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October 3, 2017

Notary Maintenance

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 12:16 am

Notary Maintenance
I nominate my “Pet Rock” as the most perfect device never invented. Without any maintenance, patches, updates, or ongoing costs it really informs. When I can’t see it, it’s letting me know it is night. When it’s wet I know rain is falling, etc. You are probably thinking “This time Ken really lost it – he’s just plain nuts”. Perhaps.
Unlike my happy to be left alone Pet Rock, as Notaries we have LOTS to maintain. Some are so routine (and usually done) they are not worth detailed comment: car maintenance, inking/cleaning notary stamp, personal grooming, record keeping; are just a few that I assume we all remember to do.

Notary Law – do you regularly download and carefully read your jurisdictions regulations? They DO change from time to time. Here in New York there is a test to obtain a commission, based on Notary Law. At the very least NY Notaries read the rules, if only to pass the test. It’s not just common knowledge, for example it is not permitted to notarize a Civil Deposition on a Sunday in NY State. Make it a point to download, print, and slowly read your current regulations – at least twice a year.
Personal Health – I’ve mentioned this from time to time. It’s worth repeating. Many of us have a fast food diet. One that is rich is fats, sugar, grease, and similar junk. When is the last time you had an apple? How about a meal with lots of vegetables, not just the decorative broccoli served with that Sesame Chicken? We are blessed with amazing medical advances; does your car receive an annual inspection but your body does not? Include some “good for the soul” events. A trip to the Museum, a picnic, fly a kite; take time to enjoy life.

The Web – Some of us have web sites; virtually everyone reading this has a profile with notes on Is the information up to date? Even if it is – is it “working” for you? Perhaps a rewrite is due. I consider “social media” the leading waste of time ever invented. But, I am well aware that many use these tools to great advantage in securing additional business. If they work for you – great – but, is the information about you current? Perhaps it’s a good idea to review and refine “everything” that represents you on the web.

Advertising – Your competition is doing it, some make a major effort to be “first on Google” (that’s usually very expensive). For me the ideal (and very cost effective) technique is the humble business card. I order 5,000 at a time from Vista Print. When you specify their slowest service, the price drops dramatically. Having thousands to give away means that I actually can. When I go to a doorman building a few to the doorman works wonders. A trip to the local shopping center – giving a few cards to the office is time well spent. Doctor offices too.
Your Notary Kit – Review your kit, are there areas for improvement? Having just one notary stamp is a “single point of failure” that can put you “off line” waiting for a replacement. Some forms have just a tiny space, do you have stamps in multiple sizes. A very fine point pen (I like the Pilot Precise V5 RT) can help when the affiant name is long and the space for it is short. Automate repetitive tasks. I am located in New York (which is both the state and the county). I have a “New York” self inking stamp, just right for those Venue entries; perhaps you will need separate State and County stamps – it’s worth the cost and looks great on the documents.

Your Reputation – Yup, you will actually have to work at maintaining your good reputation. A great start is by obtaining lots of positive reviews. They will counterbalance the inevitable that will be (unfairly) dumped on your reputation. Take a look your reviews on the various rating sites: 123notary, Yelp, Google, etc. Your reviews and reputation soars when you do more than is expected. I’m hired by a law firm to print and bring an affidavit to their client. I print 3 copies, 2 are returned to the law firm; one fully notarized is left with the affiant. Reputation “stars” received for doing more than required; it just takes a tiny bit more effort on my part.

Perhaps I was wrong about my Pet Rock. I’ve been listening to it and now it’s starting to make demands. It wants me to find it a mate! I thought it would be “low maintenance” and passive. But it seems to know that I am writing about it and it wants compensation for using its identity. It’s threatening to sue; gotta go I’m calling my lawyer. I blame my mental state, and the “Pet Rock Uprising” on Jeremy – all bad things can be traced to him.


October 1, 2017

Notary also as a witness

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 12:15 am

Notary as Also a Witness
Despite the popular expression, this Old Dog is learning new tricks. But first, a little background as to how I “used to” handle this issue. When I am able to review in advance the docs (edoc) I always would scan to see if there was a witness requirement. If so, I would ask the entity that assigned the job to me if there really was a requirement for one or more witnesses. Often the response was that x state did not require them and to just ignore that area. Other times I am told there indeed needs to be two witnesses and that I am permitted to be one of them.

I looked up this issue on NNA – and the issue becomes a bit murky (at least to me). It seems that some states allow the notary to also be a witness but at least one (probably more) do not. I must assume the directives I receive from “higher up” take the local requirements (where the document will be used) into consideration. Now I’m not so sure that I should be taking “advice” from them.

I’m firmly of the belief that a document must “stand by itself”. Here in NY we have a prohibition against notaries notarizing the signature of the person who the will is for. I have had attorneys tell me they will be “on the other end of the phone – supervising the process”. But, many years from now, it’s only the Will itself in the courtroom. There is no record of the lawyer involvement. Thus I do not notarize any Wills.
The document currently under consideration is a Durable Power of Attorney. I have been asked by the private party client to be one of the witnesses. I replied:

The major gifts rider calls for 2 witnesses.
As the appropriateness of the notary also being one of the witnesses varies with the jurisdiction when the document is being used:
I decline to be one of the witnesses.
I suggest persons without any possible financial interest be selected for this function.

This issue is similar to the black vs blue ink issue. NY State mandates all notary signatures to be in black ink. However some counties in Florida require all signatures to be in blue ink. What to do? Well, blue will allow the deed/mortgage to be filed; black will comply with my license law. No, I’m not going to, on this issue say what I do; but I do consider that it’s pointless to partake in a notarization with rejection a great possibility.

Back to the Notary as also a witness. The POA before me can be used anywhere; I certainly don’t know where it will be used. Thus I decline to be both a Notary and a Witness on the same document. I know this creates a greater burden on the client. But, consider what might befall the Notary. If the POA is rejected, I might become the defendant in litigation where money was lost due to the “there” conclusion of improper processing. Would my E&O cover that? I don’t want to find out.
I doubt the wrath of State Department will land on me for using a very dark “blue” pen. I have often spoken to other NY notaries and many use blue ink so it “stands out” and does not appear to be a photocopy! That might have been a justification prior to the widespread use of color copiers. Also, signing as a Witness, with the greater possibility of complete rejection seems a greater risk.

Now my path is going to be the safest one. I will no longer sign anything as both a Witness and Notary. Sure, I will probably lose an assignment or perhaps a few. It’s a risk vs reward issue. The reward is a routine notary fee; the risk is a summons that might incorporate a rather high dollar exposure. By analogy from my flight training instructor: There are Old Pilots, and there are Bold Pilots. However, there are no Old Bold Pilots.

Wondering if I’m just “Chicken”? I leave a trail of feathers behind me wherever I go.


September 19, 2017

The Bum’s Rush

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 12:13 am

The Bum’s Rush
bum’s rush. Forcible ejection, abrupt dismissal. For example, When Henry started shouting, the bouncer gave him the bum’s rush, or Within hours of being fired, Alice was given the bum’s rush. This idiom uses bum in the sense of “a vagrant or tramp.” [ ; early 1900s ] – Per Google.
That IS how some of you are treating the persons with whom you interact. Strong statement? Well, perhaps; but it is based on feedback I have received from some of my clients. They relate meeting with notaries who not only frequently looked at their watch, but constantly fidgeted. The “Notary in a Hurry” acted as if they had an immediate need for a toilet break. And, said facility was scheduled to be available to them only in a few minutes, but not thereafter.

But, in reality, “the call of nature” was not the motivation for this abysmal behavior. Abraham Lincoln said “A Lawyer’s time and advice are his stock in trade”. To a great extent this is true of Notaries and many others who provide a “personal” service. When servicing the needs of client “A”, we cannot work for client “B”. Thus some desire to “save time” to an inappropriate extent.

A minor example: We have all encountered the “Notarize” stickers placed on documents to show specific pages that need our processing. Do you trust these? I do not. After notarizing the page the sticker is removed; then it is time to “turn the pages” – one by one; looking for a page that did not have a sticker but should have had one. Gotcha, a page that clearly needs stamp and seal! You can be sure that the “Notary in a Hurry” will be blamed if that un-stickered page is missed.

We have to react appropriately to the environment. Sometimes a bit of polite conversation, some “getting to know you” time is called for. Other times, with a client finishing an important email, it’s best to remain silent, not distract; and perhaps check your own email on the cell phone. Are there young children in the area, if so watch your step; toys can be slippery. Would you walk on an immaculate white shag rug without removing your shoes, I hope not.

From The King and I – Getting to know you. Putting it my way, But nicely. They are the King, you are in their castle; but, even at the expense of time – you must have proper working conditions. Often I have been seated on a couch and handed documents to notarize. It would be quicker to “attempt” to proceed. However, requesting a table and chair, with good lighting is best.

Sometimes we have a tight schedule, it happens to all of us. However, the most important task is the one currently in progress – we must think that way. Last week I was told I would only have 10 minutes to complete three fingerprint cards. I replied that it would take closer to half an hour to do a proper job. “Do the best you can in 10 minutes” was the response. You have a choice: allow me the half hour or find someone else. The client held firm, I left. Better to not rush a job, and become involved in a failure. Clearly I was getting the “Bum’s Rush”.
Thus the “Bum’s Rush” can apply both ways. You can try to hurry, and your client may attempt to hurry you. Either is a path to shoddy results. The processing environment is quickly forgotten, and only the work product remains. Three rejected fingerprint cards would require an additional trip to correct, anger the client; and probably cause them financial harm. I shudder to think about the review they would rightfully submit. The only standard must be “personal best”.


September 18, 2017

A call from the Cop

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

A Call from the Cop
Hello, this is Detective Lawman from the Pennsylvania Sheriff office; I would like to ask you a few questions if you don’t mind. What did I do now? We had just returned from a road trip to Idaho visiting friends. I did drive the entire length of PA, on route 80. I drive our camper with the cruise control set for 5 under the limit. I don’t recall doing anything naughty.

Not liking to answer questions from strangers, I ask for his physical location. I told him that I would call information for his number and call back to verify his identity. That did not bother him in the slightest. Moments later, his authority confirmed; I told him I would help in any way I could. Well, it was not related to my driving; but to my activities as a Notary Public!

I was asked if I notarized a deed, in New York, on a specific date. It seems that the “owner” did not sell! He was very interested in the procedures I used to verify the identity for my notarization of the Deed. I asked for the Venue – and it was Clinton County in NY State. Well, Clinton County is in the upper most part of New York State. I never did a notarization in that county, I told him; I certainly would remember if I did. He asked why my notary stamp was on the deed.

I doubt if that document has either my stamp or my signature – what you are looking at is a forgery. Are you sure you did not notarize, ever, in Clinton County? Absolutely sure, while it is true that I am a traveling notary – I have never had a call to go 300 miles north. The cost to a client would be unreasonable; I would have to be paid for trip, food and overnight motel. Would you be willing to send me a copy of your Notary Stamp and Signature sample? Sure.

On the flatbed scanner I put my Notary Commission, Driver License, SS card and my Nexus Canadian border crossing security pass. A quick scan and email to the Detective. He, in turn, sends me the notary section from the deed in question. If it was not so serious I would have laughed out loud. The signature was totally different, very “pointy” not the flowing curves in my standard signature. He was most interested in the signature on my Driver License as that was from a few years ago. He mentioned there was some consistency in my signature comparing the Driver License to the SS card (which was signed VERY long ago)!

The phony notary stamp was totally absurd. It showed my Commission to be registered to Clinton County; unlike my New York County – authentic stamp. The notary registry number was wrong; and the stamp included my home address in New York! Whatta mess! The Detective quickly determined that I was not involved in any way with the phony deed notarization. He asked the standard question as to if I would be willing to press charges for impersonation. Of course, I replied. Conversation ended, he said he had some other Kenneth A (missing on stamp) Edelstein to contact. And I thought I was unique!

Also missing was my raised seal; I sent an “inked” image – and mentioned the “flaw” that I made with a knife on the die. I assured him that every notarization by me includes my raised seal.

That was excitement enough for one day. I hope he catches the crook/forger and sends him/her to the “window bars motel” for a long time. Contact like this helps me to remember all notary laws.


September 17, 2017

Get off your Butt

Filed under: Ken Edelstein,Popular on Linked In — admin @ 12:11 am

Get off your Butt
Ever listen to Bolero? It’s basically the same musical note strings repeated over and over. There is minor variation but the major effect is that the music stays the same but gets louder and louder. Sound familiar? That’s the way the Forum here (and on similar sites) seems to be going. A constant repetition of the same old and tired gripes. Of course you have a right to feel slighted when screwed about no/low/late payment. But are you venting your frustration in the right direction? Perhaps you are your problem.

The single most cost effective form of marketing your services is business card distribution. Did you miss that? OK, for those that are not the brightest bulb in the chandelier – go back and reread the first sentence of this paragraph. Good, now we both know the secret to digging out of the signing swamp. You need a broad base of customers, hundreds of them. Hanging on with a few clients = financial doom. Yes, I said hundreds. Why? Because most of the time they do not need your notary services. But, with several hundred knowing about you, some will call. To them you are “the one” not one of many to underpay.

So, exactly what is business card distribution? It involves getting off your tail feathers and actually SELLING YOURSELF. Get a local map, draw a circle with the radius of the circle ten miles from your home location. That covers a lot of territory. Probably includes many, many business locations. You need to visit them individually and present a few (half a dozen works for me) business cards. They are cheap. I order 5000 at a time from VistaPrint, specifying their slowest service – and the cost is pennies per card. Make the card a work of art. Don’t forget to put some “keeper” information on the back. No, not a calendar; something forever useful.

Want to give your card even more impact? Write a cover letter that describes your services and make sure to include useful information. You might cover the requirements for someone to be notarized, your experience, your availability; and a bit about the person that you are. Perhaps you will choose to put a bit more into your face to face contact – a small gift. A pen, a letter opener, a keychain – something. See for one way to build a repeat relationship – surely you can think of more and better ideas. But you have to DO them.

I’m a payment first kind of guy. I used to have “dun the turds day – the last Monday of the month” – that’s history now. Virtually all of my work is prepaid via PayPal, especially with signing services or structured settlements. They don’t like to pay. I have a BBB A+ rating and will extend credit to strangers who have the same. But back to business card distribution.

You want to get your card into the hands of people whose time is more valuable than yours. Or, to put it another way: their time is more valuable than your fee. A doctor is not going to make a trip to the bank to have a “qualify for adoption” statement notarized. Paying your truly trivial fee allows the doctor to meet a patient and earn much more than your fee. A manager at a big store does not want to go to a notary; they can call you (IF THEY KNOW YOU EXIST) to come to them and simply make it a business expense (it’s not coming out of their own pocket).

It’s work. Make a route – visit hundreds of locations with your 6 cards, cover letter and perhaps a small gift. General Notary Work is easier and payment is immediate. You just have to get off your Butt, Please. I’m tired of all the griping about signings. Also, with a good revenue stream from your General Notary Work you can tell SSS (Sleazy Signing Service) to prepay or go away. Be prepared for a surprise. SSS will often prepay if you stand your ground. Many have called me back a half hour later to submit to MY terms.


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September 10, 2017

Initial Notary Contact Check List

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 12:27 am

Initial Notary Contact Check List
Ring, Ring, Ring – does the sound foretell revenue, or will the caller merely function to “busy” your cell phone? Most of us are Mobile Notaries, we do not maintain a “walk in” location, and we go to our clients to earn a “travel” fee. Many callers gloss over this fact; they see the word Notary and want to go to your location. Sometimes they just ring the bell; usually to find that the Notary is “out”. More often they call, now the challenge is to determine their expectations.
Moving the Bottom Line to the Top Line – A quick way to separate the “tire kickers” from the buyers is to quickly state your minimum notary fee, prior to getting into the gory details. “My minimum Mobile Notary fee is $XX. Responses vary from “WOW, that’s a Lot” to “no problem”.

Get the data needed to formulate a Quote – The basic information is What, When and Where – there is more that you need to know; but those three are a good start. When and where are obvious – usually. I’ve been “sucker punched” with an address that sounded routine, but turned out to be the United Nations building; with very time consuming security procedures. Also be careful about the when, if it’s not soon; check for holiday traffic and stormy weather!

Ahhh, the What – There are other aspects, but the two that you really must nail are Exactly what is to be notarized, and how many notarizations are required. I ask “how many notarizations are required?” and they respond “one”. They often are responding about “how many people are being notarized” not how many notarizations are required. So, I have modified my question. I now ask “how many signatures will be notarized?”. If I have to ID 37 affiants to a single contract, to me that is 37 notarizations; even if I stamp and sign only once. Also, it’s vital to determine exactly what document is to be processed. I can’t do Wills, or copies of NY Birth Certs, and many other vital records.

By now you should have a good idea that the task is doable. They agreed to the fee, and it probably is more than the “minimum” initially mentioned. Also, you know what, when and where. So far it’s a go, but will it be a pleasant session for the notary?

More that you must find out – Are you the person I will be notarizing? Often a relative or clerical is assigned the task of “arranging” the notary. If you are not speaking to the affiant how do you know that they speak English, or some other language you are fluent with? Ask! And, of course you need to find out what the affiant has for ID. Going to a large office building? You need the company name, what floor they are on, and perhaps the room number. Want to wait in the lobby for clearance? Probably not, so ask for a pass to be called down to the lobby to be there prior to your arrival. Did you get a contact cell number that will be answered while you are in route to the appointment? You might get stuck behind a fire truck, can you reach them?

A lawyer’s time and advice are his stock in trade, said President Lincoln. I value my time too. It’s not unreasonable to ask if the affiant will be able to meet with you as scheduled. “You want me there at 4PM, will you (or the affiant) be able to meet with me at that time? It’s a fine line between being perceived as “pushy” and sitting for an hour for a base fee. I’ve told admin assistants that I cannot be late for a subsequent appointment and must leave in half an hour.


July 27, 2017

Punch your client’s ticket

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 10:44 am

PUNCH your client’s Ticket
Those of us who grew up watching Black & White TV, and carried books made of paper to class; are aware of technologies unknown to the PC / IOS / Android / Virtual Reality generation.

You are probably familiar with a hand held hole puncher. They are still used in NY State by Motor Vehicle Inspection stations. They punch out the expiration month of the sticker that goes on the windshield. Only one hole is permitted so a simple round hole will do. Other hand held punches were different. They, as used by railroads had a variety of punch out designs. EBay “hand held railroad punch” to see many.
This “ancient technology” can be used by notaries to advantage. Offer your client every 5th visit at half price. Or, perhaps free on the 10th visit – their choice. When you present your business card use a “Railroad Punch” with a unique design to punch a hole in the business card that you leave with the client. Choose a really interesting punch out design. Take care that you do not punch over your phone number; you want your client to be able to call again!

On each subsequent visit, punch an additional hole. The unique shapes available on old Railroad punches are virtually impossible to duplicate. Even with a razor blade it’s just not doable.

Why this really works. You are giving them something unique – nobody else that your client knows markets in this manner. Speaking of unique – that punched hole truly IS unique. They will keep your card just because of the punch-out!

It’s also a secure technology. A railroad ticket would be good for the lowest fare punched. Once the conductor punched a ticket, even an exact duplicate of the punch would be useless. A very simple and practical protection against raising the value of the ticket. Punching a higher value would be useless, and punching a lower value would be pointless.

Thus, your client would not be able to manipulate your business card to receive unearned freebies. Moving past the security aspect; the “collector instinct” in all of us “kicks in”. It’s just human nature to want to accumulate additional punches. Perhaps for a really big (expensive) job you punch twice?

Giving clients a freebie or discount is nothing new. What is new is the uniqueness of this approach, they have not seen it before – that makes you memorable. And, being memorable is what you want. It’s possible to take the concept to a higher level. Custom hole punchers are available, but tend to be rather expensive. I can picture a miniature notary seal, an embosser; whatever you can imagine.

Be a neat hole puncher. Client involvement in the process, cements it into their memory. Ask for the garbage can and punch out the “chad” into the garbage – not on the floor or their desk. Similar to the effect of embossing, a quality die punching leave a great impression (actually in this case – the lack of an impression). But, I digress.

Don’t get carried away with the puncher – “marking” the pages you notarize with your hole puncher is a very bad idea. Use it only on the business card you distribute. Putting in that first punch and explaining the benefits of acquiring additional punches is a great way to spend a few additional moments with your new repeat client. They will be amused and you will profit.


July 25, 2017

When you’re in a hole — stop digging

Filed under: Ken Edelstein,Popular on Linked In — admin @ 10:12 am

When you’re in a hole – stop digging
I’ve been with for over a decade. Looking back seems to be the same as looking forward, which is the same as looking at today. For as long as I can remember there has been griping. Not getting paid. Getting paid very slowly. Low pay. Absurd offers. The size of the packages. The lateness of the docs. And my personal favorite: the lack of signing company “loyalty” to notaries. That’s from an alternate reality for sure.

I was a Psych major. Actually I had a split major: Psych and Data Processing. I figured it would be good to learn how to deal with both people and machines. It actually worked well for me. I’ve written a few computer related blogs – based on about a quarter century in the industry. This installment will call upon the little I learned about psychology. First, a disclaimer: I am definitely not a Psychologist or MD. What follows are the rants of someone who, admittedly, has not seen it all; but possibly has seen “most of it”.

It’s not a clinical definition; it’s something I heard on TV. To whit: the definition of insanity. “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result”. Now, prior to continuing, with that in mind – reread the first paragraph. Picture a dog chasing its tail. Not easy. But, when the wind is right Fido will manage to grasp that tail and just might put a mighty bite into that appendage. Does the definition of insanity or the tale of the tail sound like something that relates to some peoples notary career?

Still not convinced? OK, reread the title of this entry. So, by now you are probably wondering just where I am going with this. In a nut-shell: you must CHANGE. and the lesser sites offer exposure, you know that. Possibly you were wise enough to have the 123notary staff (and the others) spiff up your listing. Some just refuse – they feel their written scribbles are clear and well organized. Or, they prefer to feed their ego at the expense of their pocketbook. Very few of us, I’m a perfect example; are able to present ourselves in a well written, concise and effective manner. Ask the pros to help you with your listings!

I’ve lightly covered this issue before, now I’m going to use a sledgehammer. The industry for notaries is changing. Being a one product person is fast path to financial ruin. So often I see in the forum notaries who like doing signings – and refuse to do anything else! Here in Manhattan we used to have hot dog carts aplenty. Now they have morphed into food trucks that serve a wide variety. If you sit on a One Legged Stool you Are Going to fall on your Butt, you must offer a variety of services. Notary Protest, Apostille, Fingerprinting, training corporate notaries, etc.

One notary wrote to me that I am the one in the “dream world”. “Outside of your dream world of Manhattan, with all the fat cats; Middle America does not use mobile notaries – they just drive to the bank and have it done for free”. Not all, as I have often stated. Many value their time, more than a notary fee, and they do NOT know of your existence. You did not give them your business card and tell them what you can do. It takes real work to “build the business” – mostly the low balls will cold call hoping you jump at a 45$ edoc with total fax back. Learn to do many things and let those who can afford a fair fee know about you. Doing nothing = digging deeper.


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July 18, 2017

Clients will work WITH you

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 10:48 am

Clients will work WITH you
Today I had a series of communications, some via email, and some via phone; about a pending assignment. It’s fascinating for me to note the growing level of assistance my client is providing, certainly due to their being required to pre-pay. This will be best related in chronological order.

The Initial Contact – I was asked if I was willing to go to a town about 40 miles distant. That might be a “local” call to many. However in the New York City area it’s at least an hour, probably closer to 1.5 hours. Nothing else was asked. I replied yes and with my base fee (not knowing what was needed) for the trip.

The Second Contact – A cheery voice – “that’s great” – I will send you the details via email, it’s for early tomorrow morning. But, I said, just a moment; there is more to discuss. My fee is paid on my web site – at this time – only then do I make a calendar entry. “We don’t pay in advance, do I have to find someone else” Yes, I answered. Sorry, that does not work for us.

The Third Contact – About two hours later that same day, after they probably made many calls. Are you still available for that early morning assignment? I am trying to get your prepayment approved. Sorry, no – early tomorrow was taken – would noon tomorrow work for you? Probably, we will get back to you shortly.

The Forth Contact – We checked with the site and they will be closed tomorrow, does Monday work for you. Yes, at this time; but I do not make a calendar appointment until payment is received. We will make payment later today or tomorrow (Friday). Fine, but if someone else wants to book Monday morning I will accept as you have not processed payment. Nb: commitments must be mutual Quid Pro Quo (this for that).
Comment – Notice that only when payment is made in advance for the trip did the caller bother to see if the affiant would be available. With prepayment they had “skin in the game” and clearly would wind up paying me to meet at a closed facility. They were quite willing to assign it on a “after you succeed we will pay” basis. I’ve been doing this a long time (10+ years). I set the rules very clearly. I always ask if the ID presented will have the same name as the name to be notarized on the document. Often I am asked what happens if they differ. You will have my sympathy for a failed non notarizing event; but not a refund. I ask for assurance of the existence of the necessary – if you send me to a situation where proceeding would be illegal, it’s your loss.

The Fifth Contact – we are checking to make sure all requirements are met. Your payment will be made later today (Thursday) or tomorrow AM. That’s fine, as soon as it is received it goes on the calendar if there is no conflicting assignment.
Comment – Note that I am “defending my calendar” – I do not confirm an appointment. Nor will I call the affiant to schedule as that commits me to showing up. It’s a medical records pick up / notarize job. Without my PayPal payment, to me; it does not exist and I will take no part other than stating my “current” availability. Well, it’s 10PM and nothing yet – no payment – no detailed who/what/when/where – just vague assurances.

I’m stopping now; will resume at noon tomorrow and chronicle what transpires, if anything. I’m back – the new day begins with a PayPal payment! However, there is a new “issue”. It’s urgent to process in Early AM on Monday; but the facility is closed till Monday and no one can assure me the affiant will be present. Sooooo, it’s a call to my client asking if they wish me to leave early for a 10AM, or wait till 10AM to confirm availability. I stress the former is “at your risk” – if affiant not available (of course after waiting a reasonable time) – then a subsequent trip will become a new charge. It’s a go. Monday I am due on location at 10AM.

You probably have received some emails from “Vendor Management” in which you are the Vendor and they are providing the Management. Turn That Around – Do you run your business or do your clients run you?


July 13, 2017

Making half notarized POA photocopy valid

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 9:51 am

Making half notarized POA photocopy valid
The Initial Call – Someone please leave a comment and let me know that I’m not the only one. I get a constant stream of “Gotcha’s”. It was a hospital POA assignment – should be routine. But, similar to a plaintiff withholding key information from their attorney; my clients often fail to mention things, even when I ask. This time, after the usual screening questions (ID, availability, rational, etc.); I get a new surprise when I arrive.

Educating The Client – After arriving at a fee for the described work (in this case one POA and one Health Care Proxy); I cover the Use of the POA. Most clients don’t realize that it is a “surrender upon use” not a “show and retain” document. Eg: When the bank allows use of a Power of Attorney to open a safe deposit box, they will retain the Original “wet signed” / embossed document. Note that I wrote “embossed document” I did not write the word “copy”. IMHO a photocopy of a notarized document is not itself a notarized document. Perhaps that is why you cannot FAX or email a deed to be recorded. But, again I stray – old age? So, I describe the surrender of the POA and ask if several POA’s might be what is needed.

Client Delighted – Armed with new knowledge, the client now wants a few additional Power of Attorney documents to be processed. I admonish (perhaps too strong a word) the client to duplicate the single POA to make the desired number of unsigned copies, prior to signatures or initialing. Will do they respond, and we agree upon a reasonable “up fee” for the additional work. Client made PayPal payment for first two documents and the additional fee will be cash on site.

At the Hospital – I arrive to find one Health Care Proxy, and a total of five Power of Attorney documents. But, to my surprise the “Agent” (my employer) had already been notarized prior to the Principal (the patient in the hospital). That has never happened in the several centuries I have been doing this. Thus the client has four photocopies of the POA – with the notarization of the Agent; not good. Many would probably just continue and notarize the signature of the Principal – using proper procedures. That would result in one valid Power of Attorney and four “half valid” copies as they do not have original Agent signatures or notarizations.

Making it Right – Clearly on the four Power of Attorney documents with the photocopy of the signature / notary – the signature of the Agent and notarization must be redone. I break out my “Acknowledgement in a Stamp” and find “clear space”. I have the Agent sign again, this time using blue ink. I complete the new Acknowledgement and also emboss it (as is my custom with any notarization). It did look slightly “odd”. The Agent was notarized in two different counties on the same day on the same document. I told my client if necessary to explain why, on the four copies a new notarization was required should anyone ask.

Wrap Up – The public has many misconceptions about notarizations, many thinking a photocopy is equivalent to an original. Few who have never used Power of Attorney documents realize that they are surrendered (usually) upon use. These are not “Legal Advice” issues as they are not specific to anyone; certainly not my client. Taking the time to share knowledge, and making the work totally acceptable – define us as dedicated and professional civil commission holders.

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