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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 (http://www.countycomm.com/swisskey.html) – 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 ( http://weaknees.com ) – 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.

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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!

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February 8, 2017

Unsubscribe

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

Unsubscribe
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 Pobox.com is now known as Fastmail.com. The takeover has actually improved service. I signed up with Pobox.com in September of 1995 and took kene@pobox.com 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:
Unsubscribe

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

The email address to remove is: kene@pobox.com 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 http://keyboardexpress.com than editing my spam filter.
Take control of YOUR inbox. Make THEM remove you.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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 – http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16793 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.

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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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November 24, 2016

Photocopy of ID for a Power of Attorney?

Filed under: Ken Edelstein,Power of Attorney — Tags: — admin @ 11:38 pm

Photocopy of ID for a Power of Attorney?
Confession is good for the soul, though sometimes it might land you in the Pokey. With trembling fingers and much trepidation; I relate the following sad story. Before doing so, please understand that I receive many of my blog entries from what happened to me: http://kenneth-a-edelstein.com

It’s a close call, perhaps even a tie. No, I’m giving the Power of Attorney top billing for fraud potential, first runner up will be the Deed. I have heard the Power of Attorney referred to as “the cocaine of legal documents” – strong language indeed! With that, and the first paragraph as background:

The call comes in from a highly distraught caller, the parent is terminal. The sibling needs a Power of Attorney – urgently and quickly. It was difficult to obtain the information I require to determine if the request should be accepted. I don’t have “higher” ID requirements to process a Power of Attorney; to me a notarization is a notarization. Sometimes the methodology differs, but, basically we ID, witness signature, give oath, then complete notary section. In addition to a nice clean, well inked, stamp; it is my custom to emboss every time.

Back to the caller. With hospital situations the ID is often a problem. I managed to learn that both the patient and the sibling have driver license photo ID. Never skimp on the oath with any part of a Power of Attorney. So, I inquire as to the patient’s ability to understand the document, my notary oath; and is able to sign unassisted. OK so far, there will be two copies processed of the Power of Attorney; and both the Principal and the sibling Agent will be notarized. As this was to be done in the room of a terminal cancer patient, I was told I would have to “suit up” to protect the patient.

In a prior blog http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16469 – I had harsh words for notaries who refused a blind affiant. Well, I’m sure many would not want this assignment. Going into a terminal cancer situation is emotionally taxing. Again, I stress the “ground rules” for me to be able to notarize. The Agent wishes to PayPal, immediately – probably assuming that would assure my arrival. She mentioned that the hospital was in possession of the patient’s credentials, and that obtaining the driver license would not be a problem.

Surprise. I am shown a photocopy of the Patient’s driver license. I gently go into my explanation of why a photocopy cannot be accepted. I had to. Unfortunately, the Agent broke down in tears. The Power of Attorney, while not being a Health Care Proxy; was desperately needed for some expenses. I am as empathetic as most, but a Photocopy? Not a chance – not because it’s a Power of Attorney, but because that does not (in my sole opinion) meet the NY State standard of being shown “adequate proof”.

“The Patient Representative just delivered it to me”, “they cannot release the patient’s property unless I have a Power of Attorney”. Verifying with the Patient Representative, who had multiple hospital photo ID tags prominently displayed, “I cannot release any items, but did provide the driver license photocopy, made moments ago”. I accept the photocopy as valid ID, now being “adequate proof” – in my opinion.

I suit up. Facemask, hand washing, rubber gloves, cap and complete cover all gown. The patient cannot talk due to apparatus in throat; but is aware and answers some basic “understanding” questions with head motions. Patient, now Principal on the Power of Attorney, is just barely able to sign. I administer the oath and receive an affirmative series of “nods”. We adjourn to a conference room to process the Agent of the Power of Attorney and complete the paperwork. Another “rough” one, complete with a variance from “standards”.
I’m glad I was called first. I would not want “declining notaries” to exacerbate my client’s mental state.

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November 20, 2016

Power Of Attorney Documents – Submitted as a double credit document

Power of Attorney vs a Will
There are many types of Power of Attorney documents. However, the general theme is that someone is granting authority to someone else. A Will contains the maker’s words, directives and decisions. The executor of a Will is not a decider of asset allocation, rather a facilitator of the deceased’s allocation desires. In contrast to a Will, the Agent of the Principal (of a Power of Attorney) “may” have the authority to “call the shots” – or, the Agent may be severely constrained. Usually the Agent has “some” authority to sign for the Principal. In almost all cases, the authority granted by a Power of Attorney ceases upon the Principal’s death. The Principal granting power to the Agent may revoke such power at any time unless incapacitated. A Will can also be revoked, until Probate…..

Lifespan of the Power of Attorney
The Durable Power of Attorney – (General or Limited) remains in effect when the Principal becomes incapacitated. If the Power of Attorney is not Durable, the authority of the Agent does not exist if the Principal is in no condition to revoke the authority.

The Springing Power of Attorney – Similar to the Durable, the Springing only “comes into effect” when the Principal is incapacitated. As the definition of incapacitation can vary, the specific definition of the “trigger” should be specified in detail in the document itself.

Scope of the Power of Attorney

The General Power of Attorney – This allows the Agent to sign the name of the Principal unless it’s illegal for them to do so. One example: you can’t grant power for someone to sign your notary signature. If the word Durable is included, the power remains unless revoked or death of the Principal.

The Limited Power of Attorney – (sometimes called a Special Power of Attorney) grants from Principal to Agent authority to perform specific actions. Often this format contains an expiration date. Commonly used with loan documents, authority is granted for the Agent to sign various paperwork related to obtaining real estate.

Entitlement of Agent to Receive Payment

Unrelated to the “Gift Rider”; when the Agent manages (in some jurisdictions) property, they have a statutory right to be paid. Amounts vary, but a very rough guideline (unless otherwise specified) is:
3% of money received by the attorney,
3% of money paid out by the attorney on your behalf, and
3/5 of 1% of the average annual value of the assets covered under your power of attorney.

In personal transactions, the Agent has no right to be paid unless specified by the Principal. In some cases, the Agent applies to the Court to allow payment for Agent Services. In the vast majority of what we will see as Notary Publics, payment is rarely a concern or specified. When a payment arrangement exists, it will usually be part of a separate contract and not contained in the distributed Power of Attorney.

How the Agent uses their Authority

Assume Lock is giving Key an Agent relationship. Key would probable use one of the following formats:
Lock by Key as Attorney-In-Fact
Key as Attorney-In-Fact for Lock
Opinions vary, I prefer the first example because Lock is written first matching the “under the line”.

Considerations for the Notary

ID – Follow your jurisdiction requirements – To The Letter. Power of Attorney documents can easily be litigated in a court. Look very closely at the ID, if it’s a 35 year ago picture does it look like the affiant?

Capability – a tough one, but I like to ask why they are signing, what does this document do?

Initials – Almost never required, but let’s think about it a bit. Initials are mainly used to acknowledge seeing a page. But, I submit they also “mark” a specific page as having been accepted. While I don’t suggest affiants to initial each page (Principal, Agent(s), Monitor(s) and Successor Agent(s)) – I would insist upon it if I was the Principal and not the Notary.

Blank Lines – The Principal should consider a N/A in each not-applicable area. For example: there is usually an area for the “second agent”. If this was subsequently completed, and a “loose ack” added to the document – it might appear that the second agent was approved by the Principal.

Oath – I know, many do not bother to administer an oath. On Power of Attorney documents ya better!

Suggest More, Earn More – Under most jurisdictions, a photocopy of a notarized document – is Not a notarized document. One copy will suffice for a task specific use, as in a Signing. However, a general care giver might need many copies. It is likely that a financial institution will require an original for them to permit the Agent to use their power(s). Your client might not know this, often they assume a photo copy will work the same as an original that was “wet signed” and embossed. A few dollars for each extra copy is a value to your client and might add up to some Sesame Chicken for you.

Witnesses – rare for Power of Attorney but does occur. I feel the witnesses should also be notarized whenever possible. The California “Long Form” Acknowledgement is perfect for this as it has specific areas to associate the “loose ack” to witnessing the document.

Closing Thoughts

I receive many calls for processing Power of Attorney documents. Often the caller is somewhat angry about their recent notary experience. They relate that the notary at the bank refused to notarize a totally legal to process document, it’s bank policy – they relate. The bank does not want their “deep pockets” as part of litigation. These are much more likely to be contested than an application for a passport.

It’s not often, but sometimes someone wants me to notarize their self written Power of Attorney. Of course I can do that, but I caution them that, in the majority of my experience – the document is not in a state specific standard form. Furthermore, your document might not be accepted as you intend. I am willing to proceed, but you have been cautioned that it might not suffice. They can make an informed decision.

Sometimes for a Power of Attorney signing I receive a copy (photocopy or via email) of the relevant Power of Attorney. They send it so I can “verify” and “accept” the Agent signing for the Principal. It is my opinion that I have no requirement to see that document. First, I am not an Attorney, and “technically” am not qualified to judge, read, or take any action; even if the original “wet signed” was submitted. Nor would I be in a position to know if the authority had been revoked, or if the Principal is deceased. When I notarize “Lock by Key as Attorney-in-Fact” – I am notarizing Key – only. Key is stating explicitly, and under oath (I think – it gets a bit fuzzy here, I’m not an attorney) that Key currently has AIF authority.

At the start of this blog entry I mentioned Lifespan and Scope and covered the more commonly used documents. Note that their characteristics can be combined in multiple ways. I think there could be, of the ones covered Four Factorial permutations: 4 * 3 * 2 *1 = 24 variations! This is one document that I never want to have to read and explain (with liability!) to those I will notarize.

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