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The Notary Public Code of Professional Responsibility & how you can beat the standard.

Notary Public Code of Professional Responsibility

The Notary Public Code of Professional Responsibility sets forth the standards of conduct and ethical behavior for notaries. It is intended to protect the public by ensuring that notaries provide quality service and act in an honest, professional manner. The code outlines a number of basic principles that all notaries should observe when performing their duties, including:

• A notary should always strive to act in accordance with the law, and should be familiar with the relevant state notary laws.

• A notary should take all reasonable steps to ensure that documents they are asked to certify or verify are authentic and accurate.

• A notary should never use their position for personal gain or to act in a manner that would bring discredit to the profession.

• A notary should be courteous and professional at all times when dealing with members of the public.

• A notary should make sure that they are aware of any changes in state or national laws which could affect their duties as a Notary Public.

• A notary should take great care to protect their seal and refrain from allowing others to use it.

older professional female woman holding books talking on a cell phone outside of an office building following through with her Notary Public Code of Professional Responsibility

These are just some of the principles outlined in the Notary Public Code of Professional Responsibility, which all notaries should adhere to in order to provide the highest level of service possible. By following these guidelines, notaries can help protect the public’s trust and confidence in the notarization process.

The full code of conduct, as well as additional information about becoming a Notary Public, can be found on the National Notary Association website.

By following this code, notaries can help protect the integrity of their profession and ensure that they are always providing the best possible service to their clients.

As a Notary Public, it is important to stay up-to-date with any changes in state or national laws that could affect your duties and responsibilities. Additionally, if you become aware of any misconduct or ethical violations by other notaries, be sure to report them promptly. By upholding these standards, you can ensure that the notarization process remains a reliable and trustworthy service.

It is important to remember that being a Notary Public is an important responsibility and a privilege, and it should be taken seriously. With this in mind, following the Notary Public Code of Professional Responsibility can help protect both you and the public.

20 rules of thumb for a Notary Public

1. Maintain a professional demeanor at all times while performing notarial acts. This includes adhering to ethical principles, including confidentiality, impartiality and honesty.

2. Ensure that those requesting services are competent and capable of understanding the documents they are signing; or if minors, have parental consent.

3. Only notarize documents that are properly completed, including all necessary signatures and dates.

4. Verify the identity of those signing documents by requiring acceptable identification such as a driver’s license or passport before administering an oath.

5. Refrain from providing legal advice or interpreting written documents for others. 

6. Keep records of all notarized documents, including a notary journal of all notarial acts performed.

7. Never misuse the authority or seal of your office to influence events or gain personal benefit.

smiling woman sitting at a laptop proud of her Notary Public Code of Professional Responsibility

8. Refrain from providing services to family members or those in which you have an interest, including financial interests.

9. Comply with all applicable state and federal laws as they pertain to the notary public office.

10. Refrain from charging excessive fees for services rendered.

11. Maintain professional liability insurance to cover errors or omissions that may occur in your role as a notary public.

12. Immediately report any unauthorized use of your seal or notary public office to the appropriate authorities.

13. Renew any required credentials prior to their expiration date in order to maintain an active status as a notary public.

14. Notify the relevant state agencies of any changes in contact information, including mailing address and phone number.

15. Immediately inform the state agency that issued or approved your notary commission in the event of revocation, suspension or any other significant changes to your credentials.

16. Remain current on all education requirements mandated by the state in order to maintain an active notary public office.

17. Never use a seal or signature stamp belonging to another notary public.

18. Refrain from performing any notarial act unless in the physical presence of the signer, or when allowed by virtual commission, the person is identified through an audio-video conference call. The identity must be verified by valid government issued ID or credential analysis.

19. Follow your state’s specific procedures when performing a notarization, including any required paperwork.

20. Immediately inform the relevant government agencies if you decide to discontinue your services as a notary public.

These rules and regulations should be strictly followed by all notary publics in order to ensure that the integrity of their office is upheld and that all services are performed in a timely and professional manner.  

Failure to follow these regulations could result in disciplinary action, including the loss of one’s notary public license.  

Notaries should consult with their state agency for more information on specific laws and guidelines pertaining to their role as a notary public.   

By adhering to the regulations in this article, notaries will be better equipped to serve their clients in a professional and ethical manner.

For more information, please see the NNA’s article on this subject.

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