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October 17, 2017

Notary Public 101 — Basic Notary Acts

Return to table of contents for Notary Public 101.

BASIC NOTARY ACTS

Each state has a different list of official Notary acts. Some state handbooks don’t make it clear if certain actions are considered “official” notary acts or not. However, all states or the vast majority have Acknowledgments, Jurats, Oaths, and Affirmations. Many also have Protests and Proofs of Execution, while only a few have Witnessing, Attesting, immigration form filling, and depositions as acts. There are a few more acts I will not mention as they are obscure and very state specific. Let’s focus on the main acts that we will hold you responsible for knowing.

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

When I studied to be a Notary, my teacher said you Acknowledge a signature, Execute a Jurat and Administer an Oath. This is not true. The Notary is not the one who acknowledges a signature. The SIGNER acknowledges the signature and then the Notary CERTIFIES that the signer acknowledged the signature by virtue of filling out the Acknowledgment Certificate. Here are some basics on Acknowledgments.

1. The signer acknowledges having signed the document.

2. The signer must physically personally appear before the Notary for such an act.

3. The signer does NOT have to sign before the Notary according to most if not all states such as AK, IA, SC, SD, VT, and WV. Lenders might require the borrower to sign in the presence of the Notary, but that is a particular Lender’s standard and not necessarily a state standard or even a best practice.

4. The Notary must positively identify the signer using identification documents acceptable to their state which normally include Drivers Licenses, State issued identification photo ID’s, Passports, and Military ID’s. Other ID might be accepted on a state by state basis and you can look that up in your handbook. Also, see our section on identification.

5. The Notary should ideally keep a journal entry of all Notarial acts even if their state does not require this.

6. There should be Acknowledgment wording appropriate or acceptable to your state inscribed within the document, or you can attach a loose acknowledgment form with a staple.

7. After you fill out the certificate form, you sign and stamp the page (some states allow you to write in your seal information without a stamp.) Make sure your stamp is clear and not smudgy otherwise the county recorder has the right to reject the Notarization.

8. Note — some states require the Notary to ask the signer to attest to the fact that they signed in their own free will. Please be aware if your state has any unusual requirements or special wording on forms.

9. A California Notary faces many restrictions as to what type of out of state forms they can use. Please check the California Notary Handbook to see what you can accept and what you can’t otherwise you could get in trouble particularly if it is a recorded document.

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JURATS

Jurats are a Notary act where the signer or affiant by definition signs and swears (and/or sometimes affirms) before the Notary. Jurat wording differs from state to state. However, some basic verbiage includes the phrase, “Subscribed and sworn to before me.” What does this mean? This means that the document was signed in the physical presence of the Notary Public as well as sworn to before the Notary Public at the signing. In an Acknowledged signature you can sign prior to seeing the Notary, but you acknowledge before the Notary. A Jurat is completely different. Modern verbiage for Jurats sometimes says, “Subscribed and sworn or affirmed to before me.” This does not mean that you can administer an Oathfirmation and mix the Affirmation and Oath verbiage. This means that you can have the client choose if they want an Oath or Affirmation and do one or the other. Don’t mix these Notary acts unless your state specifically says you can.

Many Notaries are unaware that when executing a Jurat, you do need to administer an Oath particular to the document being signed. Please see our commentary on Oaths below. Failing to administer an Oath on a Jurat is illegal and could void the legal completeness of the document. Some states additionally will reserve the right to suspend your commission if you omit a legally required Oath.

“Subscribed and sworn to before me” is NOT Oath verbiage! That is the written documentation that you gave an Oath. When you ask the affiant to raise their right hand, do NOT utter the words, “subscribed and sworn to before me.” otherwise they will think you are an idiot and there will be no way for them to respond unless they repeat. Start an Oath with, “do you solemnly swear” after they have raised their right hand.

A good Oath for a document could be, “Do you solemnly swear under the penalty of perjury that the information in this document is true and correct to the best of your knowledge, so help you God?” Then the other person says, “I do.” Then you pronounce them “man and document” by the powers vested in you.

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OATHS

Not all Notarial acts include a written document or written certificate. Some are purely oral. Oaths and Affirmations are oral acts where most states do not have a certificate for the Oath. You should write in your journal if you administered an Oath and where it says, “Name of document” you should write that you gave an Oath about a particular topic. You do not write the actual verbiage of the Oath in your journal. You might write, “Oath regarding military duty” or “Oath of citizenship,” etc.

Oath verbiage is generally up to the Notary and few states have any actual requirements for what you should say. However, common sense and tradition dictate certain things about Oath verbiage.

Raise Your Right Hand — you traditionally have the signer raise their right hand before swearing under Oath.

Solemnly – it is traditional to ask the signer if they solemnly swear. An Oath is a solemn occassion and swearing to a Notary is as official as swearing to a judge in a court of law.

Swear — you must use the word “swear” in an Oath otherwise it is no longer an Oath.

Document or Statement — in an Oath you should make a reference to the content you are swearing to. It might be a document, or a statement you are about to me. Just make sure you reference the content in a way that makes sense. Asking someone to swear to “the information” is not as precise as asking them to swear to the truthfulness of “this document” while pointing to the document.

God — Oaths traditionally refer to God. If someone doesn’t like God, rather than remove God from the Oath, do an Affirmation INSTEAD of an Oath.

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Correct Oath wording for a Notary to make for a Document
“Please raise your right hand. Do you solemnly swear that the document you signed is true and correct to the best of your knowledge, so help you God?” — The answer would be, “I do.”

Wrong Oaths for a Document
“Do you solemnly swear that the statement you are about to make is true?”
“Do you solmenly swear that the information you provided is true?”

Commentary
If you are swearing to a document there is no statement you are about to make. There is a document you already signed that you swear to. You cannot swear to a statement you are not going to make — that is nonsense. The information in the document might have been provided by a Lender or Attorney, so don’t make them swear to WHO provided the information. Just have them swear that it is true.

Administering an Oath
When you are a Notary and you give or supervise an Oath to someone, you are administering an Oath. When you administer an Oath there are two ways to do it. You either ask an Oath question such as the ones mentioned above, or you say, “Repeat after me.” Repeating after me is really tenous as every three words the affiant has to repeat those words and it is like being six years old doing the pledge of allegience. How annoying!

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AFFIRMATIONS

An Affirmation is similar to an Oath. The are equal in their significance and used during the same situations. Affirmations are legal in most states. Check your state’s handbook to see if they are used in yours and if there is any state specific wording that you must use. However, you cannot mix and match the wording in an Affirmation. If your client wants to do an Affirmation, you use the word Affirm or State rather than swear, and you do not mention God. Leave God out of it! Other than that, the verbiage is the same as an Oath, so help you nobody!

To better understand choosing Oaths vs. Affirmations or mixing them up together read this fun article about Airline Meals versus Oaths and Affirmations.

To administer an Affirmation for a document just say, “Do you solemnly affirm or state that the information in this document is correct?” or for a purely oral statement just say, “Do you solemnly affirm or state that the statement you are about to give is true and correct?”

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PROOF OF EXECUTION

Not all states allow proofs of execution, but it is a traditional Notary act that I would like you to know about. In a proof of execution, the principal who is the one who signs the document signs when a subscribing witness is witnessing his signature. The definition of a subscribing witness is one who watches someone else sign. Then the subscribing witness appears before a Notary and swears under Oath that he/she witnessed so and so signing the document. I have never heard of this act being done, but for less formal documents, it is often allowed and it is interesting to read about as it is so unusual.

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PROTESTS

Not all states have protests. Protests are normally done by people working in banking to protest the non-payment of a bill or bounced check. We do not hold our Notaries responsible to understand this act although it is good to know what it is.

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Notary Public 101 — Basic Notary Vocabulary

Return to the table of contents of Notary Public 101.

BASIC NOTARY TERMS
We will hold you responsible for these. You might also like our complete glossary of Notarial terms.

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Affiant
An Affiant is a person who will swear under Oath and is commonly used to refer to someone who is signing an Affidavit. A Defiant is a person who swears under a tunnel when he loses the AM reception of a basketball game he bet on.

Affix
When you attach something to another thing that is considered affixing. But, in the Notary profession when you stamp something with your seal that is also called Affixing. If you forget to stamp a document you notarized and title finds out, you will really be in affix (a third usage of the word.) When you attach someone with another person, that’s called fixing up.

Agent
Someone who has received special powers from a Power of Attorney signing is called an Agent or Attorney in Fact and also referred in the document as a Grantee. Someone who’s received special powers to go fight crime is called a superhero.

Apostille
An Apostille is a Notary procedure or act that involves both the Notary and the Secretary of State where the Secretary of State officially verifies that the Notary used in a transaction is indeed a real and current Notary in good standing. This procedure is used when sending certain documents outside the country and Authentications are also used to send to other particular counties. If you’re a real and current notary who gave up your seat on the subway for an elderly person, you’re good, standing, in good standing.

Attorney in Fact
The person who receives Power of Attorney is called an Attorney in Fact or Agent. When this person signs on behalf of the principal they sign: John Smith, as Attorney in Fact for Sharon Smith. There are other versions for how to sign as an Attorney in Fact. The person who receives power of X-Ray Vision is called Clark Kent.

Borrower
The borrower is mistakenly referred to as a “client” or “customer” by newer Notaries. The borrower of a cup of sugar is mistakenly called “neighborly.” The signing company regards the title company as their customer while the signer of the loan is called the borrower in oral language. Please also distinguish between a loan signing notary who supervises the signer and is not himself a signer although many Notaries refer to themselves as signers as a professional designation. The Notary Signing Agent is a signing facilitator, not an actual signing in real terms. The borrower can also be referred to as a Mortgagor who borrows from the Mortgagee (the Lender).

Certificate
A Notary Certificate could be a loose piece of paper attached to a Notarized document. (An unattached loose piece of a** would rather be called promiscuous.) A Jurat could be on a loose certificate where the Affiant writes a statement that they will swear to and sign in the presence of the Notary. Not all Notary acts use a certificate such as purely verbal acts such as Oaths and Affirmations and in some states Witnessing. Please understand that although a Jurat uses an Oath as part of the act, that an Oath by itself does not use a certificate. Some also swear that Donald Trump is a true copy of The Annoying Orange.

Copy Certification by Document Custodian
Some states allow for document copy certifications to be an official Notary Act. Some states only allow for a certified copy of a Power of Attorney. However, the Copy Certification by Document Custodian is an unofficial copy certificate and a glorified Jurat with special additional verbiage where the document custodian swears to the fact that the copy is a true copy of the original document.

Grantee
A Grantee is a term used to refer to someone who has been given something such as Power of Attorney agent privileges. The actual Power of Attorney document uses this term to describe the future Attorney in Fact or Agent.

Grantor
A Grantor is a term used to describe someone who has given Power of Attorney privileges by naming an individual as Attorney in Fact or Agent in a Power of Attorney document. A take it for granted-er is a term used to describe someone who knows his wife will throw his dirty laundry in the hamper.

Principal
The main signer of a document could be refered to as a principal. This is the Grantor in a Power of Attorney signing although the two terms are not synonomous. A Principal is also a term used in a Proof of Execution signing and is the person who signs the document. Another proof of execution: Kim Sung Un’s uncle’s tombstone.

Subscribing Witness
A witness who watches someone sign is called a subscribing witness. A witness who watches somebody else’s Netflix is called a non-subscribing witness. The Signature by X procedure uses a subscribing witness who is also commonly referred to as a credible witness meaning a witness who can be trusted. Proofs of Execution use a subscribing witness as well to appear before the Notary Public on behalf of the principal who is the person who signed the document. The Signature by Ex procedure is commonly referred to as divorce papers.

Venue
The venue is the part of the Notary certificate generally near the top that is used to state the state and county. All states have a venue somewhere in the top third of the certificate for all Notary acts that use a certificate such as Acknowledgments, Jurats, Proofs of Execution, etc. A venue is also the place where the notarization takes place. If you change the venue, does that mean you get up from your chair and go to a different address or does it mean you cross out and initial the venue in the Acknowledgment form. I’ll leave that to your imagination. The venue in my brain that conjured up that question is now closed.

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Notary Public 101 from 123notary!

It has come to my attention that most Notaries are unaware of the existence of Notary Acts above and beyond simple Acknowledgments and Jurats. Being aware of unawareness. Kind of a wash? Additionally, the vast majority of Notaries draw a blank when I ask them the rules for Acknowledgments and Jurats. I was hoping for a blank check but no such luck. I did not know how bad the level of ignorance is. I was ignorant about the ignorance. But, now that I acknowledge my ignorance, I am writing this tutorial. It is mandatory that you understand basic Notary acts if you are to be listed on 123notary, and we WILL test you on it and you will be regarded as a “Fake Notary” if you don’t know your basics when I drain the notarial swamp so to speak. Fake news. Fake notaries!

This Notary course is for those who are already Notaries who need a brush up on the most critical aspects of the profession. This is not a how-to course for beginners.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Basic Notary Vocabulary — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19495

Basic Notary Acts — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19500

Journals — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19511

Identification — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19507

Certificates — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19502

POA & Other Topics — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19517

Quiz Questions — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19520

Review Pointers — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19679

Real Life Scenarios — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19681

Quick Info on Loan Docs — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19946

The 30 Point Loan Signing Course — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14233

The 123notary Elite Certification Study Guide — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20118

The 123notary 2018 Certification Standards — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20120

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Thank you for studying from our course. We hold Notaries advertising with 123notary responsible to score at least 70% if we ask them random Notary questions by phone.

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October 12, 2017

A Notary gets sued because of a scrambled ID

This is a real story, but the Notary involved did not give me straight answers when I asked her how the deal went down.

Aparantly, a Notary went to an appointment for a Mexican client. The client had a name such as Frankie Martinez Ramirez on the document. But, his ID said, Edie Ramirez Martinez. The last names were reversed while the first name was different.

This Notary failed my over the phone notary test with a score of around 20% which is really bad. It is dangerous not to know how job as a Notary as it can end you up in court. However, this Notary declinded the transaction for correct reasons and was sued anyway. This was the one correct thing the Notary did during her career.

The client Eddie or Frankie (depending on how you look at it) lost out on a Real Estate deal because he could not get notarized in time. He sued the Notary for $1200 and won.

I can figure out why the guy sued, but why did the judge rule in favor of a guy with faulty ID? I think what happened is either the Notary is lying to me. Or, the Notary is so bad at giving straight answers to questions that the judge could not figure out what the lady’s case was and ruled in favor of the defendant who presumably communicated a little better.

I’m not sure exactly what to learn from this case except:
Being a bad communicator as a Notary is not only annoying, but dangerous. It can lose you clients, court cases and annoy Jeremy at 123notary who likes straight answers to straight questions. A yes/no question should be answered with a yes or not and not a story.

In any case, if you deny someone notary work, you might keep a record in your journal of what the ID said and what the document name was just in case you get sued for obeying the law. Good God. What is the world coming to?

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You might also like:

If you’re named as an identity theft conspirator, it could cost you $20,000 in legal fees.
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$4000 in legal fees because fraud adds name to Acknowledgment certificate
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13 ways to get sued as a Notary
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19614

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September 15, 2017

Psych Notary Episode

Filed under: Best Humorous Posts,Popular on Facebook (very),Popular Overall,Sit-Coms — Tags: — admin @ 11:54 pm

There is a sit-com on Ion television that you can sometimes get on other cable stations called Psych. It’s about a psychic Shawn Spencer and his sidekick Burton Guster. In any case, the psychic is a fake half the time who sees real clues that nobody else saw him see and then pretends to have a vision.

In this episode, a Notary is found dead and his stamp is found missing. The detectives arrive on the scene.

LASSITER: The body is dead — and it’s cold. It could have been lying here for a good seven to ten hours in my estimate. The cause of death seems unclear.

JULES: Let’s take the body to the lab and see if there is any sign of food poisoning. The victim seems to be a Notary Public, and you know how those type of people are — you know — eating on the road on the run.

SHAWN: You’re right. He might have eaten a poisoned fish filet or….wait a second, I’m getting something… (puts his right two fingers to his head) This MAN, did not die from accidental food poisoning (pause)… he was murdered.

LASSITER: You and your unsubstantiated hunches. I just can’t stand it. And what’s worse is that you’re right more than half the time.

SHAWN: Some people say that I’m talented. Oh, and I’m sorry about your tragic breakup.

LASSITER: Yeah… so am I. I really fell for her.

SHAWN: Don’t despair Lassie, there are other fish in the sea… and coral, particularly Staghorn coral.. and sometimes Pillar coral, and it really sucks when that filmy type of algae gets stuck on the coral.. hmmm. I wonder how that happens. But, I digress. My point is that I’m sure you’ll find someone else.

GUS: Yeah… You’ll find someone. Algae on coral? Ain’t no algae on coral.

SHAWN: I’ve seen it. At least half a dozen times.

GUS: Where?

SHAWN: Snorkeling

GUS: Since when do you snorkel?

SHAWN: I snorkel… Why, you didn’t think I snorkeled? I’m a snorkeler. And I can communicate with fish too. Watch this (puts face near the fish tank and blows bubbles in the air) bubble bubble bubble… See. I told you. I am all about the sea.

JULES: Well, we’ll have to inspect the scene thoroughly and then round up some suspects. Hmm. It seems that this man is a Notary, yet his Notary seal seems to be missing. Perhaps this Notary was murdered to cover up a botched notarization.

LASSITER: Or perhaps the Notary had an exclusive contract with his boss, and his boss found out….

SHAWN: That the Notary was cheating on him… I think you’re projecting, Lassie. Your ex-girlfriend.

LASSITER: She never cheated on me! She was arrested for conspiracy.

SHAWN: Sure she didn’t. I understand. We need to know who the last one who was in the room was — and that man (or woman) will be… the killer.

GUS: What if there were two of them.

SHAWN: Okay… I’m getting something. (puts right fingers to side of head). I know who the killer is… or should I say… “Killizz”

LASSITER: According to this security footage, a well known gangster named Tommy Walker was the last man to come here.

SHAWN: Wait a second, I recognize those finger tattoos. Put them all together, one one hand is says love, and on the other hand’s fingers it says hate. And mom told me not to use four letter words. The killer had a document missing a page and the Notary refused to sign it. So, the killer murdered the Notary, stole the Notary’s stamp and backdated the notarization so that it would APPEAR to have been done long before the murder even though it would not be recorded until after because of some last minute travel arrangements gone bad.

JULES: How do you come up with this?

SHAWN: I have a natural gift.

(Meanwhile the main suspect Tommy Walker, a hardened criminal is at home eating fruit loops and watching the muffets when our dynamic team of sleuths barges in)

LASSITER: (pointing gun) You’re under arrest for the Murder of John Q Smith, Notary Public at large.

TOMMY: I didn’t kill him. He just died shortly after our Notary appointment.

SHAWN: Ah-ha, but your Notary appointment yielded no actual notarization. Or did it. Wait a second… I”m getting something (see’s notarized form in the bag) I see a … win a trip for two to Disney Land…

GUS: Shawn!

SHAWN: Oh, sorry, no… check right behind the Disneyland document and you will find the incriminating document. Yes… A falsified Power of Attorney with a classic missing page… The NNA warns people about that type of situation.

JULES: Oh my God Shawn. You’re right. This Notarization was dated several days ago, but the ink is still fresh.

SHAWN: Caught… in the act. And… we happen to have access to this Notary’s Notary journal which has no record of your transaction on May 5th, “el cinco de Mayo” of the Power of Attorney in question. Which proves that either the Notary kept lousy records, or that you faked the notarization. We’ll have to take the form to the lab so that Woody can inspect the ink for aging.

TOMMY: Okay, I did it. I stole the Notary’s seal, but I didn’t kill him. The killer

SHAWN: Or “Killizz”

TOMMY: is STILL at large. We’ll have to wait for the autopsy. In the mean time… hello travelocity.

JULES: Not so fast. We have the right to detain you until we resolve this.

GUS: Good thing this Notary kept good records because many Notaries on 123notary don’t think they need to keep a journal since their state doesn’t require it. And the ones in California who are required, don’t understand that each document and signature require their own journal entry. You can’t just put them all on the same line and expect that to be a legal record.

SHAWN: How do you know all this?

GUS: Because I used to be a commissioned Notary Public for the state of California, County of Santa Barbara — thank you very much for asking.

SHAWN: Oh cool, so can you notarize my stuffed penguin I’ve had since childhood?

GUS: You never had a stuffed penguin.

SHAWN : Did too, you just never saw it.

GUS: Where did you keep it?

LASSITER: Gentlemen, let’s be done with this inconsequential rambling and get to the task at hand. We need to take Tommy into custody and then question him. Meanwhile, we need to see Woody to see what the autopsy reveals.

WOODY: Hmmm, I’ve checked the body thoroughly and it seems that the Notary was administered a tiny amount of poison that would make him drowsy for just the amount of time it would take Tommy to borrow the Notary’s seal, stamp a document, return the seal and then leave. Tommy probably figured the Notary wouldn’t suspect a thing. HOWEVER, since the Notary had an allergy to some of the chemicals in the poison, the Notary died on the spot. Although the death was accidental, the poisoning was not.

LASSITER: Involuntary manslaughter. Tommy will get a much shorter sentence. A petty crime gone wrong.

SHAWN: Couldn’t the Notary die on an x, or on a dotted line instead of on the spot. Wouldn’t that be cooler.

GUS: Shawn! A notary can’t die on an x marks the spot. That’s ridiculous. He could die on a chair.

SHAWN: Or a gezebo. Or … wait a second, or a pagoda. But, that would probably only be a Japanese Notary.

GUS: Unless it was an American tourist Notary who was on vacation in a place where there are pagodas.

SHAWN: True, but would the American Notary carry their seal with them to Osaka to a pagoda and then just die there?

GUS: I don’t know. But, the Notary seal might drop out of his bag while he was bowing. When Americans bow, they bow too low. Japanese bow just a little bit — just the right amount.

SHAWN: How do you know so much about bowing?

GUS: I studied Hokkaido style karate — that is how I know. And if you studied that too, the knowledge would come from within you.

SHAWN: Right now the only thing coming from within me is an intense desire to eat a pineapple. Wanna share one?

GUS: Okay!

LASSITER: You guys are both insane. But, we cracked the case and we can all go home now, except for Tommy who’s going to do some real time.

SHAWN: Yes, unless he also finds a way to backdate his prison sentence!

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Best Virtual Comedy Compilation Updated 2018
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See our string of Psych episodes
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Psychic – Notary Psychic Tarot Card Reading
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Suicide – Notary Suicide Hotline
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August 23, 2017

Letter to the NNA about Notary Testing

Filed under: Popular on Linked In,Popular Overall,Social Media — admin @ 12:10 am

Dear NNA,
It has come to my attention that the focus that both of our organizations have put on loan document knowledge seems to be a somewhat wasted focus for two reasons. First, the people we both have certified don’t know their loan documents that well. Second, Notaries tend to know their loan documents better than they know their Notary procedures.

When we get complaints about our Notaries, the complaints are normally that a Notary was rude, left someone high and dry after a botched signing not returning emails or calls, or that the notary made a Notary mistake (more common with beginners) or did not follow directions.

To certify someone as a loan signer who cannot function as a Notary is a mistake we have both made. I can show you many examples of individuals who have an intimate and flawless understanding of loan documents who cannot answer basic Notary questions.

For example, if you called your members up one by one and asked them the difference between an Acknowledgment and a Jurat two things would happen. First, they would be offended that you called them and second, 90% would not give a thorough or correct answer according to my findings.

Notary knowledge trumps loan signing knowledge as the most common errors that happen at a loan signing are notary errors. Notaries commonly stamp where they see the word “seal” whether there is notarial wording or not. Notaries stamp over wording. Many Notaries decline legal requests for foreign language notarizations in California. The most common misunderstanding is that in 44 states, an Acknowledged signature can be signed prior to appearing before the Notary Public. There are many other issues as well.

The main point of this letter is to let you know that we are testing people on the wrong things. We need to know if someone is a good Notary and if they have a good attitude first. If they don’t know the difference between an Occupancy Affidavit and a Compliance Agreement, that will probably not come back to haunt anyone. But, if you identify someone incorrectly and notarize someone with an ID that says John Smith as John W Smith simply becuase you are “supposed to” have the person sign as their named is typed in the document, you could end up in court on an identity theft case for months without pay, and possibly be named as a defendent in addition to merely being a witness.

Last but not least, journal thumbprints are a hot topic of debate among myself and the Notaries. Many Notaries are being discouraged from taking thumbprints simply because it seems invasive or offensive to some Notary customers. However, the thumbprint has been the one piece of information that has helped the FBI nail some really scary ponzi schemers and identity thiefs. Not all states require journal thumbprints yet, but people who lead Notary organizations should do more to encourage people to take thumbprints as a measure to protect society from frauds.

Thumbprinting should be encouraged by scaring Notaries into realizing that without a thumbprint, they might be in court for a very long time, or named as a defendent and conspirator in an identity theft ring. Unlikely or not, the truth is that the FBI does treat Notaries like suspects as a matter of practice whenever anything goes wrong that requires their attention. Keeping good records is a way to wrap up situations quickly and without being blamed as a shoddy record keeper.

So, let’s both invest more in testing Notaries better on what really matters which is the fact that Notary knowledge takes precident over loan signing knowledge, and that following directions, getting back to people and being nice in the face of adversity are the most important things! Knowing the details of the Correction Agreement is actually the least important thing to know. According to lenders I know, the POA is the only document in a loan package which they stress that I test people on!

Thanks for your support, and I recommend your Notary educational products to all although I am out of touch with what the current names for your courses are as I studied from you in 1997. I think the Notary Essentials is what people have mentioned they were studying.

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My bad karma from testing people by phone
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But, I’m not comfortable answering questions over the phone
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10 reasons why the State Notary divisions should be nationalized
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19487

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August 12, 2017

Official New Standards at 123notary

Filed under: General Articles,Popular on Linked In,Popular Overall — Tags: , — admin @ 11:25 pm

After thinking long and hard, I have decided to have some notarial standards here at 123notary. As you know, we are a national organization based in California. We list Notaries throughout the nation. Since most of our Notaries are very weak on Notary knowledge and almost equally weak with loan signing knowledge, it behooves us to ask them questions from time to time to see if they know what they are doing. The more they assure me that they know what they are doing, the worse they do on my quiz. What a con job. But, I’ve heard it all a million times and don’t fall for it.

I have had it with Florida Notaries who shove it down my throat that their state doesn’t require journals and therefor it isn’t necessary. We have a handful of Notaries that are currently being investigated by the FBI, court system or criminal justice system and their journal was their only piece of evidence to defend them. Your change of ever showing up in court is probably only one in a thousand or perhaps 1% for a very busy Notary. But, why take chances. Do your homework and keep your records straight. We don’t want to list a bunch of unprofessional idiots. We want professional Notaries here, not stamperizers. A three year old can stamp documents, but does that make him a Notary? Many of the Notaries we list are not much more advanced than a three year old. And that is why I am requiring these new standards.

1. Identification — Proof of identity required for quizzing purposes.
Not all states require the Notary to prove a signer’s exact identity. Many states allow missing middle initials or don’t spell out exact identification requirements. 123notary requires Notaries to know how to PROVE an identity. If the identification card does not prove the name you are notarizing, then you do not have proof. i.e. if the name on the document is John W. Smith, but the ID says John Smith, then you cannot notarize him according to best practices under the name on the document as you cannot prove the person is John W. Smith. In real life, our Notaries can do whatever their states require, but for quizzes, they must answer according to our standards which match the NNA for identification standards.

All Notaries listed on 123notary must know how to adequately prove a signer’s identity using identification documents. We also strongly suggest journal thumbprints as that is the only way the FBI can catch someone with a fake ID. You must know the more than but not less than rule correctly. Most Notaries scramble the rule and it does more harm than good.

2. Journals — Required
Not all states require journals, but 123notary requires you to know how to fill out out correctly. Our standard is one journal entry per person per document. So two people signing three documents each would be six journal entries. We also do not accept journals with check boxes for loan document names. So, don’t use one as they create more room for errors.

3. Oaths
All states require Notaries to administer Oaths for Jurats, and do purely verbal Oaths and Affirmations as well. However, most Notaries we talk to get very confused when we ask them to do an Oath. If they did their Oaths daily as required, the Oath verbiage would flow off their tongue. Most either don’t do Oaths or have to look up the suggested verbiage. There is nothing wrong with reading from a script, but you are required to improvise from time to time, so if you don’t know how — you are in trouble.

4. Acknowledgments & Jurats
You have to know the rules for both Notary acts.

5. Certificates
You need to understand the parts and compontents of Notary certificates, as well as the rules for filling them out.

6. General Notary rules and knowledge.
Yes, there are rules that change across state lines, but you need to know the powers of a Notary and general rules.

I am sick and tired of how hard it is to just get a Notary to know their job and do their job. Carmen doesn’t like this either. If you can’t function as a Notary, you cannot be a loan signer.

123notary reserves the right to quiz you on Notary knowledge. If you don’t comply with our questions or get the answers wrong, you will lose points in our point system. If you get less than an acceptable percentage, we reserve the right to suspend you until you study for at least ten hours and learn to do a better job as a Notary.

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August 3, 2017

Black Notaries vs. White Notaries: The Notary Manual

Black Notaries vs. White Notaries: The Notary Manual

TEACHER: Hello class. We are gathered here today to talk about Notary terms, and the state Notary manual. But, first I would like to ask what the manual means to you.

SHELLY: I see a short book designed to teach the Notaries of tomorrow the rules of the road in order to safeguard the integrity of notarized transactions which protects society at large in a broader sense.

TEACHER: Very good Shelly! And very wonky.

KIM JONG “AKA Korean mom”: It’s so very difficult to understand. Half the terms don’t show up in my English-Korean dictionary. What a pain! I have to use my English dictionary and then translate the words in the definition into Korean to figure it out. How will I pass my test? I tried to use that as an excuse to get out of jury duty but they chose me anyway until they found out I didn’t understand any of the legal terms they used! Like “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”

TEACHER: Okay, just let me know if there are any terms that I can explain to you. I may not understand Korean, but I can break the complicated terms down in an understandable way.

SHALONDA: I see three things. (1) I see a technical manual that teaches the state & civil laws affecting Notaries public, and more that could help Notaries deter fraud, keep transactions official, and keep paperwork straight. (2) A book that teaches the how-to of doing daily Notary work and (3) A book full of new names for black people to name their kids — you know what I’m saying?

TEACHER: Well, I hadn’t thought about it like that before.

SHALONDA: Oh yeah. I named my kids after Notary terms several years ago. Jurat and Venue… that’s short for Venuetta.

SHELLY: Do you swear under Oath you named your kid Jurat?

SHALONDA: I most certainly do (raising her right hand). But, Jurat is more of a jokester. He doesn’t have a solemn bone in his body. The tread on his boots is shaped like a Notary seal, and he was playing outside after it was raining. It looked like we had impressions of notary seals all through the house. I told him to take his boots off after that.

SHELLY: All of this studying for the Notary exam is tiring. I heard that reading too much can be bad for your eyesight. No wonder Trump doesn’t need glasses.

KIM JONG: I know. That’s why my kid Myong is forbidden to study more than six hours a night. We are recommending dropping his study time from seven hours to five hours and forty-five minutes with the last forty-five minutes mostly study-oriented games, songs or something where he is not staring at a book or computer.

SHELLY: Well we were going to increase Tommy’s study time from forty minutes to an hour and twenty minutes after we found out how hard college is. But, we don’t want him to ruin his eyes, so we’ll compromise at seventy minutes a day.

KIM JONG: How will he possibly compete with those studying five hours a day?

SHELLY’s HUSBAND: She has a point. Tommy will never survive in college unless he studies more. What he does now will affect him for the rest of his life. And if he does poorly in school like my brother, then he might get stuck driving a garbage truck for the rest of his life. Or an Uber.

SHELLY: Or worse — he might have to become a Notary. What has four wheels and flies?

SHALONDA: Ooh! I know this one! A garbage truck.

KIM JONG: No, that’s the junior high version of the joke! The answer in this context is a Notary who is late to a signing because he would be driving so fast!

SHALONDA: Good point. Not funny point, but good. But, honestly, to be a Notary you need to study too. In some states you need to study at least 30 hours to pass the Notary test and then another 30 hours to be a good signing agent. This profession isn’t for jokes — that is if you want to succeed in it. And by the way, you should say what has four wheels and screeches, because when you round those corners, you’re gonna be screeching those tires, girl.

TEACHER: Well class, we do seem to be diverging now don’t we. Being a Notary is a very honorable and noble profession and not for those who lack character. No wonder Trump was never a Notary.

SHALONDA: But, it is for those who lack a high school diploma. There is no educational standard for this job other than passing a test. California, Louisiana and New York make the test hard. But, the other states will just hand out seals to any fool who applies. Like Presidential Seals. Where’s the nobility in that?

TEACHER: Good point. Well, in theory it is supposed to be noble.

SHELLY: Theory doesn’t cut it when a clueless Notary assists a fraud in stealing the Title to your house.

TEACHER: You’re right. Maybe having a longer course than our six hour course would help. Perhaps a background screening too not just for being a signing agent, but for being a Notary.

SHALONDA: In California, the FBI, DOJ, and KGB all check us, but in these other states there doesn’t seem to be a system of checks and balances.

KIM JONG: Perhaps, being a Notary should be regulated federally instead of by a bunch of irresponsible states who can’t keep anything straight. And that wasn’t a reference to the gay parts of California.

TEACHER: Well perhaps you’re right. In any case, let’s practice notarizing a Jurat.

SHALONDA: You’re going to notarize my daughter?

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June 28, 2017

$300 in 13 minutes. How Carmen cleans up in the Notary business

Carmen has always realized, or at least since 2005, that you can’t just do Notary work only. There are not enough high paying jobs to keep you busy. Those who try to be full-time Notaries end up taking a lot of low paying work just to stay busy. Carmen has always believed that you should combine signing agent work with another profession that is flexible, so that you can take an hour or so off during the day to do a signing.

Carmen normally makes about $150 or $175 per signing, and since she only accepts close jobs, she is often back home within 40 minutes. She preps her borrowers over the phone so she can get in and out without any delay.

But, a few weeks ago she got a job. The lady was a repeat customer and asked what Carmen wanted to charge. Carmen said $200. But, the lady was feeling generous, and wanted to be in good hands next time around, so she offered Carmen $300. Talk about being popular or having good signing karma.

Carmen printed the documents, went to the job, and was in and out in 13 minutes. The signers knew what they were doing. It was a construction loan or investment loan for seasoned investors who were fast at signing documents and had their lawyer prep them on what it all meant BEFORE the signing rather than detaining the Notary for two hours while they read every word of every page. So, Carmen got everything signed and notarized in minutes and was out the door. The signers were impressed and happy that it was such a painless experience.

Had they hired some other Notary, it might have been sluggish, incompetent, and the Notary might have shown up late, or dropped the package in a drop box rather than a staffed Fedex station. There is a reason why people pay extra to hire seasoned pros. But, you don’t find too many seasoned folks at SnapDocs. For the best Notaries in the biz, you need to visit 123notary.com!

$300 jobs don’t come every day. However, if you sell yourself short, you will never get any. If you can afford to do so, charge more, and take only jobs from people who value you. Otherwise you will be calculating your gas expenses and how much a ream of paper costs for the rest of your life — should you live so long!

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May 18, 2017

10 ways Female Notaries can protect themselves

Filed under: Best Practices,Popular on Facebook (very),Popular Overall — admin @ 10:40 pm

Life as a signing agent is generally very safe. I was a signing agent for seven years without incident. The worst thing that happened to me was being barked at by a little dog whose owners were a bunch of jerks. But, in the history of 123notary.com, there have been some creepy and dangerous things that have happened.

A list of dangerous things that have happened to Notaries:

1. One Notary was pushed down a short flight of stairs by an angry borrower that didn’t like his rate.
2. Another Notary got locked in a house while a borrower was taking a shower.
3. One Notary did a signing for a guy who had a room full of mannequins.
4. On another occasion a signer said, “You will be all alone with me.”
5. One guy had was a hoarder and had no place to sit other than a disconnected toilet in the middle of the room.
6. One signer came out of the house with a gun — however, he was not after the Notary, he was after a pit bull running around the neighborhood.
7. There are borrowers with AK-47’s in their house and weapons of all sorts.
8. Additionally, there are homes that just aren’t safe to go into due to mice, hoarding, bacteria, etc.
9. One of our New York Notaries went to a tenement building in the South Bronx where low-lifes were hanging around and making inappropriate comments to the Notary.
10. Sometimes a signer will get to a signing in the middle of an ice-storm, hurricane, or other bad weather.
11. One signer was invited into a guy’s bedroom to see a picture.

So, as you can see, being a Notary can be hazardous to your health. One was physically injured, but, nobody has been killed. Only two Notaries we have heard of have been sued: one by the Massachusetts Bar Association for doing signings without being an Attorney. The other one got sued because the Lender screwed up and the borrower was suing everybody. The most common problem Notaries face is not getting paid by signing companies. So, research who you work for before you do anything!

So, how can lady Notaries protect themselves in this dangerous world we live in. Here are some ideas!

1. An escape route
When you enter someone’s house. Sit in a place where you have a view of the door and who is coming. Also sit in a place where you have an escape route where you cannot be cornered.

2. Text your address to your hubby
Let your significant other know where you are going to be. Text him/her the address and schedule so they can call the police if you don’t get out of there alive. Keeping in contact with the signing company can also be a way to protect yourself assuming you have a close relationship with their reps. If they are generally unresponsive, then they would not constitute a security feature!

3. No hood after dark
Know your territories and don’t go to bad areas at night. Taking precautions is the most effective form of self-defence!

4. Bad weather is a lot more likely to harm you than bad people. Think twice before going out in an ice storm, or in other really inclement weather as you could get stranded, or in a very dangerous crash. You need to know how to distinguish between unpleasant and dangerous weather.

5. Going to remote areas where you could get lost on long dirt roads or mile long dirt driveways at night is not a great idea. There are rarely street lights in these areas as well. Seasoned Notaries refuse to go to these types of places at night.

6. Learn self-defence.
Women need to know how to get out of choke holds, and how to defend themselves from people who grab them. Do you know how to stomp on someone’s foot who is holding you from behind? Do you know how to elbow someone hard? You probably will never need these skills, but what if you do?

7. Carry a taser.
If you want to temporarily disable a person without harming them too badly, a taser can be the way to go.

8. Carry mace.
You are much more in danger from dogs than from humans. But, in either case, if anyone messes with you, they get a face full of mace!

9. Distress button
Some people have a little button on their person that they can press for distress. This is more something that spies or military would use, but it might be possible to get one. The question is, who will hear the distress signal?

10. Carry a loaded gun.
You can keep it in your car or take it in with you to the signing. But, if you shoot someone, you’ll be in court for a very long time, face jail time, and be in huge trouble. So, think about whether it is worth it or not ahead of time. If you don’t know how to use a gun, you might get yourself in even more danger. Knowing how to shoot is half the battle. Knowing how to get your gun out of your bag or glove compartment before the bad guys get you is the bigger half.

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