What is in Your Notary Bag?

As notaries, we cannot do our jobs without the proper notary supplies. One of the most important tools in our arsenal of notary supplies is the notary stamp. While every state has different requirements for notaries, the notary stamps, seals, notary journals and other notary supplies are pretty standard.

The easiest and most cost effective way to make sure you have all the notary supplies needed to get started as a notary public is to order one of the Notary Supplies Value Packages available on the American Association of Notaries (AAN) website or other online notary supplies stores. The American Association of Notaries notary supplies package includes a notary stamp, a notary journal, and a free one-year membership to AAN -a $19.00 value- at no additional cost to you. Prices vary depending on what notary supplies package you purchase.

I highly recommend ordering both a notary stamp and notary seal embosser. Check with your state to see if it allows use of a notary seal embosser. Your clients will be really impressed by your notary seal. I use mine when notarizing wills, and it just adds that additional touch of professionalism when used with the self-adhesive gold foil seals. In addition, I always order a pocket notary stamp in case there is not enough space on the document to fit the notary stamp impression.

There are several different styles of notary stamps available. Each state has a specific requirement for the notary stamp, so you want to make sure you order a notary stamp that meets your state's standards. Also, if you are a signing agent, some title companies and loan companies will require you to use a notary stamp with a specific color, usually black ink. If you like using a different color ink for general notary work, I would also keep at least one notary stamp with black ink available. Make sure your state allows you to use a stamp with black ink color. Some states do not allow the use of black ink. For example, Utah requires the use of purple ink.

Although some states don't require the use of a notary journal, it is best practice to use one. When purchasing notary supplies, you want to make sure you also purchase a journal. I always order an extra notary journal so that when I finish with the old one, I have another one readily available. That in turn is my prompt to order a new one.

Last but not least, when ordering notary supplies, you want to make sure you have plenty of notarial certificates on hand. You never know when you are going to come across a document that needs to be notarized, but the notarial wording is missing. AAN sells acknowledgements, jurats, certified copies and translator certificates in pads of fifty. Or, if you prefer, you can purchase the notarial certificate stamps.

The notary supplies mentioned above are the basic essentials. Of course you will also need ink pens, both black and blue ink, plenty of business cards, a clipboard for signings in unusual places, and a stapler to staple your notarial certificates. I also carry a copy of my state's notary public manual, along with the current ID Checking Guide and a customer receipt book. I'm sure there are numerous additional items that could be added to this list. This is just a quick reminder of what we should be carrying in our notary bags.

-- Phyllis Traylor, U.S. Army Retired is a Contributing Writer with the American Association of Notaries

Legal Disclaimer: The American Association of Notaries seeks to provide timely articles for notaries to assist them with information for managing their notary businesses, enhancing their notary education, and securing their notary stamp and notary supplies. Every effort is made to provide accurate and complete information in the American Association of Notaries newsletters. However, we make no warrant, expressed or implied, and we do not represent, undertake, or guarantee that the information in the newsletter is correct, accurate, complete, or non-misleading. 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 notaries' best practices, federal laws and statutes, and the laws and statutes of each state, we have gathered this information from a variety of sources and do not warrant its accuracy. In no event shall the American Association of Notaries, its employees, or contractors be liable to you for any claims, penalties, loss, damage, or expenses, howsoever arising, including, and without limitation, direct or indirect loss or consequential loss out of or in connection with the use of the information contained in the American Association of Notaries newsletters. It is your responsibility to know the appropriate notary laws governing your state. Notaries are advised to seek the advice of their states' notary authorities or attorneys in their state if they have legal questions. If a section of this disclaimer is determined by any court or other competent authority to be unlawful and/or unenforceable, the other sections of this disclaimer continue in effect.

Notary bonds and errors and omissions insurance policies provided by this insurance agency, American Association of Notaries, Inc., are underwritten by Western Surety Company, Universal Surety of America, or Surety Bonding Company of America, which are subsidiaries of CNA Surety.

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