I just completed a remote closing-signing for a house in Arizona. (I am in MT currently). I did not notice this oddity until later. But, the local notary which showed up did not bring a journal and did not have me sign in one.

I've had things notarized in the state of MT before and have had to sign in a journal. Is this optional somehow and could it adversely effect my closing - which isn't until tomorrow? Everything else seemed fairly normal. She had to cross out a few "notary of Arizona" lines and write in "Montana" and she seemed to fill everything else out correctly: stamping where required etc. Seemed pretty normal except for the lacking notary's journal.

  • 3
    I'm not going to put this as an answer, because I'm not sure, but I just went through a closing in California...the notary said her journal was for her records only.
    – mkennedy
    Aug 25, 2016 at 21:24
  • 1
    If that's the case, then it does answer the question: The answer being, it's not my issue, it's the notary's issue.
    – maplemale
    Aug 25, 2016 at 21:59
  • IIRC, they can be required to explain the circumstances involved in a transaction for a given time period. Keeping notes is their due care to make sure they can fulfill that requirement.
    – Xalorous
    Aug 26, 2016 at 1:07
  • Why would someone downvote this question? Should it be re-worded?
    – maplemale
    Aug 26, 2016 at 17:01
  • @mkennedy Each state has different laws. It is dangerous to assume laws would be the same from state to state. And indeed, in this case, except in a few very narrow circumstances, Montana and Arizona both require notaries to keep journals which are public records. I'm not familiar with the laws governing California notaries, but what that notary told you is incorrect under Montana and Arizona law.
    – remy
    Nov 29, 2016 at 0:03

2 Answers 2


I am a Colorado notary and notary training instructor.

Montana notary law 1-5-618. Notary public journal — retention requires the notary to keep either a bound paper journal or an electronic journal.

(3) An entry in a journal must be made contemporaneously with performance of the notarial act and contain:

  • (a) the date and time of the notarial act;
  • (b) a description of the record, if any, and the type of notarial act;
  • (c) the full name and address of each individual for whom the notarial act is performed;
  • (d) the signature of each individual for whom the notarial act is performed, except that transcripts of depositions and certified copies do not require the signature of the individual for whom the notarial act is performed;

The notarial certificate on a document is valid if it complies with the certificate requirements listed in 1-5-609. Certificate of notarial acts. [The notary does not certify that an entry with a signature was made in the notary journal.]

The notary has authority to change the venue in the notarial certificate from Arizona (incorrect) to Montana (correct ). 1-5-609(4) This shows the MT notary was acting within their jurisdiction. [A MT notary may also notarize in the bordering states of Wyoming and North Dakota, by mutual reciprocal agreement, but not in Arizona. 1-5-605(4)]

The notary may not make any changes to the body of the document.

The notary's commission may be suspended or revoked for failing to comply with notary laws or rules. 1-5-621 [Failing to keep a notary journal.]

Failure to make an entry in the notary journal does not invalidate the notarial acts performed. 1-5-624. Validity of notarial acts.


Both the state of Arizona and Montana require notaries to maintain a journal. In both states, the journal is public record (except in a few cases which don't apply to your situation) and each entry must include the signature of the person having a document notarized.

The notarization you received would be considered invalid in both Arizona and Montana. It is also improper to cross out language on a notarial certificate. Notarizations are court records, and there is no way to know if something being crossed out was done by the notary or not. Any documents which contain incorrect information need to be reprinted with the correct information.

I strongly encourage you to speak with an attorney. From your description, your documents were not notarized properly, and that could have serious effects if someone comes forward and makes a claim on the house.

I am not an attorney. This is not legal advise. You should consult an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your particular jurisdiction.

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