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The Notary Journal

Posted on February 1st, 2021

All Montana notaries are required by law to maintain one or more journals in which all notarial acts are recorded. The journals may be either a permanent, bound paper journal designed to deter fraud or a permanent, tamper-evident electronic journal. Each journal entry must include the date and time of the notarization; the type of notarial act, a description of the document (usually the document date and type); the type of identification used; the signature, printed name, and address of the person for whom the notarial act was performed (except for certified deposition transcripts or certified copies); and the fee (if any) charged for the notarization.

Paper journals may be obtained from a local office supply store or other retailer, or they are available online from many sources. There are different formats available; you may choose whichever you prefer as long as the records are chronologically numbered and the book is designed in such a way as to deter any deletion, alteration, or modification of the pages. You may not use a loose-leaf notebook.

Electronic journals must be commercially produced and create chronological, sequential, and non-modifiable records that can be accessed upon demand and turned over in digital format to the Secretary of State’s office in accordance with §1-5-615, MCA.

Some notaries may wish to keep one journal at work and another for personal use. Others may want to use both an electronic and a paper journal. A notary will be expected to produce any and all journal records as appropriate upon request of an authorized party.

It is the notary’s personal responsibility to maintain possession of all journals created during the entire time the notary holds an active commission. A notary does not have to turn his/her journal in when the commission is renewed; one journal may, in fact, contain the records for several years if the notary does only a few notarizations.

Upon termination or resignation of the notary’s commission, the notary may choose to keep the journals or send them to the Secretary of State’s office. The law requires that journals be retained for 10 years after the last entry, regardless of where they are stored. It is the notary’s responsibility to advise the Secretary of State’s office where any records may be found. Contact Silverman Law Office if you need more information about the notary´s responsibilities, we can help you.

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