Notary Seals

Just as fireworks make you think of July 4th and tailgating signals the football season, the official seal is the symbol of the Notary Public. So important is this symbol of authority that a legal document may say, “Witness my hand and official seal” above the signature of the Notary Public. Courts, mortgage lenders, trustees or the public can rely on the authenticity of a document that has a Notary seal.

For many years the seal was applied with an Embosser, a tool that pressed the Notary Public information onto a document in a way that raised the print. Being able to run your fingers over the seal and feel the raised letters was a sign that the document was the original. To add a special touch to a document, the Notary Public could place a stick-on gold foil seal to the document, then use the embosser to raise the print on top of the seal.

Embossed seals have a few drawbacks. A photo copy of an embossed seal does not have the raised print and may appear smudged. And trying to fax an embossed seal document not only didn’t’ work, but it ruined the raised print on the original document.

Enter the Seal Stamp, the flat print method of applying the Notary Seal to a document. Using the old fashioned, often messy version, the seal stamp required a separate ink pad. A newer, neater approach is the pre-inked seal stamp. It’s also faster to use and easier on the dry cleaning bills (stamp pad ink on clothes is not pretty).

A Notary Public can also get a special Jurat Stamp. The Jurat Stamp may have generic wording or come with Jurat wording for Florida, Washington or California. These Jurat Stamps are larger and need an oversize stamp pad. The Jurat Stamp saves time by applying the proper wording to a document that is required by the state of jurisdiction.

The latest notary seal needs no ink, it’s electronic. Some states allow e-notarization which is done online. The National Notary Association (NNA) offers an Electronic Notary Seal. A complete package for e-signature, web cam and annual software fee runs well into the $400-$600 range, so this isn’t for everyone. Before even looking into e-notarization, check your state laws to see if this allowed.

One stamp that is an absolute no-no is a signature stamp. A Notary Public places an original signature on every document that is notarized. Sure, it may be common in corporations, but never acceptable for a Notary Public.

When you think about it, the Notary Seal Stamp or Seal Embosser needs to be guarded as carefully as a physician’s prescription pad or a banker’s safe combination. The Notary Public never hands over the seal for another person to use. That would be like Superman letting Jimmy Olson wear his cape to a costume party. The authority of the Notary seal is given as a public trust to the Notary Public, who must protect that trust.