Notary Public Equipment
Notaries public commissioned in Pennsylvania are required to use a rubber stamp seal for all notarial acts on paper. Notaries may use an embosser in addition to the rubber stamp seal; however the embosser is optional. The rubber stamp seal must show clearly in the following order the words "Notarial Seal", the name and surname of the notary public and the words "Notary Public", the name of the municipality (not the political subdivision as was the case under the Notary Public Law prior to amendments brought about by Act 151 of 2002) and the county in which the notary maintains an office and the date the notary's commission expires. This seal shall have a maximum height of one inch and a width of three and one-half inches with a plain border.
Please note that since Act 151 of 2002 does not require the rubber stamp seal to contain a reference to the state of Pennsylvania following the name of the municipality and county in which the notary public maintains an office, the notary public may wish to exercise the option of using an embosser in conjunction with the seal or add the preprinted words "Commonwealth of Pennsylvania" outside the top of the plain border of the seal.
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
In performing a notarization, a notary public must ensure that the rubber stamp seal is stamped in a prominent place on the official notarial certificate near the notary public's signature in such a manner as to be capable of photographic reproduction. The amended Notary Public Law explicitly provides that the notary public's seal is the exclusive property of the notary public to whom it is issued. The notary public is responsible for the custody and control of the seal at all times and shall not permit the use of his/her seal by another person. The use of a notary public seal by a person who is not the notary public on the seal will be deemed an impersonation of a notary public and the individual will be subject to criminal penalties.
An applicant whose application is rejected or a notary public whose commission is revoked or recalled for any reason, or upon resignation, must deliver the seal of office to the Department of State within ten days after notice from the Department or from the date of resignation, as the case may be. Any person who violates these provisions may be found guilty of a summary offense and upon conviction thereof will be sentenced to pay a fine not exceeding $300 or to imprisonment not exceeding 90 days or both.
Upon the death of a notary public, the notary public's personal representative must deliver the seal of office to the Department of State within 90 days of the date of the notary public's death.
Every notary public must keep and maintain custody and control of an accurate chronological register of all official acts. The register must contain the date of the act, the character or type of the notarial act, the date and the parties to the instrument, and the amount of the fee collected. Each notarization performed by the notary must be indicated separately.
A notary public register is the exclusive property of the notary public, may not be used by any other person and may not be surrendered to any employer of the notary public upon termination of employment. When required, each notary public must give a certified copy of the register in the notary public's office to any person requesting it. The register and other public records of the notary public shall not be liable to be seized, attached or taken in execution for debt for any demand whatsoever.
A notary public has 30 days to deliver his/her register to the office of the recorder of deeds of the proper county after his/her resignation, death or disqualification or upon the revocation or expiration of a commission, unless he/she applies for a new commission within 30 days of the expiration of the prior commission.
A notary public must maintain an accurate register throughout his/her commission. Even if he/she ceases to be a notary public because of, for example, resignation or commission expiration, it is recommended that the individual permanently retain a copy of the register for his/her own protection from possible future findings of liability.