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December 22, 2018

Do you take control at a signing?

Filed under: Best Practices — admin @ 12:43 pm

Many Notaries just get kicked around in this business. They don’t bother to learn their technical information or document information. But, more important, they don’t know how to manage a signing. I just talked to someone in title. He doesn’t care if you are certified or know a lot. He wants someone who will make sure the signing gets finished and documents sent back fast.

So, if the Lender asks you to start the signing at page four, and the borrower doesn’t want to do this, how do you react? Most Notaries will be wishy washy and try to explain why they should start at page four. This invites a debate, insubordinance, and perhaps a no sign. Carmen’s advice is to just place page four in front of them. Have them read it and sign it. Keep the other docs on your side of the table under your control. If the signer protests, inform them that this is what you were asked to do. This is called following directions and maintaining control.

Getting the job done on time means confirming the signing thoroughly, introducing yourself, introducing the documents and staying in control in a polite way.

Some Notaries even dictate who is going to sit where. This can be for the Notary’s safety, or to facility the fast signing of documents especially if you have a husband and wife – they can sit next to each other on the long side of the table to do an assembly line signing of a long package and get it done in minutes.

Those Notaries who let the signing just happen will not do well in this industry. Learn to be polite and firm and take control — and get the job done.

.

You might also like:

Following directions is more important than you think.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19608

Following directions, what’s the big deal?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19600

Following directions in the 30 point course
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14379

Elite Certification will benefit you for the rest of your life
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20770

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January 1, 2018

Following directions is more important than you think

Filed under: Best Practices,Popular on Linked In — admin @ 3:55 am

We quiz people on all types of topics ranging from Notary questions, loan signing questions, to situational questions and following directions. The problem is that only 50% of our seasoned Notaries follow directions and the newer ones only about 25%. These are not good odds if you have something to lose.

People who use 123notary are often title companies or brokers who could lose thousands in commissions or fees if you goof on their loan. Knowing what you are doing (not claiming to know what you are doing but actually knowing) is part of the equation. But, following directions is the other part. Many Notaries just ignore what you say and do what they normally do rather than following directions.

I have two recent stories of brokers who lost large amounts of money because the Notary did not follow directions. One lost $5000 because the Notary did not show the pages in the order he was instructed to. The result was that by the time the signer got to the document that the broker needed signed to get a commission, he no longer wanted to sign. In another case, a broker lost $3500 because the Notary did not follow directions about something else.

Then there are the Notaries who don’t bother to learn how to fill out a certificate form. If you forget to initial a change, the entire loan might be ruined or put on hold. I get so many complaints of Notary mistakes that it isn’t funny. Then there are the Notaries who do not fill out the additional information on a loose acknowledgment, and then the acknowledgment gets attached to a different document. Next thing you know you could end up in court.

So, sloppy work, incorrect work, and not following directions can get you in big trouble fast. Not keeping a good journal could also get you in trouble, but the trouble might not come for years. But, errors on certificates will get you in trouble fast!

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You might also like:

The Chad question about following directions
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20009

Marcy overlooks the instructions in the 30 point course
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14379

The green pen question revisited
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20146

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November 15, 2017

The way you treat Jeremy might be the same way you treat Title

Many Notaries think they can be stubborn and difficult with me during our interactions. The fact is that I assume that if you are rude to me, that you will also be rude to title companies. Then the Notaries say that because they are paying me, they have the right to be rude to me. What an attitude! These are the same people who think they have the right to claim to know what they are doing when they don’t.

Then I talked to Jen who confirmed my theory. She had many title clients and she said that if a Notary is rude to me, they will be rude to others too. I was thinking that since Notaries get paid by title they will start out polite. But, if anything goes wrong, that the rudeness will come out fast.

My spiritual master says that if someone is rude to one person, then they are just rude and will eventually be rude to everybody. I have no way of proving this true. But, I have seen behaviors of friends who were hostile to strangers. This hostility came to me too, but not right away. I had to wait six years to see that hostility come back to me, but it came loud and clear.

So, if you see red flags, don’t discount those flags. They are real, and the consequences of the behavior is real too.

123notary is a directory that caters to Escrow and Title. We need professional Notaries who take their job seriously. Otherwise, the end users will get a bad impress of me, and I can’t afford that. So, treat me professionally, otherwise I will assume you are unprofessional towards everyone sooner or later.

.

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Bad customers are a pain in the liver
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20005

Why are older notaries so argumentative?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19579

Do you talk back to people?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20003

Compilation of posts about Notary etiquette
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20505

What are Jeremy’s favorite blog entries?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18837

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November 7, 2017

The grace period after your signing

Filed under: Best Practices,Popular on Linked In — admin @ 1:03 am

Most Notaries are only concerned with making a living. It makes sense. I was the same way. This is why Notaries should get paid more so that they can be more conscientious and less worried about making a living.

After you do a signing, you might be needed for what the Japanese call, “Afta-sahvice.” That is their way of saying After-Service. After you do a signing, you might get emails and phone calls if there is something wrong. The Lender might need a tracking number. They might want to know about the ID of the signer. What if your stamp didn’t come out clear enough or what if you botched a notarization or missed a signature. Maybe the recorder objected to your seal which was too light in the corner. Even the best of Notaries make mistakes from time to time. The point is not to be perfect, but to be available (kind of like being a foster parent.)

I asked many Notaries this question:

“If you do a signing and want to go camping after the signing, how many days (if any) after you drop the Fedex in the drop box should you wait before you go camping or out of town, etc?”

Here are the answers.

1. None
(My commentary) You are leaving the signing company high and dry, but they are probably only paying you $60, so they deserve it.

2. Until they get the package.
(My commentary) The Title company might not realize there is a problem until a day or two after they get the package. Additionally, Title companies are notorious for unstapling notarized documents and losing acknowledgment forms stapled on. So, after they get the package isn’t long enough if you want to be considerate.

3. A day
(My commentary) The Title cmpany might not even get the package after a day. If you missed the Fedex cut off, and Fedex is slow, it might be two or three days before Title gets your package.

4. Two days
(My commentary) The Title company might just have gotten your package after two days. They won’t know there’s a problem until they review your work and it might sit on the secretary’s desk for a while.

5. Seven days
(My commentary) Why seven days? If the Title company gets the package it will be processed and the loan will close and fund within three to six days. Seven makes no sense at all. The person who said seven days did poorly on other questions.

6. Three days or until the rescission period is over
(My commentary) This answer is much more intelligent and well reasoned. If there is a problem, the processor will probably find it before the end of the rescission period which might be three or four days depending on whether or not a Sunday or Federal holiday.

7. Indefinitely
(My commentary) What? You are the servant of a signing company forever for a dumb $60 signing. This is like self-induced slavery. You can’t possibly mean that. Illogical. That person who said indefiniately failed my test by getting other answers wrong.

The “Correct” Answer
It seems to me that if there is a problem that requires the Notary to go back to the signing, it would reveal itself within the period of day two to day five. If the package did not arrive, on day two someone might request a tracking number which you should text them upon completion in any case — but, they might lose the text or the text might not go to the recipient but to the signing company. If there is a problem with a notarization it might be discovered on day two, three, or four, but most likely on day three. If there is a problem with the county recorder, it might not be detected for five to ten business days. The best answer for time sensitivity would be three to five days. However, if you need to go camping, you cannot just not do any signings for three to five days because you have to make a living. So, just let everyone you work for know your schedule ahead of time and let them know that they are responsible for the risk they are taking in hiring you when you will not be around to clean up any messes.

Use at your own risk!

.

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Notary Public 101 Scenarios: The Frank Camping Trip Question
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20007

How to lose half your clients while on vacation!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=596

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October 14, 2017

Notice to Title Companies from 123notary about Thumbprinting

Filed under: Best Practices,Popular on Linked In — admin @ 12:56 am

Dear Title Companies,
It has come to our attention that many title companies are asking Notaries outside of California NOT to take journal thumbprints as it seems invasive or offends borrowers. However, we have had many incidents of identity fraud involving our Notaries as unwilling and unknowing accomplices. Here are some benefits of thumbprinting.

1. A journal thumbprint is often the only way for the FBI to be able to catch a Ponzi scheme practitioner, identity thief or fraud. Without the thumbprint, the investigators would be like a boat without a paddle. Why leave such critical members of society helpless when society is the one who ultimately pays the price?

2. Identity theft is not common at loan signings, but a few slip through the cracks and can cost lenders tens of thousands to clean up the mess. A journal thumbprint is often the only way you can find out the true identity of a signer who uses a falsified ID, or, one whose name is identical to someone else and impersonates that someone else and steals the equity in that someone else’s home.

3. A journal thumbprint safeguards the Notary from being named as a defendent in an identity theft case to a particular degree. If the Notary is concealing the true identity of a fraud, a prosecutor could claim that the Notary was a willing accomplice in an identity theft scheme and covered his tracks by not leaving thumb-tracks as the case may be. One of the Notaries listed with us went to jail for fraud which I assume was intentional. Let’s not have that happen to Notaries who are just plain negligent or too stupid to keep a thumbprint!

4. A journal thumbprint deters frauds. If you were a fraud, would you want some anal Notary fingerprinting you? No! That will come back to you in court. It would be safer to be notarized by some other Notary who doesn’t have such high requirements.

Basically, rather than forbidding or discouraging thumbprints, I am asking (pleading) with you to require thumbprints as that is the only way to safeguard your Lenders, Notaries and society at large from the heinous damages that result from identity fraud. I was a victim of identity fraud several times, the first time being really horrible. It is devastating, and I hope you do everything to prevent it rather than entice it.

Discouraging taking thumbprints is analogous to discouraging someone from wearing a seatbelt or discouraging someone from using a condom. The results can be ruin lives!

.

You might also like:

Comparing journal entries to Fedex signatures
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19375

Must a thumbprint accompany a notarized document?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2289

10 risks to being a notary public
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19459

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May 18, 2017

10 ways Female Notaries can protect themselves

Filed under: Best Practices,Popular on Facebook (very),Popular Overall — admin @ 10:40 pm

Life as a signing agent is generally very safe. I was a signing agent for seven years without incident. The worst thing that happened to me was being barked at by a little dog whose owners were a bunch of jerks. But, in the history of 123notary.com, there have been some creepy and dangerous things that have happened.

A list of dangerous things that have happened to Notaries:

1. One Notary was pushed down a short flight of stairs by an angry borrower that didn’t like his rate.
2. Another Notary got locked in a house while a borrower was taking a shower.
3. One Notary did a signing for a guy who had a room full of mannequins.
4. On another occasion a signer said, “You will be all alone with me.”
5. One guy had was a hoarder and had no place to sit other than a disconnected toilet in the middle of the room.
6. One signer came out of the house with a gun — however, he was not after the Notary, he was after a pit bull running around the neighborhood.
7. There are borrowers with AK-47’s in their house and weapons of all sorts.
8. Additionally, there are homes that just aren’t safe to go into due to mice, hoarding, bacteria, etc.
9. One of our New York Notaries went to a tenement building in the South Bronx where low-lifes were hanging around and making inappropriate comments to the Notary.
10. Sometimes a signer will get to a signing in the middle of an ice-storm, hurricane, or other bad weather.
11. One signer was invited into a guy’s bedroom to see a picture.

So, as you can see, being a Notary can be hazardous to your health. One was physically injured, but, nobody has been killed. Only two Notaries we have heard of have been sued: one by the Massachusetts Bar Association for doing signings without being an Attorney. The other one got sued because the Lender screwed up and the borrower was suing everybody. The most common problem Notaries face is not getting paid by signing companies. So, research who you work for before you do anything!

So, how can lady Notaries protect themselves in this dangerous world we live in. Here are some ideas!

1. An escape route
When you enter someone’s house. Sit in a place where you have a view of the door and who is coming. Also sit in a place where you have an escape route where you cannot be cornered.

2. Text your address to your hubby
Let your significant other know where you are going to be. Text him/her the address and schedule so they can call the police if you don’t get out of there alive. Keeping in contact with the signing company can also be a way to protect yourself assuming you have a close relationship with their reps. If they are generally unresponsive, then they would not constitute a security feature!

3. No hood after dark
Know your territories and don’t go to bad areas at night. Taking precautions is the most effective form of self-defence!

4. Bad weather is a lot more likely to harm you than bad people. Think twice before going out in an ice storm, or in other really inclement weather as you could get stranded, or in a very dangerous crash. You need to know how to distinguish between unpleasant and dangerous weather.

5. Going to remote areas where you could get lost on long dirt roads or mile long dirt driveways at night is not a great idea. There are rarely street lights in these areas as well. Seasoned Notaries refuse to go to these types of places at night.

6. Learn self-defence.
Women need to know how to get out of choke holds, and how to defend themselves from people who grab them. Do you know how to stomp on someone’s foot who is holding you from behind? Do you know how to elbow someone hard? You probably will never need these skills, but what if you do?

7. Carry a taser.
If you want to temporarily disable a person without harming them too badly, a taser can be the way to go.

8. Carry mace.
You are much more in danger from dogs than from humans. But, in either case, if anyone messes with you, they get a face full of mace!

9. Distress button
Some people have a little button on their person that they can press for distress. This is more something that spies or military would use, but it might be possible to get one. The question is, who will hear the distress signal?

10. Carry a loaded gun.
You can keep it in your car or take it in with you to the signing. But, if you shoot someone, you’ll be in court for a very long time, face jail time, and be in huge trouble. So, think about whether it is worth it or not ahead of time. If you don’t know how to use a gun, you might get yourself in even more danger. Knowing how to shoot is half the battle. Knowing how to get your gun out of your bag or glove compartment before the bad guys get you is the bigger half.

You might also like:

Lady Notaries need to show caution
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=17469

I’d rather stop being a Notary than carry a gun
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15896

Notary pushed off stairs by borrower
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1097

.

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May 9, 2017

When do you cut clients?

Filed under: Best Practices,Popular on Facebook (some) — admin @ 7:35 am

Most Notaries either want to get more clients, or don’t want to bother with marketing because they have “enough” clients. Some Notaries have too much work and don’t have time to sleep. All three scenarios are classic cases of mismanagement. Being a Mobile Notary is like having a hotel. Hotels have rooms, you have hours. Both are in limited supply and you never know what type of last minute requests will come in.

Discounts for early booking.
If you have a pricing formula (few Notaries have formulas, but all should) you might consider charging less for people who book in advance and don’t cancel. That way you can plan your day effectively. Waiting for last minute calls is hectic and unpredictable which means you would make less average money in a 24 hour period.

When to cut clients?
If you don’t have enough clients, you are stuck with whomever hires you. If you don’t have enough experience, reviews, or didn’t pass the critical certification exams that people want you to, you won’t get as much business. It is your fault if your business is slow due to your own deficiencies, so do something about it. Cutting clients comes when you are at 80-100% of capacity. A Notary or hotel cannot book at over 100% capacity. If you work 60 hours a week, then your 100% is having all 60 hours booked (and having your notary conference hour/room booked.)

Who to cut?
Instead of refusing service to particular companies, it usually makes more sense to raise their rate. That way you make it worth your while to put up with their nonsense. Companies that are:

1. Inconsiderate — jack their rate up 10%
2. Pay Late — make them pay in advance with paypal (weeds many out)
3. Cancel more than 20% — jack up their rate 20% or have them paypal a non-refundable deposit for part of the costs.
4. Have really long packages — jack up their rate 10%; Long won’t kill you as much as the other problems.
5. Didn’t explain the loan to the borrower enough — jack up 25% (results in long phone calls while you twiddle your thumbs.)
6. Don’t pay enough — jack up according to your formula
7. Fax Backs — charge based on time and resources spent.

Ideally, to have a happy mobile notary service, you need to develop a large enough clientele that you can pick and choose. That way you can get rid of the annoying clients and still have enough left over. Most business these days is low-ball. However, experienced Notaries have been telling me that they have more than enough business paying a reasonable amount.

To have your cake and eat it too, having high paying, easy to work with companies, you need to be the best. So, I encourage you to pay your dues, get more experience, get reviews, certifications, have an amazing notes section, and you will do better. The most important bottom line is that advertising is the seed of business. Once you have developed loyal clients over the years, you will rely less on advertising and more on connections. It takes time and quality work to develop connections who rely on you. So, be patient and keep giving this business your all.

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January 22, 2017

How long does it take to get through a signing?

Filed under: Best Practices — Tags: , — admin @ 11:52 pm

Most Notaries allow around an hour for a signing. But, for a HELOC, Reverse Mortgage, or other longer packages, the timing can be unpredictable.

I did a huge construction loan for someone. I was in and out in 20 minutes with a 180 page package. He was a business professional and knew the drill. He didn’t read. He just signed. There are others who read all day at your expense.

One Notary claimed her average signing is 45 minutes. But, it depends on the lender and the type of package, type of borrower, number of pages, etc. Another Notary on Linked In claimed 45 minutes to an hour. A third Notary claimed 45 minutes as well. A forth Notary kept track of her signings over the course of a year and came up with the figure or 45-75 minutes unless there are multiple signers in which case it might take 15 or more minutes longer.

Older clients (the kind that leave their left blinker on for half an hour in Florida) might need 90 minutes for a signing. They can barely see their pen, so how can they possibly know what they are signing?

Summary
The considerations for how long a package will take to complete should be thought about in this order.

Age
Age determines how long a package will take to complete more than any other factor. Elderly people cannot see well, can’t hold a pen well sometimes, and get very tired. Allow a lot of extra time for Reverse Mortgages, Hospital signings, etc.

Experience
Professional businessmen can get in and out of a signing quickly, unless they make you wait for their busy partner to arrive which might take an additional ninety minutes without waiting time unless you negotiate well.

# of Signers
If you have five signers, you might be there for a while. They will have more bathroom breaks, more showing up late, and if even one doesn’t have proper ID, that throws the whole game off.

# of Pages
A fast signer can get through a long package quickly. But, a “reader” will take forever. The type of sign(er) is more important than the type of sign(ing) as a professional signer can whip through a 300 page loan faster than a nit-picky suspicious “reader” can get through an 80 page signing, especially if they have to call their lender.

Prepared Lender
If the Lender on the loan prepares his borrowers well, the signing will go fast. But, what if you get a Lender who waits until the last minute to fill in the blanks. You will be at the signing over an hour with a Lender like that. I had a best client who never prepared his borrowers well. The money was not bad, but they really took advantage of my time. Most Lenders have a few screws loose, and the Notary is the one who pays for that.

# of Notarizations
I was a fast Notary and could do 11 notarizations for two people = 22 notarizations in less than half an hour. But, it is a lot faster to do one notarization especially if the signer whips out their ID quickly (use a stopwatch for measuring that.)

Ending Joke
Here is a Maine joke for you guys.

TEXAS NOTARY: I once had a signing so big it took me three hours to complete

MAINE NOTARY: A-yup, I once had a printer like that

.

You might also like:

Following directions is more important than you think
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19608

The grace period after your signing
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19465

10 ways female notaries can protect themselves
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19196

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March 6, 2016

Should you send the Fedex right away?

Filed under: Best Practices — Tags: , , — admin @ 11:41 am

I remember out old blog which was a favorite entitled, “Don’t put the Fedex in the drop box.” This article should be entitled, “Put the Fedex in the Staffed Station’s drop box as fast as possible.”

My question that I asked many Notaries was…

A Notary did a signing for Joe. Joe signed all of the documents except for the Flood Disclosure which he wouldn’t sign simply because his lender Chad never got back to him about the document. Joe and the Notary waited for 20 minutes with no return call. So, the Notary loaded up the documents and put it in the Fedex. The Notary is driving away and it is about noon-ish. Should the Notary take the Fedex straight to the Fedex station or wait?

Answer #1.
Most Notaries claim that it is good to hold on to the package just in case the Lender calls. But, if the Lender calls, do you really have time to go all the way back to the borrower’s house to sign a single document and stay on the phone for half an hour? Don’t you have anything else to do with your life? The Lender never gave you instructions to wait, so why wait? Additionally, there are many reasons why waiting could sabotage the loan. 123notary has heard of various situations where a Notary forgot to come to an appointment or drop a package. These include:

(a) The Notary got another rush job at the last minute and forgot all about dropping the package off.
(b) The Notary’s six year old daughter hit her head and he had to come rushing home and forgot all about the Fedex.
(c) The Notary got hit by a car and was so shaken up he forgot to send the package.

In real life, unexpected situations come up more than you would expect. If that Fedex doesn’t get sent out, the borrower could lose his loan and his lock. There is no reason to keep the package. The document that was not signed was NOT A NOTARIZED document. The borrower can handle it on his own.

Answer #2
Drop it off as fast as possible.
The Lender might not like that you didn’t wait. But, why should you let him waste your time unless he is paying for your time. It is the Lender’s fault for not explaining the document to the signer before the signing. It is the signer’s fault for not signing the document. Why are you holding yourself hostage for the convenience of people who sabotaged their own signing? They are not paying you for your delay. Go on and get to your next item of business and let these nitwits deal with their own problem. The borrower’s copies will have a copy of the disclosure or the Lender can email another copy.

.

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The Notary, The Mafia & The Fedex Drop Box
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=6867

Don’t put the Fedex in the drop box
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2831

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January 6, 2014

Can a Notary notarize a Will or Living Will?

To make it quick and simple — Yes, a Notary can notarize signatures on a Will, although it is generally discouraged unless given written instructions by an Attorney. Wills are normally witnessed, but not notarized. But then, why be normal?

Can a notary witness a Will?
YES, a Notary can witness the signing of any document. However, it is discouraged for a notary to be involved in any transaction as a witness or Notary where they might have beneficial interest or financial interest! If the notary benefits in any way from a Will being signed or is closely related to a beneficiary, they could be said to have beneficial interest. Anybody eighteen years of age or older who can sign their own name and watch someone else sign can be a witness to a will. It is that simple!

Can a notary draft a Will?
Document drafting might be considered part of the practice of law in your state. You can ask your state bar association if a Notary can draft a document, or if a notary can draft a legal document. The answer is most likely no. Unless you are trained and authorized, I would stay away from document drafting of legal documents since it is so sensitive!

Then who can draft a Will?
Ask an Attorney to help you draft a Will. Ask the Attorney if the Will should be notarized or only witnessed. The witnesses of the Will can also be notarized by the way!

What about a Living Will?
Living Wills are typically very long documents drafted by Attorneys who specialize in Health Care legal documents. Health Care Power Of Attorney documents are close relatives of Living Wills. Living Wills are typically notarized and often need a notarization in the middle of the document as well as at the end of the potentially dozens of pages.

Can a notary notarize a Living Will?
Sure!

How about a Dying Will or a Won’t? Or a Living Will that doesn’t have a pulse! I know a Notary who is dying to notarize a Won’t with or without instructions from an Attorney!

Tweets:
(1) Yes, Notary can notarize signatures on a Will, although it is generally discouraged w/o written instructions from an Attorney.
(2) Document drafting may or may not be considered practicing law in your state. Ask the Bar Association.
(3) The difference between a regular Will and a Living Will is that the latter has a pulse.

You might also like:

Can a notary sign on a different day?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2457

The lady and the handwritten Will
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3609

Types of witnesses in the Notary profession
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=5664

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