letter that highlights the benefits of notary education. Please adapt it to your own specific circumstances.
A notary got a call from a loan broker she knew who asked her to notarize loan documents for a couple who wanted to refinance their home. She agreed and met the broker and couple for lunch. The notary asked for identification from the couple and was shown their drivers’ licenses. She notarized the documents and recorded the transaction in her register.
Sometimes when notaries change jobs, their employers demand their notarial equipment, including their registers. Your register is your exclusive property and cannot be used by any other individual or surrendered to any employer upon termination of your employment.
Mary Lou, a notary public in western Pennsylvania, always kept her register in her briefcase. One evening, she left the briefcase in her car, which was parked in the driveway of her home. The next morning, Mary Lou discovered that her car had been broken into and her briefcase stolen.
Patricia Lint made many mistakes in her more than 40 years as a notary. Those mistakes cost the western Pennsylvania woman her freedom. In 2006, police discovered her notary commission had expired and her seal had been confiscated by the Department of State. Yet she continued to pass herself off as a commissioned Pennsylvania notary, going so far as to use notary seals from other people. Lint was sentenced to one to two years in prison.
Chances are you’ve already completed the required three hours of notary education when you applied for your commission. Notary education is mandatory unless you were sworn in and had a valid notary commission on or before July 1, 2003. If so, you are permanently exempt from the education requirement.