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Notary Series Part 3: What Happens if You Lose Your Job, You Resign From Your Current Position, or You Retire?

By Jessica Melton

This month, we dive into the question of what happens if you are currently acting as a notary in your job and you lose your job, you resign from your position or you retire?  And what if your employer paid for your notary supplies? 

First, notary commissions are granted to a person as an individual, even if their employer paid for the supplies and commission fees.  In California, pursuant to Cal. Gov. Code § 8206(d) “The journal of notarial acts of a notary public is the exclusive property of that notary public and shall not be surrendered to an employer upon termination of employment, whether or not the employer paid for the journal, or at any other time”.  However, if you are suspected of criminal intent at that job, section 8206(d) continues; “The notary public shall not surrender the journal to any other person, except the county clerk, pursuant to Section 8209, or immediately, or if the journal is not present then as soon as possible, upon request to a peace officer investigating a criminal offense who has reasonable suspicion to believe the journal contains evidence of a criminal offense, as defined in Sections 830.1, 830.2, and 830.3 of the Penal Code, acting in his or her official capacity and within his or her authority”.

Let’s say that it has been established that you did not partake in any criminal act and that you can keep your journal and supplies.  What should you do next?

Once you remove your supplies from the office, the journal must be kept in a locked and secured area (such as a lockbox or locked desk drawer), under the direct and exclusive control of the notary public.  Just like at your former place of employment.  That said, if you do not have a separate locking file cabinet or safety deposit box at your home, then you will need to purchase one. 

When the time comes that you start a new job with notary privileges, according to the 2022 Notary Public Handbook, “A notary public is required to notify the Secretary of State of any change of business or residence address in writing, by certified mail or any other means of physical delivery that provides a receipt, within 30 days.  (Government Code section 8213.5) Willful failure to notify the Secretary of State of a change of address is punishable as an infraction by a fine of not more than $500. (Government Code section 8213.5) Upon the change of a business address to a new county, a notary public may elect to file a new oath of office and bond in the new county”. 

It continues by saying, “However, filing a new oath and bond is optional. Once commissioned, a notary public may perform notary public services anywhere in the state. The original oath and bond must be filed in the county where the notary public’s principal place of business is located as shown in the application filed with the Secretary of State.  Whether or not a county transfer is filed with the new county after the original oath and bond have been fled in the original county is permissive should the notary public move.  (Government Code section 8213) There is no fee for the processing of address change notifications with the Secretary of State”.

When it comes to retiring, you will again need to contact the Secretary of the State by certified mail with the following information:

Be sure the address change notification is signed and dated by the notary public. The change of address can be submitted in letter form or, an address change form is available on the Secretary of State’s website or can be mailed to you upon request. 

Note: There is no fee for the processing of address change notifications with the Secretary of State.

That’s pretty much what you need to do when it comes to changing jobs or retiring. 

Stay tuned for next month when we talk about any limits on your notarial acts and fees.

For more information on address or job changes and to view the 2022 Notary Public Handbook, click here.