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Journaling: What

What: Type of Official Act and Document

Enter the Act and Character of each Document

What: Type of Official Act

Some notaries confuse the type of notarial act with the type of document. These are not the same. The type of act is the type of form certificate the notary public uses, such as Certificates of Acknowledgment, Jurat, or Proof of Execution by Subscribing Witness, etc. Only the type of certificate form the notary public uses should be entered in this category.

A notary public should not write an abbreviation or an acronym to describe the type of act. This will avoid confusion or misunderstandings as to the contents of the journal entry and the type of notarial act performed. A journal entry that contains a line filled with indecipherable abbreviations is useless if a person requests a copy of a line item. Capture the type of notarial act performed on every line item.

What: Character of Each Instrument

Character of an instrument formally refers to the type of document for notarization such as a deed of trust, affidavit, deed of reconveyance, or power of attorney. The type of document entered also indicates whether a thumb print must be captured. Avoid using generic words such as “loan docs or trust docs.” These terms are too general and do not specify to the character of the instrument as required by California Government Code section 8206(a)(2)(B). If asked about a line item from your journal three years after the entry was made, would you remember what specific “document” was referenced earlier? When a notary public is performing several notarizations as part of a loan package, the notary public must identify each notarization (official act) performed. Recording one entry in a journal for all loan documents or using ditto marks or hash marks under the first journal notarial act to the last notarial act is not in compliance with California Government Code section 8206(a)(1). Nor does it provide any member of the public a complete line item journal entry if it is requested.

If more than one document contains notarized signatures, the notary public must record the title or character of each document/instrument and a separate line must be used for each document. Regardless of how many documents are notarized for a single signer, it is important that you capture each specific type of document for each notarial act.

  • Note: When multiple signers are on one document, remember, each signature will require its own line in the journal.

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