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March 7, 2017

When you really don’t wanna take the job

Filed under: Ken Edelstein,Popular on Facebook (A little) — Tags: — admin @ 9:25 pm

When You Really Don’t Wanna – Jackpot !!
Most of the time, like you, I look forward to the phone ringing with an assignment. But, not all the time. Today I had some reserved theatre tickets and really wanted to see the show. I had intended to shut off the cell phone, but reconsidered as I was hoping to hear from someone regarding personal matters. The tickets were for early afternoon, and the show was relatively close by.

Ring, Ring. We have an emergency, the assigned notary did not show, and our client is furious, can you be at their location within the hour? The CD is with the client. Please help us. OK, I say, I understand. But, I have theatre tickets for today and did not plan to work today. If I accept your assignment I will miss the show. This is a very high priority client – forget about the show – we need you!
They offer an amount at the high end of the normal edoc range. I tell them their offer is fair but I would have to add an additional xxx$ for the lost use of my tickets. If you have not been to a NYC Broadway show – tickets are much more than an edoc fee. Any edoc fee. Somewhat stunned, I get the “we will have to get back to you”.

About ten minutes later another call for a structured settlement. Again the “urgent” routine – and, much to my surprise – another story of a notary “no show”. The conversation goes exactly the same way as the edoc discussion. Fortunately, they want a time slot toward the end of the show. The same fee discussion takes place – again with a gasp about the high cost of NYC Broadway shows. But, this one was different – they wanted to close the deal immediately. I told them the fee was in advance and once paid I would only then be committed to their assignment. Within five minutes the fee was in my account, bye bye Broadway. They email me the slim package immediately and I confirm that the documents were printed. Previously, as with the edoc job, the ID requirements were discussed and guaranteed.

Ring, Ring. It’s the edoc job calling back to accept the way greater than normal fee. Hmmm, both jobs are now paying for my “not to be used tickets”. And again, as per my requirement; the fee is in my PayPal account. It’s good that the edoc and the structured settlement times did not conflict; and there would be adequate time to go from the edoc to the other.

This is getting really weird. Will there be a third “emergency – notary no show” in the same day – with the caller having Very Deep Pockets? Nope, that did not happen. But, two did, much to my astonishment. The tickets I had in hand went to some very nice neighbors, who were delighted to change their plans for the same day. They would see the show for free, and so would I; as I was being paid twice for the same tickets!

So, what’s the “take away” from my rantings? Well, my message is that if you “can” do the job – but, for some reason – “don’t wanna” – let the caller know your situation. Tell them honestly and frankly that logistically you are able – but have a specific reason to not want the assignment. Of course some reasons cannot be bought for any amount of money. Family commitments, medical plans, and similar obligations are not for sale. But, the tickets were going to be available again; it was not a “now or never”.

Sure – I got lucky. Rare is the windfall that creates a high dollar “double dip” fee expansion. But the concept of being “flexible” is my theme message. I know, our clients use that word to, in lieu of more pay, compliment us for waiting 5 hours for the docs to be ready. Stranger still is their inability to, in New York City of all places; not to find a base fee notary. Perhaps because it was a “go away” Friday of a holiday weekend?

Whatever their reasons, nothing would have happened if I brushed them off with a “Sorry, I’m booked”. That was not the case. I had something that I “wanted” to do; but did not “have to do”. Letting the caller know, frankly and honestly your situation (within reasonable limits) – allows them the option to bail out or to “work with you”. It was obvious to the callers that a routine fee would not work. Though very extreme, both were willing to cause me to change my plans, without incurring a severe financial hardship. A week later I will see the show, have earned two fees; and have enough left over to purchase a pair of tickets for a different show!


February 28, 2017

The Notary of the Future

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — Tags: — admin @ 9:12 pm

Evolution moves slowly. It takes a really long time for the process of natural selection to propagate a random DNA change. Evolution is one of the few things that take longer than waiting for Jeremy to reply to an email. However, there is good news; the changes coming will greatly benefit notaries. There is much to look forward to, unfortunately we won’t be here. As you know evolution favors genetic changes that facilitate adaptation to the environment. Well, the notary environment will be greatly different a few eons from now. Let’s take a look.

In that distant future, an optimum blend of evolution and cyber technology will create Notary. Free from the constraints of gender, race, and other trivial aspects of current human existence, the species Notary will be superbly adapted to thrive. No, it’s not a version of a “repair job” that created the “six million dollar person” – it happens naturally. Our future includes a few “implants”; necessary to enhance a biological organism to include non-organic components.

Above all other considerations, the Notary will be complete, and superbly equipped to perform without carrying any “baggage”. Everything is now built in. Did you ever get a rush request and not have your stamp or embosser with you? Our future Notary has additional appendages, similar to arms; one for multiple stamps, the other for embossers. Bio molecular engineering converts food, not into the current waste product; but rather into paper for the built in printer. As good as these capabilities are, they are nothing compared to Stream connectivity.

That connectivity, think of WiFi on steroids; connects the Notary to literally everything. ID is now merely touching the client – for instant DNA analysis and identity confirmation. That last minute change to the vesting on the Deed prints automatically; the data Stream knows all. Gone are the text messages and phone calls. The Stream selects the nearest Notary, and with GPS like precision directs them where needed. No wait for pay, enhanced PayPal got ya covered.

While the archaic institutions still require paper, an advance copy of the completed loan documents is sent via the Stream. The notarization proceeds via shared image and mental document signing, but the old world “face to face” propinquity requirement remains. The Stream replaces the scan and email of days gone by – now powered by mental energy. The Notary printer still has to produce the paperwork, signed, stamped, and embossed as usual. Perhaps in a few more eons the recorders at county clerk offices will trust the Stream and not require paper.

I had said the Notary was free from trivial aspects of our current human existence. However, humanity will retain brain functions. Our future Notary will not be devoid of compassion, empathy or the desire to excel. Those traits, inherited from the days when notaries were among the first “public officials” must remain. Nurture those traits within yourself, have them grow.

I saved getting adequate work for last. The virus of cattle call entities will have consumed themselves in a death spiral of greed and deceit long ago; probably in “our” time. In our future I see a “balanced” world. In that world, as we are human; we have both a right and a duty to exist. Natural selection will create an optimal quantity of the highly specialized entity known as the Notary. We can prepare now for the future by passing on to the next generation the values we hold dear. We cannot rely on external forces, evolution or technology to pass along integrity. The Notary of the future must inherit those traits from us. Each of us, after thousands of generations will be a part of each Notary of the Future, are your actions worthy of being passed on?


February 23, 2017

Things that Work Well

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 9:10 pm

In this installment I’m going to share a variety of things that work well. Most of them will be new to you, but I have been using them for years. Almost all are available on Amazon, there you will find additional information, and reviews by others; or a Google search.

Bear Grease – This is my favorite leather conditioner. Smear on a thin layer and allow to dry overnight in a warm area. It soaks in and renews old, stiff leather to flexible softness. It will darken light colors. Also works to waterproof the seams of leather boots.

Magic Lube – What Bear Grease is to leather, Magic Lube is to rubber and plastic. My Sony Shower Radio uses a plastic flexible membrane for the controls. It’s a fine radio, but many have complained about the membranes cracking from frequent use. I put on a light layer of Magic Lube once or twice a year to prevent this. Also perfect for rubber “O” rings and hose gaskets.

Sangean CL-100 – Weather alert radio. One of the very few that processes the “shut off” signal so the radio goes silent after the alert audio, most others require you to go to the radio to silence it after alert. If you miss the alert, a red light comes on and the window scrolls the alert message.

Simichrome All Metal Polish – Just a tiny bit is needed, get the small tube. Wipe it on, let item set for a few minutes; polish it off with a clean cloth. Powerful stuff, shield eyes, wash hands.
Kidde KN-COPP-B-LPM Battery-Operated Carbon Monoxide Alarm – The alarm woke us in the middle of the night. We woke groggy with headaches and called the fire department after opening windows. Fire Dept confirmed heating system in basement malfunctioned.

Gerber EAB Lite Pocket Knife – Tiny and always super sharp, it holds a “contractor type” razor blade that is replaceable using a dime to remove the blade holding screw.

Swiss Quick Disconnect Key Chain ( – Allows me to remove ignition key from keychain, similar items on other sites not well made.

ROR Lens Cleaner – Safe for even the finest optical coatings, leaves no residue. Also cleans the screen protector on my cell phone to a glossy and somewhat fingerprint resistant shine.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Cell Phone – the last Galaxy that allows changing the battery and also adding a memory chip. Waterproof, battery lasts me 2-3 days with mobile notary use.

Smash Mute – A big red Mute button that mutes your TV. It learns the “mute” code from your existing TV remote. Long range powerful signal and very easy to find / use.

Tivo ( ) – Magical machine that can replace cable box. Pauses live TV, can search and record upcoming shows that meet your criteria, eg: record all starring James Stewart.

The Executioner Fly Swat Wasp Bug Mosquito Swatter Zapper – Looks like a tennis racket, but high voltage wires zap insects instantly. Had a large hornet in our camper, one touch with this and problem solved. Pro model stronger with 2 “C” cells, regular model smaller uses 2 AA cells.

Let me know what worked for you, your feedback would be appreciated.


February 21, 2017

Power of Attorney of the Future

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — Tags: — admin @ 9:09 pm

The Legal professional moves at a snail pace. On the other hand the Medical profession has advances at rocket speed. This will eventually lead to the Power of Attorney of the Future, mainly due to advances in medical procedures. Unfortunately the Legal profession, unable to keep up, will inherit some unexpected situations.

Consider the Power of Attorney of the Future. Rather than the current procedure of giving a piece of notarized paper from Principal to Agent, an alternative will be forthcoming. The mind of the Principal can be transferred into the Agent! Of course this will not be a one-way street. The reverse transfer of Agent to Principal will also occur. Thus both the Principal as well as the Agent will each have two separate mental “memory banks” sharing their brains.

There will, of course, be no need for a Monitor assigned via the Power of Attorney, but that can be done. It might get a bit crowded for the Monitor who will have Monitor brain, Principal brain and Agent brain – all sharing that cranial cavity.

As the Power of Attorney form is a delegation of authority instrument, there is a need for a “pecking order” of brain function within each individual. For the Monitor, that person’s original brain is “boss”. For the Agent the Principal brain is boss, with the Agent’s original brain in a subservient capacity. After all, the Principal should always have the last word. For the Principal their original equipment is boss, with the Agent brain and the Monitor sharing second place.

If the above paragraph is clear to you please leave a comment about this blog explaining your understanding to me. Whatever.

Gone is the tedious need for communications. As the brain “essence” exists in multiple bodies, a telepathic bond is created, either in duo or triplicate. No, I am not going to even consider the effect or pecking order of Successor Agents. Even worse than Successor Agents would be multiple Agents, who might or might not have to act in unison. Ye gads this is getting complex.

The legal ramifications affect even the humble notary. With multiple “personalities” and with them having “legal authority” precisely how is the oath to be given and to whom? Of course with this much confusion there will be plenty for the lawyers (who thrive on ambiguity) to work with. Can the notary notarize the direct signature of the Principal when the body of the Agent matches the presented ID? The Power of Attorney currently allows “acting in behalf of” – but when the thoughts are of the Principal, via the body of the Agent – perhaps the need for the currently required Power of Attorney signature verbiage becomes unnecessary.

Not complicated enough? Consider the Principal granting different Power of Attorney rights to multiple Agents for varying purposes. Throw in a few Successor Agents, perhaps a Monitor or two and the poor Principal is afflicted with a real “head full” of personalities.

Of course it will be the task of the notary public to resolve all of the conflicts and “do the right thing”. To really understand the situation and notarize properly the notary will have to adopt the psychs (all of them) of the person before them with the ID. That might take a bit of room in the skull of the notary. My only suggestion is for notaries to prepare for the future by considering a lobotomy to make some additional room for the personalities involved. As you can probably tell from the above, I’ve had the surgery; more than half of my brain was removed. I’m ready!


February 8, 2017


Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 1:40 am

Unlike the oft ignored “Do Not Call list” there is no similar central location where you can post your email address to request no unsolicited email. However, as is my custom; first I lament about the problem, and then strive to submit a workable solution. Most of my junk mail is filtered by settings with my email service provider, not my Internet Service Provider. My ISP – Time Warner Cable does a “barely fair” job of eliminating junk mail – much slips through. It is my email “front end” that really makes the difference.

That email service provider, formerly called is now known as The takeover has actually improved service. I signed up with in September of 1995 and took as my email address. It remains the same, though I have gone thru a few ISPs in the two plus decades. The spam filtering on fastmail is very flexible. However, a few seem to slip through, about one in a hundred. That gives me two options to resolve. The first is to add the sender to one of my spam filters, a very easy to do option. The second is to ask that my email address be removed. I use a not so subtle response, that does work, and work very well.

I *never* click on the “unsubscribe” link, so common in emails. That possibly takes you to a virus laden site! Never click links from “strangers”. Do you really want to test your antivirus protection – often? I don’t. So I “reply” to their email with the following keyboard macro:

Please remove me from your mailing list and do not send any additional email to my email address.

The email address to remove is: AND any other address you used to send email to me.

Wondering why I did not click the “unsubscribe” link?
It’s way too dangerous to click links in unsolicited email.
It’s much safer to just reply email – hence this unsubscribe request.
The National Can-Spam Act REQUIRES you to remove my email address and not send email to me again after this notice.
Violations WILL be tracked and reported to Federal Authorities who LOVE to issue violation fines.

This has worked for me, the usual response has been “your email has been removed” or similar. Some may feel it’s a bit “over the top” – but they “started it”. I value my time and don’t want my cell phone to indicate “incoming” only to find it a repetition of previously deleted junk mail. It’s also easier to use my macro reply via than editing my spam filter.
Take control of YOUR inbox. Make THEM remove you.


February 5, 2017

A Tough Call

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 1:38 am

A Tough Call
It was to be a routine edoc from a repeat client. Once I agreed to the time and location the PayPal was in my account in minutes – they wanted it on my calendar. Callers are told by me that jobs go on my calendar when payment is received. I used to say that I don’t print until payment is received – that caused several holes to develop in my calendar. Admittedly, I look a lot older, but think myself a bit wiser for the years doing this stuff.

With payment in the bank, and work order in my inbox; I printout a map of where I would be going and also program the address into my GPS. Usually the GPS is reliable, but sometimes when the clouds are thick, the signal fades in the canyons between Manhattan skyscrapers.

I call the affiant to introduce myself, and to confirm that the phone number, address and meeting time are correct. As is my custom I ask what form of ID will be presented. Heads Up for this next aspect: I ask precisely what name is on that ID, and the exact spelling. My name is Alpha Beta Kappa, however I only use Beta Kappa; I dislike my Alpha first name. Ding, ding, alarms go off – a quick look at the work order – the affiant is listed as Beta Kappa. Next, I ask the most important question: What is your Legal Name? Grudgingly I am told it’s Alpha Beta Kappa. Next I make a mistake. Do you have any Government Issued Photo ID with only the name Beta Kappa? Yes, that is the full name on my New York City issued transit card.

I said I made a mistake, and I did. Once the affiant said their legal name; there was no purpose in asking if ID existed with the omission of the first name. Oops. Affiant confirms appointment and says will provide me with the NYC – middle and last name ID. Boo Boo number two – I confirm the appointment, “secure” in the knowledge that ID matching the work order exists.

I reflect on the conversation and realized that the action plan was wrong. Accepting ID that had only middle and last; even though it matched the docs – would be wrong. I had Knowledge that the ID was not representative of the affiant’s true name. As expected, when talking to Title; she had taken title in the Beta Kappa name – and that was on the refi. A sharp person at Title suggested I notarize her BK with an AKA for the ABK name. Sorry, I’m not notarizing an AKA on the Mortgage or any other document. An AKA form which she signs as ABK and accepts BK is fine; but not the other way around.

Title, my regular client, knows, and I also know; a Quit Claim to fix the vesting is the solution – but that takes time and the Condo probably will not tolerate a delay. I’m on the high moral ground – it’s simply not the right name. The Broker calls. Broker tells me he spoke to the affiant who positively HATES the given first name of Alpha; when Broker mentions the “forbidden” name the borrower “hangs up” on the Broker! Broker asks if there are other notaries who will accept the situation, ignoring the Alpha name. Insulted by the question, I suggest Broker contact a few prisons and perhaps Broker can “bail out” a notary who works in that manner!

Title “takes back” the assignment and asks for a refund. Title is very happy to learn of the “flaw” in the proposed paperwork, and offers me half fee. I decline, they are a regular and, though I did spend hours waiting on docs, fee of one quarter of paid fee would be sufficient. Client Saved!


February 2, 2017

Who Did You Notarize?

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — Tags: — admin @ 1:37 am

Last night I had an easy assignment, a deed and an affidavit. The couple would be signing both documents, and the IDs were solid. The deed was routine. They were properly named on the deed, and the notary section only needed correction to the Venue. Not so with the affidavit, that had a subtle, but IMHO a major flaw.

The affiants were mentioned at the top of the affidavit as “the below sworn borrowers”, but never by name! Nowhere on the document did their names appear. As signatures are an illegible scrawl, it would be impossible to determine specifically who was notarized. Their names did not appear in the notary section either.

There are several approaches that can be taken. The most usual solution is to ignore the notary section on the document and prepare “loose acknowledgements” and attach. I usually do it that way to identify the affiants. However, this was an original document (not emailed) and the request was to notarize directly on the page if possible. The “fix” was simple, but it introduced an additional error that required correction.

I asked the affiants to “neatly clearly and completely print their names, as on their IDs below their signatures”. One of them did so precisely correct. The other did not. The affiant’s first name (using my name in this example) was Kenneth. But when printed under the signature it was printed as Ken. That’s not the name that was notarized. And, as that printing was the only place on the document where the name was printed it had to be right. On the deed the name preprinted “under the line” was Kenneth, the same as on the ID.

I had Kenneth draw a thin single line thru “Ken Edelstein” and had both parties initial the change. All signatories initial changes. I explained that contractions of legal names on serious documents could cause later problems. Kenneth was then asked to print his full name again, and proceeded to do so. Now it was clear that the persons notarized were properly named “in print” directly on the document. Perhaps I should have printed the names from the ID. But, it is my practice to only write in the “notary section” and not touch any area outside of the notary section / Venue (if at the top of the page).

Getting the name right is possibly the single most important thing we do. And, it’s often an uphill battle – some clients are so used to their “self given name variation” that they feel their “mental change of name” – is a legal change of name. Sometimes I relate the story that I could, with a fistful of cash; take title in the name “Suzy Snowflake”. The problem arises when I wish to sell and prove that I am the owner of the property!

Who are you notarizing, stating with your stamp and embosser that they were identified pursuant to your local governing laws? Do you take their verbal assurance, or blithely accept the preprinted name on the document? To me the only right answer is that the name on the Govt. issued Photo ID is their name. Exception: Valid ID with original marriage document supporting the adopting of married last name. I also feel the name of the person(s) being notarized must appear in print on the document; a vague reference to “borrowers signing below” is not enough.


January 3, 2017

Who is the Notary?

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — Tags: — admin @ 12:17 am

Who is the Notary?

Frequently, in over a decade of doing this, an occurring event is: a request for backdating, either directly or processing yesterday’s docs today, without updating the date in the notarization. What dates are in the rest of the doc is of no concern to me. One dim bulb in escrow connected me to the LO for “clarification” of the rules. “Any date in the notary section may be used as long as you have the permission of the LO in charge of the transaction”. “The LO has final “say” in all matters”!

Readers, ya better open your window; from here on the stink will be getting worse. Sayeth the LO: the escrow manager told you how to proceed – and the “entries” in question “require” the notary section to conform to the rest of the document. You risk a costly lawsuit if you “intentionally” cause the funding to be cancelled!” That LO must have a PHD (Piled Higher & Deeper) because rarely is so much BS directed in my direction. Mr. LO: MY definition of the “notarization date” is the date the notarization was performed. LO: you are being “an obstructionist”, your insistence will cause financial damage to many, especially to you.

Well, I detect a smidgen of truth in LO’s statement. Specifically the LO will not receive, or have delayed; the commission. So, I make a “small” request. LO, sayeth this humble scribe; I was not aware of the broad scope of your authority over all specific entries in the package. Perhaps I misunderstood my reading of rules and laws governing my actions. Thank You for the new information. I consider myself a fastidious notary, and keep very detailed records regarding the assignments I process. Ours, up this point; have been verbal communications – I need but a moment of your time to add some documentation to the project’s file. Please type out on company stationary what you wish me to do and hand sign it. Also sign under a photocopy of your driver license. Email to me both attachments directly from the computer at your office, not your cell phone. Watta surprise, the requested email never arrives.

Now to today, and it’s nowhere as near egregious as the prior LO BS. Today’s issue was about one of the most basic concepts that govern our daily activities. Namely, who is the notary? Who is the ultimate authority as to what you actually do, and/or permit? It really was about a small thing. On the pre-entered Patriot Act form, the driver license number had a transposition of two digits. The simple fix would be to redo the document. But, that option was not available as the borrower copy was identical; and no blanks were available. I only mentioned it, while at my PC, because a license photocopy (only for return with the docs) had just arrived. When asked if I had the images, I mentioned the need for me to correct and initial the related document: Patriot Act ID form.

That started an email storm that numbered over two dozen! The Bank Officer was insistent that the borrower initial the change – “It’s the borrowers license number, ONLY the borrower has any right to alter what was printed”. What this notary-should-never-be failed to accept (after being told several times) is that I, and only I; am the one signing the form. It is my understanding that all signatories to a document initial any handwritten changes. Only them. It is MY statement as to the ID that I observed, and I am the only one signing the form.

As misunderstanding and not outright fraud was in play, the “signed letter” response seemed overkill. We reached a compromise; something I rarely do. But, in this case, I felt comfortable with being flexible. How about if the borrower initials after I initial? Fine, chirped the BO (sometimes an abbreviation can add a new and justified connotation); as long as I have the borrower initials I’m fine. So was I – because the “solution” came from me, based on my understanding of applicable notary law.

Yes, I know, when the borrower initialed the document, that, in itself, was a change to the document that only I signed. Thus, it “might” follow that I should initial after the borrower initials to “accept” the change (addition of borrower initials) to the document that only I signed. Sorry, I seem to have taken you from a bad smelling situation to one that is making both of us dizzy. Suffice to say that I did not re-initial. I had already initialed and it just seemed absurd to take that path. Back to the main message: you not they, must decide how things are to take place; with the highest objective being notary action legality. However the chips fall, the notary has the final/only say.


December 27, 2016

The Care and Feeding of Mentors

Filed under: Ken Edelstein,Popular on Facebook (shares) — Tags: — admin @ 11:01 pm

The Care and Feeding of Mentors
Jeremy published an excellent article on finding a Mentor – OK, you followed the advice and found one willing to work with you. Now what? That is the essence of this post.
“I’m in a hurry, I don’t have much time in my schedule to devote to study or research; the bottom line is this: I want to know specifically, using my Notary License, exactly what you can do to make me rich”.

Believe it or not, that is essentially what several Mentor requesting notaries have asked me. A common theme is that they want the “fast path” to the Big Bucks. They perceive their Notary status as having the deed to a gold mine, if only they could find the exact location of their mine, to pick up the nuggets lying about for the taking. In a similar manner, when I go to the NY State Dept. offices (which administer Notary and Real Estate Broker license tests) I often hear the prospective Brokers discussing the “killing” they plan to make by selling the Empire State Building – “that commission alone will set me for life”.

There is nothing wrong with having high aspiration, but it’s real life that it also requires a large amount of perspiration to “get there”. Delusional can be defined as a false or mistaken belief or idea about something. I don’t use that word to be critical, but rather to stress the point. A Mentor devotes their time, and shares their skills and knowledge; generally without compensation. That is not always the case. I had a request to teach how to process some rather complex documents – it took a full “hands on” day; and I was paid accordingly. However, that is a rare exception.

Most requests for me to Mentor come via email and start with a liberal dose of flattery. OK, it makes sense to say something nice to someone you want to do you a favor. As covered in the above mentioned blog; I really don’t want to create competition “across the street”. So far, that has not been the case. It’s a heavy lift to train someone to be a Signing Agent from “scratch”. So I usually suggest they take a course on the subject and really learn the material. There are several sources for “basic training”. It’s just too time consuming to cover the Venue, ID requirements, Oath, and such. When I was learning to fly an airplane, initially I read about theory, and then flew simulation on my PC, graduating to renting a plane and an instructor. Getting in the plane with instructor and not knowing anything would be inefficient.

The following scenario has repeated itself several times over the past decade. I receive the request, with flattery, to help someone who wants to grow their business. Rarely is there a specific question included, just the general goal of self improvement (scores intent points) and, of course, the desire for more money. That’s fine with me – they are, in my mind, a “contender” wanting to better themselves. So, with my very first email reply I want to determine if they are willing to really WORK for their goals.
I give a “homework assignment” – it’s always the same. I ask that they read my last dozen, or more if they wish; blog entries. Then, citing which blog they are referring to: ask 12 detailed questions that relate to an issue or concept in that blog that is unclear or should be expanded upon. Why? If I’m to spend time being a true Mentor, I have to “know” the person I am working for (yes it’s working for). They have to show me that they really will put “skin in the game” and work for their own benefit. I also want to see their writing skills and get a sense of what they consider important to learn. This dispels the myth that I have a bucket of knowledge that I can simply pour in their direction. As Jeremy mentioned, there is a vast wealth in the blogs, of which my stuff makes a minor, but often useful contribution.

Sad to say: to date not a single “student” submitted their homework – not one! My intent was never to “chase them away” – If I wanted to do that I would simply reply that I was too busy. Beginners: let your prospective Mentor know that you are willing and able to WORK hard “with” them, for your gains.


December 4, 2016

Power of Attorney – Notary Processing Mistakes

Playing Lawyer

You’re going there to notarize, that’s what you do. The caller asked you to bring some blank copies of a “standard” Power of Attorney. I think not. There many different formats to the Power of Attorney document. Selecting, as when you provide a document; could probably be interpreted as the Illegal Practice of Law. You don’t know their requirements, but you happen to have some documents titled Power of Attorney – a recipe for disaster. We notarize upon proof and oath; it’s their responsibility to know what they are signing. That applies to Principal, Agent, Monitor and Successor Agent.

Fuzzy Job Specifications

I need my signature notarized on a Power of Attorney form. Do you accept that sole statement? Does the caller have the form(s)? Is the caller the Principal granting the powers? Will there be Agent(s) and Successor Agent(s). You probably inquired about the ID that will be presented by the caller – but do you know anything about the ID status of others to be notarized? Will all parties be present when you arrive, or will there be a lengthy wait for a tardy Agent? The caller mentioned “a” Power of Attorney form, that’s true enough – but are ten more duplicates awaiting you? Did you schedule this as a “quick one” with your next assignment very soon?

Accepting Risk

You want to avoid accepting risk. One tool is having the assignment prepaid. A more important tool is communication with your client. Stress that the signature(s) of the Principal, Agent and Successor Agent must have proper supporting ID, and that the name on the ID must match the name to be notarized on the Power of Attorney. I make it very clear: “If any person to be notarized has an ID issue that precludes notarization; you will get my sincere regrets, but not a refund”. Hospital jobs have access concerns when the Principal is the patient.

Not Sharing your Knowledge

Many are new to using a Power of Attorney. They often assume a photocopy will be accepted and that they need only one original. That is often not the case. Offer duplicates for a modest fee. Blank areas might require a N/A. Use your embosser – it’s required to submit the document to Federal Courts, and might be required if the document leaves the state where notarized. Clients can forget that most Power of Attorney documents require the authority of Agent, and Successor Agent to be specified. This is usually done by the Principal initialing various “right granting” sections giving authority to one or more Agents, and, or, Successor Agents – easy to overlook.

It’s also easy to overlook the “Separately” initial area. When there is more than one Agent or Successor Agent; the common document default is that they must act in unison. Often, the independent ability of these agents is desired; this requires initials in the appropriate area.

Disorderly Processing

In our signings we complete one document then move on to the next one. Processing a stack of identical Power of Attorney documents is best handled differently. I prefer the “same thing over and over” approach. An entry on the first copy is propagated to the remaining copies. Then the next entry is made in a similar manner. This is easier for all involved as they, after the first two or three; are “familiar” with “what goes where”. After ID checking, and notary oath administration(s) – the notarizations can proceed in a similar manner. Mentally tie to giving the oath asking the affiants if they returned their ID to a safe place. This avoids being called to return their ID when they misplaced it – this happened to me a few times.

The Introduction to the Power of Attorney, New York Statutory Short Form

CAUTION TO THE PRINCIPAL: Your Power of Attorney is an important document. As the “principal,” you give the person whom you choose (your “agent”) authority to spend your money and sell or dispose of your property during your lifetime without telling you. You do not lose your authority to act even though you have given your agent similar authority.

When your agent exercises this authority, he or she must act according to any instructions you have provided or, where there are no specific instructions, in your best interest. “Important Information for the Agent” at the end of this document describes your agent’s responsibilities.

Your agent can act on your behalf only after signing the Power of Attorney before a notary public.

You can request information from your agent at any time. If you are revoking a prior Power of Attorney, you should provide written notice of the revocation to your prior agent(s) and to any third parties who may have acted upon it, including the financial institutions where your accounts are located.

You can revoke or terminate your Power of Attorney at any time for any reason as long as you are of sound mind. If you are no longer of sound mind, a court can remove an agent for acting improperly.

Your agent cannot make health care decisions for you. You may execute a “Health Care Proxy” to do this.

If there is anything about this document that you do not understand, you should ask a lawyer of your own choosing to explain it to you

Have you asked the Principal, Agent, Monitor, and Successor Agent – if they have read and understood the disclosures, usually on the first page of the Power of Attorney document?

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