Return to the table of contents of Notary Public 101
Knowing how to be a good notary is all fine and good. But, if you don’t know how to handle scenarios, you might get into some sticky situations.
1. The name on the ID says John Smith
Q. The name on the ID is shorter or not matching the name on the document? What do you do?
A. Ask for other ID. If they don’t have it, if your state allows credible witnesses, use them to identify the signer. You can always notarize the signer based on his name on the ID regardless of the typed name on the document. The Lender might not like that, but your main job is to please the law.
If the ID says John Smith, but the typed name in the document says John W Smith…
You can have him sign John Smith and notarize him as John Smith. Might not wash with the Lender but legal.
Or, have him sign John W Smith, but put only John Smith in the Acknowledgment. That way you are ONLY certifying the name he proved to you was really his.
2. What is the cleanest way to rectify the situation involving the certificate?
Most Notaries like to cross out and initial changes in certificates. Keep in mind that these are legal documents affecting million dollar properties. Cross outs look like tampering. It is CLEANER to take a fresh acknowledgment form from your Notary bag, fill it out thoroughly including the additional information section with the name of the document, number of pages, etc., And then staple it on to the document.
3. The Lender wants you to use the original certificate form.
If there is a cross out for the name that is quite seriously legally. It could lead to complications should you ever go to court. It is your right to decide to use a fresh acknowledgment form and staple it on the document even if the Lender doesn’t want it that way. Lenders sometimes prefer to use the original form because it is inscribed within the document. But, also because a new form will be charged extra money from the county recorder. Lenders sometimes lose loose acknowledgment forms which is yet another reason many Lenders prefer to fix the original.
4. You have a wrong state in an acknowledgment.
Assuming the form is acceptable in all other ways other than the state, just cross out the state, write in the new state, initial, and you are done. Do NOT let the borrower initial Notary certificate forms — that is exclusively the jurisdiction of the Notary.
5. The signer would not sign the flood disclosure.
If you go to a signing at 11am and the signer signs everything except the flood disclosure, what do you do? You call the contact person or people in title or lending. If they do not call you back, you cannot stay at the borrower’s house all day long. Let’s say you leave the signing at noon with everything signed except the flood disclosure. How fast do you drop the package?
Most Notaries will hold on to the package for dear life until the messiah comes. However, the Lender needs those documents. The borrower can take care of the flood disclosure on his own as it is not notarized. Here are some realistic scenarios about this situation.
(a) You drop the package too early, and you have to immediately go back to sign the disclosure. The Lender loses $50 on Fedex. A small loss that is completely his fault for not calling you back.
(b) You hold on to the package for several hours thinking you will drop it half an hour before pick up. Then, you either get busy with other things and forget to drop it. Or, you are at home cooking and forget all about your package. Or, better yet, you get in a bad accident and are in the hospital and cannot drop it. If you forget to drop it, don’t have time, or can’t, you could get sued when the borrower loses their lock. Don’t let them lose their lock, rather, drop it like it’s hot!
6. The green pen scenario
You go to a signing, open the package and the instructions read:
Sign in GREEN, don’t call unless it is an emergency, get it to Fedex on time or you are fired.
It is 5:30, last pick up is at 6:00pm. Nobody has a green pen. There is a stationary store in the same complex as the Fedex station ten minutes from where you are. What do you do?
(a) Sign in black or blue, whatever is legal in your state.
(b) Call your contact person and let them know you are having a situation.
(c) Go to the store.
Most Notaries carry a portable time machine with them and decide to go back into time, read the directions BEFORE going to the signing. Unfortunately, the time machine is not one of the multiple choice options and we do require picking options that are available rather than creating your own convoluted answer. If you want to sign in a legal color, then sign in black or blue, but you will get fired, because that is not what the directions say. If you call, they are going to say, “what did the directions say?” You will say, “Sign in green.” And then they will say, “So what are you asking us for, go and get a green pen dummy.” The correct answer is to have the borrower follow you to the store, get a pen, sign the document and then drop it next door at Fedex, and then go to Starbucks for an iced Jurataccino (optional.) Otherwise you won’t have time to drive back and forth and drop the package.
7. Confirming the signing
When you call the borrowers, go over the:
Date, Time, People Signing, Location, if there is a check or wired funds, if they have 90 minutes to complete a signing, and any fees that seem critical in the CD or HUD. Additionally, you should have them read the names in their ID to make sure they match, otherwise you will have a long signing.
8. Ten grant deeds.
If you have one signer signing ten grant deeds, you need to do the following:
Create ten journal entries, one per person per document.
Put thorough information about each Grant Deed such as document date, APN number, escrow number, property address, who the grantor and grantee is, and anything else.
Thumbprint as well in the journal.
9. The FBI is at your door.
What piece of information will they want from you if someone gave you a fake ID?
A journal thumbprint. If you don’t keep one, start now.
10. What types of pads of forms should a Notary keep in his/her bag?
Acknowledgments, Jurats, Copy Certifications. Skip the POA forms. Have them consult an Attorney. I carried permission for minors to travel. I created my own very thorough form with room for thumbprints. The Mexican authorities loved my form!
11. Chad assigns a job to you. He says if there is a problem, call him and only him. If you can’t reach him, then email him. You get to the signing, the signer signs half the documents and then has a question. What do you do? Call Chad and if he doesn’t answer then email him. Many Notaries just don’t follow directions. I don’t know how to teach following directions, just try to practice doing so.>