While South Dakota law no longer requires a register be kept by a notary, it would certainly be to the advantage of the notary to do so. Most lawsuits against notaries could be avoided if the notary kept a record. Such register should include at a minimum some of the following information:
- Date and time of notarization or acknowledgment
- Kind of document being notarized or acknowledgment
- Name and address of parties whose signatures are being notarized
- Have the parties sign the register
There are other details which might be included such as land description, kinds of identification presented, number of pages to document, etc. The notary journal serves as an excellent form of legal protection for the notary for two important reasons:
- If a notarization certificate is lost or damaged, a notary can refer to the journal entry to verify prior existence and purpose.
- If a notary is called upon to testify in a legal proceeding about a notarization, the journal provides the ideal reminder of the facts and circumstances.
The notary journal and official seal or stamp should always be kept in a safe and secure place.