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August 13, 2017

The journals with check boxes? What does Jeremy say?

Filed under: Journals — admin @ 11:27 pm

Don’t use it!
Any time you check a box rather than writing something in by hand, you are risking making a mistake. You are dealing with legal documents here. Being a Notary is not the same as working for the circus. The consequences for a mistake could end you up in court.

Additionally, many document names have variations. If you check the box for an Errors and Omissions document where the real name is Errors and Omissions Compliance Agreement, you did not reference the correct document.

The more serious problem with check boxes is that many Notaries feel that the laws affecting proper journal filling procedure suddently change the minute you use the check box journal. Many Notaries feel you no longer have to obey the one document per entry law or principle. Not true! The principle is still the same. The signer or borrower has to sign for each journal entry and for each document in a separate journal entry — no exceptions and don’t cry about how much longer it will take you. You are Notaries, not clowns!

My suggestion is to use the regular NNA soft cover Official Journal of Notarial Acts. It is good for any type of Notary act, has room for a thumbprint, notes about the signer, room for credible witnesses, etc. It was all I ever needed and I went through about six dozen in my career.

I first saw a real journal with check boxes recently when Carmen showed me hers. She fills hers out by hand instead of checking boxes by the way (which is correct). However, the journal doesn’t mention that many choices of documents (only about 18) so if yours is a variation on a name of a document or not on the list you still need to write it by hand. The check boxes only encourage bad bookkeeping. So, no more check boxes. We don’t like it. It is not professional, safe or a good practice!



  1. Thanks for the information, but I don’t check anyway. I always fill it out by hand.

    Comment by Teresa — May 7, 2018 @ 5:10 pm

  2. BRAVO Jeremy!! Your explanations are SO clear and logical. Of course, I agree with all you said.Over 25 years dealing with my Journals has proved to me: There’s no room for Multiple Choice in a journal. Can’t possibly cover all possible choices.

    Comment by DONNA J.R. CONNE — May 7, 2018 @ 7:03 pm

  3. If you’re referring to the Modern Journal of Notarial Events by Notary Rotary, I disagree with the article and the first 2 comments I’ve read.

    I’m a CA notary and there is no specific law that state that only 1 document can be specified for a journal entry during a signing session. There was an opinion that I’ve read from the CA Secretary of State stating in essence, ‘one entry’, but that is an interpretation/opinion of the law. It is illogical and unreasonable to require the waste of time of creating multiple journal entries, and thumbprints that occur during a single signing session, unless specifically disallowed by law (not a public official’s interpretation of law).

    The journal is well organized and has most of the common documents encountered during a signing. The article is correct about Errors and Omission checkbox and the document named Errors and Omission Compliance Agreement (this happens at nearly every signing), but there is ample room in the ‘additional info’ and ‘description’ areas to make this distinction and to specify uniquely named documents. Also, at the beginning of the journal, there is space to specify global name variations, which can be referred to if the journal entry is lawfully required to be reproduced.

    Signings take longer than ever, and the pay is decreasing (thanks to the Snapdocs platform, which has Uber-ized the signing business), so I will utilize reasonable means to minimize time spent. Signers (and the agents that represent them that attend the signings) appreciate that signings take less time utilizing this method, yet all the notarial acts are fully documented and in my opinion would meet legal standards if the journal entry was required in a legal proceeding.

    Comment by BobH — May 7, 2018 @ 8:59 pm

  4. Thanks for the article! I agree, fill out the name of each of the notorial documents and be thorough. You CAN, if you get the documents early enough, fill out everything but the ID information for each line. I even print the name of each signer the way that the document demands it. I recently read an article about an error that was “corrected” with a forged signature for the notary at a title company. It is always good to have a record and your signers are YOUR witnesses.

    Comment by Betty Dedman — May 9, 2018 @ 1:52 am

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