|Properly Dispose of Your Notary Seal from Your Previous Commission|
ASN Hot Tip, February 2009-#2
The Situation: ASN is frequently called or emailed by notaries whose commission has expired, and they now have a notary commission ink stamp and/or embosser that they can’t legally use any longer.
The Notary’s Dilemma: What should a notary do with an official notary commission stamp/embosser from an expired notary commission?
The Solution: Some states have specific steps for the notary to take, including submitting the seal to state notary authorities upon commission expiration or resignation/revocation or death. So, in any case where you cease to be a notary, you need to learn whether your state has a specific requirement for you to deliver your seal to your state’s notary authorities. ASN can help you determine if your state has such a requirement.
If your state has no specific instructions for disposition of your seal when you cease to be a notary, you must be sure to deface your seal to ensure it can never be used again. In cases where the only course to take is actual destruction of the seal, do you know how to do it effectively?
The Process: The old seal must be defaced in a way that makes it impossible for the seal to make enough of an impression on a notarial certificate to authenticate it. More to the point, the portion of the seal that leaves an ink impression or embossment must be destroyed. (We know of a notary who smashed his self-inking stamp case to smithereens with a hammer, but left intact the rubber pad that was used to make the seal impression.)
HOW TO DESTROYTo destroy a self-inking notary stamp, put the stamp case upside-down on a non-slippery surface and push down on the case to expose the stamp surface. Carefully peel the rubber impression pad away from its base. Cut up the pad with a pair of scissors.
Distribute the pieces of the pad into at least two different trash containers.
Destroying a metal embossing seal is a little more involved. One way is to remove the die insert from the embosser handle and carefully deface the raised portion of the seal impression with a heavy-duty steel file. This works especially well if you break the die insert into two pieces. Discard each die insert piece into separate trash containers.
Another method is to contact your local law enforcement agency, and ask if you may turn in the embosser’s die insert to be melted down with confiscated firearms. (We include this because we actually spoke with one local law enforcement agency that was happy to accept die inserts for melting.)
We get many good ideas from our members, so let us know if you have found a safe way to destroy an old seal that we haven’t listed here.
Questions, comments on this Hot Tip? Email Kathleen@asnnotary.org