A notary public is a public official whose powers and duties are defined by statute. It is a relatively simple matter to become a notary public, but the office has important responsibilities, limitations and liability potential which should be fully realized.
A notary must be at least 18 years of age, a US citizen or legal permanent resident, and be a resident of, or maintain a principal place of business in, the county from which he/she is elected. Tenn. Code Ann. 8-16-101. A person with a principal place of business in a Tennessee County may be elected as notary even though that person’s residence is in another state. Tenn. Code Ann. 8-16-101.
NOTARY PUBLIC AT LARGE
As of July 1, 2004, notary publics will no longer be identified as Notary Publics At Large but will be identified as Notary Publics for the State of Tennessee. Even though you would be elected as a Notary Public in Davidson County, your Notary certificate is good throughout the state.
After election by the county legislative body and before commencing duties or exercising powers, a notary must post bond by a surety company authorized to do business as a surety in Tennessee, in the amount of $10,000. The bond is payable to the state and conditioned on the faithful performance of the duties of a notary public. The bond must be filed in the office of the county clerk in the county of election. Tenn. Code Ann. 8-16-104. The county clerk may charge $2.00 for taking and recording the bond. Tenn. Code Ann. 8-21-701.
The notary must also take and subscribe to an oath before the county clerk or a deputy county clerk to support the constitutions of the State of Tennessee and the United States, and that the notary will, without favor or partiality, honestly, faithfully and diligently discharge the duties of a notary public. Tenn. Code Ann. 8-16-105.
After election by the county legislative body, before commencing duties or exercising powers, and after posting and filing your notary/surety bond, you must take and sign your oath in our office at 700 2nd Ave South, Suite 101, Nashville, TN 37210.
As of July 1, 2004, a notary must purchase an official rubber stamp seal that will imprint the seal of office in “…any color other than black or yellow, provided the color used to imprint the seal shall be clearly legible and appear as black when photocopied on a non-color copier.” However, if the notary public was approved for their term of office prior to this date, they may continue to use their current notary seal until their term of office expires.
Tenn. Code Ann. 8-16-206(a).
(The use of an embossed notary seal was eliminated in May 2003)
Tenn. Code Ann. 8-16-301(b).
Links to Public Chapter 854 and to the new seal design rules appear under the “Notary Laws.”
CHANGE OF ADDRESS
As of July 1, 2004, if a notary public moves his or her residence or principal place of business out of the county from which he or she was elected and commissioned to another Tennessee county, the notary must notify the County Clerk of the county from which the notary was elected and commissioned. The County Clerk will collect a $7.00 processing fee for the change of address form.
NOTARY PUBLIC APPLICATION
The “Notary Public Application” form is available for download and/or printing.
The Davidson County Clerk’s Notary Department may be reached at 615-862-6256.