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State Of Arkansas

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Official Signature and Seal

   A major function of the notarization of a written document is to add authenticity to the document. This increases the trust persons have in the document's validity.
   A typical scenario might be a document having been signed by one or more persons. The notarization insures that the identity of each signer has been verified by the notary. Thus the notary has “memorialized ” the notarization by signing and sealing a notary certificate that is attached to the document. In addition, this event may be recorded in the notary's journal or register. To add standardization to the process, there is guidance in the form of state law and established notary practices in the use of the notary signature and seal (21-14-107 ).

   Official Notary Signature

   The notary public's official notary signature is the signature that is on file with the Secretary of State's office. This is the signature that was signed on the notary application. It should be the same signature that appears on the surety bond and commission/ oath. In turn, the name depicted on the notary's official seal should be in the same format as the official signature.
   As with the execution of other documents, the signature should be in ink and must be an original manual signature. Only in specific cases can a notary use a facsimile or pre-printed signature. For more information on the use of facsimile signatures please refer to 21-14-201 or contact the Secretary of State's office.

   Official Notary Seal

   Official seals have been used throughout history to lend authenticity to legal documents. Seals are also used to make official documents more difficult to forge.
   In Arkansas the notary public's official seal must meet the specific requirements of Arkansas law as detailed in 21-14-107. The seal may either be a rubber stamp or a metal embosser; however, if it is an embosser, the raised impression must be “inked” so it can be read easily on a photocopy or fax copy. Other information that must appear on the official seal includes:the name (in the same format as the official signature), county and state of commission, and commission expiration date. The notary public's commission number must also appear on all seals issued after January 1, 2006. If a notary was commissioned before January 1, 2006 the notary is not required to acquire a new seal until renewal. State law also indicates a seal cannot contain an outline of the state of Arkansas or the Great Seal of the State of Arkansas.
   The notary's seal is the property of the notary public. As such it should be safeguarded when not in use and should not be “borrowed” by others. Even if the notary's employer purchased it, the seal is the personal property of the notary whose name it bears. Consequently, if a notary resigns, retires or is fired from a job, the employer cannot keep the notary’s seal, commission or bond.
   The National Notary Association notes the most common reason documents fail to be accepted for recording is the lack of the notary's signature or seal. Occasionally notaries preoccupied by examining identification and watching the signer execute the document may forget to sign or seal the certificate. The notary's official signature and seal on a notarized document are the lasting physical evidence of the notarial act. Therefore, care should be taken when completing certificates.