Instructions and procedures for becoming a Notary Public at Large in Jefferson County, Tennessee. You should keep these instructions handy, as you may need to refer back once you receive your letter from the county clerk that your application was approved. You should also proceed with obtaining your bond and seal.
All notaries must be 18 years of age (8-18-101). United States citizenship is not a requirement for a person to hold the office of notary public (8-16-101). Notaries are elected by the county legislative body in the county in which they reside or have their principal place of business (8-18-101), and are commissioned by the governor (8-16-102). A person with a principal place of business in a Tennessee county may be elected a notary in that county even though that person’s residence is in another state (18-16-101). The same basic disqualifications exist for notaries as for other county offices (8-18-101). A notary may be removed from office just as any other county official. The notary’s term is four (4) years, beginning on the date of issuance of the commission by the governor (8-16-103). Renewal is by the same method as the original procedure.
A notary public is empowered to administer oaths, take depositions, qualify parties in bills in chancery, and take affidavits (8-16-302). Since July 1, 1993, all notaries public have been authorized to exercise the functions of a notary public in all counties in Tennessee (8-16-208). Notaries are required to keep an office in the county in which the notary is appointed (8-16-108).
A fee of $14 is paid to the county clerk in the county of election for issuance of a commission and filing of bond. The county clerk will certify the election and forward the fee to the Secretary of State, who, upon receipt of the certificate and the fee, will forward the commission from the governor. The county clerk notifies the person to whom the commission was issued, and, after the oath has been taken and bond posted, the county clerk delivers the commission to the person elected. The county clerk must keep a record of issuance and expiration dates of commissions, noting such on the bond and in a minute entry (8-16-107). At this time the notary may go to an office supply store and purchase a notary stamp in any color except black or yellow.
Effective July 1, 2004 to be a notary the applicant must file an affidavit stating that they have never been removed for official misconduct, had their commission revoked or suspended, or been found guilty of unauthorized practice of law.
After election by the county legislative body, and before commencing duties or exercising powers, a notary must post bond by some surety company authorized to do business as a surety in Tennessee, or with two or more good personal sureties, approved by the county legislative body, in the amount of $10,000. Such bond is payable to the state and conditioned upon the faithful performance of duties of a notary public. The bond is filed in the office of the county clerk in the county of election (8-16-104).
The notary must then take and subscribe to an oath before the county clerk or a deputy clerk to support the Constitution 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 notary public (8-16-105).
The notary must then purchase an official stamp seal. The stamp may be purchased at most any office supply store. In Dandridge, Ray’s Printing at 397-7933 can take your order. The color of the stamp can be any color except yellow or black. The stamp seal must be surrendered to the county legislative body upon expiration of the notary’s term of office or resignation and the personal representative must surrender the stamp seal in the event of the death of the notary. Failure to properly surrender the stamp seal constitutes a misdemeanor.
The current design prescribed by the Secretary of State is circular, and has the notary’s full name printed at the top, the county and state at the bottom, and Notary Public in the center. Effective May 12, 2003, a notary public will only use a stamp seal. Current notaries may continue to use the embossed (impression) seal until the end of their current term. All notaries are notaries public for the State of Tennessee.
Statutory Form of Acknowledgement
Statutory forms for acknowledgement of instruments are set out in 66-22-107 (for natural persons) and 66-22-108 (for partnerships and corporations) and 66-22-114 (another general form). A basic form for acknowledgement of instruments signed by a natural person is as follows (66-22-107):
State of _________________________
County of _______________________
Personally appeared before me, (name of officer), (official capacity of officer), (name of the natural person executing the instrument), the within named bargainor, with whom I am personally acquainted (or proved to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence), and who acknowledged that such person executed the within instrument for the purposes therein contained.
Witness my hand, at office, this ______day of ______________, 20___.
Commission Expires: _________________
Although the exact language of the forms is recommended, acknowledgements complying with the substance of thereof are valid (66-22-114).
In using the above quoted forms, the notary should make certain the proper pronoun, he, she, the, etc., is used. So far as possible, there should be no changes or alterations in the body of the acknowledgement; but should they be required, the notary should initial such changes wherever they appear.
The expiration date of the notary’s commission must appear on every certificate of acknowledgement. Although the failure to include the expiration does not invalidate the instrument, it does subject the notary to the penalty for a Class C misdemeanor (8-16-303).