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 is committed to providing accurate and up-to-date information. However, it is important to note that the information provided on this page is for general informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. We do not claim to be attorneys and do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information provided. It is your responsibility to know the appropriate notary laws governing your state. You should always seek the advice of a licensed attorney for any legal matters. In no event shall the American Association of Notaries, its employees, or contractors be liable to you for any claims, penalties, losses, damages, 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 on any of the American Association of Notaries website pages. Notaries are advised to seek the advice of their state’s notary authorities or attorneys if they have legal questions. 

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