Indiana Chapter: U.S. Notary Reference

Table of Contents

Last updated: January 17, 2023

QUICK FACTS

Notary Jurisdiction

Statewide (IC 33-42-12-1[1]).

Notary Term Length

Eight years (IC 33-42-12-1[h]).

Notary Assurance

$25,000 (IC 33-42-12-1[a]).

Notary Seal

Required (IC 33-42-9-12[b]).

Notary Journal

Required for remote notarizations (IC 33-42-17-8[a]).

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ADMINISTRATION AND RULES

Commissioning and Regulating Official

Though the Governor nominally appoints and commissions Indiana’s Notaries (IC 33-42-9-1[a]), it is the office of the Secretary of State that administers the commissioning process and directly regulates and maintains records on Notaries (IC 33-42-12-1 through 33-42-13-4).

Contact Information

Office of Secretary of State
Business Services Division
Notary Department
State House, Room 201
200 W. Washington St.
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Phone: 317-232-6542

Website: http://www.in.gov/sos/business/2378.htm

Laws, Rules and Guidelines

Laws: Most Notary statutes are in the Indiana Code (IC), Title 33, Article 42 (“Notaries Public”).

Rules: Administrative rules are in the Indiana Administrative Code (IAC), Title 35, Article 7 (“Notary Public Governance”).

Guidelines: Guidelines for Notaries may be found in the Indiana “Notary Public Guide” (NPG) (revised February 9, 2022) and available on the Secretary of State’s website.

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COMMISSION AND APPOINTMENT

Commission Process

Qualifications: “An applicant for a commission as a notary public must:
“(1) be at least eighteen (18) years of age;
“(2) be a citizen or permanent legal resident of the United States;
“(3) be a resident of or primarily employed in Indiana;
“(4) not be disqualified to receive a commission under IC 33-42-13;
“(5) satisfy all educational requirements; and
“(6) have passed the examination described in section 2 of this chapter” (IC 33-42-12-1[b]).

Applicants who are not U.S. citizens must have visa or immigration status allowing permanent residence in the U.S. “An Indiana notary must continuously maintain their Indiana residency or their Indiana employment. If at any time an Indiana notary ceases to be a full-time resident of the state of Indiana, or, in the case of a nonresident employee, the Indiana notary ceases to be primarily employed in Indiana, their commission becomes invalid and must be relinquished. Legal requirements for Indiana residency are the same residency requirements for voting registration …” (NPG).

Additionally, the “Notary Public Guide” states that applicants must possess an Indiana driver’s license, Indiana non-driver identification card or other acceptable form of identification and proof of Indiana residence.

Dual Office Holding: “For purposes of Article 2, Section 9 of the Constitution of the State of Indiana, a commission as a notary public is not a lucrative office” (IC 33-42-12-1[i]). Thus, applicants for a Notary commission may now hold other paying governmental offices or appointments under U.S. or state law and still qualify for an Indiana Notary commission.

The “Notary Public Guide” comments that individuals holding another lucrative office and a Notary commission “should recognize that even if serving in two positions does not result in a constitutional violation, it may violate the constitutional doctrine of separation of powers, create a conflict of interest or public policy concern, or be prohibited by another federal, state or local law.”

Course: Required.

“An applicant seeking a commission as a notary public, including an applicant reapplying for a subsequent commission, must complete … a course of education …” (IC 33-42-12-2[a]).

Continuing Education: “A notary public must fulfill a continuing education requirement not to exceed two (2) hours of continuing education every two (2) years” (IC 33-42-12-2[b]).

“Three (3) CE courses must be completed throughout the duration of the notary commission. The first CE course is due two (2) years after the notary is commissioned. The second CE course is due four (4) years after the notary is commissioned. The third CE course is due six (6) years after the notary is commissioned. Each CE course is due by the end of the anniversary of the month in which the notary is commissioned” (75 IAC 7-2-3[b]).

“Continuing education courses may only be completed within 90 days of the due date. The fee to complete the continuing education is $50” (NPG).

“Failure to complete a CE course requirement will result in the expiration of the notary commission” (75 IAC 7-2-3[c]).

Exam: Required.

“An applicant seeking a commission as a notary public, including an applicant reapplying for a subsequent commission, must complete … an examination” (IC 33-42-12-2[a]).”

After the applicant completes the education, the applicant will be required to pass a test. The test is a combination of multiple choice and true/false questions. There are 30 questions on the test. The applicant must get 24 questions correct or 80% to pass (NPG).

Bond: In Indiana, an applicant for a Notary Public commission must obtain an “assurance” in the form of a surety bond or its functional equivalent. “An applicant applying for a commission or reapplying for a subsequent commission shall … obtain an assurance in the amount of twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) … [and] submit, or have submitted by the surety on the applicant’s behalf, an electronic copy of the assurance not later than thirty (30) days after the effective date of the assurance” (IC 33-42-12-1[c][4] and [5]).

“A surety must notify the secretary of state of a payment made under a notary public’s assurance not later than thirty (30) days after issuing the payment to a claimant” (IC 33-42-12-1[e]).

“‘Assurance’ means a surety bond or the functional equivalent of a surety bond that covers a notary public's acts or omissions during the course of the notary public's commission” (IC 33-42-0.5-4).

Application: Applicants for a Notary commission must use the Indiana Secretary of State’s Online Notary Portal to initiate the application or re-application process. The applicant must obtain a $25,000 bond prior to making application and provide proof of such bonding with the application. The application and commission fees are $75 (NPG) and must be paid by credit or debit card to the state of Indiana at the time of submitting the application. The fee includes the base and enhanced access Indiana Professional Licensing Agency System fee, which supports the information system and staff support for processing the commission (NPG). The application is submitted electronically (IC 5-14-3-2) through the Secretary of State’s website and its Online Notary Portal. The applicant commits to the Notary’s oath of office through the Portal.

There is an online bulk application process that may be used by companies with multiple Notaries on staff, or by a service or bonding company assisting customers applying to become Notaries; however, each applicant must have already accessed the state’s Online Notary Portal application in order to complete the pre-qualification training and the oath agreement.

“Completed applications for a notary application are promptly processed by the office of the Indiana Secretary of State and are non-refundable. A receipt and a link to the commission certificate are available from the last page of the application. In most cases applicants will also receive an email advising them of the status of their application within a couple of business days. Issuance of a notary commission is evidenced by a confirming e-mail containing a link to a certificate of appointment which can be downloaded and printed” (NPG).

If an application is rejected 3 times within 30 days, the applicant must wait 30 days before submitting another application (75 IAC 7-2-1[g]).

Background Screening:

“(b) The application for a notary public commission must include the following:”…”(11) A criminal background check that is not more than six (6) months old that may be required by the secretary of state.” (75 IAC 7-2-1[b][11]).

“Obtain an Indiana State Police limited criminal history record available here: https://www.in.gov/ai/appfiles/isp-lch. The record must then be uploaded as a component of the online application. An Indiana State Police limited criminal history record must be no older than thirty days at the time of submission. After purchasing an Indiana State Police limited criminal history record an applicant will only have digital access to the record for two weeks unless the file is downloaded.” (NPG, website)

Public Information: “All notary public applications and appointments are required to be open to public inspection pursuant to Indiana law and are available in the Notary Public database” (NPG).

Nonresidents: Nonresidents of Indiana who are primarily employed in Indiana may apply to receive an Indiana Notary commission (IC 33-42-12-1[b][3]).

“A non-Indiana resident, primarily employed in Indiana, must also submit the following [with the application for a commission]:
“(1) The mailing address of the applicant’s place of employment.
“(2) The county where the applicant is employed.
“(3) A written statement documenting employment on company letterhead” (75 IAC 7-2-1[c]).

Reappointment: “A notary public applying for a commission renewal may apply beginning ninety (90) days prior to the expiration date of the notary public’s current commission” (75 IAC 7-2-4[b]).

“In order to renew a notary commission, each applicant must electronically submit an application for renewal using the notary application prescribed by the secretary of state. The application for renewal is the same as the application for notary public …” (75 IAC 7-2-4[c]).

“If an applicant is rejected three (3) times within thirty (30) days, the applicant must wait thirty (30) days before submitting another application” (75 IAC 7-2-4[h]).

Immunity or Benefit: “A commission granted under this section authorizes the notary public to perform notarial acts within the state of Indiana. The commission does not provide the notary public with any immunity or benefit” (IC 33-42-12-1[g]).

One Commission: “An individual may not have more than one (1) active Indiana commission as a notary public commission at a time” (IC 33-42-12-1[h]).

Through the Secretary of State’s website, the Indiana Notary Public database may be searched by commission number, name, county, city and zip code for both active and inactive Notaries. Available information about a given Notary includes the Notary’s commission number and expiration date, street address and bonding agent.

Changes of Status

Change of Information: A Notary must notify the Secretary of State not later than 30 days after any change to the following information (IC 33-42-12-3[a]):
• Name
• Mailing address
• Personal email address.
• Personal telephone number.
• The Notary’s employer’s address, name, or telephone number.

Name Change: “A notary public shall file the following documents with the secretary of state upon any change to the notary public’s name on file with the secretary of state’s office:
“(1) A rider or other record issued by the notary public’s surety reflecting the change of name.
“(2) An example of the notary public’s new, official signature” (IC 33-42-12[3[b]; see also 75 IAC 7-2-2[b]).

Other Occurrences: “A notary public shall notify the secretary of state of the following occurrences not later than fourteen (14) days after they occur:
“(1) The notary public is convicted of a felony offense involving deceit, dishonesty, or fraud.
“(2) The notary public is found to have acted deceitfully, dishonestly, or fraudulently in any disciplinary action or legal proceeding.
“(3) The notary public has a commission as a notary public denied, restricted, or revoked in a state other than Indiana” (IC 33-42-9-3[c]; see also 75 IAC 7-2-2[c]).

Resignation: “The commission of a notary public who is no longer:
“(1) a citizen or resident of Indiana; or
“(2) primarily employed by the state of Indiana; shall be treated as resigned” (IC 33-42-12-3[d]; 75 IAC 7-2-2[d]).

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NOTARIAL ACTS

Authorized Acts

Indiana Notaries are authorized to perform the following notarial acts (IC 33-42-0.5-18):

  • Take acknowledgments and proofs (IC 32-21-2-6);

  • Administer oaths and affirmations;

  • Take verifications on oath or affirmation;

  • Attest or witness signatures;

  • Attest or certify copies;

  • Note protests of negotiable instruments;

  • Do any additional act authorized by common law or the custom of merchants.

Acknowledgments

Definition: “Acknowledgment” means:
“(1) a principal’s declaration, before a notarial officer, that a record has been signed for the purpose stated in the record; or
“(2) if the record was signed in a representative capacity, a declaration by the individual, before a notarial officer, that the individual signed the record with the proper authority and signed it as the act of the individual or entity identified in the record” (IC 33-42-0.5-2).

“‘In a representative capacity" means acting:
”(1) as an authorized agent, officer, representative, or trustee of another person;
”(2) in any capacity as:
“(A) provided by law; and
“(B) stated in a record;
”(3) as an agent or attorney in fact for a principal; or
”(4) in any other authorized capacity” (IC 33-42-0.5[17]).

Standards: “A notarial officer who … takes an acknowledgment of a record … shall determine, from personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence, that the individual appearing before the officer has the identity claimed and that the signature on the record is the signature of the individual (IC 33-42-9-2[a]).

Proofs

Definition: “As used in this chapter, ‘proof’, with respect to a notarial act, means a proof:
”(1) under common law; or
”(2) where the witness:
“(A) appears before a notarial officer;
“(B) was personally known by the notarial officer or identified by the notarial officer through satisfactory evidence;
“(C) was not a party to, or a beneficiary of, the record being signed by the principal and the witness; and
“(D) took an oath or gave an affirmation and testified to the following:
“(i) The witness signed the record.
“(ii) The witness identified the principal who signed the record.
“(iii) The witness personally observed the principal sign the same record that the witness signed” (IC 32-21-2-1.7).

Authorization: “A deed may be proved according to the rules of common law before any officer who is authorized to take acknowledgments. A deed that is proved in the manner provided in this section is entitled to be recorded” (IC 32-21-2-6).

Oaths and Affirmations

Definition: “‘Oath’ includes ‘affirmation’, and ‘to swear’ includes to ‘affirm’” (IC 1-1-4-5-16).

Verifications

Definition: “Verification on an oath or affirmation” means a declaration that a statement in a record is true” (IC 33-42-0.5-35).

Standards: “A notarial officer who … takes a verification of statement on an oath or affirmation … shall determine, from personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence, that the individual appearing before the officer has the identity claimed and that the signature on the record is the signature of the individual” (IC 33-42-9-2[a]).

Signature Witnessings

Standards: “A notarial officer who … attests or witnesses to a signature; shall determine, from personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence, that the individual appearing before the officer has the identity claimed and that the signature on the record is the signature of the individual” (IC 33-42-9-2[a]).

Copy Certifications

Standards: “A notarial officer who attests to or certifies a copy of a record or item shall verify that the copy is an accurate, full, and true reproduction or transcription of the record or item” (IC 33-42-9-2[b]).

Paper Printout of Electronic Record: “The recorder shall record a paper or tangible copy of an electronic record (as defined in IC 26-2-8-102) that is otherwise eligible under Indiana law to be recorded if the paper or tangible copy of the electronic record:
“(1) contains an image of an electronic signature or signatures;
“(2) contains an acknowledgment or proof as required by IC 32-21-2-3; and
“(3) has been certified by a notarial officer, as described in IC 33-42-9-7(a), to be a true and correct copy of the electronic record as provided in subsection (c)” (IC 32-21-2.5.12[a]).

“A notarial officer who makes an acknowledgment or proof under IC 32-21 or IC 33-42 may certify that a paper or tangible copy of an electronic record is a true and correct copy of an electronic record by:
“(1) executing and attaching the notarial officer's official seal to a tangible paper certificate; or
“(2) affixing or attaching the certificate to the paper or tangible copy of an electronic record” (IC 32-21.2.5.12[c]).

Protests

Definition: “A protest is a certificate of dishonor made by a United States consul or vice consul, or a notary public or other person authorized to administer oaths by the law of the place where dishonor occurs” (IC 26-1-3.1-505[b]).

Standards: “The protest must identify the instrument and certify either that presentment has been made or, if not made, the reason why it was not made, and that the instrument has been dishonored by nonacceptance or nonpayment. The protest may also certify that notice of dishonor has been given to some or all parties” (IC 26-1-3.1-505[b]).

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STANDARDS OF PRACTICE

Personal Appearance

Requirement: “If a notarial act relates to a statement made in or a signature executed on a record, the declarant or signatory shall appear personally before the notarial officer” (IC 33-42-9-3).

“Require the personal appearance of your signer. The person signing the document must physically be in your presence for the notarization to be valid” (NPG).

Improper Employer Requests: “Q. What if my boss insists that I notarize a document when the person has not signed or acknowledged his or her signature in my presence? – A. Explain to your boss that Indiana law requires the person [to] appear before a notary public personally before the notary can notarize the document. Failure to follow this procedure could result in civil and criminal liability for both the notary public and the boss. Also, the document may be invalidated by a court if it is improperly notarized” (NPG).

Definition: “‘Appearance’ or ‘appear’, with respect to a notarial act, refers to an individual’s presence before a notarial officer by:
“(1) being:
“(A) physically present before the notarial officer;
“(B) able to interact with the notarial officer; and
“(C) able to physically exchange tangible credentials or other documentation with the notarial officer; or
“(2) the use of audio visual communication” (IC 33-42-0.5-3).

Identification

Requirement: “A notarial officer who:
“(1) takes an acknowledgment of a record;
“(2) takes a verification of statement on an oath or affirmation; or
“(3) attests or witnesses to a signature;
shall determine, from personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence, that the individual appearing before the notarial officer has the identity claimed and that the signature on the record is the signature of the individual” (IC 33-42-9-2).

Personal Knowledge: “A notarial officer has personal knowledge of an individual’s identity if the:
“(1) individual is personally known to the notarial officer; or
“(2) notarial officer has transacted sufficient, prior business with the individual to know the individual’s identity” (IC 33-42-9-4[a]).

According to the “Notary Public Guide,” a Notary may claim to know the signer personally if at least one of the following criteria is met:
”• A long-term relationship. You should not use personal knowledge as identification for someone your boss introduced you to this morning.
”• Sufficient breadth of knowledge. You should know more about the individual than what a nodding acquaintanceship would bring.
”• Absolutely certain. You must have no reasonable doubt in your mind that the signer is who he or she claims to be. The test is whether you would be willing to swear to the person’s identity in court.”

Identification Documents: “If a notarial officer does not have personal knowledge of an individual’s identity, the notarial officer may authenticate the identity of the individual through … [a]n inspection of any of the following that, if expired, has not been expired for more than three (3) years:
“(A) The individual’s passport.
“(B) The individual’s driver’s license.
“(C) The individual’s government issued identification card.
“(D) A credential that:
“(i) is not described in clauses (A) through (C);
“(ii) is government issued; and
“(iii) contains a photograph of the individual” (IC 33-42-9-4[b][1]).

“The following types of identification may be used to positively identify a client, as long as they are current and or not expired for more than three (3) years:
”• A driver’s license or identity card issued by any state;
”• A U.S. passport or a officially recognized passport of a foreign country;
”• A U.S. military identification card;
”• A identity card issued by a federally recognized Indian tribe; or
”• At least one current document issued by the federal government or a state, county, or other local government which contains the person’s photograph” (NPG).

Credible Witness: “‘Credible witness’ means an individual who:
“(1) appears before a notarial officer;
“(2) swears or affirms that the signer of a document is the individual whom the signer claims to be; and
“(3) is known personally to the signer of the document and the notarial officer” (IC 33-42-0.5-8).

“If a notarial officer does not have personal knowledge of an individual’s identity, a notarial officer may authenticate the identity of an individual through … [a] verification on an oath or affirmation by a credible witness who:
“(A) personally:
“(i) appears before the notarial officer; and
“(ii) is personally known by the notarial officer; or
“(B) is identified to the notarial officer by a credential described in subsection [IC 33-42-9-4] (1)” (IC 33-42-9-4[b][2]).

“In order to use the credible witness as identification, the following must be met:
”• The notary must personally know the witness or identify the witness through an identification document…
”• The witness must personally know the signer.
”• Both the witness and the signer must be present during notarization.
”• The witness must take an oath from [the] notary. A sample oath/affirmation would be: “Do you swear (or affirm) that you personally know this document signer to be the individual he/she claims to be (so help you God)?”
”• The witness should be honest, competent, and impartial” (NPG).

Additional Identification: “A notarial officer may require an individual to provide additional identification or information before performing a notarial act” (IC 33-42-9-4[c]).

Refusal of Services

Specific Grounds: “A notarial officer may refuse to perform a notarial act if the notarial officer is not satisfied that:
“(1) the individual executing the record is competent; or
“(2) the individual’s execution of the record is being done knowingly or voluntarily” (IC 33-42-9-5[a]).

General Grounds: “A notarial officer may refuse to perform a notarial act unless the refusal is prohibited by law” (IC 33-42-9-5[b]).

Competency: “The notary must make a judgment that the signer is aware of what they are signing. A notary should not authenticate a signature or take the acknowledgment of a person if it is apparent, or suspected that a person is incoherent, disoriented, intoxicated or otherwise incapacitated” (NPG). The state’s “Notary “Public Guide” recommends Notaries to advise minors, and persons who are blind or deaf, mentally incapacitated or illiterate, seriously ill or dying to obtain legal advice before proceeding with the notarial act.

“Although there are differing opinions on whether a notary public has a duty to determine the person’s competency, many experts recommend that the notary make a limited inquiry into the person’s ability to understand the contents of the document that the person is signing. The notary can make a quick assessment by asking the person if he or she understands the document. Clearly, a notary should refuse to notarize the signature of a person who unquestionably has no ability to understand the document (i.e. unconscious, incapacitated or mentally disabled)” (NPG).

“Special care must be taken when notarizing for the elderly or those in a medical care setting. Awareness may need to be established by someone in authority (i.e. doctor, nurse, attorney). Medications can alter the customer’s reasoning abilities. Consult with the signer’s doctor/nurse/attorney and write down their remarks in the notarial journal [and] have the authority sign your journal by their remarks as to the awareness of the client. Prior to notarizing, ask the client some questions about the document to be sure that they understand what they are signing and seem competent in their responses. Common sense, as well as reasonable care and caution, are the prime indicators on whether to proceed. When in doubt, do not notarize, but note why in the notarial journal and advise the client to seek legal advice” (NPG).

Signature by Mark

“‘Sign’ means to:
“(A) adopt or execute with a tangible symbol; or
“(B) associate or attach an electronic process, sound, or symbol to a record; with the intent to adopt or authenticate a record” (IC 33-42-0.5-1-11).

“‘Signature’ means a tangible symbol or an electronic signature that evidences the signing of a record" (IC 33-42-0.5-1-12).

“A notary may take the acknowledgment of an individual who is illiterate or physically incapable of signing their name, if the individual signs their name with a mark, such as an X. The notary must confirm that in making the mark the individual indicates their understanding and acknowledges their signature” (NPG).

Signature by Proxy

“(a) A principal may appoint or direct another individual to sign a record if the principal is physically unable to sign the record personally.
“(b) A notarial officer shall note the principal’s use of an appointed or designated signatory on any record executed in the manner described in subsection (a) by:
“(1) clearly labeling the appointee or designee’s signature;
“(2) clearly labeling the name of the principal; and
“(3) including or using language that conveys the principal’s intent to use an appointed or designated signatory” (IC 33-42-9-6).

“Designated alternative signer” means any person:
“(1) signing in place of a disabled person;
“(2) signing in the presence of the disabled person;
“(3) establishing proof that the designated alternative signer has the authority to sign on behalf of the disabled person in question; and
“(4) witnessed by another party who has no interest in the document being notarized.
“However, a designated alternative signer cannot swear an oath of affirmation in the name of the disabled person” (75 IAC 7-1-4).

Visually-Impaired Signers

“A commission as a notary public does not allow a person to … [t]ake an acknowledgment from any person who is blind without first reading the record to the person who is blind” (IC 33-42-13-3[a][6]).

Legally-Incompetent Signers

“A commission as a notary public does not allow a person to do the following: … [t]ake an acknowledgment or administer an oath to any person the notary public knows at the time to be:
“(A) adjudicated mentally incompetent; or
“(B) under a guardianship described in IC 29-3” (IC 33-42-13-3[a][5]).

Improper Initial or Name

“A commission as a notary public does not allow a person to do the following: … [u]se an initial or name, other than the initial or name under which the notary public has been commissioned, to sign an acknowledgment” (IC 33-42-13-3[a][4]).

Notarizing for Employer

“A notary is not required to provide notary services to the general public and may not be compelled to do so. A notary may however agree, and thus be bound, to provide notarial services as a matter of employment, or at the direction of their employer…. A notary providing services [on] behalf of an employer is still required to exercise their independent judgment and authority, and is still personally responsible for (the) accuracy and legality of their notarial acts. For example, a notary must not attest to the signature of person they do not personally know or witness signing – even if their employer instructs them to do so” (NPG).

Disqualifying Interest

Personal, Spouse, and Others: “A commission as a notary public does not allow a person to do the following: …
“Perform a notarial act for:
“(A) oneself;
“(B) one’s spouse; or
“(C) any party that may directly benefit a person described in clauses (A) or (B)” (IC 33-42-13-3[a][10]).

Federal Land Bank Association Exemption: “The manager, officers, and employees of a federal land bank association located in Indiana may become and act as a notary public in the business of the association to take acknowledgments of deeds and real estate mortgages and to take and certify affidavits” (IC 33-42-6-1).

Cemetery Association Exemption: Notaries who are stockholders or officers of any cemetery association, in taking acknowledgments for the sale of lots, as long as they are not beneficiaries (IC 33-42-7-1).

Translated Records

“A commission as a notary public does not allow a person to … [t]ake the acknowledgment of any person who does not speak or understand the English language unless the nature and effect of the record is translated into a language the person speaks or understands” (IC 33-42-13-3[a][7]).

Unauthorized Practice of Law

“A commission as a notary public does not allow a person to do the following:
“(1) Provide legal advice or otherwise practice law.
“(2) Act as an immigration consultant or provide advice on immigration matters.
“(3) Represent a person in an administrative or judicial proceeding related to citizenship or immigration” (IC 33-42-13[3][a]).

Acknowledgment Without Ceremony

“A commission as a notary public does not allow a person to … [t]ake the acknowledgment of a record without witnessing a signature or receiving an acknowledgment from the principal that the signature is authentic” (IC 33-42-13-3[a][8]).

Verification Without Oath

“A commission as a notary public does not allow a person to … [t]ake a verification of an affidavit or oath in the absence of an affirmation of truth by the affiant” (IC 33-42-13-3[a][9]).

Advertisements

False or Deceptive Advertising: “A notary public may not engage in false or deceptive advertising” (IC 33-42-13-3[b]).

‘Notario Publico’ Deception: “A notary public, other than an attorney licensed to practice law in Indiana, may not use the term ‘notario’ or ‘notario publico’” (IC 33-42-13-3[c]).

“(a) A person who knowingly or intentionally:
“(1) advertises notarial services without using the disclaimer described in section [IC 33-42-13] 3(d) of this chapter;
“(2) advertises notarial services while claiming to be an expert on immigration matters without being a designated entity as described in 8 CFR 245 a.11; or
“(3) accepts payment in exchange for providing legal advice or any other assistance that requires legal analysis, judgment, or interpretation of the law commits notario publico deception, a Class A misdemeanor.
“(b) It is a defense to a prosecution under this section that a notary public is also licensed to practice law in Indiana” (IC 33-42-13-4).

Prescribed Notice: “(d) Except as provided in subsection (g), a notary public may not advertise or represent that the notary public can draft legal documents, provide legal advice, or otherwise practice law. Any notary public who advertises notarial services shall include the following statement in each advertisement: ‘I am not an attorney licensed to practice law in Indiana. I am not allowed to draft legal records, give advice on legal matters, including immigration, or charge a fee for those activities.’
“(e) The disclaimer described in subsection (d) shall be translated into every language used in an advertisement.
“(f) If size or space restrictions make it impossible for the statement to be incorporated into an advertisement, the statement described in subsection (d) shall be prominently displayed at the site where the notarial act is performed. A display described in this subsection must be shown before the performance of a notarial act.
“(g) Subsections (c) through (f) do not apply to a notary public who is licensed to practice law in Indiana” (IC 33-42-13-3[d] through [g]).

Withholding of Records

“Unless otherwise permitted by law, a notary public may not withhold access to or possession of an original record provided by a person seeking the performance of a notarial act by a notary public” (IC 33-42-13-3[h]).

Marriages

“Q: May a notary public perform a marriage ceremony? – A: No. Indiana notaries are not authorized to perform a marriage ceremony” (NPG).

Photographs

“A photograph cannot be notarized. A statement about the photograph may be notarized though” (NPG).

Retaining Copies of Documents and IDs

“Q: Should I keep copies of every document that I notarize? – A: No, a notary should not keep copies of the documents they notarize. Your journal entry is sufficient evidence for the purpose of recording a notarial act. If a notary should keep an original record provided by a person for notarization, the notary may not withhold access to the original record. However, the Secretary of State strongly recommends that notaries do not keep such records” (NPG).

“Q: Should I keep copies of identification that I use to identify the signer? – A: No, a notary public should not keep copies of identification that they use to identify the signer. Your journal entry is sufficient evidence for the purpose of recording how you identified the signer” (NPG).

Validity of Notarial Acts

“(a) The failure of a notarial officer to perform a duty or meet a requirement specified in this article does not invalidate a notarial act performed by the notarial officer.
“(b) The presumed validity of a notarial act under this section does not prevent an injured party from seeking:
“(1) the invalidation of a record or transaction reliant upon an incomplete notarial act; or
“(2) any other remedy provided by the laws of Indiana or the laws of the United States.
“(c) The presumed validity of a notarial act described in subsection (a) does not apply to notarial acts:
“(1) performed by unauthorized persons; or
“(2) described in IC 33-42-13-3(a)(10)” (IC 33-42-16-1).

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CERTIFICATE OF NOTARIAL ACT

Certificate Requirements

General Requirement: “All notarized records must have a certificate attached or associated with them. The affixing, attaching, or associating of certificates to notarial acts must conform to [IC 33-42-9-12] subsections (a) through (d)” (IC 33-42-9-12[g]).

Specific Requirements: “A notarial act must be authenticated by a certificate bearing the date of the notarial act and the signature of the notarial officer. A properly completed certificate must conform to the following conditions:
“(1) The certificate must be completed contemporaneously with the performance of the notarial act.
“(2) The certificate must be signed and dated by the notarial officer. If the notarial officer is a notary public, the certificate must be signed in the manner on file with the secretary of state for the specific notary public.
“(3) The certificate must identify the jurisdiction in which the notarial act is performed as follows:
“(A) For a notarial act that is not a remote notarial act, the county and state in which the principal or witness appears before the notarial officer.
“(B) For a remote notarial act, the information required by IC 33-42-17-7(a)(3).
“(4) The certificate must display the title of the notarial officer.
“(5) If the notarial officer is a notary public, the certificate must display:
“(A) the expiration date of the notary public’s commission; and
“(B) either of the following:
“(i) The Indiana county of the notary public’s commission.
“(ii) If the notary public is not a resident of Indiana but is primarily employed in Indiana, the Indiana county where the notary public is primarily employed” (IC 33-42-9-12[a]).

Venue: “The beginning of each notarial certificate should include jurisdictional information that indicates where the document was notarized, similar to the following: State of ______ ), County of _______ )” (NPG).

Notary Public Seal: “A notary public who performs a notarial act shall:
“(1) affix, display, or emboss the notary public’s official seal; and
“(2) print or type the notary public’s name underneath the notary public’s signature on a certificate of acknowledgment, proof (as defined in and permitted under IC 32-21-2), or other official record unless the name of the notary public:
“(A) appears in printed form on the record; or
“(B) appears as part of the notary public’s official seal; and is legible when the record is photocopied” (IC 33-42-9-12[b]).

Notarial Officer Seal: “If a notarial act is performed on a public record by a notarial officer other than a notary public, the information described in subsection [IC 33-42-9-12] (a)(2) through (a)(4) must be affixed, displayed, or embossed upon the certificate and accompanied by the notarial officer’s official seal” (IC 33-42-9-12[c]).

Certificate Forms

Acknowledgment by Individual (IC 32-21-2-7)

State of Indiana
SS:
County of ________

Before me, ______________ (name of Notary or other officer), this ________ day of ______, 20, ____________________ (name of signer) acknowledged the execution of the annexed deed (or mortgage, as the case may be).

_______ (Notary’s signature) (SEAL)
_______ (Printed /typed name), Notary Public
My commission expires: ________
County of residence: _________

Acknowledgment by Individual (NPG)

State of Indiana
County of ________

This record was acknowledged before me on ________ (date), by ____________________ (name of signer).

_________ Notary Public Signature (SEAL)
Commissioned in ________ county

Acknowledgment by Attorney in Fact (NPG)

State of Indiana
County of ________

On this ________ (date), before me personally appeared ____________________, (proved to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence) to be the person whose name is subscribed to within the record (sic) (Type of Document ____________________) as the attorney in fact of ____________________, and acknowledged that (he)(she) subscribed the name of ____________________ thereunto as principal, as (sic) (his)(her) own name as attorney in fact

_________ Notary Public Signature (SEAL)
Commissioned in ________ county

Acknowledgment in a Representative Capacity (NPG)

State of Indiana
County of ________

This record was acknowledged before me on ________ (date) by ____________________ (name of signer) as ____________________ (title at company) of ____________________ (name of company).

_________ Notary Public Signature (SEAL)
Commissioned in ________ county

Acknowledgment (IC 32-21-2-7[a][3])

State of Indiana
County of ________

Before me, E.F., a ____________________ (describe the notarial officer type) this ________ day of ________ , A.B. acknowledged the execution of the foregoing or annexed ____________________ (describe the type of instrument).

_________ Notary Public Signature (SEAL)
Commissioned in ________ county

Verification upon Oath or Affirmation (NPG)

State of Indiana
County of ________

Signed and sworn to (or affirmed) before me on ________ (date) by ____________________ (name of signer).

_________ Notary Public Signature (SEAL)
Commissioned in ________ county

Copy Certification (NPG)

State of Indiana
County of ________

I certify that this is a true and correct copy of a record in the possession of ____________________ (name of individual).

Date: ________.

_________ Notary Public Signature (SEAL)
Commissioned in ________ county

Paper Printout Copy Certification of Electronic Record (IC 32-21-2.5.12[d])

State of Indiana
County of ________

I certify that the foregoing and attached document entitled ____________________ (insert document title), dated ________ (insert document date) and containing ________ pages, is a true and correct copy of an electronic record printed by me or under my supervision. I further certify that, at the time of printing, no security features present on the electronic record indicated any changes or errors in an electronic signature or other information in the electronic record after the electronic record's creation or execution.

Signed this ________ day of ________ , ________.

_________ (signature of notarial officer)
_________ (printed name of notarial officer)
_________ (include notarial officer's commission number, official seal, commission county of residence or employment, and commission expiration date as required by applicable law)

Signature Witnessing or Attestation (NPG)

State of Indiana
County of ________

Signed (or attested) before me on ________ (date) by ____________________ (name of signer).

_________ Notary Public Signature (SEAL)
Commissioned in ________ county

Proof of Execution (1C 32-21-2-7[b][2])

State of Indiana
County of ________

Before me, E.F., a _____________________ (describe the notarial officer type) this ________ day of ________, appeared A.B. being personally known to me or identified to me by a sufficient credential, whose name is subscribed as a witness to the foregoing instrument, who, being duly sworn by me, deposes and says that the foregoing instrument was executed and delivered by C.D. (describe the signer or principal to the instrument) while being personally observed by A.B.

_________ Notary Public Signature (SEAL)
Commissioned in ________ county

Remote Notarization (NPG)

State of Indiana
County of ________
City of ________

I certify that the attached or associated electronic record entitled _____________________ (title of document) and dated ____________ (date of notarization) was signed by the principal ____________________ (name of principal) who was located in this city ___________________ (name of city where principal is located), county _____________ (name of county where principal is located), state or province ______________ (name of state or province where principal is located), and country _____________ (name of country where principal is located) and notarized by me, the remote notary public, on this date _________ (date of notarization) in this city and county _____________________(city and county where remote Notary is located), Indiana.

_________ Notary Public Signature (SEAL)
Remote Notary Public
Commissioned in ________ county
Date Notary Public commission expires _________

Acknowledgment by Audiovisual Communication (Remote Notarization) (IC 33-42-17-7[b])

State of Indiana
County of ________________
City of ___________________

I certify that the attached or associated electronic record entitled _____________________ (title of document) and dated ____________ (date of notarization) was acknowledged and signed by the principal ____________________ (name of principal) who was located in this city ___________________ (name of city where principal is located), county _____________ (name of county where principal is located), state or province ______________ (name of state or province where principal is located), and country _____________ (name of country where principal is located) and who appeared by audio visual communication on this date, was notarized by me, the remote notary public, on this date _________ (date of notarization) in this city and county _____________________(city and county where remote Notary is located), Indiana.

Signed_________, remote notary public.
Printed name of remote notary public _________
Date notary public commission expires _________

Signature Witnessing by Audiovisual Communication (Remote Notarization) (IC 33-42-17-7[b])

State of Indiana
County of ________________
City of ___________________

I certify that the attached or associated electronic record entitled _____________________ (title of document) and dated ____________ (date of notarization) was signed by the principal ____________________ (name of principal) who was located in this city ___________________ (name of city where principal is located), county _____________ (name of county where principal is located), state or province ______________ (name of state or province where principal is located), and country _____________ (name of country where principal is located) and notarized by me, the remote notary public, on this date _________ (date of notarization) in this city and county _____________________(city and county where remote Notary is located), Indiana.

Signed_________, remote notary public.
Printed name of remote notary public _________
Date notary public commission expires _________

Sufficiency of Certificate

“A certificate of a notarial act or an electronic notarial certificate is sufficient if it meets the requirements described in [IC 33-42-9-12] subsections (a) and (b) and:
“(1) is in a form permitted by the laws of this state;
“(2) is in a form permitted by the laws of the jurisdiction in which the notarial act was performed; or
”(3) sets forth the actions of the notarial officer” (IC 33-42-9-12[f]).

Executing a Certificate

Certifications of Notarial Act: By executing a certificate of notarial act or an electronic notarial certificate, a notarial officer certifies that the officer has complied with the requirements of this chapter [IC 33-42-9]” (IC 33-42-9-12[g]).

Contemporaneous Completion: “A notarial officer may not affix a signature to or associate a certificate with a record until a notarial act has been performed” (IC 33-42-9-12[h]).

“Q. As an Indiana notary, can I take a person’s acknowledgment in another state, then return to Indiana and complete the notarial certificate here? – “A. No. A notary’s authority extends no further than the geographic boundaries of Indiana. A notary cannot perform one part of a notarial act outside the state and the other part inside the state. Both parts must be executed at the same time and the same place inside Indiana. If the resident of another state cannot come to Indiana, he should find a notary public in his or her state” (NPG).

Correcting a Certificate

“A notarial officer may subsequently correct any information included or omitted from a certificate of a notarial act or an electronic notarial certificate executed by the notarial officer” (IC 33-42-9-12[k]).

The state’s “Notary Public Guide” provides the following pointers for making corrections to notarial certificates at the time the notarial act is performed:
“• Do not use white out.
“• Draw a line through the mistake in ink and print the correct information immediately above the mistake with your initial and date by it.
“• Reapply your notary stamp if it has been smeared and initial the original smeared stamp impression.
“• Record any changes in your journal.”

The state’s “Notary Public Guide” provides the following pointers for making corrections to notarial certificates after the notarial act is performed:
“• Do not allow anyone to change your certificate. It is your responsibility as a notary public to correct errors and omissions on the certificates you complete….
“• Make corrections on the certificate by either filling in missing information or drawing a line through the incorrect information in ink. Print the correct information with your initials and the date nearby.
“• Do not make a correction until you have confirmed it from the entry in your notary journal…, or the signer can verify the change.
“• Record any changes in your notary journal.”

Selecting a Certificate

“You may be confronted with a situation in which you are asked to notarize a document with no notarial certificate or the wrong notarial certificate attached. Although you may want to suggest or automatically provide the correct certificate, your role as a notary public does not allow you to do so … The notary public could be held liable if the certificate is incorrect. Notaries public should never take it upon themselves to select or substitute a certificate on behalf of a person” (NPG)

“If there are concerns, you may recommend that the client reexamine the document and consult with an attorney to obtain the proper certificate. If your client insists that the certificate is correct, you have the option of refusing the notarization or performing the notarization and putting a note in your journal saying that the client insisted the certificate was correct. A notary public is free to have the client review the types of certificates and allow them to choose the one they feel is correct” (NPG).

Attaching a Certificate

A certificate of a notarial act or an electronic notarial certificate must be attached to or associated with each tangible record or electronic record in a manner consistent with the applicable requirements of [IC 33-42-9-12] (a) through (f)” (IC 33-42-9-12[i]).

“Never send a completed certificate for someone else to attach. The document should be returned and you must attach the corrected certificate personally” (NPG).

“An attached or ‘loose’ certificate should be filled out like any other notarial certificate with the addition of a few details. Because a loose certificate is not an original part of the document, it is important to protect it from fraud. The goal is to ensure that the certificate is used with one and only one notarization and only with the document for which it was intended” (NPG).

“Any notarial wording on the document should be crossed off and replaced with ‘SEE ATTACHED NOTARIAL CERTIFICATE’.
“• Attach the certificate to the left-hand margin using a staple or another type of fastener that will make holes if torn out.
“• The certificate should be above the signature page and directly above the signature.
“• The document’s date, type and signer should be noted at the bottom of the certificate. You may also want to indicate the number of pages as an additional safeguard….
“• Make a note in your journal of the loose certificate.
“• An embosser is also an additional safeguard that can be used to protect against fraud. The impression should rest half on the signer’s page and half on the certificate. Put a whole impression on the certificate as well so the auditor has a comparison.
“• Attach the certificate yourself” (NPG).

Presumptive Evidence

“An official:
“(1) certificate of a notarial act bearing a notarial officer's official seal; or
“(2) electronic notarial certificate bearing a notarial officer's electronic seal;
constitutes presumptive evidence of the facts stated in cases, where, by law, the notarial officer is authorized to certify facts” (IC 33-42-9-12[j]).

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SEAL AND SIGNATURE

Seal Requirement

“A notary public who performs a notarial act shall do the following:
“(1) affix, display, or emboss the notary’s official seal; …” (IC 33-42-9-12[b][1]).

“‘Official seal’ means an image, affixed to or embossed upon, a record” (IC 33-42-05-1[7]).

Format of Seal

Inked Stamp or Embosser: “‘Stamping device’ means a physical device capable of affixing or embossing a record with an official seal” (IC 33-42-05-1[13]).

Shape and Size: Not specified.

Components: “The official seal of a notary public must include the following:
“(1) The words ‘notary public’.
“(2) The words ‘state of Indiana’.
“(3) The word ‘seal’.
“(4) The name of the notary public exactly as it appears on the notary public’s commission certificate.
“(5) The words ‘commission number’ followed by the commission number of the notary public.
“(6) The words ‘my commission expires’ followed by the expiration date of the notary public’s commission” (IC 33-42-10-2[a]).

“The seal described in subsection (a) may include any other information chosen by the notary public to be included on the seal” (IC 33-42-10-2[c]).

Legibility: According to IC 33-42-10-12[b][2][B], a Notary’s name that appears as part of the official seal must be legible when the record to which the official seal is affixed is photocopied.

Examples

The below typical, actual-size examples of official Notary stamping devices and electronic Notary seals which are allowed by Indiana law. Formats other than these may also be permitted.

Corrections to Seal

“Changes or corrections may never be made to the impression of an official seal” (IC 33-42-9-12[l]).

Evidentiary Value of Seal

“A notary public’s official seal, when properly:
“(1) executed; and
“(2) affixed, associated, or attached to a record;
“shall make the record self-authenticating for the purpose of a court proceeding” (IC 33-42-10-4).

“Certificates or instruments, either printed or written, purporting to be:
“(1) the official act of a notary public of this state, of the District of Columbia, or of any other state or territory of the United States; and
“(2) under the seal and signature of a notary public;
“shall be received as presumptive evidence of the official character of the instrument and of the facts set forth in the instrument (IC 34-37-1-5).

Security of Seal

“(a) A notary public is responsible for the security of any stamping device used for notarial acts by the notary public.
“(b) A notary public shall not allow any other person to make use of the stamping device used by the notary public when performing notarial acts” (IC 33-42-10-3[a] and [b]).

Loss or Theft of Seal

“If a device is lost or stolen, the notary public or notary public’s guardian or personal representative shall promptly notify the secretary of state’s office upon learning of the loss or theft” (IC 33-42-10-3[e]).

Destruction of Seal

Commission Termination: “Upon the:
“(1) expiration;
“(2) resignation; or
“(3) revocation;
“of the notary public’s commission, the notary public shall damage, deface, destroy, erase, or secure the stamping device in a manner that precludes any further use of the stamping device (IC 33-42-10-3[c]).

Adjudication of Incompetency or Death of Notary: “Upon the:
“(1) adjudication of incompetency; or
“(2) death;
“of a notary public, the notary public’s guardian or personal representative shall preclude any further use of the stamping device by disabling the stamping device as described in [IC 33-42-11-3] subsection (c)” (IC 33-42-10-3[d]).

Township Trustee

An Indiana township trustee has the same powers as a Notary (IC 33-42-5-1) and “the trustee must obtain a seal that can stamp upon paper a distinct impression that indicates the trustee’s official character, along with any other information that the trustee chooses. A notarial act of a trustee that is not attested by a seal is void” (IC 33-42-5-2). The trustee must also append his or her date of election (IC 33-42-5-3).

Other Notarial Officers

“If a notarial act is performed on a public record by a notarial officer other than a notary public, the information described in [IC 33-42-9-12] subsection (a)(2) through (a)(4) must be affixed, displayed, or embossed upon the certificate and accompanied by an official seal” (IC 33-42-9-12[c]).

Name of Notary

The name of the Notary Public must be printed or typed underneath the Notary Public’s signature on each paper certificate of acknowledgment, jurat, or other official record unless the name of the Notary Public appears in printed form on the record or as part of the Notary Public’s seal (IC 33-42-9-12[b][2]).

Sign Commission Name

“If the notarial officer is a notary public, the certificate must be signed in the manner on file with the secretary of state for the specific notary public” (IC 33-42-9-12[a][2]).

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RECORDS OF NOTARIAL ACTS

Records Requirement

Electronic Journal: “A remote notary public who performs a remote notarial act shall personally do the following:
“(1) Enter each remote notarial act in an electronic journal.
“(2) Maintain the electronic journal.
“(3) Keep the electronic journal in the exclusive control of the remote notary public.
“(4) Use commercially reasonable means to prevent unauthorized access to the electronic journal.”
“(5) Provide for the lawful copying and inspection of the electronic journal” (IC 33-42-17-8[a]).

“An employer may not perform the responsibilities described in subsection (a) on behalf of a remote notary public” (IC 33-42-17-8[a]).

Audiovisual Recording: “(f) A remote notarial act that is performed using audiovisual communication technology described in subsection (c) must be captured by an audiovisual recording, regardless of whether the requested remote notarial act is completed.
“(g) Before performing a remote notarial act described in subsections (b) and (c), a remote notary public shall inform the participating parties that the remote notarial act will be captured by an audiovisual recording.
“(h) An audiovisual recording of a remote notarial act must include the following:
“(1) A recitation of the following by the remote notary public:
“(A) Identifying information sufficient to identify the specific remote notarial act performed.
“(B) A statement explaining one (1) of the following:
“(i) That the principal's identity is authenticated through the remote notary public's personal knowledge of the principal's identity.
“(ii) That the identity of the principal is authenticated by a credible witness.
“(2) A confirmation by the principal that the principal's electronic signature is freely and voluntarily issued” (IC 33-42-17-3[f] and [g]).

“In addition, the notary public must at a minimum … [e]nsure that an audio visual recording captures the notarial act performed” (75 IAC 7-5-1[g][3]).

“If the principal is personally known to the remote notary public, the audio visual conference must include a statement disclosing the personal relationship” (75 IAC 7-5-1[g][3]).

Journal Recommendation

Paper Notarizations: “Indiana does not require notaries to maintain a journal of their notarial acts. Leading notary associations recommend that notaries maintain a journal, both as a good professional practice and as protection in the event the notary is accused of fraud or malpractice. The Secretary of State’s office strongly recommends that notaries record all their notarial acts in a notary journal” (NPG).

Journal Entries

Recommended Entries: The state’s “Notary Public Guide” recommends the following entries be entered in the journal for each notarial act for a paper document:
• Date and time the notarial act was performed;
• Type of notarial act performed;
• Date of the document notarization;
• Type of document notarized (i.e. will, contract, deed, etc.);
• Printed name of the signer;
• Description of how the notary public identified the signer;
• Any other pertinent information;
• Fees collected, if any;
• Unusual circumstances such as reason for refusal to notarize, etc.

Electronic Journal Entries: “A journal entry for each remote notarial act must consist of the following:
“(1) The date and time of the remote notarial act.
“(2) The type of remote notarial act.
“(3) A title or description of the electronic record for each remote notarial act.
“(4) The full name of the principal.
“(5) A description of the manner by which the identity of the principal was authenticated or verified.
“(6) A description of any credential and the credential's corresponding date of expiration used to authenticate or verify the identity of the principal.
“(7) A listing of:
“(A) every type of fee; and
“(B) every fee amount; charged by the remote notary public for each remote notarial act.
“(8) Any other information required by the secretary of state” (IC 33-42-17-8[e]).

Prohibited Journal Entries: “A notary public (other than a court clerk notarizing instruments for the court) shall not record in the notary’s record journal:
“(1) an identification number that was assigned by a governmental agency or by the United States to the principal and that is set forth on the identification card or passport presented as identification;
“(2) any other number that could be used to identify the principal of the document; or
“(3) a biometric identifier, including a fingerprint, voice print, and retina or iris image” (75 IAC 7-6-1[a]).

“This section does not prohibit a notary public from recording a number related to the mailing address of the principal of the document or the instrument” (75 IAC 7-6-1[b]).

“A notary public who inadvertently records information prohibited under subsection (a) must redact such information prior to providing public access to or copies of the notary record book” (75 IAC 7-6-1[d]).

Modification or Destruction of Electronic Journal Entries: “A remote notary public shall not delete, destroy, overwrite, or render inaccessible an electronic journal unless the remote notary public is ordered to do so by the secretary of state or judicial order” (IC 33-42-17-8[f]).

Duplicate Originals

“Duplicate originals with the same name and date may be recorded as a single entry in the notarial journal” (NPG).

Multiple Electronic Journals Allowed

“A remote notary public may maintain more than one (1) electronic journal” (IC 33-42-17-8[c]).

Authentication to Electronic Journal

“Access to the information contained in the electronic journal must be contingent upon the use of a password or other secure means of authentication” (IC 33-42-17-8[d][1]).

Printing of Electronic Journal Records

“It must be possible to print or produce a tangible record of any entry logged in the electronic journal” (IC 33-42-17-8[d][2]).

Lost, Stolen, Compromised Electronic Journal

“(e) Upon a remote notary public’s learning that an electronic journal is lost, stolen, or compromised, the remote notary public shall notify the secretary of state within fifteen (15) days” (75 IAC 7-6-1-[e]).

Retention of Electronic Journal

“A remote notary public who resigns or whose commission expires shall maintain the contents of an electronic journal for at least the (10) years after the performance of the last recorded remote notarial act” (IC 33-42-17-8[h]).

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FEES FOR NOTARIAL ACTS

Maximum Fees

Paper and Electronic Notarial Acts: “A notary public may charge a fee of not more than ten dollars ($10) per signature for each of the following notarial acts:
“(1) Taking an acknowledgment.
“(2) Administering an affirmation or oath.
“(3) Attesting to or witnessing a signature.
“(4) Taking a verification on an oath or affirmation.
“(5) Attesting to or certifying a copy” (IC 33-42-14-1[a]).

Remote Notarizations: “A remote notary public may charge a fee of not more than twenty-five dollars ($25) for each remote notarial act” (IC 33-42-17-9[a]).

Negotiable Fees

“Fees for notarial acts not described in [IC 33-42-14-1] subsection (a) are negotiable” (IC 33-42-14-1[b].

Travel Fees

“A notary public may charge a reasonable fee for traveling to perform a notarial act. The travel fee requested may not exceed the federal travel fees established by the United States General Services Administration” (IC 33-42-14-1[e]).

Fees by Private Agreement

“Notarial acts that:
“(1) are performed as part of the notary public’s employment; or
“(2) do not require record keeping;
are subject to private agreement and are not governed by this section [IC 33-42-14-1]” (IC 33-42-14-1[d]).

No Charge

“(f) Except as provided in subsection [IC 33-42-2-7](g), an individual who is a:
“(1) public official; or
“(2) deputy or appointee of a public official;
may not charge for notarial acts performed by the individual in connection with any official business of the public official or any other office belonging to the governmental unit in which the individual serves.
“(g) Subsection (f) does not apply to a person or transaction authorized by another statute to charge a fee for performing notarial acts” (IC 33-42-2-7[b]).

Display of Fees

“If a fee is charged for a notarial act, the notary public shall display, in advance, a list of the fees that the notary public will charge” (IC 33-42-14-1[c]).

Ancillary Fees for Electronic Journal of Remote Acts

“A remote notary public may charge a reasonable fee to recover expenses related to copying of:
“(1) electronic journal entries; or
“(2) audiovisual recording of remote notarial acts” (IC 33-42-17-9[a]).

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ELECTRONIC NOTARIAL ACTS

Applicable Law

Uniform Electronic Transactions Act: Indiana has adopted an amended version of the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (IC 26-2-8), including the following provision related to electronic notarization, thereby recognizing the legal validity of electronic signatures used by Notaries: “If a law requires that a signature be notarized, the requirement is satisfied with respect to an electronic signature if an electronic record includes, in addition to the electronic signature to be notarized, the electronic signature of a notary public together with all other information required to be included in a notarization by other applicable law” (IC 26-2-8-110).

Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act: Indiana has adopted the Uniform Real Property Electronic Recording Act (IC 32-21-2.5), including the following provision related to the notarization of electronic real property documents: “If a law requires, as a condition for recording, that a document or a signature associated with a document be notarized, the requirement is satisfied if the electronic document:
“(1) has an electronic signature; and
“(2) complies with IC 32-21-2-3” (IC 32-21-2.5-7[c]).

Indiana Code Title 33, Article 42: In 2018, Indiana enacted substantive provisions regarding the notarization of electronic records in its Notary statutes. These provisions are summarized below.

Indiana Administrative Code Title 35, Article 7: In 2020, the Indiana Secretary of State adopted rules regarding the notarization of electronic records. These rules are summarized below.

Definitions

“’Electronic’ means relating to technology that has electrical, digital, magnetic, wireless, optical, electromagnetic, or similar capabilities” (IC 33-42-0.5-10).

“‘Electronic notarial certificate” means the part of or attachment to an electronic record that:
“(1) is completed by a notarial officer;
“(2) bears the notarial officer’s: (A) electronic signature; and (B) electronic seal; and
“(3) states the facts attested to by the notarial officer in a notarial act” (IC 33-42-0.5-11).

“‘Electronic record’ means a record communicated, created, generated, received, sent, or stored by electronic means’ (IC 33-42-0.5-12).

“‘Electronic seal’ means information that:
“(1) is specific to an individual notary public;
“(2) is attached to or associated with a notarized electronic record; and
“(3) contains:
“(A) the words, ‘notary public’;
“(B) the words, ‘state of Indiana’;
“(C) the word, ‘seal’;
“(D) the notary public's name as it appears on the notary public's commission certificate;
“(E) the words, ‘commission number’, followed by the commission number of the notary public; and
“(F) the words, ‘my commission expires’, followed by the expiration date of the notary public's commission” (IC 33-42-0.5-13).

“‘Electronic signature’ means an electronic process, sound, or symbol that is adopted by an individual for the purpose of electronically signing an electronic record” (IC 33-42-0.5-14).

“‘Exclusive control’ means exclusively having, at all times, direct physical or intellectual custody of:
“(1) a password to access; or
“(2) the ability to use another secure means of authentication of;
an electronic record” (IC 33-42-0.5-15).

“‘Public key infrastructure’ means a method of enabling a user of an unsecured public computer network, including the Internet, to securely and privately exchange data and money through a public and private cryptographic key pair that is obtained and shared through a trusted certificate authority, providing for a:
“(1) digital certificate that is able to identify an individual or organization; and
“(2) directory service that is able to store and, if necessary, revoke the digital certificate” (IC 33-42-0.5-24).

“‘Record’ means retrievable information that is:
“(1) memorialized upon a tangible medium; or
“(2) stored electronically” (IC 33-42-0.5-25).

“‘Technology’ means an application, a device, or a program that allows a notarial officer to perform a:
“(1) notarial act electronically; or
“(2) remote notarial act” (IC 33-42-0.5-34).

Electronic Notarial Certificate

Requirements: “(d) If a notarial act is performed on an electronic record by a notary public:
“(1) the electronic notarial certificate must contain the information described in [IC 33-42-9-12] [IC 33-42-9-12] (a)(2) through (a)(5); and
“(2) the notary public's electronic seal must be attached to or associated with the electronic notarial certificate.
“(e) If a notarial act is performed on an electronic record by a notarial officer other than a notary public:
“(1) the electronic notarial certificate must contain the information described in IC 33-42-9-12(2) through (a)(4); and
“(2) the notarial officer’s official seal must be attached to or associated with the electronic notarial certificate” (IC 33-42-9-12[d] and [e]).

Sufficiency of Certificate: “…[A]n electronic notarial certificate is sufficient if it meets the requirements described in IC 33-42-9-12 and (b) and:
“(1) is in a form permitted by the laws of this state;
“(2) is in a form permitted by the laws of the jurisdiction in which the notarial act was performed; or
“(3) sets forth the actions of the notarial officer” (IC 33-42-9-12[f]).

Executing a Certificate: “By executing … an electronic notarial certificate, a notarial officer certifies that the notarial officer has complied with this chapter” (IC 33-42-9-12[g]).

Contemporaneous Completion: “A notarial officer may not affix a signature to or associate … an electronic notarial certificate with a record until a notarial act has been performed” (IC 33-42-9-12[h]).

Security of Certificate: “… [A]n electronic notarial certificate must be attached to or associated with each tangible record or electronic record in a manner consistent with the applicable requirements of IC 33-42-9-12 through (f)” (IC 33-42-9-12[i]).

Presumptive Evidence: “An official: … electronic notarial certificate bearing a notarial officer's electronic seal; constitutes presumptive evidence of the facts stated in cases, where, by law, the notarial officer is authorized to certify facts” (IC 33-42-9-12[j]).

Correcting a Certificate: “A notarial officer may subsequently correct any information included or omitted from … an electronic notarial certificate executed by the notarial officer” (IC 33-42-9-12[k]).

Electronic Notary Seal

“A notary public must, at all times, maintain a digital certificate and electronic seal that includes the notary public’s electronic signature. The digital certificate must comply with the provisions of IC 33-42-17-7, and the electronic seal must comply with 75 IAC 7-6-2” (75 IAC 7-7-2[a]).

“The technology used to attach an electronic signature to a document must allow a notary public’s electronic signature to be:
“(1) attributed or uniquely linked to the notary public;
“(2) capable of independent verification;
“(3) retained under the notary public’s exclusive control implemented by use of passphrase protection; and
“(4) linked to the electronic document to which it relates in such a manner that any subsequent change of the electronic document is detectable” (75 IAC 7-6-2[b]).

“The official [electronic] seal of a notary public must include the requirements listed in IC 33-42-0.5-13” (75 IAC 7-6-2[c]).

Replacing Digital Certificate

“A notary public must replace a digital certificate under any of the following circumstances:
“(1) The electronic seal or digital certificate has expired.
“(2) The electronic seal or digital certificate is for any reason no longer valid or capable of authentication.
“(3) The notary public has changed any of the following:
“(A) Name.
“(B) County of commission or county of primary employment.
“(C) Notary public commission number” (75 IAC 7-7-2[b]).

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REMOTE NOTARIAL ACTS

Applicable Law

Indiana Code Title 33, Article 42, Chapter 17: In 2018, Indiana enacted substantive provisions regarding remote online notarization in its Notary statutes. These provisions are summarized below.

Indiana Administrative Code Title 35, Article 7: In 2020, the Indiana Secretary of State adopted rules regarding remote online notarizations. These rules are summarized below.

Effective Date

Public Law 59 of 2018 (Senate Bill 372) specified an effective date of July 1, 2019 for Indiana’s remote online notarization provisions. Nevertheless, Public Law 177 of 2019 (House Bill 1487) extended the effective date to the date when the Secretary of State adopts regulations to implement remote online notarization or July 1, 2020, whichever is earlier. (IC 33-42-16-17). The regulations, summarized in pertinent part below, were adopted on March 31, 2020.

Definitions

“‘Audio visual communication’ means real time, two-way, visual and auditory communication through technology” (IC 33-42-0.5-5).

“‘Credential’ means a valid, government issued form of identification that bears:
“(1) a photograph; and
“(2) the signature; of the individual identified” (IC 33-42-0.5-6).

“‘Credential analysis’ means a process or service:
“(1) approved by the secretary of state;
“(2) performed by a third person; and
“(3) through which review of public and proprietary data sources provides confidence concerning the validity of a credential” (IC 33-42-0.5-7).

“‘Dynamic knowledge based authentication assessment’ means a questionnaire that:
“(1) consists of questions about a principal that: “(A) are derived from private and public sources; and (B) have not been previously answered by the principal;
“(2) is answered by the principal; and
“(3) is reviewed by a remote notary public to assist in verifying the identity of the principal” (IC 33-42-0.5-9).

“‘Identity proofing’ means a process or service:
“(1) that is approved by the secretary of state; and
“(2) through which review by a third person of personal information:
“(A) about an individual; and
“(B) obtained from public and proprietary data sources; affirms the identity of the individual. The term may include dynamic knowledge based authentication assessment” (IC 33-42-0.5-16).

“(b) Except as provided in IC 33-42-0.5-23, for purposes of a remote notarial act, ‘principal’ means an individual:
“(1) whose electronic signature is reflected on a document that is notarized and contained in an electronic record;
“(2) who has taken an oath or affirmation administered by a remote notary public; or
“(3) whose electronic signature is reflected on a document that is notarized and contained in an electronic record after an individual has taken an oath or affirmation administered by a remote notary public.
“(c) A principal, for purposes of a remote notarial act, does not include an individual who has taken an oath or affirmation administered by a remote notary public in the capacity of a witness for a remote notarial act” (IC 33-42-0.5-23[b] and [c]).

“‘Real time’ means the actual span of uninterrupted, simultaneous communication during which all parts of an online notarial act using audio visual communication occur excluding issues or buffering that does not materially affect the substantive communication between the notary public and the signer” (75 IAC 7-1-5).

“‘Remote notarial act’ means a notarial act described in Section 18(1) through 18(5) of this chapter:
“(1) performed through audio visual communication; and
“(2) involving an electronic record” (IC 33-42-0.5-26)

“‘Remote presentation’ means an electronic transmission:
“(1) by a principal;
“(2) to a remote notary public; and
“(3) of an image:
“(A) of a credential; and
“(B) that is of sufficient quality to allow for use of the image in credential analysis to identify the principal” (IC 33-42-0.5-28).

“‘Remote technology vendor’ means a person that provides audio visual communication technology and related processes, services, software, data storage, or other services to remote notaries public for the purpose of directly facilitating their performance of remote notarial acts” (75 IAC 7-1-6).

“‘Technology’ means an application, a device, or a program that allows a notarial officer to perform a:
“(1) notarial act electronically; or
“(2) remote notarial act” (IC 33-42-0.5-34).

Qualifications

“A notary public is eligible to register under subsection [IC 33-42-17-2](a) if the notary public:
“(1) holds a current commission as a notary public in Indiana;
“(2) complies with the continuing education requirements described in IC 33-42-12-2, and prescribed under IC 33-42-16-2;
“(3) is able to competently:
“(A) operate audiovisual communication technology; and
“(B) use identity proofing and credential analysis technology; and
“(4) pays a registration fee in the amount of five dollars ($5)” (IC 33-42-17-2[b]).

Registration

Requirement: “A notary public may perform a remote notarial act only after registering as a remote notary public with the secretary of state” (IC 33-42-17-2[a]).

Minimum Commission Duration: “There must be at least ninety (90) days remaining on the applicant’s notary public commission to register for a remote notary public authorization” (75 IAC 7-3-1[b]).

Rejected Registrations: “If an applicant is rejected two (2) times within thirty (30), days the applicant must wait an additional thirty (30) days before submitting another application” (75 IAC 7-3-2[f]).

Registration Term: “Unless a registration under this section is revoked under IC 33-42-13, the term of registration:
“(1) begins on the registration starting date set by the secretary of state; and
“(2) expires on the date on which the remote notary public's current commission ends” (IC 33-42-17-2[d]).

Reregistration: “A remote notary public whose registration expires under [IC 33-42-12-2] subsection (d) may not perform a remote notarial act until the remote notary public has reregistered under this section” (IC 33-42-17-2[e]).

Consecutive Authorization: “In order to obtain a consecutive remote notary authorization, each applicant must electronically submit an application for authorization using the application prescribed by the secretary of state. The application for consecutive authorization is the same as the application for a remote notary public authorization registration” (75 IAC 7-3-3[d]).

Change of Vendors

“The notary public must notify the secretary of state within thirty (30) days after the notary public changes the remote technology vendor or contracts with an additional remote technology vendor. A notary public may use more than one (1) remote technology vendor. If the notary public fails to meet these standards, then the secretary of state may suspend or revoke the notary public’s commission and the notary public’s remote authorization” (75 IAC 7-7-1).

Authority of Remote Notary

“A remote notary public:
“(1) is a notary public subject to IC 33-42-12 to the same extent as a notary public who is not registered under this chapter;
“(2) may perform notarial acts under IC 33-42-9 in addition to performing remote notarial acts; and
“(3) may perform remote notarial acts in accordance with this chapter” (IC 33-42-17-3[a]).

Location of Remote Notary: “A remote notary public may perform a remote notarial act only if the remote notary public is physically present in Indiana at the time the remote notarial act is performed” (IC 33-42-17-2[g]).

Authorized Remote Notarial Acts

“A remote notary public who is physically present in Indiana may perform the following notarial acts as remote notarial acts:
“(1) Taking an acknowledgment.
“(2) Administering an affirmation or oath.
“(3) Taking a verification on an oath or affirmation.
“(4) Attesting to or witnessing a signature.
“(5) Attesting to or certifying a copy of a document or record” (IC 33-42-17-3[b]).

According to IC 32-21-2-3(b)(2), a remote Notary may take an acknowledgment and perform a proof of execution on a document that will be recorded in an Indiana county.

Indiana Law Primary

“Regardless of the physical location of the principal at the time of the notarial act, the validity of a remote notarization performed by a remote notary public commissioned in Indiana must be determined under the laws of this state” (IC 33-42-17-3[i]).

“A remote notarial act performed in accordance with this chapter is considered to have been performed in Indiana, regardless of the physical location of the principal at the time the remote notarial act is performed” (IC 33-42-17-12).

“Subject to [IC 33-42-17-3] subsection (e), a remote notarial act performed:
“(1) by a remote notary public commissioned in Indiana; and
“(2) using audiovisual communication technology described in subsection (c);
”is considered to have been performed in Indiana, regardless of the physical location of the principal at the time the remote notarial act is performed, and is governed by Indiana law” (IC 33-42-17-3[d]).

Audiovisual Communication Technology

“A remote notary public may use audiovisual communication technology in performance of a remote notarial act described in subsection (b) if the remote notary public has first:
“(1) selected an audiovisual communication technology that has been approved by the secretary of state under rules adopted under IC 4-22-2; and
“(2) notified the secretary of state of the selection” (IC 33-42-17-3[c]).

Approval of Technology

Requirement: “(a) Technology used by a remote notary public for use in performing remote notarial acts must first be approved by the secretary of state.

Standards for Approval: “(b) The secretary of state may approve technology described in subsection (a) only if the:
“(1) technology:
“(A) is tamper evident;
“(B) allows a remote notarial act to be completed in accordance with this article;
“(C) conforms to rules adopted by the secretary of state under IC 4-22-2; and
“(D) if the technology is to be used for a remote notarial act described in section 4(a) of [IC 33-42-17], allows for audiovisual communication between the parties; and
“(2) vendor of the technology described in subdivision (1):
“(A) uses a traditional or cloud based backup strategy that is acceptable to the secretary of state for use as a record keeper for any record that is related to a remote notarial act; and
“(B) signs an agreement with the owner of the backup strategy described in clause (A) that, in the event that the vendor ceases business operations, the owner is required to release to the secretary of state any record described in clause (A)” (IC 33-42-17-6[a] and [b]).

Rules for Remote Technology Vendors: “(a) A remote technology vendor must apply with and be approved by the secretary of state.
“(b) The secretary of state must provide the names and contact information of approved remote technology vendors on its official website.
“(c) Remote technology vendors must provide notice to the secretary of state within fifteen (15) days if their contact information changes.
“(d) Remote technology vendors must provide notice to notaries utilizing their services and the secretary of state’s office fifteen (15) days prior to the date that they will no longer provide remote technology services.
“(e) If a remote technology vendor intends to make material modifications that affect its compliance with Indiana law or this title, notice must be provided to the secretary at least ten (10) days prior to such modifications, and implementation shall only occur upon receiving the approval from the secretary of state.
“(f) A remote technology vendor must electronically report the following:
“(1) A monthly listing of all notaries public that have on-boarded to the vendor’s software.
“(2) A monthly listing of all notaries public that have off-boarded from the vendor’s software.
“(g) A remote technology vendor application expires two (2) years after the date the application is approved” (75 IAC 7-8-3).

Remote Notary System Standards: “A remote notary system used to perform remote notarial acts by means of audio visual communication must:
“(1) provide for real time audio visual feeds;
“(2) provide sufficient video resolution and audio clarity to enable the remote notary public and the principal to see and speak to each other simultaneously through real time transmission;
“(3) provide sufficient captured image resolution for credential analysis to be performed;
“(4) include a means of authentication that reasonably ensures only the proper parties have access to the audio visual communication;
“(5) provide some manner of ensuring that the electronic record that is subject to the remote notarial act is the same record electronically signed by the principal;
“(6) securely create, store, and transmit an electronic recording of the audio visual communication, maintaining the confidentiality of any identity proofing responses or analysis; and
“(7) provide reasonable security measures to prevent unauthorized access to:
“(A) the real time transmission of the audio visual communication;
“(B) a recording of the audio visual communication;
“(C) the verification methods and credentials used to verify the identity of the principal; and
“(D) the electronic documents presented for electronic notarization” (75 IAC 7-8-2[a]).

“Identity proofing and credential analysis must be facilitated by an approved remote technology vendor” (75 IAC 7-8-1[a]).

Exiting Authentication or Disruption of Communication: “If the principal exits the authentication workflow or the communication is materially interrupted, the principal must meet the criteria outlined in this section and restart the identity proofing and credential analysis” (75 IAC 7-8-1[e]).

Selection of Technology

“A remote notary public:
“(1) may select one (1) or more technologies approved by the secretary of state under this section to perform remote notarial acts; and
“(2) may not be required to use a particular technology not previously selected by the remote notary public” (IC 33-42-17-9[c]).

Appearance by Audiovisual Technology

An appearance by a principal before a remote Notary using audiovisual technology described in IC 33-42-17-6 is considered to be an in person appearance (IC 33-42-17-4).

Location of Principals

Indiana statute allows a remote Notary to perform a remote notarial act using audiovisual communication technology for a principal who is present in Indiana, outside Indiana, but within the United States, or outside the United States (see requirements for remotely located principals outside the United States below) (IC 33-42-17-3[e]).

Principal Outside the United States: A remote notary public may perform a remote notarial act using audiovisual communication technology for a principal that is present outside the United States if the requested notarial act is not prohibited in the jurisdiction where the principal is present at the time of the remote notarial act. In addition, the remote notarial act must concern a matter that is before a court, a governmental entity, or another entity in; concern a property located in; or relate to a transaction substantially connected to a territory or jurisdiction of; the United States (IC 33-42-17-3[e]).

Identification of Principals

“The identity of the principal in a remote notarial act may be verified by either of the following:
“(1) The remote notary public's personal knowledge of the principal's identity.
“(2) A credible witness's knowledge of the principal's identity.
“(3) All of the following:
“(A) Remote presentation by the principal of a credential identifying the principal.
“(B) Credential analysis and visual inspection by the remote notary public of the credential described in clause (A).
“(C) Identity proofing of the principal, which may include a dynamic knowledge based authentication assessment or use of a public key infrastructure.
“(4) Another method that uses technology that meets or exceeds the standards for approval established by the secretary of state under IC 33-42-16-2” (IC 33-42-17-5).

Credential Analysis: “Credential analysis must, at a minimum:
“(1) verify the identity of a principal or any credible witness;
“(2) utilize appropriate technologies to confirm that the credential is not fraudulent or inappropriately modified; and
“(3) enable the remote notary public to visually compare for consistency the information and photo presented on the credential itself and the principal as viewed by the remote notary public in real time through audio visual communication” (75 IAC 7-8-1[d]).

Knowledge-Based Authentication: “Dynamic knowledge based authentication must, at a minimum:
“(1) contain five (5) questions, drawn from public or private data sources;
“(2) generate a minimum of five (5) possible answer choices per question;
“(3) maintain a passing score of at least eighty percent (80%); and
“(4) require that all five (5) questions answered within two (2) minutes” (75 IAC 7-8-1[c]).

Electronic Journal of Remote Acts

For the requirements of keeping an electronic journal of remote notarial acts, see “Records of Notarial Acts,” above.

Audiovisual Recording

For the requirements of making and keeping an audiovisual recording of remote notarial acts, see “Records of Notarial Acts,” above.

Electronic Notarial Certificate for Remote Act

Notaries Public: “If a notarial act is performed on an electronic record by a notary public:
“(1) the electronic notarial certificate must contain the information described in subsection (a)(2) through (a)(5); and
“(2) the notary public's electronic seal must be attached to or associated with the electronic notarial certificate” (IC 33-42-9-12[d]).

Other Notarial Officers: “If a notarial act is performed on an electronic record by a notarial officer other than a notary public:
“(1) the electronic notarial certificate must contain the information described in subsection (a)(2) through (a)(4); and
“(2) the notarial officer's official seal must be attached to or associated with the electronic notarial certificate” (IC 33-42-9-12[e]).

Other Requirements: “An electronic notarial certificate of a remote notarial act must:
“(1) specify that the notarial act is a remote notarial act;
“(2) include a space in which a remote notary public may indicate whether the principal in the remote notarial act appeared before the remote notary public under section 4(a)(1) or 4(a)(2) of [IC 33-42-17]; and
“(3) specify the:
“(A) city and county in Indiana in which the remote notary public is physically located when the remote notary public performs the remote notarial act; and
“(B) city, county, state or province, and country in which the principal is physically located when the principal signs the document” (IC 33-42-17-7[a]; see also 75 IAC 7-5-1[e]).

Remote Notarization Certificate Forms: See “Certificate of Notarial Act,” above for the statutory certificate forms for remote notarizations, either of which satisfies the requirements of IC 33-42-17-7.

Electronic Notary Seal for Remote Acts

For the requirements for a remote Notary’s electronic seal, see “Electronic Notary Seal,” above under “Notarization of Electronic Records.”

Refusal of Remote Acts

“In addition to the refusal grounds set forth in IC 33-42-9-5, relating to refusal of requests for notarial services, a remote notary public must refuse to perform a remote notarial act if:
“(1) the remote notary public is unable to verify the identity of the principal using an acceptable means of identification;
“(2) the remote notary public is unable to verify the security of the audio visual communication;
“(3) the signature of the principal cannot be attached to the electronic document; or
“(4) the digital certificate or electronic seal of the remote notary public cannot be attached to the electronic document to render the document tamper evident” (75 IAC 7-5-2).

Fees for Remote Acts

See “Fees for Notarial Acts,” above for the maximum and ancillary fees a remote Notary may charge to perform a remote notarization.

Validity of Remote Acts

“A remote notarial act performed by a remote notary public is presumed valid, regardless of the failure of the remote notary public to perform a duty or meet a requirement of this chapter” (IC 33-42-17-10[a]).

“The presumed validity under subsection (a) of a remote notarial act does not do the following:
“(1) Apply to a remote notarial act that is:
“(A) performed by an unauthorized individual; or
“(B) described in IC 33-42-13-3(a)(10).
“(2) Prevent an injured party from seeking:
“(A) the invalidation of a record or transaction reliant upon an incomplete remote notarial act; or
“(B) another remedy under state or federal law” (IC 33-42-17-10[b]).

Database of Remote Notaries, Vendors

“The secretary of state shall maintain on the secretary of state's Internet web site an electronic data base of active:
“(1) remote notaries public; and
“(2) vendors of technology that are approved by the secretary of state under section 6 of this chapter” (IC 33-42-17-11).

Advance Directives

Effective July 1, 2021, Public Law 50-2021 (Senate Bill 204) authorized Notaries to perform remote notarial acts on advance directives for healthcare. For the detailed requirements to perform remote notarial acts on these records, see Indiana Code 16-36-7-1 through 16-36-7-44. Sections of particular importance to review in performing these notarial acts are IC 16-36-7-18 (definition of “observe”) and IC 16-36-7-28 (requirements for signing advance directives.

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REAL ESTATE PRACTICES

Notary Signing Agents

Qualifications and Oversight: Indiana law requires that any person, including a Notary Signing Agent, who conducts a real estate closing on behalf of a title insurance producer or company in which a title insurance policy is to be issued must be a licensed title insurance producer (Indiana Department of Insurance Bulletin 135, “Title Insurance Licensing Requirements: Insured Closing Services”).

“Most real estate transactions or ‘closings’ in Indiana involve a real estate title insurance company. Between the time an agreement to purchase real estate is made and the closing of the transaction, a buyer (and in most cases a mortgage lender) will engage the services of a title company to examine the seller’s title to the real estate, make sure the property survey and legal description are correct, and issue a title insurance policy – guaranteeing the buyer’s title to the property. Because of their role as insurers of title, title companies typically “package” real estate closing documents and employ attorneys or notaries public to ‘conduct’ the closing. An Indiana Notary may not conduct a real estate closing i.e.: sale or refinancing of real estate including a mortgage, title examination and title insurance unless they have obtained a Limited Insurance Producer License (also known as a Title Insurance License or Title Agent License) from the Indiana Department of Insurance” (NPG).

In order to conduct home loan signings in Indiana, Notary Signing Agents must take an approved pre-licensing course through the Indiana Land Title Association and apply to become a title insurance producer. In addition to these licensing requirements, licensees must complete continuing education during the four-year license term.

Recording Requirements

Notarization Requirement: “(a) Any instrument to be recorded must have one (1) of the following notarial acts:
”(1) An acknowledgment (as defined in IC 33-42-0.5-2).
”(2) A proof.
”(b) A notarial act described in subsection (a)(1) must be performed:
”(1) by a notarial officer (as defined in IC 33-42-0.5-19);
”(2) by a remote notary public (as defined in IC 33-42-0.5-27); or
”(3) in compliance with:
”(A) IC 33-42-9-8;
”(B) IC 33-42-9-9;
”(C) IC 33-42-9-10; or
”(D) IC 33-42-9-11.
”(c) The notarial act described in subsection (a)(2) must be performed:
”(1) by a notarial officer (as defined in IC 33-42-0.5-19); or
”(2) in compliance with:
”(A) IC 33-42-9-8;
”(B) IC 33-42-9-9;
”(C) IC 33-42-9-10; or
”(D) IC 33-42-9-11.
”(d) In addition to the requirements specified under subsections (a) and (b), an instrument may not be recorded unless it meets the requirements of:
”(1) this article;
”(2) the notarial requirements for an acknowledgment or for a proof; and
”(3) IC 36-2-11.
”(e) A conveyance must include a statement containing substantially the following information: "The mailing address to which statements should be mailed under IC 6-1.1-22-8.1 is [insert proper mailing address]. The mailing address of the grantee is [insert proper mailing address].".
“The mailing address for the grantee must be a street address or a rural route address. A conveyance complies with this subsection if it contains the address or addresses required by this subsection at the end of the conveyance and immediately preceding or following the statements required by IC 36-2-11-15.
”(f) If the instrument is executed in a foreign country, where the instrument, its acknowledgment, or its proof is in a language other than English, the instrument must include a translation from the other language into English” (IC 32-21-2-3).

Notarial Certificate Requirement: “(a) This section applies to a conveyance or other instrument entitled by law to be recorded.
“(b) The recorder of the county in which the land included in a conveyance or other instrument is situated shall record the deed or other instrument together with the requisite certificate of acknowledgment or proof endorsed on the deed or other instrument or annexed to the deed or other instrument.
“(c) Unless a certificate of acknowledgment is recorded with a deed, the record of the conveyance or other instrument or a transcript may not be read or received in evidence” (IC 32-21-2-11).

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RECOGNITION OF NOTARIAL ACTS

Notarial Acts in Indiana

“(a) A notarial act may be performed by the following individuals:
“(1) Notaries public.
“(2) An official court reporter acting under IC 33-41-1-6.
“(3) Judges and justices of Indiana courts.
“(4) The secretary of state.
“(5) The clerk of the supreme court.
“(6) Mayors, clerks, clerk-treasurers of towns and cities, township trustees, in their respective towns, cities, and townships.
“(7) Clerks of circuit courts and master commissioners in their respective counties.
“(8) Judges of United States district courts of Indiana, in their respective jurisdictions.
“(9) United States commissioners appointed for any United States district court of Indiana, in their respective jurisdictions.
“(10) A precinct election officer (as defined in IC 3-5-2-40.1) and an absentee voter board member appointed under IC 3-11-10 or IC 3-11.5-4, for any purpose authorized under IC 3.
“(11) A member of the Indiana election commission, a co-director of the election division, or an employee of the election division as defined under IC 3-6-4.2.
“(12) County auditors in their respective counties.
“(13) County recorders in their respective counties.
“(14) Any member of the Indiana general assembly anywhere in Indiana.
“(15) The adjutant general of the Indiana National Guard, specific active duty members, reserve duty members, or civilian employees of the Indiana National Guard designated by the adjutant general of the Indiana National Guard for any purpose related to the service of an active duty or reserve member of the Indiana National Guard.
“(b) The signature and title of an individual performing a notarial act in Indiana is prima facie evidence of the fact that:
“(1) the signature is genuine; and
“(2) the individual holds the designated title” (IC 33-42-9-7).

Executive Officers of State Agencies: “Generally executive officers of state agencies and designated deputies may authenticate documents and administer oaths in connection with matters concerning their respective agencies and offices” (NPG).

Notarial Acts in U.S. State or Jurisdiction

“(a) A notarial act performed in another state is presumed valid and has the same effect as a notarial act performed by a notarial officer of Indiana if the notarial act performed in the other state is performed by:
“(1) a notary public of the other state;
“(2) a judge, clerk, or deputy clerk of the other state; or
“(3) any other individual authorized by the law of the other state to perform notarial acts.
“(b) The signature and title of an individual performing a notarial act in another state is prima facie evidence of the fact that:
“(1) the signature is genuine; and
“(2) the individual holds the designated title.
“(c) The signature of a notarial officer described in subsection (a)(1) or (a)(2) conclusively establishes the authority of the notarial officer to perform the notarial act” (IC 33-42-9-8).

Notarial Acts in Federally Recognized Indian Tribe

“(a) A notarial act performed under the authority and in the jurisdiction of a federally recognized Indian tribe is presumed valid and has the same effect as a notarial act performed by a notarial officer of Indiana if the notarial act is:
“(1) performed within the territory of the Indian tribe; and
“(2) performed by:
“(A) a notary public of the Indian tribe;
“(B) a judge, clerk, or deputy clerk of the Indian tribe; or
“(C) any other individual authorized by the laws of the Indian tribe to perform the notarial act.
“(b) The signature and title of an individual performing a notarial act under the authority of and in the jurisdiction of a federally recognized Indian tribe are prima facie evidence of the fact that:
“(1) the signature is genuine; and
“(2) the individual holds the designated title.
“(c) The signature and title of a notarial officer described in subsection (a)(1) or (a)(2) conclusively establish the authority of the notarial officer to perform the notarial act” (IC 33-42-9-9).

Notarial Act Under Federal Law

“(a) A notarial act performed under federal law shall be presumed valid and has the same effect as a notarial act performed by a notarial officer of Indiana if the notarial act performed under federal law is performed by:
“(1) a judge, clerk, or deputy clerk of a court;
“(2) an individual who is authorized to perform the notarial act under federal law and is: (A) presently serving in the armed forces of the United States; or (B) performing duties under the authority of the armed forces of the United States;
“(3) an individual designated as a notarial officer by the United States Department of State for the purpose of performing notarial acts overseas; or
“(4) a commissioned officer with the rank of:
“(A) second lieutenant or higher in the active service of the: (i) United States Army; or (ii) United States Marine Corps; or
“(B) ensign or higher in the active service of the: (i) United States Coast Guard; or (ii) United States Navy; or
“(5) any other individual authorized by federal law to perform the notarial act.
“(b) The signature and title of an individual acting under federal authority while performing a notarial act are prima facie evidence of the fact that:
“(1) the signature is genuine; and
“(2) the individual holds the designated title.
“(c) The signature and title of a notarial officer described in subsection (a)(1), (a)(2), or (a)(3) conclusively establish the authority of the notarial officer to perform the notarial act” (IC 33-42-9-10).

Notarial Act Under Foreign Law

“(a) As used in this section, “foreign” means a government other than the United States, a state, or a federally recognized Indian tribe.
“(b) If a notarial act is performed under the authority of and in the jurisdiction of:
“(1) a foreign state;
“(2) a constituent component of a foreign state; or
“(3) an international or multinational governmental organization;
the notarial act is presumed valid and has the same effect as a notarial act performed by a notarial officer of Indiana.
“(c) If evidence of authority and title of office appear in a digest of law or comparable listing, the authority of an officer with that title to perform notarial acts is conclusively established.”
“(d) The signature and official seal of an individual holding an office described in subsection (c) are prima facie evidence of the authenticity of:
“(1) the signature; and
“(2) the title of the office holder.
“(e) An apostille in the form:
“(1) prescribed by the Hague Convention of October 5, 1961; and
“(2) issued by a foreign state that is a party to the convention described in subdivision (1);
establishes that the signature of the notarial officer is genuine and that the officer holds the indicated office.
“(f) A consular authentication:
“(1) issued by an individual designated as a notarizing officer:
“(A) by the United States Department of State; and
“(B) for notarial acts performed overseas; and
“(2) affixed or attached to the record associated with the execution of a notarial act;
conclusively establishes that the signature of the notarial officer is genuine and that the notarial officer holds the indicated office” (IC 33-42-9-11).

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AUTHENTICATION OF NOTARIAL ACTS

Local Notarial Acts

“(a) This section applies when a conveyance, mortgage, or other instrument that is required to be recorded is acknowledged in any county in Indiana other than the county in which the instrument is required to be recorded.
“(b) The acknowledgment must be:
“(1) certified by the clerk of the circuit court of the county in which the officer resides; and
“(2) attested by the seal of that court.
“However, an acknowledgment before an officer having an official seal, if the acknowledgment is attested by that official seal, is sufficient without a certificate” (IC 32-21-2-4).

Secretary of State

“(a) The secretary of state may attest to the authenticity of the signature of a public official in Indiana.
“(b) Except as provided in subsection (c), the secretary of state may attest to the authenticity of a signature or certify a signature of a notary public.
“(c) The secretary of state may not certify or attest to the signature of a notary public on a document regarding:
“(1) allegiance to a government or jurisdiction;
“(2) the relinquishment or renunciation of citizenship, military status, sovereignty, or world service authority; or
“(3) a claim of immunity from the jurisdiction of the United States, the laws of any state of the United States, or federal law” (IC 33-42-15-1).

Fees: “(a) The secretary of state shall collect two dollars ($2) for each attestation provided under this chapter. However, no fee may be collected for an attestation pertaining to the following:
“(1) An adoption.
“(2) A birth certificate issued by the state of Indiana.
“(3) A death certificate issued by the state of Indiana.
“(4) A student: (A) transcript; or (B) diploma; issued by an academic institution domiciled in Indiana and attested to in a notarial act by the academic institution’s registrar or equivalent official.
“(5) A document prepared by the secretary of state.
“(b) A fee collected under subsection (a) is nonrefundable” (IC 33-42-15-2).

Address:

Office of Secretary of State
Authentication Department
302 W. Washington St., Room E-018
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Telephone: 1-317-232-2677

Procedure: Mail or present in person the original notarized document, which must have the original signature and seal/stamp of a Notary. An accompanying cover letter must indicate the nation to which the document(s) will be sent, a daytime phone number for questions about the document(s), and where the document(s) should be mailed after processing. A postage-paid envelope must be included. “All apostille requests should be mailed. For documents delivered in person, the office cannot guarantee a prompt turnaround due to high volume. If you are requesting more than fifteen (15) documents, you must come in and drop off for the following turnaround times: Requests received by noon will be completed by noon the following business day; Filings received after noon will be completed by noon in two business days” (website, “Apostilles”).

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© 2023 National Notary Association.