This is one I really want some notary opinions on.
As we know, many, if not all banks, hold the bond for the notaries that they employee. Also, we know that bank notaries only notarize for that bank's customers. (That is a whole 'nuther issue for a different blog!)
Back in October or November of 2008 I needed my own divorce papers notarized. I represented myself sui juris, my then husband had been living in another state for some time and his lawyer was an hours drive from me.
This presented the problem of locating my own notary locally. Well, I went to my bank. I have had many things notarized there before, by the same lady. She had recorded in her notary journal the more important documents (Tennessee does not require a journal.) However, on this particular day, AFTER I had signed, and she had notarized the Complaint for Divorce, Marital Dissolution Agreement and sundry other documents pertaining to the divorce--she informs me that she is required by the bank to keep a copy of each and every document she notarizes!
She proceeded to copy them and placed them in a three ring, loose leaf binder!
Now these papers have, since then, become public record as all divorces do--unless for a particular reason the judge is asked to seal the record and does so. Also, as it was an agreed divorce there was nothing particularly "bad" in the documents. Yet the question arises--What if we had reconsidered and decided not to file the divorce? These are being kept in a loose-leaf binder, to be turned over to the bank's officials.
8-16-118 Recording Fees
A fee of one dollar ($1.00) and no more is allowed to a notary public for recording in a well-bound book, to be kept by such notary for the purpose, each of the notary's attestations, protestations, and other such instruments of publication.
The Secretary of State's web page states:
Tennessee law does not specify that you must keep record of notarizations. However, that can be inferred from the statutory provision which allows a notary to charge a fee of one dollar ($1.00) for recording in a well-bound book each of the notary's attestations, protestations, and other instruments.
Now this does leave some very gray areas of whether or not keeping a journal is required, but it definitely does not say that we can or should keep a copy of people's documents.
What if I had taken my will in there to be notarized?
Linda makes out a will, leaving nothing to her son.
Linda then takes this will to a notary to be executed and notarized. The notary makes a copy and places it in a loose-leaf binder.
Linda's son, Albert has an affidavit to be notarized and he takes it to the same notary. Again, the document is signed and notarized, and a copy made.
As they all live in a very small town, Albert and the notary start up a conversation about the upcoming Mule Pull. Will still talking the notary pulls out her notebook and places the affidavit in it. The phone rings and she turns to answer it, leaving the notebook open--to the document last placed in it--Linda's will!
Now Albert is not a nosy person but out of boredom, his eyes fall on it, he notices, in bold lettering across the top--Last Will and Testament of Linda Jones--of course his own Mother's name catches his eye and the rest becomes a huge family rift!!!
Any thoughts on this one???