Whether you’re just starting as a notary or have years of experience, you might find the laws’ constant updates confusing sometimes. The requirements surrounding your notarial equipment tend to stay similar throughout the years, so while your state may have its own rules, these are the basic guidelines you’ll need to follow.
Notaries must each own personal certificate stamps, which are exclusive to themselves and the current term. No matter who pays for your commission as a notary, you are responsible for your notary seal. No one else may use your stamp or seal; it remains your responsibility as long as you are a notary.
If you legally change your name while commissioned as a notary, you may wonder if your state will require you to update your stamp immediately. Most states do not and will allow you to use the same seal until the end of your commission, as long as you don’t change your official signature during that time.
You may change your official signature and seal before your commission expires, but there are usually several steps to take. If nothing else, you’ll have to update the necessary forms for your commission information and order a new notary stamp with the updated information. You’ll also need a new seal when you renew your commission.
You have a responsibility to keep your equipment safe, but you may find that your stamp, seal, or record book goes missing while you practice. If this happens, you’ll need to provide a detailed report to local law enforcement and your notary regulatory office so that they can follow up and prevent misuse.
When you end your service as a public notary, you’ll need to take your stamp with you since no one else can use it. Destroy it when your commission ends to ensure no illegal use can occur.