Journals Archives - Notary Blog - Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice - 123notary.com
123Notary

Notary Blog – Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice – 123notary.com Control Panel

November 2, 2019

Password protected notary journal?

Filed under: Journals — admin @ 8:36 pm

One of our Notaries wrote a comment to a blog entry I wrote about keeping journals under lock and key. The comment was — why not have a journal that is password protected?

A good Notary (not that I am judging) keeps thumbprints of signers in their journal. Although this is a good practice, you don’t want those pieces of biometric data in the wrong hands — you don’t want the right thumbs in the wrong hands basically. So, password protection makes a lot of sense. Perhaps having GPS tracking in journals also makes sense just in case they get stolen. Hmm.

And also, what do you do with your “used” journals? Do you keep your completely filled out older journals in your closet? Is this safe? Should there be a secured location to keep them in the mean time before you retire and drop them off at your county clerk or secretary of state? An interesting thought. Your opinions?

You might also like:

12 points on enotarizations
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=228

Share
>

October 25, 2019

How long does it take to fill in the journal entries for one loan?

Filed under: Journals — admin @ 11:47 pm

Many Notaries use the “cram it in” style of journal entries and claim that it saves time and that it is okay. But, there are several problems with it. First of all, what is the cram it in system of filling in your journal?

If you put multiple documents in on a single journal entry — that is what I call the “cram it in” journal entry style. Normally there is a single signer for these multiple docs on the entry, but some people put two which is even more crazy. Below are the problems associated with this wrongful technique.

1. Fees
Most states allow a Notary to charge a maximum fee per Notary act. If you put multiple Notary acts on a single journal line, you cannot document what you charged for each Notary act.

2. Notary Act Type
If you are notarizing multiple documents in a loan, traditionally there will be different Notary types. There will be acknowledgments for the Deeds and perhaps other documents and Jurats for the Affidavits. You cannot distinguish which document received which type of notarization if you use the cram it in method of journal entries.

3. Court Issues
If your signing goes to court, the signer could claim to not have authorized the notarization of any of the documents listed in your journal as you theoretically could be in cahutz with the Lender and could have added the names of more documents after the fact. It is rare to have an issue in court due to the cram it in method, but I have heard of two examples in my career about how it makes the court case a lot more confusing and you can’t prove that someone consented to be notarized. It can result in a situation that looks like fraud was likely. Why put yourself in that position?

4. Kosher Issues
It just isn’t kosher to add extra document names in a single journal entry. Proper journal entry procedure means one document and one signer per entry — that’s it.

SUMMARY
It is easier to just fill out the journal entries one by one. You might have to write the address many times. It might take about 45 seconds per entry, and with a loan of 12 notarized signatures you might spend 10 minutes total filling out the journal and another minute getting people to sign and thumbprint multiple times. That is about 8 minutes longer than the cram it in method and could save you lots of time in court after the fact. Additionally, if your state audits journals, it could save your career — a valid point to remember in California and in the future perhaps other regions!

You might also like:

Travel fees vs. Notary fees in your journal
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22612

Notary Public 101 – a comprehensive guide to journals
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19511

Share
>

September 18, 2019

Where do you store your journals when they are filled out?

Filed under: Journals — admin @ 10:20 pm

When you retire, you send the journals to your county clerk or SOS. But, what do you do with them in the mean time after you have filled out one or more journal?

Do you keep them in a safe, your closet, your car, a desk drawer? They are actually thin and you can fit a lot in just one box. Your experience please…

Share
>

September 16, 2019

Travel fees vs. Notary fees in your journal

Filed under: Journals — admin @ 11:10 pm

For those of you who keep a Notary journal, you need to record the Notary fee as one of the fields. But, what if you get paid $65 for a signing with a travel fee and two signatures? How do you differentiate between the travel fee and the signature fees?

You can either arbitrarily decide how much is a travel fee and how much is a signature fee if the job is a flat fee. Or you can base the fees on the fees you quoted the client.

When you fill in your journal, the main thing is to put a Notary fee that does not exceed the fees allowed by your particular state, otherwise you could be accused of charging excessive fees which is illegal. If California allows $15 per notarized signature on an Acknowledgment or Jurat, then you cannot inscribe more than $15 per journal entry for each Notary act.

For those of you who use the “cram it in” style of journal entries, you cannot put a notary fee for five documents on the same line. It just doesn’t make sense. This is yet another potent reason why you should not use a style of journal entry that inputs more than one document per line. It is impossible to prove in court that the signer consented to all of the documents being notarized since he is not signing for a particular one. It is also not possible to know what the fees involved are either which means you are not doing proper bookkeeping.

As far as the travel fee, you could input the travel fee for a particular appointment in the additional notes section of the journal entry and indicate that is is a travel fee. The travel fee I would indicate once on the first journal entry for a particular appointment. Correct and prudent journal entry procedure requires separate entries for each person and document. So, once again, three people each signing four notarized documents would result in twelve journal entries with the travel fee indicated in the top entry.

You might also like:

Travel fees if nothing gets signed
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22578

Why are the fees offered to us so low you ask?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22293

Share
>

February 27, 2019

Notary Public Journal

NOTARY JOURNALS

Not all states require maintaning an official journal of Notarial acts, but 123notary requires it as that is the only evidence you have should you go to court or get investigated. There are identity thieves and cons all over the place. They might pretend to be a home owner to steal that person’s equity or con grandma into giving her fortune away to some crooks. If your notarization ever winds up to court, your journal is the only record of what happened and who signed what, etc. Most Notaries think keeping a journal is an annoying task that they do because their state requires it. It is the same attitude that children have towards doing their homework at age seven. But, your journal can save your neck, and I know many whose hides have been saved who ended up in court.

.

ONE JOURNAL ENTRY PER PERSON PER DOCUMENT

Most Notaries think that you create one entry for each signer and then cram in the names of all of the documents you are notarizing in that transaction. This is a very sloppy practice. If you pick up five packages from FedEx, do you sign once or do you sign five times, each for a particular tracking number? If you keep one journal entry per person per document, then you have a signature proving consent to be notarized for each document you notarize. Additionally, you must name the particular and complete name of each document, and not just say “loan docs.”

.

INFORMATION

In your Notary Public Journal, you need to record the:

Full name of the document, not an abbreviation.

Date & Time of Notarization – Just consult your iPhone for this one.

Type of Notary Act – This might be Acknowledgment, Jurat, Oath, Affirmation, or another Notary act allowed in your state.

Document Date — many documents have a document date inscribed within that is an arbitrary date created by the document drafter. It could be the date the document was drafted, or the date it was intended to be signed, or a random arbitrary date.

Name & Address of Signer – Write down the name as it appears in the identification card.

Identification – Record the serial number, state and expiration date of the identification card.

Other distinguishing factors — if you are signing multiple documents with the same name such as Deeds of Trust, Grant Deeds, etc., you need to differentiate them somehow. Escrow numbers, names of grantors, grantees, APN numbers, property addresses, number of pages, or anything else can help identify a document after the fact in case you end up in court.

Signatures — each line of your journal needs to be signed by the corresponding person. If John and Sally are each signing three notarized documents, then John gets entry 1, 2, and 3 while sally gets 4, 5, and 6. Each signer must sign their three entries otherwise the entries are meaningless.

Thumbprints — I am skipping mentioning more about the other things that belong in a journal as most Notaries get it, however, few Notaries keep thumbprints. Your journal thumbprint is the one piece of evidence the FBI will ask for when they come knocking on your front door. Additionally, it discourages fraud as fraudulent people do not want to be thumbprinted.

Other Information — Although I am skipping elaborating about the other journal fields, I will make a quick note about the additional information section in a journal. That leaves space for information about credible witnesses, subscribing witnesses, unusual facts about the signers, the location, or the circumstances in which you are signing. If the signer claims that they are being kidnapped, write that down in the additional information section of your journal, then call the police. If the signer has a weird neck tattoo, you might need to remember that in court. Put it in your journal. The judge will think you are a very thorough Notary.

.

FINAL NOTE

The purpose of journals is not only to please your state’s Secretary of State, but also to please judges, attorneys, investigators and FBI agents. Keeping a clean, correct and thorough journal will make a positive impression on the authorities and could keep you from being named as a suspect if God forbid you ever unknowingly Notarize an identity thief, fraud, or otherwise bad person. Notaries don’t get in trouble that often, but for those who make a career out of being a Notary, eventually you will be investigated at least once and perhaps end up in court, so keep your paperwork in order so the investigation is fast and smooth. Otherwise you might end up in court for a very long time — no joke! Roughly 1/7 of the Notaries on our site have had to spend time in court due to something that they notarized.

You might also like:

What entities might want to see your journal?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20902

Journal abbreviation keys
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19441

Comparing Journal Entries to FedEx Signatures
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19375

Share
>

September 16, 2018

Index of posts about Journals

Here is our index of posts about Notary journals

Notary Public 101 — Journals
This is a more comprehensive guide to understanding using Notary journals although we do have supplemental reading as well.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19511

Notary Journals from A to Z
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8348

Everything you need to know about journals
123notary.com/?p=70

How many journal entries do you create if you have two signers each signing three notarized documents?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19391

Do you keep a journal to please your state, a judge, the FBI or 123notary?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19483

Journals with check boxes
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19373

Do journals need to be kept under lock and key?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2461

What is someone signs the wrong line in my notary book?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19324

Journal abbreviation keys
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19441

Filling out your journal before the appointment?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15354

Notary Public Journal
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21409

Five things a Notary must do
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19583

Why keep a journal?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19377

Share
>

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 abbreviation 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.

You might also like:

Here’s why you should keep a journal
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22543

Detective seizes a journal and complains about a blurry thumbprint
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22237

Index of posts about journals
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20272

Share
>

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!

.

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

Share
>

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.

.

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

Share
>

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.

.

You might also like:

What entities might want to see your journal?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20902

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

How many journal entries if you have 2 signers each signing 3 documents.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19391

Notary Public 101 – Identification
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19507

Share
>
Older Posts »