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September 15, 2013

Revisiting trouble with the Name Affidavit

Now here is a perfect example of the problems that we notaries face when working in the mortgage field, be in an escrow, real estate, title, etc.

I get a call from a lovely woman who has been working in the title business for a very long time. She works with many of the notaries on 123 and she pays very well. She is also a notary herself. And she has noticed that it has picked up greatly due to these Obama Harp (Heart, not sure as to the spelling) loans. She wanting to spend more time with her family felt that she would give the signing agent gig a try part time and see if she could make it as a signing agent herself. She was intrigued and most of all tempted by some of the handsome fees that we charge and that she is paying out. She was quick to point out that we make really good money…I told her some of us do and some of us don’t..but that is another story all together…LOL

I went on to explain that yes for the most part we do but only when we work with people like her that pay well. So, I go over all the advertising options with her and she signs up and we vow that we will speak soon. I tell her that if she needs anything at all feel free to get in touch with me.

A few days past and I do in fact hear from her. She is concerned and wants to leave a complaint for one of the notaries and needs instruction on how to accomplish this. I ask her for the details. It seems that she was in need of a notary and the assignment called for this notary to come into the title office to meet with their clients. The documents would be printed for the notary, so nothing for the notary to do but show up. The notary arrives as promised and the title girl introduces the borrower to the notary and she then leaves them to go on to other duties. Shortly thereafter, our title girl returns with a last minute document to be signed by her borrower and as she enters the room she is astounded that her borrower is crying. The title girl asks what is wrong and the borrower says the notary told her that she can not notarize her signature because it would be illegal at this point to do so. She turns to the notary and the notary begins to explain that the government issued ID does not match the documents. The title girl has now become somewhat angry with this notary and she told her that she could use the ‘signature name affidavit’. I’m thinking, What?? Here is a title person telling the notary to use this form, I stop her cold in the conversation. I ask her why she felt that this was OK? She says that that is what the form is for and that (remember now she is a notary) she uses it as well.. I am thinking oh boy, when the ‘you know what’ hits the fan….there is going to be hell to pay. I humbly explain to her that that is NOT what this form is for and even if it were a notary public cannot use it in place of government issued identification. Our title girl was shocked to say the least as she had been told by many that this was OK to use. She also expressed to me that the LENDER had checked them out so it was OK. I let her know that that the lender doesn’t really check anyone out per say, Except for employment, credit history, etc. But that it was the notaries job to as she called it “check folks out”. And this is why they use us in the first place..we are the real people checkers!! :). She also told me that that must be how they do it in California…I let her know that this applies to ALL notaries nationwide. PERIOD.

Obviously the signing with that notary went bad. And in my opinion on this notaries behavior is, that instead of upsetting the borrower to the point of tears. She should have politely excused herself and found the title girl and let her know. This way the borrower quite possibly been as upset as she was. The notary handled this very poorly.

So, in closing, even in some of the offices where they should know better, this document causes allot of confusion. And for those notaries that don’t know any better using the ‘name affidavit’ in lieu of ID, it is going to get you into a world of trouble which could lead to financial ruin as well as a jail term. So remember, please don’t let anyone tell you how to do your job as a notary public. That is your responsibility and yours alone. And if you don’t know or are not sure about something, ASK!!! Better to be safe than sorry! And take note, Just because a person is a title or escrow officer, broker, etc doesn’t mean they understand or know what YOUR duties are. It’s up to you to know what you can and cannot do. All they care about in the end is closing the loan….usually by any means necessary. Money for them trouble for you!

Until next time….be safe and prosper!

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Notarized Affidavits Information
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July 19, 2013

Interview with a Title Company

We recently had the opportunity to speak with a seasoned escrow & title officer at a reputable title company that hires the very best notaries from 123notary. He had a number of interesting things to say about how the escrow-title-mortgage industry works, why those darn documents are sometimes late, and what a title company looks for in a notary.

Q. What is the need for a title company? When and how did the current system come about?

A. Before W.W. II, there was only an abstract about a property that you could get. The problem was, this abstract did not insure the results. As sales became more complex, they needed to find a way to remedy this. Title insurance guarantees that, if someone else owns the title to your property and you cannot obtain that title, you get all of your money back. So say you buy a property from a man, but it is actually owned by his sister, to whom it was given in a will. If you cannot obtain title, title insurance guarantees that you will get back all of your money–because the property wasn’t legally yours. The escrow company is the one that does the financials for the lender and sets up the closing, and the title company is hired by the realtors and builders. However, the states have set up the system differently. Some states have companies that do both the title and escrow work, and in some states these companies are separate.

Q. There seem to be a number of hands in the pie: lenders, title companies, escrow, signing companies. How does it actually work?

A. The top of the feeding chain is the realtor. He (or she) finds the lender and the title company. Some lenders want to work with certain title companies, even if the buyer wants to work with a certain one. Each state has its own laws governing real estate. In some states, a seller can use one title company and the buyer can choose another. So there’s lots of work for notaries. The escrow or title company must choose a notary who works in the state where the property is being sold. Since there is no national certification for notaries, the title company has to have a list of good notaries in each state, and in each area of the state. We are constantly looking for the very best notaries. The notary works for the title company or the escrow company. The lender sends docs to the title company (or escrow company, depending on how the state laws are set up). Escrow handles the closing; Title prepares the settlement statement.

Q. Notaries constantly have to deal with late documents. Why are the documents late or full of errors, and how do you personally help notaries avoid this problem?

A. Ninety-nine percent of the time, late documents are the fault of the lender. However, getting a loan is a group effort, and it’s really hard to point a finger at any one person. The lender did not realize, for instance, that something was missing. Maybe the borrower didn’t provide the lender with tax returns in a timely manner, for instance; there could be several pieces of information that were found missing. The loan officer is more or less responsible for the processing of the loan.

Q. What is the training and education you need in order to be a loan officer, and how much does he/ she get paid to do the job?

A. The loan officer is trained on the job. He/ she is not required to have a college degree–or even a high school degree. Of course, most do have such degrees. The loan officer might have started as a loan processor, or an accountant. A loan officer is well paid, and can make as much as a million dollars a year! I know one who does 42 closings a month. The loan officer is paid a percentage of the origination fee. Most lenders (banks) have a retail and a wholesale division. The wholesale division buys loans from mortgage brokers. A mortgage broker can do a loan in one month; a bank takes longer to do a loan. They don’t have enough employees, and maybe not enough good ones. These same employees can make much more money working for a mortgage broker, and lenders often lose good employees. This may have something to do with the errors that frequently appear on the documents from lenders.

Q. On the other hand, what kinds of errors do notaries make that are a problem for you?
A. The notary may miss a date or a signature. I put an X by every place I want signed. You can’t miss these. If a notary makes even one error, no matter what that is, I will never call that notary again.

Q. What about late documents? These can really mess up the notary’s appointments and affect income. If the notary is working for you (the title company), and you know the docs are coming in late from the lender…

A. I won’t call a notary until I have the documents; some title companies are different, and have notaries waiting and waiting. In fact, if I don’t have the documents, and cause a notary to change his/ her schedule, I think the notary has a right to charge me for the extra time and inconvenience.

Q. Now all our notaries are saying, “We like this guy!” What do you look for in a notary? What influences your decision to hire one or to not ever hire the notary again?

A. When I need a notary, the first place I look is 123notary. I look at the notary’s service area, background (profile), reviews, equipment, and hours. We also cannot hire notaries who do not answer their phones, of course. I am looking for experience. If a notary has years of experience, but has zero reviews, that’s a bit odd. I mean solid reviews that are specific, genuine, and obviously well written. It matters. It shows effort. Look at the top New York notaries’ reviews on 123 notary, for example. To any notary looking for work from a title company, I’d say, “Get listed on 123notary. That’s where I’m going to go.”

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July 11, 2013

Being at one with the universe as a notary

Being at one with the universe as a notary

Most notaries run into problems in their business and problems at signings. The reason they encounter these problems and can not find answers is due to two causes:

(1) They are not at one with the universe
(2) They didn’t read the resources page on 123notary.com

To be a true Ninja Notary who can handle anything, you must meditate on one-ness. Unless your signing is for a husband and wife in which case you need to meditate on two-ness. But, in any case, without being in tune, your problems will not end.

See notary problems as effects, and find the original cause of them. It is only through such means that you can find real solutions.

Not getting paid on time? The reason is that you didn’t search within to research these dead-beat companies.

Getting too many fax-back requests? That is because you don’t have enough experience to work for clients who trust their notaries.

Not getting enough Title Company clients? Look at your notes section — do you convey that you are the type of notary that they are looking for? And do you communicate on the phone like a seasoned pro, or a an inexperienced and confused novice?

The solution is to look inward — and also to write a better notes section on your listing on 123notary.com. Also, get more experience and notary education. Good clients don’t deal with novices. For 16 pages on the nuts and bolts of mastering the ancient art of writing an optimal notes section on your listing on 123notary.com — get our Ninja Notary Marketing Course today!

Good luck — young one!

Oh, and don’t bring nunchucks to the signing. Keep those in your car or concealed in your notary bag.

Tweets:
(1) Many notaries run into problems at signings primarily because they are not at one with the universe.
(2) Notaries who have trouble do so because: They’re not at 1 w/the universe & they didn’t read our resources page!
(3) U must meditate on 1-ness. Unless ur signing is for a husband & wife in which case u need to meditate on 2-ness.
(4) Not getting paid on time? It’s because u didn’t look within to research these dead-beat companies.
(5) Not getting Title co clients? See if your notes section conveys ur the type of notary they’re looking for.

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Vampire notaries: 24 hour service
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3 notaries walk into a bar
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June 15, 2013

Hey, do you have a real story about cross-outs?

“Yes”, said one of our friends who works for a signing company.

I had a closing many years ago that created a huge issue with cross outs, because we lost the rate lock.

The notary crossed out on the legal docs and had no idea that this was incorrect. I can’t think of anything dramatic, but I’ve had so many of these over the years. That is a rare occurrence now with so many Short Sales that the docs are faxed prior to the notary leaving so you can catch more mistakes.

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Signing agent best practices
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4315

Tutorial on Cross-Outs
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14406

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June 6, 2013

Industry Standards in the Notary Business

Many notaries claim to understand the loan signing business well. But, there are many things that even experienced notaries don’t know. Here are some industry standards to think about.

(1) Cross outs
Some lenders allow them while others don’t. As a best practice, avoid crossing anything out unless you have gone through all other recourses without any luck. You should ask your contact person if they think it is okay to cross out before doing so. If you can’t reach your contact person, see if that company allows cross outs. Remember, even if a company allows cross outs, it can compromise an entire loan and cause a redraw. So, don’t be “Cross-out-happy”.

(2) Initialing
This topic is not well taught, but really matters. I have received instructions that are identical from two unrelated parties. One was a processor, and the other was the owner of a signing company. Both instructed me that if a surname is spelled incorrectly in the signature section of a document, the initial goes UNDER the name. The processor noted that it should ideally go under the last several letters of the surname. Why? The processor or quality control people involved in the loan need to type in the corrected version of the name, and if you put initials where they are going to type, they will run out of space. This is a practical consideration and not a legal one. Initials go UNDER, so that retyped names can go to the RIGHT. This is a test question by the way.

(3) Order of documents
Most companies like documents returned in the same order they were submitted. Some are more flexible than others about this, but it is easier and more organized for them. That way they will know right away if they are missing something. Checks or notes should go on the TOP of the package and ideally attached to an 8.5 x 11 document so they don’t float away if unattended. Gusts of wind and careless coworkers walk by, bumping into things, and sending loose documents flying. I remember a client who lost a $20,000 check that I specifically remember putting in the package. Hmmm. Be careful — I am!

(4) Unsigned documents
If a borrower won’t sign a document, it should be returned at the TOP of the package. You don’t know who will open the package. Often it is a secretary, assistant, co-worker, or someone other than the contact person. If they don’t realize immediately that there is a problem, then there will be a delay fixing the problem. Remember — these folks are multitasking, and your loan is not the only one. Although you told them in a phone message that there is a problem, they still need the problem to be in their face.

(5) Hustling the borrowers
If a borrower doesn’t want to sign a document, don’t start off by pulling a “used car salesman” tactic. Call the contact person you have, i.e. Title, signing company, lender, etc. Leave a message, and allow 20 minutes for them to call you back. Call them once more if you don’t hear from them and wait another five minutes. If you still don’t hear from them, then you can tell the borrower about their three day right to cancel, and how if they don’t sign the document they might be facing a redraw. Remember, don’t start off by twisting the borrower’s arm — that is a last resort and is very rude and unprofessional to start off that way.

(6) Fedexing back the documents
If there is a problem communicating with the lender or other contact person, don’t delay Fedexing documents back unless instructed to. Many signers feel that it is “professional” to hold on to the documents until the next day until right before the Fedex deadline. Guess what, you might hear from the lender with instructions or you might not. But, what if you get busy and FORGET to dump the Fedex? What if you or a family member has a health emergency and you can’t drop the Fedex? Do you think of these things? Get rid fo the Fedex THAT NIGHT into the drop box at a staffed Fedex station if possible even if the staff are no longer there. It will get picked up. Remote drop boxes are sometimes risky, but boxes at Fedex stations are very safe. Think when handling time sensitive documents.

(7) Emailing documents back
If you get e-documents and have a question, don’t scan and email a document back. That is NOT secure. A hacker could do identity theft. Lenders are very uncomfortable with the idea that a notary would compromise their information. Use a phone or a fax, but not email for sharing information about the borrower. Remember, that when you received the documents, the portal was PASSWORD protected.

(8) Instructions
Many lenders have a letter of instructions when they assign a loan. The industry standard here is that there is no standard. Some lenders give written instructions while others don’t. Each one wants something different. Follow instructions to a tee, and you will be first on their list.

(9) Explaning things to the borrowers
If you are NOT in an attorney state, you can explain generic information about documents to the borrowers. But, do not give specific information about their loan, specific answers to questions about their loan, or commentary particular to their loan. Not allowed. Don’t even tell them their Rate. Just point and say, “Is this what you asked about?”. That way you are carefully refraining from telling them anything which they could accuse you of misstating after the fact.

(10) Confirm the signing with a tracking #
When you are done with a signing, leave a message with the Fedex tracking number.

(11) Title & Escrow prefer blue ink
I always used black unless specifically asked to use blue. But, many lenders nationwide prefer blue ink so that they can identify an original from a B&W copy immediately.

(12) Take the Fedex to a HUB.
Remote drop boxes are a recipe for disaster. Title will be all over you if the documents don’t get back on time. Find out where all of your local Fedex stations are. You could lose your best client if the documents don’t get back on time. Get a receipt too and save yourself a lot of problem. Not an industry standard, but it SHOULD BE.

(13) 40% of signing companies say: Don’t call the borrowers.
If you don’t call the borrowers, they won’t know that you are coming. Half the time, they won’t be ready for you either. So, unless you are absolutely sure that the company will pay you if the borrowers don’t sign, then think twice.

(14) Sign exactly as the name is printed
What if the ID doesn’t have the same name variation? Your Secretary of State might not take kindly to the fact that you notarized them under a name that is substantially different from what their ID reads. Proceed with caution and use a Signature Affidavit if necessary. Make sure that middle initials are clearly signed too so that the lender can sell the loan. If any part of the signature looks like it is omitted, reselling the loan will be a problem.

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May 18, 2013

How do you explain the APR to a non-borrowing spouse?

I was talking to a notary on the East Coast. I was going to ask him a loan signing question, but then he retorted back a question in my direction before I could ask my question.

How do you explain the APR to a non-borrowing spouse?, he asked.

I gave him my routine mathematical definition of the APR and he was impressed. When he asked the question, I was thinking that this is a great question. It sounded like a trick question, but it actually is a very reasonable question. It suddenly occured to me that the non-borrowing spouse is the epitomy of a lay-person, and doesn’t understand complicated terms such as “amortized” or “finance charges”. If you have an MBA in Finance, you might not be the best person to explain an APR to someone’s wife. So, part of the genious of this question is that it tells you to use layperson language without telling you directly.

The other great aspect of this question is that it gives the opportunity to tangent goers to go off on a tangent — and they take this opportunity. I ask this question to many people, and 20% of the people go off on a very long explanation of what documents the non-borrowing spouse has to sign. But, that has nothing to do with the question. They didn’t LISTEN. This is a good listening and tangent going question. You learn very quickly who listens, and who can talk as well.

People notoriously leave out 90% of the meat of the answer when describing this confusing and diabolical term.

“It includes the fees”

Trust me, it includes a lot more than the fees.

“It reflects the cost of the loan”

Trust me, it also includes your interest as well as whatever the cost is.

“It’s usually higher than the rate”

Boy, are we being vague.

“It includes interest and fees”

Better, but very uneducated sounding.

Most answers to this question are either missing the target, or miss the main point of the APR.

The APR is a RATIO that is based on the payments relative to the total amount financed after: some of the finance charges, perhaps points, perhaps loan origination fees, PMI, and perhaps other fees have been deducted — and is reflected on a compounded annual rate.

I am not a lender and don’t know the “Real” definition. But, how the APR is calculated can vary from state to state, and from lender to lender. So, there is no absolute definition, but only definitions that are approximate. Unfortunately, the definitions I am hearing from the notaries are overly simplistic and generally just plain wrong!

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May 15, 2013

Cross-out happy; Not a good idea

Some lenders allow cross outs. Others will fire you after the first cross out. Some signing agent courses recommend that you cross things out without a second thought. Others don’t. Even our loan signing course teaches you to cross out wrong dates in the right to cancel document. But, if you work for Provident or other lenders who don’t allow cross outs — you’re fired! Gulp?

Don’t worry, just read the instructions. Many loans have an instructions sheet. If there is no letter of instructions, then ask before you cross, okay? Don’t assume that you can just cross anything out. First of all, remember the golden rule of cross outs. Don’t cross out unless: (1) you have permission and (2) it is a last resort.

What about the 1003? The 1003 loan application has endless wrong information. It is my personal belief that the clerks they hire are required to make endless mistakes — otherwise they will be fired on the spot. If they get your social security number right they will be laid off immediately, right? In any case, the 1003 is not binding in the loan, but has to be sent back signed. Borrowers whine endlessly about this carelessly prepared document. What is the solution? Cross out and initial? Hmmm. Not sure…

My take on the 1003 is that you will cost yourself 30 minutes of wasted time if you call your contact person about anything, so don’t call unless you really need to. Otherwise you will never get out of the signing. If the lender allows cross outs, you will not endanger your loan by crossing out in the 1003 or for wrong dates on the right to cancel. If the lender doesn’t allow cross outs, then don’t do it.

Trick question

Q. What is the only document the is in a completed loan package that REQUIRES cross outs?
A. Acknowledgment certificates require the notary to cross out the his/her/their, etc.

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May 9, 2013

Following Directions

A notary was given easy instructions for a particular loan.

He was instructed to CALL the Lender, Title Officer, and Processor in the event of even the smallest of problems. If they didn’t answer, then to leave a message. The notary was very experienced and trusted by many companies. So, the notary got to the signing, and started the signing. The borrower was to sign with their middle initial “Z”. Everything was fine, until the borrower had an objection about the XYZ Affidavit. The notary tried to explain the document on his own. Then, the borrower still wasn’t happy. So, the notary called the signing company who gave him an answer about the document. The borrower was happy, and the notary sent the documents back to the lender without issue. There was another small question about the Affidavit of Mahzhong too. But, the signing company was closed by the time he made that call. So, he called the lender, left a message, and then left the signing after a few minutes. Our notary decided to keep the Fedex until the next morning when he would hopefully hear back from the lender.

The next week, the notary got a letter in the mail stating that he was fired.

What did the notary do wrong?

(1) The notary explained the document to the borrower after he was expressly given instructions to call the Lender, Title Officer, and Processor if there was even a small problem

(2) The notary called the signing company instead of calling the Lender, Title Officer, and Processor. It turned out that the Signing Company gave a very shoddy answer to the question that the borrower asked. The Lender knew that the staff at the signing company couldn’t give intelligent answers to questions and that was why he requested that the notary call the Lender, Title Officer, and Processor — all of whom could give very professional answers to all pertinent questions.

(3) The notary held on to a time sensitive Fedex instead of dropping it off at a staffed fedex station. The receipt for the Fedex was for the next day, and not the day of the signing — another issue which was unacceptable for this picky Lender (who paid generously by the way).

So, the Lender called the notary and reitterated what was in the letter. The notary rebutted by saying

But, I always call the Signing Company when there is a problem.

The Lender responded:

Your job is NOT to do what you always do.

Your job is to do what I asked you to do. After all I am the one who is (or was) paying you before you got fired!

FOLLOW DIRECTIONS as long as they are legal requests!

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April 30, 2013

Help, I’m being sued, and E&O won’t help

Dinner was over and it was actually time to call it a day and get some rest when there was a doorbell. The family could not help wonder who inthe world this could be this late in the evening. It was approaching 10:00PM for god’s sake. The lady of the house went to the door and the gentleman standing on her porch asked if she was the Mrs. Xyz and she responded yes and then he proceeded to hand her an envelope. He stated; “You have been served”.

She shut the door curious but at this point not to worried.…she was thinking ‘oh this must be a request for testimony or something of this nature’ but as she began to read the documents to her shock and disbelief….she was being sued!. She was devastated to say the least.

It seems that back a few months she had done a modification and something had gone VERY wrong and now the person who’s signature she had notarized had hired an attorney and he as suing everybody that had been involved in his transaction including the notary. This particular client was claiming that there was intent to commit fraud with all the parties that had been involved with his loan modification. The notary contacted her bonding company and they looked over her evidence and found that she was in the clear. She had done nothing notarially wrong therefore they could be of no use. But what makes it worse is that they refused to represent her. It was basically out of their hands. For those of you that don’t know. Errors and omissions is just for notarial mistakes. It will not benefit you any other way. As in the case of this particular notary she was being included in a fraud case so now she was forced to figure out how she was going to defend herself.

She and her husband discussed it and he felt that she would need to hire an attorney and so that is what they did. But unfortunately they found out that it was not going to be cheap. The attorney kindly informed them that it would be about 30,000 when they were finished. Now as I listened to the story I was in shock. I thought that if that were me in this situation I would just be forced to take a different route. I would have to have to represent myself. I would not be able to afford this large sum of money at all. Personally, I would have made a copy of all work orders and correspondence of the hiring parties along with a copy on my journal entries and a signed and notarized affidavit that I did not know any of the parties involved and would have sent this to all the attorneys involved and hoped for the best. In my years as a notary I have a couple of signers on a couple of occasions that were suing the parties that hired me and this is what I have done and it seemed to suffice and I have never had to attend a court trial. Thank the man upstairs!

It might be naive of me but if you know that you didn’t do anything wrong I don’t feel that you need to spend exorbitant amounts of money to prove it…and if you don’t have it and cant get it then you are forced to defend yourself anyway. It is actually disheartening that we have to be drawn into other peoples drama….Which led to me into thinking that we should have some sort of release of liability document for folks to sign when we notarize their signature. The document should state many things for example,; one, that we are verifying identity and signature only on the document, that we did not have anything to do with the preparation of their document, that we do not know them or are we involved in their transaction in any way. Now, I don’t know if this would protect us totally from any lawsuits but I sure would feel a whole lot better having them signing it. And if unfortunately there was a lawsuit maybe it would offer some sort of protection. It would seem to me that in the situation our notary in the story finds herself if she had such document she would less likely NOT be involved in that lawsuit. I look forward to hearing what some of our attorneys her at 123 have to say about this and would love some input as to exactly what the letter affidavit should say.

I am very interested in what others have to say on this subject. I feel for this notary. The bad news is that she is seriously contemplating giving up her commission and her notary business all together. She has been a notary for over a decade and this ordeal has left a bitter taste in her mouth and I do understand. She and I talked for a very long time and she told me that I made her feel better and that at this point she didn’t feel as alone as she had been feeling. I was glad to be able to do at least that much for her. I wish it could have been more. Let me know what you think!

Until next time…be safe!

Tweets:
(1) The borrower had hired an Attorney to sue everyone who had been involved in the modification including the notary!
(2) It would cost $30,000 for the notary’s Attorney fees to defend her from a crime she never committed!
(3) E&O refused to cover the notary since she didn’t make an error or an omission. It was the Lender’s fault!

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Protect yourself with a contract
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2593

Hold harmless agreements: Good idea or not?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3657

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April 28, 2013

Best Practices: When it is legal to notarize a document twice?

Q. When is it legal to notarize twice?

A. Any time you get two journal entries for the document in question and attach two separate certificates.

How is this?

Many notaries fall into unfortunate circumstances. We live in a day and age when old fashioned common sense is not a part of life any more — at least not in the Title industry. A notary will be given an Acknowledgment form with wording that just isn’t acceptable. Perhaps the venue is for a different county or state. Perhaps there are two names on the Acknowledgment when there is only one signer — and a cross out will just look funny. Maybe something else will be wrong. Use your imagination here — you are notaries!

So, should you cross out Jim’s name on the Acknowledgment form since only Jane is there and Jim is on a business trip? Or should you attach an additional acknowledgment form and leave the original blank? The issue here is much more than what the law says. The law doesn’t address cross outs to my knowledge although it definately seems that it is not a “best practice” since it looks dubious and possibly fraudulent.

Do you really want your notarized documents to look tampered with? That is what notarizing a document with a cross-out looks like. Sure you do it all the time, but what if fraud really is involved and you get called into court just because you think it is fine and dandy to simply, “cross out and initial — I do it all the time”. Well, stop doing it all the time on notarized documents. It is a “worst practice”, not a best practice. Best practices include starting fresh with a clean acknowledgment and filling out properly with not only the state required wording, but also a document name, document date, document description, number of pages, etc. If you are smart, you will emboss every page on every document that you notarize whether the clients like it or not — for your protection. It makes page swapping after the fact very noticeable and detectable.

So, I recommend the fresh acknowledgment approach since it is clean and a best practice. But, on the other hand, what about notarizing the document twice and giving the lender a choice of the messy cross-out version, or the clean attached version. Some lenders HATE attachments (even though it is legal and kosher). Many lenders do not mind cross-outs even though it is abomidable to anyone with standards. So, if you give them a choice, at least they will have less cause to be unhappy. They will know that you went above and beyond for them.

However, you will be committing fraud if you send a loose acknownowledgment in the mail to the lender who doesn’t like your first attempt. Sure you already notarized it, but now there are two certificates floating around and not attached. The “best practice” here is to tell the lender you need the original back, you shred the certiifcate, add another certificate, and then send it back. Lenders don’t typically like best practices because it takes longer. Fraud is easier! But, don’t even think about it.

I will end this entry with a quote from a Yiddish folk story

Crime doesn’t pay, but oy, such good hours!

I will end this entry a second time, but this time with a line from a Mexican folk song about notarizations

Dos Acknowledmentos Un Documento?
Ay que paso en esta mundo?
Que voy aser con esta notario?
Llama el telefono a el Loan Officer por favor!

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http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2289

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