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January 16, 2018

Credible Witnesses, the ins and the outs.

Filed under: Identification For Being Notarized — admin @ 10:52 am

Not all states allow credible witnesses, and some states like California have odd rules for credible witnesses. I also have opinions about credible witnesses as I used them frequently.

Some states that allow credible witnesses require only one witness. One that knows both the signer and the Notary.

Some states don’t allow credible witnesses at all

While other states allow the use of two credible witnesses who both know the signer but do not know the Notary. Or one credible witness who knows both.

The problem is how credible witnesses are used. Credible witnesses are normally used when the Notary gets to a Notary appointment and the signer has no ID. Or sometimes the ID has the wrong name. Hurry, get a credible witness or the notarization is over! So, you grab a neighbor, or coworker who swears they know you well.

The problem is that knowing you as a neighbor is very different than knowing you well enough to have your middle name(s) memorized.

You could test a credible witness out and ask, “What is this man’s middle name?” If they don’t know it, I would not think of them as a credible or reliable source of information. The law might allow you to use them but does it really make sense. They are just going along with whatever middle name the signer claims to be.

Or, you could use your judgement while picking credible witnesses. Personally, I feel that a family member or spouse is a quality choice for a credible witness as family members will know the other family members middle names. But, my friends who I’ve known for 30 years I do not know their middle names — sorry to say.

Additionally, in California, the credible witness has to swear that the signer cannot easily obtain an identification acceptable to the state of California such as a driver license, passport, etc. So, if the signer has an ID, but the names do not match, it would be bending the law to use a credible witness in that situation. If you don’t believe me, read page 12 of the 2017 California Notary Handbook.

All in all, I would say that using credible witnesses as a way to get out of a bind is something that should only be done if the credible witness really knows the person intimately and knows their middle names intimately off the top of their head. Otherwise you are just finding loopholes. And God forbid if you don’t take journal thumbprints you are asking for a court case and an FBI investigation! Be cautious as a Notary. It is easy to get in trouble and big trouble!

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January 15, 2018

The Notary / Bear Trap

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 8:42 am

The Notary / Bear Trap
All of us know what rolls downhill. The trick in our business is to, as in tennis, smack that turd back from whence it came. In this rant I will cover some stuff that came rolling down the hill toward me, and how, like the post office is fond of stamping: I “Return to Sender”. This intro paragraph should placate our oft times confused leader who wants the essence of the article to appear “up front”.

I’m not giving away any confidential information when I reveal the location of an assignment I just received. It’s 620 8th Ave. in Manhattan. Butt (head of Title person?), errrr – but – that is a 50 story office building with many hundreds of tenants; and all they gave me was the address, no company name. They did provide a borrower contact number – left a few messages – no return call. That which rolls downhill does help to create the pretty flowers; my fee has been PayPal “up front”. I did email Title my situation, perhaps they will answer, probably not. What’s a notary to do? Their best. So, at the appointed time I will go to this massive structure and ask at the security desk for the borrower by name. If that don’t work, I again call Title and tell them “I tried”.

Another job scheduled for the middle of next week, did not provide a contact number. So, I email requesting it. They reply with an out of country cell number. That I will not call. I got burned on that issue last month. It’s so very easy on my Android (much better than Apple – oops I feel the flaming comments scorching my tail feathers already) to just press the number shown in the incoming email. We spoke about ten minutes, it added 36$ to my cell bill. I emailed the person who I helped with an image of the charge – aint heard from them since; probably never will.
It’s been several months ago that I last mentioned getting prepaid, I prefer PayPal. But, someone wanted to use an alternative “similar” system. I found that I would receive a payment notification but that the actual payment “might” be made at a later date. Or, perhaps never. A quick search for “PayPal Alternatives” shows quite a list – one that I do not wish to explore. If you are requiring payment in advance – be sure that it actually is “in your account” in advance.

Call an auto body shop, ask them for detailed instructions; the real nitty gritty about how to repaint a fender. Tell them you want exactly what products to use, and the proper technique to apply the various applications. Hmmm, you got a dial tone? That’s because they are not in the educational business; neither am I. The caller wants details about the procedure to process their College Degree for use in the UAE. It’s complex, many details; perhaps translation is also required. If I have the assignment I will research and find the details; to earn my fee. But, to “take a guess” without research, might make me the defendant in court. E&O don’t cover that.
Polonius said it best: This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man. My expression is to be “of good heart” – do you feel the deal is fair and that you are doing the best job legally possible? That’s the starting point. Now, just require the same from your business partners. When you feel they are “rolling a bit downhill” in your direction – call them out for it and insist they too do their best. Last I heard it’s the seller (you) who defines the deal. Defend yourself or wind up in a pile of downhill roll.

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January 12, 2018

Notary Jail

Filed under: Humorous Posts — admin @ 12:00 pm

I think that I am the first person to come up with this concept. Notary jail. Where Notaries go when they’ve been bad. But, most Notaries have been bad, they just didn’t get caught because their secretary of state’s don’t bother to enforce a single law. What is the point of having laws if you don’t enforce them?

If you forget to administer an Oath you should be sent to Notary jail and get booked. The first thing they will do is thumbprint you in their journal. Then, they will ask you if you take journal thumbprints. If you say, “My state doesn’t require that.” Then they will put you in solitary confinement. After all, an innocent person could be scammed out of everything they own and the culprit could run free simply because you didn’t take a thumbprint.

If you didn’t ID someone correctly, then a cell in the insane ward would be in order. Since you let John Smith sign as John W Smith, you will also not mind being around five people who are sure that they are Abraham Lincoln.

And then there are the people who don’t fill in certificates properly or send loose certificates in the mail. Tisk tisk. The staff at Notary jail will goof on your jail paperwork if you do that and you’ll be in for a long time.

Oh, and the food at Notary jail? Embossed flat bread sandwiches. You get that nice raised seal embossed pattern on every bite. Then they have a breakfast cereal called frosted mini-seals. Oh, and one more thing. They have soap shaped like a Notary seal. But, don’t drop the soap (or don’t drop the seal.)

And if they ask Notary questions in Notary jail, don’t talk back to the guards like you normally do to Jeremy. Just answer questions the way they were asked and you might get time off for good behavior.

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January 11, 2018

Which Notary act does not require personal appearance of the signer?

Filed under: Notary Acts & Certificates — admin @ 12:03 pm

Most Notaries do not know their Notary acts. They cannot even name them. There is one particular notary act which is allowed in most states which does not require personal appearance of the signer.

This is a proof of execution. The proof of execution allows the signer (the principal) to sign when a subscribing witness is watching them sign. Then the witness appears before the Notary, and swears upon Oath that the principal signed the document in their presence.

Not for use on deeds. Just wanted you guys to know what this is just for your knowledge base.

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January 10, 2018

Notaries just get worse and worse

Filed under: General Articles — admin @ 8:35 am

The fact that the money has dried up in this industry is part of the problem. But, even $50 per signing is not that bad if you live in a cheap part of the country. In NYC it might not go far, but in Oklahoma it does. But, the attitude of Notaries gets worse every year they are in business. Notaries start going down hill after three or four years in business. They lose the will to learn anything. Not only do Notaries lose their will, but they lose their spirit — and their attitude gets worse every year.

The bigger problem is that a lot of Notaries on 123notary have twenty years experience. That is sixteen years for your attitude to get really bad. Yet the twenty year veterans think they are the best Notaries when in real life they are some of the most difficult and unpleasant people to deal with.

In any case, in my quest to identify quality Notaries, I get a few good ones here and there who are polite and answer questions intelligently. The rest are whiners and arguers. Some profession this is! Can you imagine if the rest of the world were this unprofessional? Good god!

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January 9, 2018

A customer in California wanted a Hawaii stamp?

Filed under: Carmen Towles — admin @ 10:51 am

I get a call from a customer asking if we had any notaries in California that have a notary stamp for Hawaii. I am pretty sure what he means but for clarity, I ask him to explain exactly what he needs. He goes on to tell me that he is in Los Angeles but needs to get a document that he received from Hawaii notarized. I tell him no problem, just take his current government issued ID and the document to any notary and they will be able to notarize it.In California it would be 15.00. He tells me that he must have a Hawaii notary here with a stamp because the document came from there, has Hawaiian notary wording and he has no intention of traveling to Hawaii to get it done. I tell him he is mistaken and that If the document has Hawaii notarial wording and it is an acknowledgement the notary can use the wording on the document but must correct the venue. (Venue meaning the place where the notary and signer are standing, and in his case County Los Angeles, State of California). I go on to tell him that If making corrections is not possible (notary will make this determination) then they would attach a California compliant notarial certificate. I tell him that when a notary notarizes a document correctly it is accepted in any state that it is presented. However, he is not convinced with the accuracy of my information. He insists that he has to have a Hawaiian notary that is in California, I go on to explain to him even if he found a dual commission notary in California with a Hawaii notary commission and seal they would not be able to use it in California. The seal/stamp must only be used in the state that issued it, period! I referred him to the Secretary of State in both California and Hawaii for clarification. He was gracious and thanked me for all the information. But i could tell he still wasn’t sold. lol. I just love it when folks want to tell me what we can and cannot do!

Now this is not the first time I have had this situation come up. Typically, it is the attorneys who are the very worst and they more often than not don’t know the law but always think they do. They also actually believe that if you have a dual commission you can use your notary seals/stamps no matter where you are standing. Wrong!

Remember notaries you need to know your rules for your state! I call them “the rules of engagement’. Not knowing could land you in a world of trouble.

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January 8, 2018

Calling during a hurricane

Filed under: Marketing Articles — admin @ 8:43 am

One of my customers was so upset that I was so rude to call him during a hurricane. I call people in fifty different states each with different times zones and weather. How am I supposed to keep track of exactly where and when there is a hurricane. And if the hurricane is so bad, why answer the phone in the first place.

What I think is that people just don’t want to be bothered by me period. I am annoying, I always want them to login, take a quiz, or prove they know what they are doing. My requests are necessary for me to be able to list them. But, others see it as a pure nuissance. So, what can I do?

I just don’t get why he is so upset. If you don’t want to talk, then say you are busy. This person wrote me a long email about how it is impolite to call someone during a hurricane. Maybe he should have a welcome message, saying, “Sorry, but we are having a hurricane — press one to continue and probably be called rude, or hang up now.”

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January 5, 2018

Notary Journal vs. Lady Tied to Train Tracks?

Filed under: Humorous Posts — admin @ 8:34 am

What is the difference between a Notary Journal and a lady tied to some train tracks?

The lady is bound, but not sequential…

A Journal is bound and sequential. But, what is the train doesn’t come on time? Does that mean that the lady has more time to be rescued? What if the Notary rescuing her is not on time and gets a complaint on 123notary? What if the Notary rescuing her doesn’t keep a journal because his/her state doesn’t require it?

There are so many variables here. But, ladies are only tied to train tracks in movies with 1920’s type music. We don’t listen to that type of music much unless you like Charlie Chaplin and by the way, I live a few blocks from his house which is quite elegant.

What about a lady on a train with a journal? That sounds more agreeable!

For now all I have to say is — keep a journal whether your state requires it or not. You might need it in court and it could save your life. Not having a journal in court is like being tied to train tracks.

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January 4, 2018

My best test questions are from Carmen, but…

Filed under: Best Practices — admin @ 12:28 pm

My best quiz question ideas come from Carmen. But, you have no idea how long the evolutionary trail is. She will give me an idea for what she thinks is a good question. I will ask it and then it will take three minutes for someone to not know how to answer it. So, I have to simplify the question so at least a handful of people might get the answer correct.

In some cases, I will take a question and create five versions of the question so that I get a version that at least 30% of the people I test can get it right. Having answerable questions matters, but also having questions people can answer in twenty seconds or less is important as I don’t have all day to wait.

Carmen’s favorite question was:
What is the difference between an Acknowledgment and a Jurat.

Unfortunately nobody could answer this. However, I broke it down into smaller questions. I asked which notary act can the signer sign prior to appearing before the Notary. The answer most people gave was none. However, an Acknowledgment does not need to be signed before the Notary. It needs to be acknowledged before the Notary. People don’t know this because they don’t have Notary school in their states. Then I asked which Notary act uses the verbiage subscribed and sworn.

Or I would ask which Notary act requires the signer to sign before the Notary. But, people would not know the answer was a Jurat. I would give them a choice of Acknowledgment, Jurat, Affirmation or Proof. Most people said Affirmation, but an affirmation does not require a signature. Dumb!

In any case, no matter how I ask the questions, the majority of Notaries have no clue what they are doing, but try explaining that fact to them — they just get mad. So, maybe I shouldn’t list fake Notaries. I am having standards now of 70% notary knowledge minimum which is a very low standard, but if I raise the bar above 50%, I lose half my notaries which is a disaster. Just do your best and study how to be a Notary. 123notary has a Notary Public 101 course and the NNA has the Notary Essentials course.

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January 3, 2018

I’m too old to learn

Filed under: General Stories — admin @ 12:27 pm

But, I’m too old to learn the elderly Notary said. To be a Notary you have to know how to do Notary work. So, old or not, you still have to learn.

Elderly people learn at half the speed of young people. However, confidence is the real problem. On a brighter note, learning opens up your mental neurons and is good for the physical apparatus known as your gray matter, and yes — gray matter matters, and so do gray lives although that’s a gray area.

The real problem is unwillingness. Most people just don’t want to read or learn. Learning is fun, easy, and just requires a little effort. It won’t kill you to study.

And how did some Notaries get through elementary school with this attitude that they will not crack a book. What is the future of America with so many people who are anti-learning. How will we compete with China? They like learning. They don’t know how to manage their economy but when they study, they study.

The bottom line is that you are never too old to learn. And that fact has been proven by the hit sond, “Age ain’t nothing but a number.”

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