I’ve been a notary/LSA for more than 5 years. The first time this happened, I just went back to my old notary school instructor for guidance. But this seems to happen every once in a while, and it puzzles me. Are there any RULES for entering items in my journal?
Here’s what happened: I went to a loan signing with a realtor I work with on occasion. We went through the documents one by one and I notarized all the documents that I saw that had notarial instructions on them. After I did my thing, I went through them to double check them. I then handed the docs to the realtor and asked her to check to see that I had not missed any. She looked through them one by one and said that they looked good to her.
Next day I get a call from the escrow company saying that I missed one document. I drove over, and sure enough, there was a signed document with a tiny little jurat at the bottom of the document. I made out one of my loose-leaf Jurat Certificates and attached it to the document. Ok, the loan can go forward.
Now, here’s my dilema: I had not entered that document into my journal, because I didn’t see it. So I enter it the next day, after two other notarizations that I had the previous evening. Of course the document had been signed the day before with the rest of the docs in the package and now my journal is a little out of sequence because of those two notarizations that are between the loan signing documents that I had entered the day before and the one I entered the day after.
I mentioned this to the escrow officer and she looked at me like I was nuts! She said she had been a notary for many years and always just entered a single line for each affiant in her journal and noted each document description in the notes section. (I’ve had other loan officers tell me that they only entered a single line for each affiant and for description the words “Loan Docs”).
I called my old instructor and he said that each document SHOULD have its own entry.
So, I’m in a quandry … which is it? I’d much rather enter a single line than a line for each document. I would fill up a lot fewer journals that way.
Your old instructor is correct. One line per document notarized. What state are you in?
Since you stated that the notarization you missed was a Jurat, did you swear the person to an oath/affirmation? If you are in California, not giving the oath or affirmation can be a $750.00 fine to you. It sounds like you simply attached a loose Jurat and dated it for the date you did the loan signing. Correct me if I’m wrong.
With a Jurat notarization, the person must appear before you, they must sign in front of you and swear to the contents in the document. I would have gone back to the signer(s) and had them resign the document and sworn them in. The notarization would have been dated for the day they appeared before you.
We are all human, mistakes happen, it’s how you correct them that is important.
Thank you for your response, jmalone. I’m a California notary, Bellflower is in Los Angeles county, near Long Beach.
There was another Jurat in the package, and I did administer an oath. My concern is that my Sequential Journal is no longer “sequential”.
Which prompts another question: at the end of my first term, I bundled up all my sequential journals and took them over to the County Clerk, as instructed in the handbook. They told me that they didn’t take them because they don’t have room to store them. I’ve been storing them in a lockable file cabinet in my office, which is under lock and key. Not the most secure storage, but I don’t have another means to store them. Do you have any suggestions?
Since I am not the bottom line authority on this. I would call the Secretary of State Notary Public Division and ask them the question about your sequential journal. Seems you could explain in the notes section what happened. I probably still would have went to the borrower so they knew what they were swearing to in that one document.
As far as storage of your journals. You are doing all you can to secure them. Mine are under lock and key also, including my seals and current journal are locked at all times. I also cover other entries before moving on to the next person. I try my best to protect everyone’s private, confidential information.
The only time you return your journals to the County Clerk is when you resign your commission, move to another State, etc.
Sorry this happened to you, it can be very frustrating.
In California, you’re only required to turn in your journals when your commission has lapsed (for any reason) for more than 30 days or if you don’t renew or have your commission revoked, etc. If you renew your commission, there’s no need to turn them in. Otherwise, You need to continue to maintain them, locked up… for as long as you’re a commissioned notary. For some notaries, that’s a whole LOT of journals!! And you have to keep them locked up…which can be a challenge. Most I know keep them in locking file cabinets.
While some interpret the law differently, the Secretary of State has indicated that journal entries are one line per act. So if you notarize five signatures of the same person at the same time… that’s five entries.
You can read about it in the latest training workbook (see pages 24-25) they put out (for 2012) where they say:
If more than one document contains notarized signatures, the notary public must record the title or character of each document. A separate line must be used for each document. For example, if a notary public completes an acknowledgment certificate on a deed of trust and an acknowledgment certificate on a promissory note, the notary public must record on separate lines in the journal that a “deed of trust” and “promissory note” were the character of the instruments with
notarized signatures, completing each line of the journal, in full. The notary public cannot simply state that “loan docs” or “closing documents” were acknowledged. (California Government Code section 8206(a)(2)(B).)
As for the sequential issue… that’s tough.Thing is, you said:
I drove over, and sure enough, there was a signed document with a tiny little jurat at the bottom of the document. I made out one of my loose-leaf Jurat Certificates and attached it to the document.
Well, that means you totally missed it. You can’t just fill out the certificate and hand it over. That’s a new notarization on a new day. There wouldn’t be any sequential issues because you didn’t notarize that document on that day… but the following day. You would have had to return and have the borrower resign it in front of you (since it was a jurat) and the certificate would be dated for that day.