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Notary Notes

Commission Maintenance

by PAN
As a notary, you realize there are many requirements that go into obtaining and retaining your commission. Think maintenance. 

Three maintenance obligations need to be met during your commission based on changes in your residence or business location, name and address changes, and resignation or termination of your employment. 

Residency 

As a Pennsylvania notary, you must live or work in this Commonwealth. If you are not a resident, you may not apply for a notary commission unless you are employed in Pennsylvania. Your employer must have a physical location (an actual office or place of business) in the state and not just a mailing address that serves to establish a business presence here. 

If you move outside of the state but still work here, you may retain your notary commission. But, if you no longer live or work in the state, you must resign your commission. That means your journals must be delivered to the county recorder of deeds within 30 days of your resignation. You must also submit a notary public resignation form or letter to the Secretary of the Commonwealth. In addition, you must destroy your notary stamp. You can pry off the rubber face of your stamp and cut it up with scissors. This prevents someone else from fraudulently using your stamp. 

Name and Address Changes 

If your name changes during your commission, you may continue to sign using your old name until your current commission expires. Application for reappointment must then be made in your new name. 

Or, you may sign your neew name once you have purchased a new notary stamp and registered your signature with the county prothonotary's office. Additionally, you must notify the Department of State within 30 days of any change of your legal name. the notice must be made in writing or electronically and must state the effective date of the change. You must provide evidence of the name change, such as a marriage certificate, court order or divorce decree. 

For a change of home, office of record or email address, you must notify the Department of State within 30 days. The notice must be made in writing or electronically and must state the effective date of the address change. 

If your new office address is in a different county, you must register your official signature in the prothonotary's office of the new county within 30 days of moving. 

PAN has state-approved name and address change forms available to members in the Member Portal. Name and address changes may also be submitted online at www.notary.pa.gov/Pages/NotaryChangeApplication.aspx. 

Resignation or Termination of Employment 

If you resign or are terminated from your job, your notary commission is still yours. Sometimes an employer will demand a notary's equipment, including their notary stamp and journal. 

Your notary equipment is your exclusive property and cannot be used by any other individual or handed over to an employer when you resign or are terminated from your job. 

You may leave a photocopy of your journal with your employer, if you're asked to do so. 

Keep your journals even after they are filled. If you resign, decide not to reapply for your commission, or upon your death, your journals must be delivered within 30 days to the county recorder of deeds where you took your oath of office. Your notary stamp must also be destroyed. 
 

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