Notary journal entry for loan signing

Hey all

Had a weird experience I need help with. Did a loan signing yesterday. Scanbacks all accepted as perfect. When they received the package, they email me and say an acknowledgement is missing and they attached one for me to fill out and send back. I looked through the file I printed and this ack was not in there. They neglected to include it. I told them I can’t fill out a blank ACK , stamp my seal and send it to them as it goes against everything I was taught. I said I needed to have a signature in my journal for each notarization I do and they did agree to pay me extra to go back and get their journal signature if I felt I needed that.
The bothersome thing is the person said they have done thousands of signings and when you do a loan signing, you don’t line item each notarization within the signing. Can anyone weigh in on this situation?
When I do a signing, I line item each notarization and they sign my journal for each. Also, was I wrong in saying I need their signature for the additional ack?


‘signature in journal for each notarization’… CA–yes. Other states vary on that requirement.

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Thank you - considering I as well as the signing company are in CA, I would think that would have been understood

So - they told me to fill it out and send it to them and I can go back to the borrower at my convenience to sign the journal…not legal, right?

1 - where are you located - based on what you’re saying I’m assuming you’re in CA - in which case yes, you line-item EACH notarization and they sign EACH line

2 - those APAs (All Purpose Acknowledgements) - companies always try to sneak those into the packages and many unwitting notaries complete them - you’re right, you can’t - it has to have a document attached to it - NOT JUST THE ACK BY ITSELF - so tell them sorry but that’s a no-go - I can’t do it.

AND if you’re in CA, I believe your statutes provide that it is illegal for anyone to ask a notary to perform an illegal act.

Good luck


The most important thing you mention is that the company that hired you neglected to include the acknowledgement certificate in the package. That almost certainly means you didn’t ask the signers if they wanted to acknowledge their signatures for this document. So in any state, you have to meet a second time with the signers, check their ID unless you know them, ask if them if they want to acknowledge their signatures on the document, fill out the acknowledgement certificate, and create journal entries. The signers can put whatever date they want to next to their signatures, but you have to put the date you meet with them for the additional certificate in the certificate and your journal.

If the document was in the package, and is one that is always acknowledged (like a deed or mortgage) then you should have asked the company that hired you why there wasn’t an acknowledgement certificate. But for many documents, some companies want them acknowledged and some don’t. If it’s one of those, you had no way to know it should have been acknowledged.

Your method of having a separate line in the journal, for each signer, is the safest method, but more time consuming. Unless your state has a rule about it, it’s up to you to decide if the extra security is worth the extra time.

I notarized in two states, Arizona and North Carolina, and was told by the SOS that only one entry need be made for the entire signing. This will vary greatly from state to state especially where no journal is required but is “recommended”.

If I had to enter every document in my journal and have it signed repeatedly by the borrower I would cease to be an NSA.
The additional tedious time and effort would push me over the line.


Just one more thing. About signing an ack and sending it back…this is perfectly legit IF you specify on the ack that it applies only to the doc in question. For example, all of my ack certificates (the ones that are attached to a doc) state the name of the doc, date, all signers names and number of pages. Therefore, the ack can only be applied to the doc in question and you are totally covered. You are correct in not signing an ack that is otherwise blank as it could be used in any transaction
and not just related to a real estate closing.

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Any time I find an ACK in my packages that I cannot clearly determine what it is supposed to belong to I always make sure to write in what it is for - and for me, that is whatever document came before it in my package. When I went to notary school I got a file with the CA compliant notary forms that included both an ACK and Jurat with option section. I don’t see this ACK on the secretary of state website so I don’t recommend using it but I use it as a reference when filling out one of those mysterious ACK in my package. I’d be more than happy to share these forms but don’t think I can attach here so you’d have to send me an email address. Basically, it goes like this:

Title or Type of Document:
Document Date:
Number of pages:

I have those as well. I have had several docs that have extra acks in them that don’t seem to be for anything. I have called about them and have been told to just fill them out as it is standard practice. I refused unless a specific doc would be referenced. Amazing what they will try

Remember the core purpose of the journal - to support the notary’s testimony when needed (in court).

The records must be suitable to qualify for the ‘recollection refreshed’ and ‘records of a regularly conducted activity’ hearsay exceptions (e.g.: FRE 803), allowing the testimony/records to be entered into evidence. It’s the same reason a police officer writes notes (or should), even when issuing a ticket.

Even in states where a journal is required, the purpose of the journal (and the reason for the requirement) is primarily evidentiary.

I generally indicate the signing agency, type of signing, page count, delivery (mail, email, portal), type of signing (R/E, refi, etc…) , number of notary acts and references to other (i.e.: joint) signers. I use shorthand if recording exact docs (e.g.: MTG=mortgage, AF=affidavit, N=note, etc…).

It’s important to be substantially consistent in how you record the signings (i.e.: not minute detail for one, then one sentence for the next) to avoid undue questions on the authenticity of the records themselves.

However, if there’s an exceptional document notarized (e.g.: Power of Attorney or other non-routine document) or something ‘out of the ordinary’ (e.g.: signer behavior, possible duress, ID questions), it’s probably a good idea to record more detailed information while the signing is still fresh.

If a signer refuses to sign the journal (I’m in two no-journal-required states), I just write ‘signature exemplar refused’ and likewise with any fingerprint (I’ve since made up a stamp with ‘Fingerprint not required’ for journals that have it). Check with your state law for requirements and appropriate action

I would also indicate any subsequent requests for a ‘blank’ acknowledgement, as that might be material to a future accusation (or defense) for fraud - indicate as much detail as possible (who, when, what exactly was requested.