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January 29, 2018

Journal abbreviation keys

Filed under: Journals,Technical & Legal — admin @ 12:50 am

Many people take the easy way out with their journal. Journal keeping is seen as just an arduous task with no higher meaning. Many people feel that they can do a shoddy job doing their journal since it is not required in their state. However, if you are in front of a judge you need a clearly filled out journal whether your state requires it or not.

Many Notaries use the check box journal. I recommend against this. The check box journal says, “E&O” as one of the names of a document. If the real document says, “Errors and Omissions Compliance Agreement” that is a completely different document. E&O is an abbreviateion for the first three words, but what about the last two words? Don’t take liberties.

Then there are other Notaries who just write, “10 Grant Deeds.” If you are ever in court, you need to know which Grant Deed is in question and if you really notarized it. Keeping escrow numbers, names of parties involved and addresses helps to narrow it down.

DOT could be a good abbreviation for Deed of Trust. However, if you are in court years later what will the judge say? What if you have bad handwriting and use abbreviations?

My philosophy is to keep an abbreviation key in the inner cover of each journal you use. I had 70 journals in my career so I could have a lot of keys. You can have a key that says:

DOT = Deed of Trust
AFF = Affidavit
E&O Comp Agree = Errors & Omissions Compliance Agreement.
Corr Agree = Correction Agreement.

This way you have a system that is documented just in case.
Or, just write the entire name of the document out. Or you could only abbreviate Deeds of Trust since they are so common and not abbreviate the others just to keep reading the journal more straight forward.

The worst thing you can do is to write, “Loan Docs.” When you put the names of documents in your journal, each document is legally separate, and the fact they are part of a package does not make them legally all have the title, “Loan Documents.” Each document has a name that must be entered in your journal if you notarize it.

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January 25, 2018

Should you use book wording for Oaths or improvise?

Most of our Notaries either don’t give Oaths or can’t give one without their cheat sheet. Some states have prescribed wording while others do not. The main thing when giving an Oath is to have them raise their right hand and swear to the truthfulness of a statement or a document.

If you don’t practice giving Oaths how will you know how to if you are put on the spot? You can experiment at home inventing Oath lyrics.

Do you solemnly swear you are a cyclops?
Do you swear you are crazy?
Do you swear that New York has bad traffic?

What I don’t understand is why it is so hard for Notaries to put together Jurat Oath verbiage from the top of their head. You need to say swear and refer to a document. Easy!

Another thing I don’t get is that I asked one guy to administer an Oath TO ME and he kept saying what he would tell THEM. I said, leave THEM out of it and just ask an Oath question to me so I can say I do, or I don’t. He kept telling me what he would tell them rather than following instructions and asking me an Oath question.

Oaths begin normally either with the phrase, “repeat after me,” or an Oath question. It is faster to ask an Oath question. Make it easy so they just say yes.

If your state has recommended wording, then memorize it. But, if you memorize an Oath without understanding the logic of what context it is used in, then it will not be very useful. You will probably use it at the wrong time.

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You might also like:

Airline meals verses Notary Oaths & Affirmations
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19549

Oaths – How Notaries completely screw them up!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19369

Notary Public 101 – Oaths, Affirmations, Jurats & Acknowledgments
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19500

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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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December 26, 2017

Affirmations – Pleasing the politically correct while offending the traditional people

The politically correct movement has become so strong. We have lost our freedom of speech and are controlled in so many ways that it is upsetting. However, it applies to the Notary world too. Those who don’t believe in God or don’t want to mention God have been so adamant that Notaries had to change how they did their job in terms of Oaths and Affirmations.

What was supposed to happen was that those who did not want to swear, could choose a different yet legally equal notary act called an Affirmation to replace the Oath. However, most Notaries do not understand the rules and principles of Oaths vs. Affirmations. What many Notaries do is administer an Oath with affirmation wording which is as stupid as doing and Acknowledgment with Jurat wording or going to a urinal in a female bathroom. It doesn’t work that way.

Oaths are Oaths and Affirmations are Affirmations. They are interchangeable but you cannot mix the verbiage from one to another.If you do an Oath you swear whether that offends people or not. If you do an Affirmation you affirm or state whether that offends people or not. But, you cannot affirm during an Oath to spare people the offense. And by the way, affirming during an Oath offends me because it is wrong.

It is the customer’s choice if they want an Oath or Affirmation. As long as your state recognizes it, it is up to the client.

Many Notaries say, “I don’t do Oaths, I only do Affirmations.” That is not your choice. You have to offer all Notary procedures that your state says are on the list. It is up to the customer to choose any type of notarization your state recognizes.

So, get it straight people because I test on this stuff and I take it very seriously. In fact I’m writing a few other articles on the topic that clarify the matter.

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You might also like:

Airline meals vs. Oaths & Affirmations
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19549

Notary Public 101 – Oaths, Affirmations, Jurats & Acknowledgments
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19500

Should you give book wording for Oaths or improvise?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19660

Oaths – how Notaries completely screw them up
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19369

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December 19, 2017

Do you keep a journal to please your state, a judge, the FBI, or 123notary?

Most Notaries do not keep a journal because their state doesn’t require it. This is a mistake. Your journal is your only evidence in court. Many Notaries who list with us end up in court. However, since most of our Notaries keep some sort of journal records, their time in court is normally just a visit to the judge’s chambers where the judge might dismiss the case due to good evidence provided by the Notary.

Some Notaries keep a journal, but do so in a fashion I call minimal, where they do not keep the book according to NNA best practices and do not record thumbprints. Since their law might not require any journal, the Notaries often figure that they are already doing more than necessary so why do the maximum?

The answer is that your journal thumbprint which most of you refuse to keep is the ONLY way a judge or investigator can figure out who the signer is in the case of a falsified ID given to the Notary. You don’t know if an ID given to you is real, fake or falsified. But, the thumbprint is real. So you accept ID that can be falsified but refuse to take ID which is genuine — stupid! Take both.

The bottom line is that the real reason you should keep a journal is NOT to please your state (although you must uphold the laws of your state.) California is the only state I have ever heard of who audits people’s journals. If you live outside of California, the chance of your state ever seeing your journal is minimal. However, it is very likely that a judge, an investigator, or the DOJ might need to look at your journal in the case of identity theft. So, keep your journal with the intention of making their lives easier AND making sure that they don’t consider you to be a suspect! Keeping inadequate journal records is suspicious, do don’t be shoddy — be thorough!

Additionally, Jeremy (that’s me) at 123notary is sick and tired of Notaries who are shoddy and don’t keep good records. Keeping a journal is not good enough. You must keep one journal entry per person per document and thumbprint for serious documents such as deeds to please Jeremy. Jeremy wants investigators to be able to catch bad guys, so if you deny them the critical piece of evidence (a thumbprint) to catch the bad guys, then in my opinion — YOU are a bad guy! I would personally throw you in a lion’s den for not keeping a thumbprint if I could have it my way. But, I am not in charge of the world — I’m only in charge of my site.

So, if 123notary gives you a little phone quiz and asks you some questions and we find out that you don’t keep your journal correctly we will deduct points from your score. If we find out you make excuses for your abhorrant behavior, you lose even more points. Why act like a disobedient third grader when nothing prevents you from keeping good books! Only you can prevent forest fires and only you can provide the missing link to catching identity thieves — so do a good job otherwise you will get into a little trouble with 123notary. But, your state won’t care because states other than California don’t seem to take the Notary profession at all seriously! Food for thought!

Summary
Don’t keep your journal to please your state. In real life they will never see it unless you live in CA. Keep your journal using the best practices possible to please a judge, jury, the FBI, KGB, the Mossad, and Jeremy from 123notary. I will penalize you if you don’t keep good books as that reflects poorly on my reputation!

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You might also like:

Notary Public 101 – Journals
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19511

Do you keep a journal? Don’t wait until you get a call from the FBI.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19377

How many journal entries do you use for two signers on three documents?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19391

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November 8, 2017

10 reasons why the State Notary divisions should be nationalized.

Filed under: Public Interest — admin @ 1:23 am

Normally I am in favor of state rights. But, as far as Notary Public issues are concerned, the states are not doing a good job except for California for whom I would give a C. Here are some compelling reasons why the notary divisions should be nationalized.

1. Education
Most states either do not have educational programs for Notaries, or don’t have very good educational programs. The state notary handbooks have a variety of laws and practices, but do not generally spell out exactly how to interpret or apply laws or what to do in particular situations that arise regularly that could cause confusion or danger. Some states have too many laws which make it hard to learn them all. While other states have too few laws. If we would have just the right amount of laws, and those laws would be nationalized, and well taught, there would be a higher percent of highly informed Notaries who do their job correctly at all times which is my goal.

2. Testing
Not all states have a Notary Test. Those that do have a Notary test normally have a multiple choice written test. Testing people on nitpicky legal issues is fine and dandy, but if a Notary cannot fill in a journal or forms correctly then what good are they? Hands on testing and testing people to see how they handle curve-balls such as legal requests that seem illegal or illegal requests that seem legal is absolutely necessary in my opinion.

3. Auditing
Notaries get away with all sorts of mischief in all states. Most Notaries not only omit legally required Oaths, but claim not to understand my instructions when I ask them to give me an Oath on a document. Many Notaries do not keep their journal correctly which is a danger to society. If there is identity theft, the journal is the only means to know what happened at a transaction and the journal thumbprint is the only way the FBI can catch the bad guys in many cases. Notaries nationwide need to be checked up upon once or twice a year to make sure they are not doing anything wrong. For the government to have time to check up on everyone, there needs to be fewer Notaries otherwise the job would take too long.

4. Standardization of Notary Acts
There are many variations on Notary Acts from state to state. It can be confusing for interstate transactions and for people who run nationwide Notary associations. It is easier if there are standardized acts nationwide and standardized laws.

5. Thumbprinting
Many Notaries on 123notary helped the FBI catch some awful criminals who did Ponzi schemes, identity theft and more. It was the thumbprint that was the critical piece of evidence that helped catch the bad guys. Most Notaries outside of CA feel they should not have to take thumbprints. Having national laws requiring thumbprints is the only way to safeguard society from cons.

6. Quality Standards
Before a prospective Notary takes a course, they should take a quick IQ test and personality test to see if they are well adjusted to be a Notary Public. Someone with an IQ of 100-120 who is anal, picky, has tremendous integrity, and follows the law to the letter and fills out forms correctly every time would be the ideal candidate to be a Notary. People who have screws loose are dangerous as Notaries because they will accept illegal requests becuase they can’t keep the law straight in their head. I find this out during testing as my over the phone test asks people which situations are acceptable to notarize and more than half of our Notaries decline legal requests while accepting illegal requests. Quality control is easier on a national level to make sure all Notaries know what they are doing to a T.

7. Notary Fees
Most states have ridiculously low Notary Fees. To attract good Notaries, Notary fees need to be at least $20 for the first Notary act and at least $40 for a travel fee for jobs more than 25 minutes away. Notaries in states that pay 50 cents for a Notary act tend not to be very good Notaries. Can you imagine why?

My recommendations

1. Four days of Notary education training that covers laws, processes, identifying people, administering Oaths, form filling, journals, and dealing with legal vs. illegal requests. One day of training is not enough to do a thorough job of covering all the bases here. Additionally, a refresher course for a few hours once or twice a year might help keep knowledge solidly in a Notary’s head as well.

2. A written and hands on test that could be one on one makes sense. What good is knowing the law if you don’t know how to fill in necessary forms?

3. Higher fees to become a Notary. To weed out applicants that are not serious, higher fees and more days of school will weed out people who don’t absolutely want to become a Notary Public.

4. The government should check up on Notaries at least once per year to make sure they are not skimping on responsibilities or accepting illegal requests. An undercover government worker could coerce the Notary to do something illegal to see if the Notary would comply and then fine the Notary if the Notary complied.

5. State websites (taken over by the Feds) should spell out all Notary situations and applications of laws. Identification standards should be the most emphasized as that is a huge area of contention. Names on ID’s do not always exactly match names on documents and formal standards for handling every type of mismatch should be documented on websites.

6. Most states do not make it clear that an Acknowledged signature can be signed (in 44 states) prior to appearing before the Notary Public. Most Notaries are falsely under the impression that they need to witness acknowledged signatures. What good are laws if the laws are not clearly explained? This is the most clear cut example of a law that is misinterpreted more than it is correctly interpreted. Thank God I went to a good Notary school when I became a Notary!

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September 19, 2017

The signers claimed not to have signed the documents

Filed under: Journals,Notary Mistakes,Popular on Linked In — admin @ 12:54 am

A Notary’s commission was suspended for three months. His signers went to court and claimed not to have signed any documents. The Notary’s journal was the one piece of evidence that solved the case and got the Notary’s commission back. So, if you are one of these Notaries who says, “But, my state doesn’t require me to keep a journal.” Think again. Your journal is the one thing that can save your hide.

Your journal can save your hide, but you must hide your journal and keep it under lock and key when not in use!

But, what if you did have the signers sign your journal, but you used the “cram it in” style of filling in your journal where the signer signs once but for multiple documents. They could claim you added more documents after the signing since they only signed once. So, think about the logical reason why God invented Notary journals and read what the NNA says about filling in your journal. Nobody teaches it as well as they do.

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You might also like:

$4000 in legal fees because a fraud added a name to an Acknowledgment
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19477

13 ways to get sued as a Notary
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19614

If you are named as an identity theft conspirator, it could cost you $20,000 in legal fees.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19481

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September 12, 2017

Why keep a journal? Don’t wait until you get a call from the FBI.

I have the worst time talking to Notaries in NJ, NY and Florida. They have the worst attitude. The minute ask them a journal quesiton the answer is usually — my state doesn’t require me to keep a journal. I have heard this so many times I just want to throw them off my site just for saying that. I am so upset, that I have decided to have formal standards on 123notary for what we require in our jurisdiction online. Journals will be one of the requirements.

When you are:
Investigated for fraud that you notarized
In court or
Need to look up a former transaction for some reason

Your journal is your only recourse. If you don’t keep a journal, you will not be able to answer to investigators. A journal thumbprint is sometimes the only way the FBI can catch an identity thief. If you don’t keep one because your state doesn’t require it, then you are empowering identity thiefs. Florida’s FAQ page states that they don’t want Notaries to require a thumbprint. That is like asking parents not to require their children to wear a seatbelt. When your child comes home with a fractured jaw, you will change the way you look at this “requirement.”

I was investigated three times.

#1. An investigator suspected an elderly couple of being ripped off. I told him I found the transaction in my journal and had a thumbprint. He said, “Investigation over.” I was off the hook because I kept good records.

#2 A routine inquiry with a journal entry copied and sent to the inuirer.

#3. Someone copied my seal using a xerox machine and pretended to be me. I looked in my journal and found the exact day when the crime was committed. I did a few other jobs that day, but not the job in question. The handwriting on the acknowledgment didn’t match mine either and they did not do the cross outs or use an embosser. Having a journal saved my neck. How can you not keep one?

Another story was that a shady guy wanted to be notarized by me. I told him that I required a thumbprint. The guy protested but I stood my ground. He declined and found another Notary. I detered a potential fraud from happening and it was easy. NNA sells thumbprinters for about $16. Buy a few. It is your best protection.

NNA teaches proper journal filling technique. Learn from them. They teach Notary knowledge better than anyone else.

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September 5, 2017

Comparing journal entries to fedex signatures

Believe it or not, most Notaries on 123notary do not fill in their journal correctly. It is not rocket science. The rule is:

One entry per person per document.
Two people each signing three documents = SIX journal entries.
But, won’t that take too much time and use too much of your journal? It will only take a few minutes.

Let’s say that Johnny is signing ten documents that are to be Notarized. You put the date, type of notarization(s), document names, document dates, name of signer, address, ID information, notary fee, etc. Next, you draw an ARROW down for the date which remains the same for all ten entries, the name, address, and ID. Then, the signer has to sign for all ten entries. That takes less than a minute. 123notary suggests thumbprinting whether it is required by your state or not as a security measure to help the FBI when they come a knocking. They are bothering one of our Notaires as we speak (or type) and confiscated her journal. So be prepared!

What most Notaries do is one entry per person. Then, they put all the names of the documents in the document section. They have the signer sign once. This is stupid.

If Fedex delivers five packages to you do you sign once? No, you sign once per package and there is a corresponding tracking number next to your signature so you know what you are signing for. If you have a signer sign once in your journal for multiple documents, they could accuse you of having added more documents after the fact and having used them for fraudulent purposes. You would have no way to contest their accusation as the signer did not sign for any particular document.

The bottom line is to have the signer sign once for each document. That way you have proof that your work was authorized and your journal will then be up to standards. And once again, it doesn’t take more than a few mintues and it’s not rocket science.

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August 27, 2017

How many journal entries do you use for two signers on three documents?

Filed under: Journals — Tags: , — admin @ 11:51 pm

Many states don’t require a journal. However, your journal is your only evidence if you are investigated. As a Notary, for every 3000 Notary appointments (not acts) you do, you will probably be investigated once based on my personal experience. If fraud is involved on anybody’s part and you don’t have a journal entry, you will have no evidence and could be pulled into court for weeks which would result in your loss of income.

Additionally, we recommend the use of thumbprints in your journal for all critical notarizations, especially those involving Power of Attorney documents Living Wills, or Deeds affecting real estate. It only takes a few seconds to thumbprint someone. A thumbprint cannot be faked, but ID can, so you have no reason not to take thumbprints, and plenty of security related reasons to do so. NNA sells inkless thumbprinters for about $15.

If your state doesn’t require journals, use one anyway for your protection.

Back to the question. If there are TWO signers and THREE documents, you will need SIX journal entries. One per document per signer. What some Notaries do is they create one journal entry per signer and then indicate a list of all the notarized documents they signed. This is wrong and perhaps illegal. Not only is it bad to only create one journal entry per signer, but you might forget to add a document, or if there are cross outs after the fact it will look very sketchy.

However, you don’t need to write all of the info for each journal entry. The signer’s name, address, and ID information can be copied by putting a down arrow or “ditto” quotation marks. However, legally, the signer needs to sign for each document that is notarized and the name of the document, date, time, and type of notary act needs to be indicated for each document.

Additionally, there is an “additional notes” section of each journal entry near the right. If the building looks unusual you can take notes about the building. If the signer is acting weird or looks weird or has a tattoo on his neck or anything else unusual, you should write that in your journal to jog your memory if you ever have to go to court.

I did about 7000 Notary appointments and they all became a blurr to me. The only people I remember were Gary, the guy who blew up his apartment while experimenting with explosives (not a good idea) and a Korean lady who had me notarize the sales of her massage parlors (she paid cash). I also remember Dr. Kwak (pronounced Dr. Quack) who was an acupuncturist. I vaguely remember an impatient rich guy who lived in West Hollywood, did business deals in his pajamas, and played golf. And of course Mr. Yee the Attorney who had me do all of the Health Care Directives each with 80 pages of which I embossed every single page every single time to be prudent.

So, the moral of the story is that if you don’t know how to use your journal like a pro, the NNA has tutorials that you can purchase, and they are highly recommended as they could keep you out of court (or jail.) Or both!

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