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Resources > Bond, Certificate, Journal Definitions

Bond, Certificate, Journal Definitions

Bond - Definition
A bond or surety bond is a surety device that many states require notaries to carry to protect the public from any misconduct or mistakes. If the Notary is liable for monetary sums, the bonding company would be liable to pay whatever was owed, and would then go after the Notary to collect the damages. In addition to bonds, Notaries also often have errors and omissions insurance to protect them from liability from honest mistakes due to carelessness, or overlooking information that needed to be filled in a document. The amount of errors and omissions insurance typically can range from $15,000 to $1,000,000. However, the irony is that we have never heard of any notary actually needing to file a claim on their E&O insurance. E&O insurance is more useful as a tool to display professionalism than anything else.

Certificate - Definition
A certificate could be a loose piece of paper where the official notary wording for a particular notary act would be located. Verbiage would include the state, county, who the signer(s) were, that they appeared before a notary public, and on what date. The signature of the notary would be included too, as well as a description of the document being notarized. Its ideal to record the document name, document date, number of pages, and anything else you can about the document. That way if the certificate ever gets detached from the document, it will be obvious which document it is supposed to be associated with.

Journal - Definition
An official journal of notarial acts is prescribed by law in many states to record notarial acts. Some salient features of the Notary journal are that the book should be bound and sequential to deter adding additional entries after the fact as well as deterring the suspicion that the notary could have pretended to notarize a document in the past when they didn't. If a fraudulent notarization is detected, the first record to be investigated, is the notary's journal. If the journal does not have a record of the notarization, then the notarization can be proven to be false.
The journal records the date, time, type of notarization, type of document, signers name, address, credible witness information if any, additional notes, notary fee, signature of the document signer, and a thumbprint which is required by law in certain states for sensitive documents such as deeds of powers of attorney.

Common notary acts recorded in a notary journal are acknowledgments, jurats, oaths, affirmations, protests, and certified copies of powers of attorney.

In addition, a prudent notary will keep good notes in their notary journal about anything unusual about the signing. Perhaps the place where the notarization took place had unusual characteristics, or the signers acted strangely. This information could be useful in court. Busy Notaries might have to go to court once or twice in their career, and their notary journal is their main piece of evidence. Their notes can help them to remember what happened many years ago. Also, keeping thumbprints might eliminate being subpoenaed since fingerprints prove the identity of the signer beyond a reasonable douct.

Related Links
Signing Agent
Notary Acts