What you need to know about your Notary Seal or Embosser

Notary Seal

Your Notary Seal or Embosser is one of the most used tools you will have as a Notary Public.  Typically, you will make this purchase once unless you have a name change, lose it, or damage it in some way.  The reason Notary Publics use Notary Seals or Embossers is because they leave a raised impression on the document which deters forgery and validates its originality. 

How to Obtain a Notary Seal

In order to obtain a Notary Seal, you first want to review your state’s requirements. Most embossers are round in shape, contain your name, state of commission and commission expiration date.  In most cases you need to be commissioned prior to receiving your seal.  

You can easily order your seal and other tools online or your Secretary of State can direct you.  If you no longer are a Notary Public, you do want to destroy any seal you may have so that it is unable to make an impression.  There are no statutes addressing how to dispose of your seal so want to ensure it is no longer useable. Here is an example of Notary tools online.

man stamping a notary seal

Notary Seal Security

It is of the utmost importance to properly secure your seal to avoid loss and/or misuse.  I keep my Notary Seal and journal locked in my desk when not in use.  Your state may have specific requirements that you must adhere to.  I also make it a habit to double-check that it’s in my bag after leaving an appointment. If it is lost you should report it to the regulating department, most often that is your Secretary of the State.  

Of course, you would notify your employer if you are a Notary Public as part of your job responsibilities.  If your Notary Seal is stolen it is recommended to file a police report.  Also, if you are bonded or carry Errors and Omissions insurance you would want to notify them.  Some states may issue you a new commission number when you replace your stamp.  Either way, make a note so as to differentiate your new Notary Stamp from your old one. 

Can you lend out your Notary Seal?

Your Notary Seal is your responsibility and for your use only.  It cannot be borrowed or used by others even if they are also a Notary Public.  It is a violation of the law for anyone other than you to use your Notary tools.  This holds true even if you are a Notary at work.  Your employer may have paid for your Notary tools and/or it is part of your job responsibilities but, your employer still has to follow what the state notary specified rules.  Knowing the proper practices Notary Publics are required to follow will protect both you and your employer.

Using a Notary Seal

When affixing your Notary Seal, make sure you firmly press the embosser so that the seal is legible and all text is raised on the document.  You want to affix in an empty area on the document and not over any language.  If you find there is no room to do so you may affix a seal on a separate Notary Certificate. If you affix a bad impression, put one line through it.  Do not attempt to correct it as it could cause the document to be rejected.

man stamping a notary seal on a desk

While a Notary Seal is not required it is strongly recommended as most expect you have one.  However, a Notary Public’s signature is considered the notarial seal.  While it is optional to obtain one, check with your state as they may have a prescribed format of the seal to be used.  It is important to remember only the person who has the authority to possess and use the Seal can conduct notarial acts and is solely responsible for the use of any of their notary tools. 

Did you enjoy this blog? Check out our blog on Working as a Notary in Rochester NY.

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