Notary Journal Notes

Notary Journal Notes

Colorado notaries are required to keep a record that should include notary journal notes.  The specific requirements are listed in CRS 12-55-111.  The notary must record in the journal, at the time of notarization:

1. Date of notariaColorado Notary Lawl act
2. Type of notarial act (oath, affirmation, acknowledgment, certified copy)
3. Document date, if different from date of notarization
4. Name and address of signer and any witnesses
5. Signature of signer and any witnesses
6. Any other information the Notary considers appropriate to record

As a best practice and a routine practice, record any additional relevant information or unusual circumstances in the notary journal notes or additional information column.

Reason for Refusal

If notarization is refused, record the reason for the refusal in the notary journal notes, such as:

  1. no satisfactory ID available
  2. suspicious, damaged, altered, illegible or fraudulent ID
  3. suspicious, illegal or fraudulent document or transaction
  4. document had blank spaces or missing pages
  5. request for unauthorized notarial act
  6. lack of awareness or understanding of purpose of document
  7. suspicion or evidence of duress, deception or not signing voluntarily
  8. unable to communicate due to foreign language barrier
  9. unable to communicate due to impairment
  10. unable or unwilling to pay notary fee, travel fee or other posted fee

Other Information

Other information to include in the notary journal notes:

  1. Any unusual circumstances, events or observations
  2. Signer changed mind, decided not to sign or notarize document
  3. Signer discovered errors, problems, questions with document, cancel signing
  4. Corrections made to notarial certificate
  5. Adding or attaching a notarial certificate
  6. Signing as agent under power of attorney
  7. Signing as trustee for a trust
  8. Signing as personal representative or administrator for an estate
  9. Signing as an authorized officer of a business or organization
  10. Signature by proxy
  11. Signature by mark or X
  12. Names of signing witnesses and non-signing witnesses present
  13. Professional opinions on awareness given by medical professional or attorney
  14. Affidavits with acknowledgment certificate, rather than jurat
  15. Location of property (state, county) for real estate transactions
  16. Year, make, model for motor vehicle transactions
  17. Name of agent for power of attorney
  18. Case number for court cases
  19. Form number for legal forms, government forms
  20. Documents in foreign language
  21. Documents to/from foreign country
  22. Number of signatures for election petitions
  23. Loose notarial certificate attached to document
  24. Age of a minor

Note: Due to HIPAA privacy rules for medical records, do not record medical information in notary journal notes.

Business Records, Rules of Evidence

Records kept in the normal course of business, including notary journal notes, may serve as valuable evidence in the future.  The notary journal notes may serve as evidence of what did occur, and also what did not occur.  By making notary journal notes in the normal course of notary transactions, the absence of a note indicates that no unusual events or observations were detected by the notary, and the transaction was a normal, routine transaction.

Under the Colorado and Federal Rules of Evidence, the absence of a note in a record book is useful to prove that an event did not occur, or that unusual conditions did not exist at the time of the notarized transaction.

Chapter 33, Colorado Rules of Evidence (CRE), Article VIII Hearsay

CRE 803, Rule 803. Hearsay Exceptions: Availability of Declarant Immaterial.

The following are not excluded by the hearsay rule, even though the declarant is available as a witness:
(6) Records of regularly conducted activity. A memorandum, report, record, or data compilation, in any form, of acts, events, conditions, opinions, or diagnosis, made at or near the time by, or from information transmitted by, a person with knowledge, if kept in the course of a regularly conducted business activity, and if it was the regular practice of that business activity to make the memorandum, report, record, or data compilation, all as shown by the testimony of the custodian or other qualified witness, or by certification that complies with Rule 902(11), Rule 902(12), or a statute permitting certification, unless the source of information or the method or circumstances of preparation indicate lack of trustworthiness. The term “business” as used in this paragraph includes business, institution, association, profession, occupation, and calling of every kind, whether or not conducted for profit. (Federal Rule Identical.)

(7) Absence of entry in records kept in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (6). Evidence that a matter is not included in the memoranda reports, records, or data compilations in any form, kept in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (6), to prove the nonoccurrence or nonexistence of the matter, if the matter was of a kind of which a memorandum, report, record, or data compilation was regularly made and preserved, unless the sources of information or other circumstances indicate lack of trustworthiness.  (Federal Rule Identical.)

Maintain a well-kept notary journal and always make notary journal notes of any refusals to notarize, unusual events or observations, or other information you consider appropriate that concerns the notarial act.  Keep the notary journal secure.

Contact us for Colorado Springs mobile notary service or Colorado Notary Training.

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