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May 2, 2018

Do a Half Fast Embossing

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 11:21 am

Do a Half Fast Embossing
I hope you did not read the title quickly. I accidently included the word “Fast” in my title, sorry. My suggestion is actually to do a half embossing. Sounds odd? What did you expect from me? Let me attempt to redeem what little remains of my reputation.

Ever notice some packages include an extra acknowledgement or perhaps a few. It’s probably not that they are planning something nefarious, just planning some illegal flexibility. They want to have those completed notarizations (on a separate sheet of paper) so they can be used on a document that they forgot to include. Or, equally likely, on a document that has to be redrawn, without the need for the “inconvenience” of an additional notary visit to their client.

Sometimes the provided acknowledgement form provides an area for filling in exactly what signature is being notarized. That is not a failsafe protection for the notary. The proceeding document can be swapped and resigned; with the “what this ack applies to” information being the same – just a part of a page in the middle of the mortgage needed to be changed. Thus, your acknowledgement is now following a signature you did not witness even though your carefully filled in description precisely matches the numbers on the replaced mortgage.

When the notary section is on a separate page it can be a challenge to definitively associate your notarization with the actual and specific signature being notarized. Some have used the time honored methodology of embossing the signature page of the document and the following ack at the same time. Generally this works poorly as most embossers are designed for a single page of about twenty pound stock paper. But, playing devil’s advocate (a familiar role for me) let’s assume you have been to the gym often and give that embosser a mighty squeeze. OK, now there is a clear impression on both pages. Problem solved? I think not.

When the newly signed mortgage is followed by your embossed ack it looks routinely normal. It’s not “usual” for the signature page to be embossed if it does not include a notary section. Nothing was gained by adding an embossing to the mortgage signature page. Nada. So, now that I have dwelled on the problem, let me offer a solution that works for me.

What follows is “a solution” not necessarily the best solution to mating a following ack page to the prior signed page. It’s simple, do a half embossing. First do the routine job, with your regular embossing on the notary page. Subsequently lay the mortgage signature page to the left and your notarization page to the right; both side by side flat on the table. Then emboss such that half of your seal is on the mortgage page and half on the ack page. Yes, the ack page already has both your stamp and embossing. Now you will be adding half of your embosser to each page.

Now, unless your acknowledgement is held alongside the prior page it will look quite odd, where is the other half? It already has your complete seal, why only half at the bottom? I’m not a lawyer but someday I might be a witness. If asked did you notarize this signature and the notary part has half my embosser and the mortgage does not have the other half…. Let’s face it; we get peanuts for our exposure to litigation. Anything we can do to strengthen our “shields” for the day when we are called to testify and defend our actions – is worth a small bit of extra effort.

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April 15, 2018

A Job Declined

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — Tags: , — admin @ 11:20 am

A Job Declined
Are you available for a “simple” job late tonight? Up goes my alert status. The caller used two vague take advantage of the notary words. When they say the job is simple it generally has more strings attached to it than a cat with a ball of yarn. Also, late tonight can have many definitions. So I reply with my standard request to know the What, When and Where and if there are any other aspects that I should know about. I’m glad I asked.

The affiant is flying in to Newark airport, not too far from Manhattan. The flight is due to arrive at 2AM; stretching the late tonight a bit. Location is not too far at the southern tip of Manhattan. The document is a simple one page affidavit. Once signed, and when I return home, I am to scan and email. The original goes via FedEx to my client.

OK so far, I quote double my routine fee (for 2AM) and mention the need for exact shipping address with company name, zip code and phone number at destination. Great is the response, we will send you the document in a few minutes. Just a moment please, there is one more aspect to making this work for both of us. My fee, plus the estimated FedEx fee is payable at this time. Do you mean that you want to be paid in advance? Yes, there are many things that can go wrong with this type of assignment.

The plane can be delayed, as is often the case in Newark airport. The affiant my have ID that does not match the document. The affiant may choose to not sign the document. Also, you are asking me to send you an invoice for my fee plus the FedEx charges. Thus, you want me to incur all expenses and wait for your law firm to add me as a vendor and process payment. I do not work that way and neither does anybody else. I can’t even order a T shirt and have Sears send it to me with an invoice for me to pay after receiving it.

Don’t you lawyers insist upon a “retainer” prior to doing anything for your clients? Well, it’s the same for me. The reason that I require payment in advance is to put all “risk” on your side. If any of the problems I mentioned above occur and I am unable to complete the project I truly doubt that you would send me a check. I guarantee to do my part, but my actions rely upon the assurances that you have given to me regarding the assignment.

It is the policy of our firm to process an invoice only after the work has been completed and received, inspected and approved. Well it’s my policy to receive, especially for this early AM, no affiant contact job, my full fee in advance; including out of pocket FedEx charges. Thus, while I certainly do respect your business policies; they conflict with mine. I must decline to accept your assignment. There are many notaries in Manhattan and 123notary, where you found me, lists quite a few more. A few phone calls might find someone who will accept your terms.

If it is close by, during routine hours, and the caller sounds “right” – I go for cash. It’s nice to avoid the PayPal deductions. But when there are “unusual” aspects, I require payment up front. To protect my calendar my phrase is that I do not put the task on my calendar until payment is received; the time slot will be held for 15 minutes awaiting payment. When complex or unusual jobs fail, due to circumstances beyond my control – they never want to send a check for “efforts”.

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April 8, 2018

An Absurd Forgery of “my” Notarization

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 11:17 am

An Absurd Forgery of “my” Notarization

I have just been speaking with an insurance company investigator. When the caller identified themselves I took the precaution of verifying the caller via several methods. Once convinced of the caller identity the facts were relayed to me. I then proved the document to be a forgery.

There were several interesting aspects to this particular identity thief. They managed to swindle a car dealership in the Midwest using a notary stamp clearly purporting to represent a New York notary – me. The stamp, to any New York notary appeared false, having both improper information (my address) and lacking required information (the primary county of my registry).

Thus, so far, the stamp is being “used” outside of its lawful jurisdiction and was improperly designed.

Now for the truly strange aspect: The document was a very brief Power of Attorney, ostensibly from the owner giving the Principal the right to receive the vehicle and register it. The seriously weird part was that the “notary” also was the Agent who received the authority.

I don’t know the notary rules where you are reading this, but I would guess that the applicable New York notary laws probably apply where you are reading these words.

To the best of my understanding (and common sense) the notary is not permitted to either be a part of the transaction nor have a financial interest in its outcome.

Strike One: The notary stamp is formulated improperly (of course the general public won’t know)
Strike Two: The notarization is taking place outside of the state indicated.
Strike Three: The forger forged the Principals signature and the Notary signature to make them the Agent at the car dealership and did indeed receive the vehicle.

Not wise in my opinion as the registration leaves footprints and a vehicle license plate to be caught.

So where am I going with this? We, as both active notaries and users of notary services are well aware of the various regulations that are applicable. So, rather than keeping that knowledge to ourselves, I ask the notaries to add “mini lessons” to their clients to educate them about the basics of notary law. The public will easily grasp the concept that a notary stamp that includes the name of a state can only be used within that state. They can also be informed that the notary must be totally “outside” of the transaction, not part of it in any way; especially with any financial or other gain.

Two simple concepts that would take but a moment to explain. As “officers of the court” holding commissions we have a duty to serve the public, not just collect fees from them.

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January 15, 2018

The Notary / Bear Trap

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 8:42 am

The Notary / Bear Trap
All of us know what rolls downhill. The trick in our business is to, as in tennis, smack that turd back from whence it came. In this rant I will cover some stuff that came rolling down the hill toward me, and how, like the post office is fond of stamping: I “Return to Sender”. This intro paragraph should placate our oft times confused leader who wants the essence of the article to appear “up front”.

I’m not giving away any confidential information when I reveal the location of an assignment I just received. It’s 620 8th Ave. in Manhattan. Butt (head of Title person?), errrr – but – that is a 50 story office building with many hundreds of tenants; and all they gave me was the address, no company name. They did provide a borrower contact number – left a few messages – no return call. That which rolls downhill does help to create the pretty flowers; my fee has been PayPal “up front”. I did email Title my situation, perhaps they will answer, probably not. What’s a notary to do? Their best. So, at the appointed time I will go to this massive structure and ask at the security desk for the borrower by name. If that don’t work, I again call Title and tell them “I tried”.

Another job scheduled for the middle of next week, did not provide a contact number. So, I email requesting it. They reply with an out of country cell number. That I will not call. I got burned on that issue last month. It’s so very easy on my Android (much better than Apple – oops I feel the flaming comments scorching my tail feathers already) to just press the number shown in the incoming email. We spoke about ten minutes, it added 36$ to my cell bill. I emailed the person who I helped with an image of the charge – aint heard from them since; probably never will.
It’s been several months ago that I last mentioned getting prepaid, I prefer PayPal. But, someone wanted to use an alternative “similar” system. I found that I would receive a payment notification but that the actual payment “might” be made at a later date. Or, perhaps never. A quick search for “PayPal Alternatives” shows quite a list – one that I do not wish to explore. If you are requiring payment in advance – be sure that it actually is “in your account” in advance.

Call an auto body shop, ask them for detailed instructions; the real nitty gritty about how to repaint a fender. Tell them you want exactly what products to use, and the proper technique to apply the various applications. Hmmm, you got a dial tone? That’s because they are not in the educational business; neither am I. The caller wants details about the procedure to process their College Degree for use in the UAE. It’s complex, many details; perhaps translation is also required. If I have the assignment I will research and find the details; to earn my fee. But, to “take a guess” without research, might make me the defendant in court. E&O don’t cover that.
Polonius said it best: This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man. My expression is to be “of good heart” – do you feel the deal is fair and that you are doing the best job legally possible? That’s the starting point. Now, just require the same from your business partners. When you feel they are “rolling a bit downhill” in your direction – call them out for it and insist they too do their best. Last I heard it’s the seller (you) who defines the deal. Defend yourself or wind up in a pile of downhill roll.

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December 21, 2017

The Automatic Repayment Form

Filed under: Ken Edelstein,Popular on Linked In — admin @ 8:28 am

The Automatic Repayment Form
Many packages have this form. You have seen it dozens of times. It’s the one where the borrower is to enter their account information for automatic deduction monthly. IMHO there is only one field that must be completed: the signature of the borrower, and the date signed. Heads up reader; further down the page I will prove to you that, even though you write not a word on this form; you have been processing it “against the law” – honest.

Some borrowers hail this as a great convenience; others don’t like an “auto dip” into their account for any reason. Generally, and I have never seen one to the contrary, this is optional. In other words I have never seen acceptance of this arrangement as required for the loan to process. However, completion and acceptance “sometimes” is tied in with a deduction of cost to the borrower; therefore they should consider the option seriously.

In my experience, often the borrower does not have the “voided check or deposit slip” with them when we meet at a Starbucks; but still want the optional feature. Some technically savvy folks have all the information in their phone, others call a spouse. It’s not mandatory “at the table”, the information can be supplied at a later date to Title, LO, or bank.

Now to make good on my “against the law” issue. The pros who take the time to read blog entries to find a few grains of useful information are my audience. As a pro you are aware that if the borrower copy contains a Right to Cancel – the RTC in the borrower copy (in addition to the set returned) also needs to be completed. You do do that, right? Well, now I have in front of me a “Comical Bank – Automatic Transfer Services” form. At the very bottom it has “As required under Reg E, please provide a copy of the completed form to the customer”. Not having a copier with me I assume the borrower copy must be completed to meet that obscure requirement.

Then there are the “I don’t wanna” people. I stand with them – I just don’t like the autopay concept. The way I handle them is to request the sign and date – that proves that I did offer them the form. And also suggest to them (gasp! Is this legal advice?) that they write in big block letters the word DECLINE somewhere next to their signature. The “don’t want it” borrowers have not objected to this procedure when I explain my need to prove that the form was tendered.

If they want the feature – try to get, if possible the “fill in” information. Otherwise you are bouncing back to your employer the need to contact the borrower to complete the package. That is what they are paying you to do. Of course you remain neutral on the wisdom of accepting – your job is to offer the opportunity to “sign up”, not to pan it or to be an advocate. If the info is not available, a Post-It on the form with “Info not available at the table” is the best you can do.
The bank really really wants these automatic transfers; it saves them time and money. That is why they sometimes shave the interest rate or other cost – a clear benefit to the borrower. If you spot a financial incentive it’s worth mentioning to the borrower. That’s giving information the borrower can use to make their decision; again – present factually and impartially. It’s not a complex form. Doing your best to have it completed according to the borrower wishes is the goal.

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December 13, 2017

My Reply to Vague Incoming Email

Filed under: Ken Edelstein,Popular on Facebook (some) — admin @ 8:23 am

My Reply to Vague Incoming Email
We receive email that is vague, but asks for specific commitment on our part. Some examples:

How much is a notary? Can you notarize my document? My boss wants to know how soon you can be here to notarize some stuff? Where are you located? Do you charge a fee for your services? What are your office hours? Can you open a few hours early, I can only be at your place at 7AM?

I used to waste time typing an answer to these generally unsigned, no phone number spam-like emails. Then I decided to reply with a canned “macro”. On the PC I use keyboardexpress, on the cell phone (Android) my Profimail email program has a similar facility. This is my reply:

Thank you for your inquiry.
I am a Mobile Notary and go to the location you specify; I do not have a walk in facility.
My fee is based on:
1. How many signatures are to be notarized.
2. Where I would be going to do the notarizations.
3. The date & time of day you wish me to arrive.
Please also include your phone number and the nature or title of what is to be notarized.
As soon as I know the 3 items above I will be able to send you a price quote.
If some aspects are not available I can make an estimate based on information provided.
I need your assurance that the person(s) to be notarized:
1. Have government issued photo ID (typically a driver license, non-driver ID, or passport (any country).
2. The name on the ID matches the name on the document to be notarized.
3. Is able to speak directly with me in the English language.
4. Is not impaired in their ability to sign and understand the document they are signing.
5. Have reviewed the document(s) and desire to sign them.
6. Will be available to meet with me when I arrive.
Note that not every document can be notarized, let me know if your requirements include:
A Will, Birth, Death, Marriage, Divorce or Education related documents

Further information is available about me on my web site. Specifically:
My A+ Better Business Bureau Accreditation via hot link bottom left my home page – directly to BBB.
My 500+ positive reviews on 123notary.com (the Reviews link, in my signature, goes there).
You will also find a large amount of useful information (not sales hype) on the topics of:

Notarization
Apostille Processing
Embassy Legalization
Obtaining Birth, Death, Marriage and other official documents.
Fingerprinting Services
PayPal: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=LVZJXNQQB2LV8
Web: http://kenneth-a-edelstein.com

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Inappropriate phone behavior
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Answering the call and then not wanting to talk.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19640

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October 24, 2017

More Notary Questions from Ken

Filed under: Ken Edelstein,Popular on Linked In — admin @ 12:36 am

You realize at the shipping depot that you forgot to double check the loan package. Upon inspection you notice that the borrower did not initial the signed signature page of the Note.

1. You make a copy of the page, email it to the borrower, requesting they initial it and FAX it to your employer, then you ship.
2. Knowing you will miss the drop off, you return to the borrower for the missing initials, and ship the next day, happy that the package is now complete.
3. Initials are not required on signed pages, so you ship with a post-it at the top of the package noting the missing initials.
4. You add the missing initials with a different color pen so they will know it was a notary correction then ship.

You are in Kansas and the property is in Montana. You have been directed to make no changes whatsoever to the docs. How do you notarize the Mortgage (State of Montana. County of Snow).

1. Leave the Venue as is, following directions to the letter, notarize directly on the Mortgage without any changes
2. Change the Venue to where the notarization takes place, crossing out the values and initialing the changes
3. Attach a new notarization to the Mortgage, ignoring the notary section that was preprinted.
4. Call the Title Company and do whatever they tell you to do.

The airbill appears fuzzy, you only have access to a dropbox, you were directed to make sure it is shipped same day.
1. It’s their airbill, use it and drop in the box.
2. Nobody answers (Signing Service, Title Co., etc.) so leave message and hold for instructions
3. Scan and email entire package to every email address involved and wait for instructions
4. Leave messages, scan & email & ship

Loan Officer sends you an email authorizing backdating the notarization to yesterday to preserve the borrower rate lock
1. Accommodate the request as you have proof that it was authorized
2. Ignore the backdate request and proceed using today’s date
3. Return (dump) the job
4. Let the borrower choose what date is to be used

Borrower signed in your place in the notary section
1. Start over using the appropriate page from the borrower copy
2. Strike and initial the error (notary & borrower initial) and sign nearby
3. Reversals are acceptable, you sign where the borrower normally signs
4. Strike and initial the error (only notary initials the strike) and sign nearby

You are 5 miles from borrower and freezing rain starts to accumulate; you gave your assurance this would be completed on time
1. You proceed to the borrower driving slowly and carefully
2. You call everyone to tell them you are dumping the job and heading home
3. Drive normally to borrower so you will not be late
4. You call borrower and tell them to meet by your house

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October 15, 2017

Ken’s list of things Notaries goof (or might goof on.)

Filed under: Ken Edelstein,Popular on Facebook (some) — admin @ 12:35 am

Most Notaries don’t make this type of mistake. Perhaps it is mostly very new Notaries or those who are just clueless. But, read this list and learn about what other Notaries do wrong and hope that you do not make the same mistake.

1. Wrong venue
2. Cut off commission end year on cheapskate notary stamp and missed filling it in
3. Unreadable notary stamp / covers preprinted text
4. Missed a sig line (in the middle of the page)
5. Allowed borrower copy (that they already had) to mix pages with live docs
6. Did not notice that some more pages printed (they were complex) and thought was working with complete set. But some still in printer output tray.
7. Email had 17 PDFs and did not keep track / printed one twice and another not at all
8. Accepted sloppy scan of airbill which would not scan at fedex/ups so arrived a day or 2 late.
9. Did not verify address with borrower, delay causes missed drop off time
10. Wrote name in notary section from anywhere other than looking at the ID / or did not change to match ID
11. Accepted photocopy of ID as ID
12. Shipped unprocessed borrower copy
13. Fed embossed end into fax first causing jam/ripped pages
14. Permitted distractions during signing – loud TV, noisey kids, dogs, etc
15. Worked in poorly lit area
16. Did not print & bring a borrower copy (just made a CD) thus cannot swap error pages
17. Opened “big mouth” and spoke about politics, religion, “smell in the air”, keep it to job at hand.
18. 2 jobs back to back, wrong docs with airbill (both jobs screwed)
19. Make commitment to complete that is impossible (not allow for traffic, distance) – job should go to closer notary.
20. Did not follow local notary law TO THE LETTER – allowing a fool to tell notary that it must meet notary standards where the property is located.
21. Idiot notary printed double sided, last page of Note shares first page of Mortgage.
22. Ran out of paper (oops no more legal) or toner – Really???
23. One name on work order, hubbie and wifie on docs – did not verify both would be available with proper ID
24. Did a “stamp and sign ONLY” without venue or notary wording or date. (when there is no notary section but it needs to be notarized)

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Notary – what do you do?
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October 10, 2017

RTC Question created by Ken

Filed under: Ken Edelstein,Popular on Linked In — admin @ 12:29 am

At the end of the package the borrower asks where the 3 day RTC form is. It’s not in the package. They insist that it should be there. You cannot reach anyone by phone.

1. You allow the borrower to hand write their RTC form and you notarize it.
2. Fortunately you have a different loan package with a RTC form with you. You duplicate it and change all entries to match the current loan.
3. You find the loan on the table is for vacation property, you don’t count Saturday when the missing form (via either 1. Or 2. Above) is created.
4. You find the loan on the table is for investment property, thus the RTC is not applicable.

Jeremy’s comments.
I have not signed loans in 12 years and when I did they were mostly refinances. However, not all loans are refinances and the rules of refinances do not apply to all loans. An owner occupied non-investment loan for a refinances gets a three day right to rescind. Investments or commercial loans might not get this privelege.

These days most packages are consolidations, purchases, Helocs, Shelocs, modifications, etc. Refinances are not as common due to the fact that interest rates have not been going down.

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October 8, 2017

Which statement is a true statement

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — Tags: , , — admin @ 12:25 am

Here is a situation that Ken Edelstein created for our learning purposes. I am crediting this blog to Ken as he created the content for the question which I really liked.

Both borrowers signed and initialed (correctly in all the right places) all the pages of a 258 page double refinance package; prior to your arrival. Which of the following statements is true.

1. They legally must resign all signaures as you did not witness any of them.
2. Only the Acknolwedgments must be resigned as they include the wording, “subscribed before me.”
3. The Title company notary must do the notarizations as they are the only entities authorized to notarize unwitnessed signatures.
4. Only the Jurats need to be resigned (legally, putting aside Lender preferences.)

This is an interesting question Ken brought up because many Notaries confuse the law with Lender preferences. Most Notaries go through life with the mentality that:

I have to do this and I have to do that.
Jeremy’s comments — yeah, right.

You can ALWAYS oversign…
Jeremy’s comments — what does that mean. Does that mean you can sign more than what is on the typed name in the document or the typed name in the ID. The Lender might not mind oversigning, but you might be in court later on as a witness to identity fraud.

The documents must be signed exactly the way the typed name reads below the signature line.
Jeremy’s comments — once again that is what the Lender wants which is not always legal. You have to please the law, the lender, common sense, and proceed in such a way that you will not end up in court. Taking thumbprints in your journal is the most efficient way to deter identity fraud and catch the perpitrators the fastest as well.

You have to witness all signatures.
Jeremy’s comments. The law says you have to witness signatures for documents receiving a Jurat notarization as it says, “Subscribed and sworn to BEFORE ME.” However, the Acknowledgments in the majority of states do not have a “before me” clause. The Lender might want you to witness, but look up in your handbook to see what the law of the land says otherwise you could create a mess.

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