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August 11, 2020

Online notary services – should the system be tested?

Filed under: Technical & Legal — admin @ 8:44 am

A bunch of states are in a huge hurry to implement online notary services as a form of legal notarization. However, online notarizations increase the possibility of fraud. The question is how much fraud?

As with any other system, there is no way to predict how much fraud a new system will cause or facilitate. If you test a system over the course of years and get some analytics on how often court cases happen in comparison to traditional notary services, then you can see if the risk is worth the reward.

The problem is that so many states are enabling RON all at once, that if there is a serious problem, this could effect elections, and all sorts of notarized documents. It could even invalidate elections if fraud is investigated and force elections to be held all over or at a minimum create ongoing conflicts between democrats and republicans.

Personally, I think it is better to vote in person instead of seeing a notary to get an absentee ballot notarized. There is less possibility for complications and fraud. And absentee ballots without a notary seems like suicide as fraud would be rampant. Mailing in a copy of your ID doesn’t compare it to what you look like in real life — that is the job of a notary to compare.

Shut downs are another example of states trying untested processes by just jumping on the bandwagon. If shut downs are detrimental to economies, then instead of one state having an economic problem, all states will have on all at once. Would it not be a better idea to test out what happens when you shut down an economy for three months? You can track all of the suicides, child molestation, alcoholism, protests, and long term economic damage before implementing shut downs on a massive scale. When disaster strikes is NOT the time to be experimenting with anything.

PATIENT: Can we go to the sun to get a solution to Covid19?

DOCTOR: It would be too hot

PATIENT: What if we went at night?

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July 27, 2020

Does the signer sign the notary certificate?

Filed under: Notary Mistakes — admin @ 10:21 pm

Many of you will notice that on a Notary certificate such as an acknowledgment certificate or jurat certificate there is no place for the signer to sign. The certificate forms are for the notary to fill out — for the notary ONLY. The notary indicates the venue, date, who the signer(s) are, and entering the name of the notary. The notary signs and seals (stamps) but the signer should not inscribe any information on that form.

BTW, this is a beginner question. If you are advanced and don’t know this — good God!

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July 4, 2020

Do not keep copies of documents notarized

Filed under: Technical & Legal — admin @ 9:37 am

As a Notary, you need to keep a record of all notary transactions in your journal including the name of the document, document description, type of notarization, document date, etc. But, you should not keep a copy of the document itself.

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May 8, 2020

Notary Test about Notary acts and more

Filed under: Technical & Legal — admin @ 9:41 am

Here are some test questions for you guys to see who’s got it and who has been faking it all this time.

1. In an Acknowledgment, who acknowledges what?

2. In a Jurat, does the signer swear that they:
(a) Signed a particular document and that they agree to it
(c) Are the person who they claim to be
(d) All of the above

3. If a document was signed on March 1, 2001, and today is March 2, 2020, what type of notary act can you use to notarize the document without having it resigned?

4. When administering an Oath to an affiant, after having the affiant raise their right hand (or paw) the Notary should start with the words:
(a) I solemnly swear
(b) Do you solemnly swear
(c) Do you affirm
(d) I solemnly affirm

5. What is the difference between an Oath and an Affirmation?
(a) In an Oath you swear; In an Affirmation you Affirm;
(b) They are essentially the same
(c) In an Oath, the affiant swears under God; In an Affirmation the affiant affirms on their personal honor;
(d) In both acts the affiant makes a solemn promise

6. A proof of execution is an act where the principal signer:
(a) Does not show up
(b) Must show up because the signer must show up for all notary acts
(c) Does not show up, but has someone show up for them
(d) There is no such act.

7. If you have two names on an Acknowledmgent (John & Sally) but Sally cannot make it, what is the most pressing benefit to crossing her name out on the form rather than using a fresh form.
(a) Your recording fees will not be affected
(b) There is less danger of the new form being detached and used fraudulently
(c) It is easier
(d) It will look better in court because it is “cleaner” than using a new form and stapling it to the document.

8. If you are notarizing the signatures of three people each on ten Grant Deeds, how many journal entries should you use?
(a) 1
(b) 3
(c) 30
(d) 13

9. If you are notarizing the signatures of one person on five Grant Deeds, how do you differentiate the Deeds in your journal?
(a) Indicate the property address
(b) Indicate the APN number
(c) Indicate the document date
(d) Just say, “Grant Deed” in your journal entry(ies)

10. If you are at a loan signing and have a question about a notarization…
(a) You should ask title
(b) You should ask the lender
(c) You should ask the NNA
(d) You should ask your state Notary division

Summary
These are very important notary questions. Answering them correctly will help you know your job and reduce your chance of ending up in a sticky situation. You can consult our Notary Public 101 course on the blog to look up content regarding these points although we don’t address these specific questions in particular.

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May 7, 2020

Oaths must be signed by the Notary

Filed under: Technical & Legal — admin @ 9:40 am

I read in page 28 of the California Notary handbook that Oaths must be signed by the Notary. How do you sign a verbal act? Jurats must be signed and have a form and place to sign. But, an Oath is a purely verbal act with no accompanying paperwork at least in California. I am stumped. Can someone explain what I am missing?

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May 4, 2020

Notary in Texas gives permission for someone to forge her signature?

Filed under: Technical & Legal — admin @ 9:38 am

I am reading an interesting article that states that an eNotary in Texas offered permission for another individual to forge her signature on an electronically filed Affidavit in Support of Defendant’s Motion for New Trial document. An email was the proof that the notary authorized permission to conduct this act of fraud. I wonder if there was an eJournal entry as evidence in this case too. Read the entire story below.

https://www.lmtonline.com/local/crime/article/Court-records-shed-light-on-Texas-Rangers-raid-15107655.php

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May 3, 2020

Colorado digital ID’s. Can other states accept them?

Filed under: Technical & Legal — admin @ 9:37 am

In Colorado, residents may use a digital ID that they display on their iPhone. Notaries in that state may accept that as an ID. But, in California and Ohio, they are also accepting this type of ID providing it has all of the required information such as serial number, physical description, signature, photo, etc. Interesting. The world is really changing. Soon, I might be able to get a digital cat and feed it digital food.

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April 30, 2020

Does a signature need a signature line?

Filed under: Technical & Legal — admin @ 9:35 am

Does a signature require a signature line? Does a car need a road? Does a taco need a plate (or banana leaf?)

This question opens up a can of worms, especially since many signatures resemble worms. A signature does not require a signature line. But, it is customary to have a signature line that you sign upon. Many Notaries might be tempted to draw in a line in their own handwriting if there is no signature line on a document that needs to be notarized. Is this practicing law to alter a legal document? Or is the alteration such that it does not compromise the content or character of the document in any meaningful way? These are questions for an Attorney and I cannot answer them myself.

I have seen a particular document show up in many loan packages. It says, “This form must be notarized.” However, there is never any notary wording, or a signature line on the document. So, I would add an Acknowledgment form and have the person sign the document. If the borrower wanted to draw a signature line that is better – that way they are doing the tampering and not you.

A document that lacks a signature line is definitely unprofessional and not well thought out. But, technically, a document doesn’t require a signature line, strange or “misaligned” as that might sound.

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April 29, 2020

Was the signer willing to sign the document?

Filed under: Technical & Legal — admin @ 9:35 am

Verifying willingness is a big deal in the notary world. But, how often do we bring this topic up in conversations, blogs, or tutorials. We take for granted that the signer is willing to sign. But, let’s think about some scenarios where they might not be willing and how to spot those situations.

1. The signer doesn’t speak English.
If a signer does not understand what is going on, they might also not be completely willing to sign. They might be confused, coerced, or desperate. The document might be in English or in their language. As a notary, you must have direct communication with the signer in all fifty states. So, ask them if they understand the document and are willing to sign. See how they react.

2. The signer is elderly
If the signer is in a nursing home, be careful. The loving family members might not be real family and they might be ripping off a senile person. Make sure the signer understands the documents and is willing to sign. Ask open ended questions about what they document means. Be prepared to walk away if you get a wishy washy answer otherwise you might end up in court for God knows how long without pay.

3. The signer is being forced by the mafia or their spouse.
There have been cases where a husband makes the wife sign something. This is more true with foreigners who haven’t been blessed with the feminist movement. Women in other countries actually obey their husbands from time to time. Women don’t obey much in the USA which is why most men no longer want to get married — but, that is a story for another blog entry.

4. The signer is insane
Sometimes insane people appear normal — I know, because I am one myself. Just kidding. And so am I. We both are kidding. You might not see the signs, so make sure all of your signers know what they are signing and are willing.

In my personal experience, the only time I have had issues with signers was in nursing homes, hospitals, and once with a case where someone said they were kidnapped, but were not running. I had to decline a notarization for a dying Chinese man who could not say yes or no, but could squeeze my hand once for yes and twice for no. I broke their heart and tole them to get an Attorney and that I could not help them. Don’t get in trouble. Say no if the request is questionable.

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January 2, 2020

Recorded Documents at Loan Signings

Filed under: Technical & Legal — admin @ 7:21 am

As a notary, you will probably encounter numerous loan signings of various types. Any type of loan that uses real property as collateral will most likely have some sort of security instrument such as a Deed of Trust or Mortgage, perhaps other deeds, and other recorded documents.

Recorded documents get recorded normally at the county clerk’s office for a small fee. It is critical that your notary seal be very clear on a recorded document as the county clerk staff has the right to reject the notarization if there is any small problem with it. Below are a handful of recorded documents.

Recorded Documents:

Grant Deeds
Quit Claim Deeds
Warranty Deeds
Deed of Trust / Mortgage
Subordination Agreement
Riders to Deeds
Power of Attorney (commonly recorded)
Deed of Reconveyence
Tax Liens
Wills
Deed in Lieu
Assignments of a Deed of Trust
Declaration of Homestead
Rescission of Notice of Default.
Substitution of Trustee

On the 123notary Elite Certification test we normally test Notaries to see how fluent they are at naming recorded documents and explaining them. It is prudent to be aware of which documents are recorded so you can be more cautious when notarizing them. I also recommend thinking twice before having cross-outs on recorded Acknowledgment certificates as that looks very messy and perhaps questionable.

You might also like:

The 123notary elite certification study guide
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20118

What is the cleanest way to rectify an error on a certificate?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20018

Index of information about documents
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20258

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