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How to Properly Destroy Your Expired Notary Stamps and Supplies

by American Association of Notaries
When a notary reaches the end of the notary commission term or decides to end his or her notary career, all expired and defunct notary supplies must be disposed of safely and properly.

Whether the notary has used a notary stamp or a notary seal or a combination of both, steps should be taken to prevent the fraudulent use of the expired notary supplies.

The notary should contact the Office of the Secretary of State or the individual who governs the duties and functions of the notary public in his or her state to determine if there are specific regulations regarding what to do with notary supplies at the end of the notary's term of office.

When destroying a notary stamp, the rubber portion with the notary's information must be defaced. This can be done by placing the notary stamp on a stable surface, then pushing down on the case until the rubber surface of the notary stamp is exposed. Carefully peel the rubber covering from the base, and then use a sharp scissor or razor blade to cut and slice it into pieces so that no decipherable words or letters are left together. Discard the pieces in two or more trash containers. Empty the containers according to local laws.

Remember also to destroy the notary stamp plastic case and remove and shred any slips of paper or stickers that may have been attached to the case that contained the notary's commission information.

Destroying a notary seal metal embosser will take a little more effort. The portion of the embosser that makes the raised impression on a notarized document is called the "insert" or "die." This must be carefully defaced so that not even a partial impression can be made. A crude and easy method is to simply to take a hammer and smash the entire device repeatedly until it is fully demolished.

Another method is to pry away the insert from the handle of the notary seal embosser with a heavy-duty metal file. Once separated, the insert area must be scraped repeatedly until all letters are obliterated. Again, the pieces should be discarded in two or more containers and the containers emptied according to county laws governing garbage disposal.
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Legal disclaimer: The American Association of Notaries seeks to provide timely articles for notaries to assist them with information and ideas for managing their notary businesses, enhancing their notary educations, and securing their notary supplies but makes no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained . Information in this article is not intended as legal advice. We are not attorneys. We do not pretend to be attorneys. Though we will sometimes provide information regarding federal laws and statutes and the laws and statutes of each state, we have gathered the information from a variety of sources. We do not warrant the information gathered from those sources. It is your responsibility to know the appropriate laws governing your state. Notaries are advised to seek the advice of an attorney in their state if they have legal questions about how to notarize.
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