Arizona Notary Handbook
CHAPTER 7. YOUR NOTARY JOURNAL
701. Do I need anything besides my certificate and my seal to perform notarial duties?
Yes. You must keep a journal. This is a requirement for all Arizona notaries, regardless of when your commission began.Stationery and office supply stores usually sell notary journals. Professional notary organizations also sell journals, however they may not meet the minimum requirements for the State of Arizona. (A.R.S. §§ 41-313 and 41-319)
702. Are there any specific requirements for the journal?
Yes. The journal must be a paper journal (with one exception, discussed in item #711 below) with the pages consecutively numbered, and the Notary must record all notarial acts in chronological order. Although the law does not require the journalto be permanently bound, the Secretary of State’s Office recommends that you use a permanently bound journal for your own protection.
Permanently bound pages are more difficult to remove from a journal than loose-leaf pages. (A.R.S. § 41-319)
703. What does a journal entry include?
Each journal entry must include at least:
- The date of the notarial act;
- A description of the document and type of notarial act;
- The printed full name, address, and signature of each person for whom a notarial act is performed.
- The type of satisfactory evidence of identity presented to the notary by each person for whom a notarial act isperformed, if other than the notary’s personal knowledge of the individual is used as satisfactory evidence;
- A description of the identification document, its serial or identification number and its date of issuance or expiration;
- The fee, if any, charged for the notarial act.
The Notary also must furnish, when requested, a certified copy of any record in the Notary’s journal. (A.R.S. § 41-319(A))
704. The entry must include the date of the notarial act. My journal has a place to show the time of day. Do I have to fill that in?
You are not required to list the time of day when you perform the notarization. However, if your journal has a place forthis information, you may want to list it. Indicating the time of day may help jog your memory if you are ever asked to recallthat particular notarization.
705. What do you mean by “description of the document”?
A description of the document would include the kind of document (power of attorney, car title, etc.) If the document iswritten in a foreign language, you must be able to read enough of that language to describe the document in your journal. Ifyou cannot read the language, you should refuse to perform the notarization.
706. What is the “Type of notarial act”?
The type of notarial act is one of the four notarial acts which you, as a notary, can perform. These are: acknowledgment,jurat, copy certification, and oath or affirmation.
707. The law says a description of the document OR type of notarial act. Does this mean I can pick which I wantto enter into my journal?
We recommend that you do both. The more information you put in your journal, the better off you will be. Most journals have space for both pieces of information.
708. Do I have to print the signer’s name and address in my journal?
You can, if you so desire. Or you could choose to have the signer do this at the time the signer signs his/her name.
709. What do you mean by “satisfactory evidence of identity?”
Satisfactory evidence of identity is defined in Chapter 2 and further explained in Chapter 5.
710. When I describe the identification document, do I list either the issuance date or the expiration date?
Yes. You must list at least one of those dates. However, we recommend that you list both dates. Of the two dates, themore important is the expiration date because that will tell you if the ID is current. An ID must be current to be used as a notarial ID. However, some state-issued ID cards and tribal-issued ID cards may not list an expiration date. For these types of ID cards, you will be able to list only the issuance date. Other requirements for IDs are specified in Chapter 5.
711. I work for an attorney and we always keep a copy of every notarized document. Do I still have to keep a journal?
Not necessarily. If you always know the signer personally and you always keep a copy of the notarized document, either in paper or electronic format, you would not have to make a journal entry for the notarization. However, if ever there is a personfor whom you perform a notarization whom you don’t know, you must then keep a journal entry for all notarizations. (A.R.S. § 41- 319(B))
712. I repeatedly notarize for the same people. Do I have to make a journal entry every time?
Yes, you must make a journal entry for every notarization. However, you must have the people for whom you areperforming the notarization present satisfactory evidence of identity and sign your journal once every six months. A.R.S. § 41-319(C))
713. I sometimes do several notarizations on the same kind of document for the same person at one time. Do I have to have a separate entry for each document?
No. You may group like documents notarized at the same time for the same person together into one entry in yourjournal. (A.R.S. § 41-319(D))
714. I perform notarizations for my company and I also perform notarizations on my own time. Can I have one journal for those notarizations I perform for my company and a second journal for those notarizations I perform onmy own?
No. You can only have one journal at a time. The one exception to this is a journal that contains nonpublic records. If one or more entries in your journal are not public records, you may keep one journal that contains only entries that are publicrecords and one journal that contains only records that are not public records. (A.R.S. § 41-319(E))
715. I work for a state agency and perform notarizations that must remain confidential by state law. Therefore,my journal contains entries that are not public record. When I leave this employment, do I keep that journal or does my employer keep that journal?
Your employer will keep those journals that contain entries that are not public records. You will keep journals that containonly entries that are public records. (A.R.S. § 41-319(E))
716. What purpose does the journal serve?
The journal provides proof that you performed the notarization, no matter how long ago you may have performed thatnotarization. The journal also verifies that you took the reasonable steps necessary to identify the signer of a document.
717. There are several notaries in our office. Can we share a journal?
No. Each notary must maintain his/her own journal.
718. My boss says that my journal is not a public record. Doesn’t the law say that all notary journals are public record?
Most notary journals are public record. However, notary records that violate the attorney/client privilege or that areconfidential due to state or federal law are not public record. If you work for a business that is not an attorney’s office or that is not governed by state or federal confidentiality laws, your journal entries are public records.
If you perform notarizations that are not public record and also perform notarizations that are public record, you maykeep two journals: one that contains only the nonpublic records, and one that contains only public records.
719. Can I take my notary records with me if I leave the job that I had when I became a notary?
It depends on whether your journal contains nonpublic records. A.R.S. § 41-319(E) specifies that, a notary may keep onejournal containing only public records and one that contains only nonpublic records. Your journal containing only nonpublicrecords would stay with your employer when you left that employment, but your journal containing only public recordsremains with you.
720. How long do I have to keep my notarial records?
A notary is responsible for his/her own records and must keep them until “vacating the office” or for at least five yearsafter the most current notarization was entered while you are a notary. “Vacating the office” means you are no longer commissioned as a notary, perhaps because you did not renew your commission, you are moving out of state, or your commission was revoked. A.R.S. § 41-317(B)) If you continue to be a commissioned notary, and your most current entry is atlease five years old, your journal should be forwarded to the County Recorder’s office.
721. If someone asks, do I have to give a certified copy of any record in my journal?
If your journal records are public records, then your journal may be viewed by or copied for any member of the public.However, the individual making the request to view or have copied a record from your journal must present to you a writtenrequest that details the month and year of the notarial act, the name of the person whose signature was notarized, and the type of document or transaction. If the person cannot supply you with that information or the request is not in writing, you canrefuse to let the person see your journal or you can refuse to copy the records. (A.R.S. § 41- 319(F))
722. When I make the copy of a requested record, do I copy all entries on the page?
No, you should cover up the entries above and below the requested entry before making the copy.
723. When I show someone my journal after the person has made a proper request, do I let the person see all entries on the page?
No. As stated in #722, you should cover up all entries above and below the requested record before you show therequested record to the person.
724. How do I cover up the page? And can I do that all the time?
You can take some heavy-stock paper, such as cardboard or card stock, and cover entries above and below a requestedrecord. The cardboard or card stock should be thick enough that the information on the page doesn’t show through. You canalso use the same procedure when you have a signer sign your journal. Just because you are performing a notarization for that individual doesn’t mean that the signer has the right to see the information about other notarizations you have recentlyperformed.
725. My employer paid all the fees for me to become a notary. Now that I am leaving his employ, he told me he owns my journal, seal, and commission certificate. Is that right?
No. You, the notary, own your journal, commission certificate, bond, and seal, no matter who paid for them. The onlyexception to this is a journal containing nonpublic records which would stay with the employer when you left that employment. (A.R.S. § 41-312(C))
726. What do I do with my notarial records when I no longer wish to be a notary?
When an individual ceases to be a notary for any reason, (including resignation, death, revocation etc.) the notary or thenotary’s personal representative shall deliver, by certified mail or other means providing a receipt, to the County Recorder inthe county in which the notary was commissioned, the notary’s journal and other records. If this action does not occur within three months of a resignation, revocation, expiration, or appointment as personal representative, the notary or his/herrepresentative would have to forfeit to the state not less than $50 nor more than $500 to the Secretary of State’s office. (A.R.S. § 41-317)
727. Can I just send old notary journals to the County Recorder so that I don’t have to make room for them?
No. You must keep your journals and records in your possession for at least five years, unless during that five-year period you cease being an Arizona notary public. You only send the journals and records to the County Recorder (by certified mail)when you are no longer an Arizona notary public.
728. I am a notary in an office that handles confidential matters. If the documents I notarize are confidential, how can I, in good faith, turn over records to the County Recorder and have them become public record?
If you journal contains records that are not public record, as explained in previous questions, you would leave the journal with your employer with you left that employment. If your journal contains only public record entries, your journal is yourproperty and you are responsible for turning it in to the County Recorder when you cease being a notary. (A.R.S. § 41-317).
729. What if, after I have turned over my records to the county, I am asked to prove that I notarized something?
This can happen. You may wish to make a copy of your notarial records before you turn them over to the CountyRecorder. However, because the records are in the hands of the County Recorder, you could refer the requestor to the CountyRecorder who can then locate your records and make a certified copy of the appropriate record.
730. Does the County Recorder keep the notary records indefinitely?
No. The law now specifies that County Recorders are only required to keep the notary records for a maximum of 5 years. Remember, too, that you only have to keep your records back five years. Thus, notarial records are kept for a total of 10 years.(A.R.S. § 41-317(B))
731. If my journal is lost or stolen, what do I do?
If the journal is stolen, you must notify the appropriate law enforcement agency. You must also, within 10 days of the loss or theft of your journal, deliver to the Secretary of State’s Office a signed notice of the loss or theft. This notice must be sentby certified mail or other means that provides you with a receipt. You can then purchase a new journal and start using it.(A.R.S. § 41-323(B))
732. If my journal is lost or stolen, can I still perform notarizations?
Yes. But first you must purchase a new journal and inform the Secretary of State’s office that your journal was lost orstolen and report the loss or theft to a local law enforcement agency. We recommend that you explain in your journal whyyou are using a new seal or journal. (A.R.S. § 41-323(B)
733. How do I know if my journal contains the correct information?
As long as the journal you use contains space for all of the information required in A.R.S. § 41-319(A), then you are using a correct journal. Most journals that you can purchase contain space for the information Arizona requires plus additional information. For example, California requires thumbprints for certain real estate transactions. Thus, most notary journals contain a space for a thumbprint. However, Arizona law does not require a thumbprint...
Arizona Notary Law
- The notary shall keep a paper journal and, except as prescribed by subsection E, shall keep only one journal at a time.The notary shall record all notarial acts in chronological order. The notary shall furnish, when requested, a certified copy ofany public record in the notary’s journal. Records of notarial acts that violate the attorney client privilege or that areconfidential pursuant to federal or state law are not a public record. Each journal entry shall include at least:
- The date of day of the notarial act.
- A description of the document or type of notarial act.
- The printed full name, signature and address of each person for whom a notarial act is performed.
- The type of satisfactory evidence of identity presented to the notary by each person for whom a notarial act isperformed, if other than the notary’s personal knowledge of the individual is used as satisfactory evidence of identity.
- A description of the identification document, its serial or identification number and its date of issuance or expiration.
- The fee, if any, charged for the notarial act.
- If a notary has personal knowledge of the identity of a signer, the requirements of subsection A, paragraphs 1 through 5 may be satisfied by the notary retaining a paper or electronic copy of the notarized documents for each notarial act.
- If a notary does more than one notarization for an individual within a six month period, the notary shall have theindividual provide satisfactory evidence of identity the first time the notary performs the notarization for the individual butmay not require satisfactory evidence of identity or the individual to sign the journal for subsequent notarizations performedfor the individual during the six month period.
- If a notary performs more than one notarization of the same type for a signer either on like documents or within thesame document and at the same time, the notary may group the documents together and make one journal entry for the transaction.
- If one or more entries in a notary public’s journal are not public records, the notary public may keep one journal thatcontains entries that are not public records and one journal that contains entries that are public records. A notary public’sjournal that contains entries that are not public records is the property of the employer of that notary public and shall beretained by that employer if the notary public leaves that employment. A notary public’s journal that contains only publicrecords is the property of the notary public without regard to whether the notary public’s employer purchased the journal orprovided the fees for the commissioning of the notary public.
- Except as provided in subsections A and E, the notary’s journal is a public record that may be viewed by or copied forany member of the public, but only upon presentation to the notary of a written request that details the month and year of thenotarial act, the name of the person whose signature was notarized and the type of document or transaction.