By Daniel C. Jones—Could your journal lack important information? If you are not entering the time of notarization along with the date, your journal is not in compliance and you may be leaving yourself vulnerable to serious repercussions. Many notaries, especially long-time notaries, fail to enter the time of notarization in their journals, either because the notary never realized that entering time is required by law or the notary simply never became habitualized to the procedure and over the years simply forgot about it.

Entering the time is really a critical part of the notarial record for several reasons. First, as notaries, we have a primary duty to help protect the public against fraud. Suppose, for example, someone wants to contest a signature on a document suggesting that someone else must have forged the signature. As evidence, he or she might present an airline ticket for travel on the same day as evidence that the signature could not be his or hers. While this would not prove the signature was or was not authentic, the notary would be hard-pressed to know what time the notary act was completed unless the time is entered in the journal. An investigation into the matter may leave the notary vulnerable to charges of failing to properly complete the notary act.

There are a host of reasons for entering the time in a journal. We could conjure up all kinds of “what-if” scenarios but most importantly, the notary should always endeavor to protect the public from fraud, not to mention protecting themselves against possible criminal prosecution and personal financial costs. Don’t forget…enter the time!