Notaries are expected to uphold certain standards and act in accordance with the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts (RULONA). Even the most minor mistakes can cause notaries a loss of commission, fines, or legal consequences. Here are five common mistakes that notaries made in 2020, so you can avoid them in 2021.
- Failing to keep a proper record of their notarial acts. Every notarial act that you perform must have an accurate, complete entry in your notary journal. Learn more about how to create a proper notarial journal entry in this video.
- Failing to require personal appearance. Unless you are a remote notary, you must require in-person appearance from the customer. Personal appearance is the first step to performing a notarization. If the customer is unable to come in person, you can refuse service or refer them to a remote online notary.
- Failing to maintain custody and control of your notary stamp. As a notary public, you are responsible for securing your notarial stamp. When you are not using your official stamp, put it with your notary journal in a secure place that only you have access to.
- Failing to include proper notarial language or venue. Notary wording must be present for you to notarize any document or perform any notarial act. If there is no notary wording present, you must add it. There also must always be a venue including the state and county where you and the customer are standing when the notarial act takes place. If there is no notary wording, inform the client and ask to add it to the document. If they do not allow you to add the proper wording, you must refuse to notarize.
- Failing to be familiar with the duties and responsibilities of a notary public. As a notary in Pennsylvania, there are certain duties and responsibilities that you must be familiar with to be able to do the job properly. Familiarize yourself with what is expected of you as a notary, how to perform notarial acts, and what your limitations are. PAN offers several options for obtaining the 3 hours of state-mandated education that will teach you what you need to know about becoming a notary in Pennsylvania, and how to notarize documents.
Being familiar with your duties and responsibilities to the public is the best way to keep yourself safe from legal consequences and losing your commission.