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February 21, 2019

How many years is a Notary commission good for?

How long does a notary commission last? How many years is my notary commission good for? How many years is my term of office as a notary public?

The answer is that it varies from state to state.

An Alabama Notary commission is good for 4 years

An Arizona notary commission is good for 4 years

Arkansas notaries are commissioned for 10 years.
A California notary commission is good for 4 years.

A Colorado Notary commission is good for 4 years
A Florida notary commission is good for 4 years
An Illinois notary commission is good for 4 years

Louisiana notaries are commissioned for life and have the hardest training program of any state.

A New Jersey Notary Commission is good for 5 years
A Pennsylvania notary commission is good for 4 years
A Texas notary commission is good for 4 years
A Washington state notary commission is good for 4 years

But, some states have an unusually short term of office for notaries like Delaware which is only a 2 year term of office.

Some states have a short term of office, while others have a longer one.
The majority of states have a four year term, but a few have a five, six, seven, or even longer term.

Our forum article below covers even more states and their lengths of notary terms of office.
http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=3955

Penalties for notary misconduct, fraud and failure of duty
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21315

How much does a Notary cost in 2019?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21308

Notary Public general information
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20075

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February 20, 2019

Notarizing Multi-Page Documents

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

Should a Notary notarize every page of a document? How can a Notary or signer safeguard themselves from someone swapping pages in a document after the notarization has taken place? You need answers! Here they are!

1. A Notary Public notarizes signatures on documents, not pages on documents. A particular page or pages might have notary certificates within a document. Or, a certificate could be stapled to the back of a document. Ideally that certificate should identify the corresponding document. If you have a ten page document, there will most likely only be one, and possibly two pages with notary wording.

2. A prudent Notary Public carries what is called an inkless embosser that leaves a raised seal impression. This is in ADDITION to having the legally required inked seal that is used with blank ink. The embosser can be used to emboss every single page in a notarized document. I did exactly that on everything I notarized even if there were 100 pages. I did this for safety reasons. I did not want people to get away with switching pages after the fact and dragging me into court as a result of someone else not liking the idea that a page was swapped.

3. If a signer swaps a page from a notarized document, and that page was embossed, they can still swap the page. However, it will not be legal, and it will be very obvious to the Notary Public if investigated that the new page was not part of the original notarization as the notary embosses all pages — if the notary indeed was the type of notary who embossed all pages — like me!

4. Some people initial all pages. Initialing is a type of precaution. But, initials can be forged easily, and it is sometimes not easy to tell if they were forged.

5. If a document had a page swapped, the staple and staple area in the pages might show evidence of tampering. The degree of evidence depends on how skillful the fraud was at swapping pages. Luckly in my career of 6000 Notary appointments I did not have this issue.

6. If you need to add a page to an already notarized document. What can you do? You have to notarize the entire document all over again. I had that happen. What a pain. The signer wasn’t happy. Sorry — just following the law!

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You might also like:

Notarizing Multi-Page Documents 2011 edition
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1706

Sending loose certificates is illegal
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2470

Penalties for misconduct, fraud and failure of duty
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21315

How often do Notaries end up in court?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19914

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February 19, 2019

Beneficial Interest

Filed under: Technical & Legal — Tags: — admin @ 10:39 am

Beneficial interest, financial interest and conflict of interest are terms that a Notary Public should know.

Beneficial Interest
If a person is named in a document as someone who will receive some sorts of rights, privileges, or financial endowments, the could be said to have beneficial interest. Notaries are prohibited from Notarizing documents that they are named in as this constitutes beneficial interest which represents a conflict of interest. If you are a beneficiary in a document for perhaps a will, trust holdings, etc., then you would have beneficial interest.

Financial Interest
Someone who is named in a document to receive financial sums can be said to have financial interest.

Conflict of Interest
If you gain by having a document signed and you are the Notary, that means you have an interest in having the document signed which constitutes a conflict of interest. Notaries need to be impartial in their duties and should not have any conflict of interest.

Notarizing for Family Members
It is discouraged for a Notary to notarize for family members. It might not directly constitute a conflict of interest, but it looks questionable and it is better to have an outsider notarize signatures for family members as they are completely uninvolved (probably).

Interesting links

123notary Glossary — beneficial interest
http://www.123notary.com/glossary/?beneficial-interest

Investopedia — beneficial interest definition
https://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/beneficial-interest.asp

The 30 point course — beneficial interest
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14532

Just say No #3
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=376

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February 18, 2019

Notary Oath of Office Information

Filed under: Technical & Legal — Tags: , — admin @ 10:40 am

Some states require a Notary Public to take an Oath of Office. The verbiage of the Oath changes from state to state. What you need to know is that you have to swear under Oath to a statement in front of a Notary Public. This is normally done in the county clerk’s office. Then you file your Oath which is in the form of a document that has been signed, sworn to and notarized — you file that with your county clerk and pay a small fee for their service.

The oath and bond must be filed with the county clerk within 30 days of the beginning of your commission in California.

Here is some sample wording for a general Oath of Office

State of California
County of Los angeles
I, (name), do solmenly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the constitution of the United State and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear the faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United State and the State of California, that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties upon which I am about to ender and during such tim as I hold the office of (name of office).

Signature _______________

Subscribed and sworn to before me (name of notary) by (name of affiant) this ___ date of month, year.

You might also like:

Filing your Oath & Bond in California
http://www.sos.ca.gov/notary/checklist/bond/

Notary Public Oath of Office information 2012 edition
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2545

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February 17, 2019

Can a Notary get in trouble?

Filed under: Technical & Legal — Tags: — admin @ 10:41 am

Can a Notary Public get in trouble? Can a Notary get in legal trouble? The answer is yes, but it might surprise you how it happens.

In my experience running a site where we have listed 55,000 Notaries to date, the only Notaries I have heard of who ended up in jail willfully engaged in very serious fraud involving real property. They falsified documents in order to steal property basically. This is the worst thing a notary can do and the penalties can be ten or more years in prison.

However there are other things a Notary can do where they might get fined, lose their commission, or get reprimanded.

1. A California Notary must maintain a journal to the standards of the state. The state of California audits Notary journals regularly by asking Notaries to mail in particular copies of pages of their journal If you are putting more than one document per journal entry, missing signatures, thumbprints (if applicable) or anything else, you can get a warning, get fined, or lose your commission for good. If you rely on your notary commission to make a living, obey the laws of the state — they will check up on you.

2. Falsifying a date in a notary certificate. Don’t do that. It is fraud. It might help your signer, and they might bribe you but you could lose your commission over that.

3. Omitting an Oath. Most Notaries think administering Oaths is a joke. If you get caught by a judge for failing to administer an Oath you could get fined, lose your commission, or possibly go to jail for perjury if you issued a written statement stating that an Oath had indeed been issued.

4. Goofing on your notary test with 123notary. The worst thing that can happen is that we might want you to study up and try again.

5. Sending a loose certificate in the mail. Very illegal, but people will ask you to do this. You can lose your commission over just one incident so don’t do it.

6. You might notarize someone who is John W Smith in the document but whose ID says John Smith and you might be notarizing the wrong person who is committing fraud.

But, there are other ways a Notary can get in trouble that are not the fault of the Notary.

1. Someone could give you a false ID and impersonate someone else. You might end up in court because of this, but as a witness not a defendant.

2. The FBI might investigate fraud that was done by a signer or someone impersonating you.

3. Someone can copy the impression of your notary seal and make a false certificate using it.

4. Someone you notarize might have a real ID, but have the same exact name as someone else and impersonate them.

5. An elderly person might be getting taken advantage that you notarized. They might not remember much in court so make sure your elder signers know what is going on. It is still risky if they know what is going on because by the time they get to court they might be completely senile.

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February 16, 2019

What is a document date?

Filed under: Technical & Legal — admin @ 10:42 am

What is a document date on a document? Is the document date an important fact for Notaries to know? There is a great bit of confusion about this topic.

A document date is an arbitrary date that the document drafter adds or inscribes within the document. Although the document date is arbitrary, certain customs apply.

The document date is usually based on the date the document is either written, becomes effective, or is intended to be signed.

In real life, sometimes signings are postponed by a day or two because something came up. The main point to remember here is that there is no hard and fast rule as to what a document date is, can be or should be. To further research this point, I read through the first several dozen posts on Google about this topic and none of them address is clearly.

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February 14, 2019

Notarizing confidential marriage licenses

Notarizing confidential marriage licenses

Marriage licenses are normally issued by the county clerk’s office. There are agencies that can expedite the process of getting this license. The use of a wedding officiant is an efficient way to get your marriage license.

Many Notaries do weddings. But, finding them on 123notary is not always easy. We have many Notaries in Florida and South Carolina who do weddings. To find Notaries in other states to do confidential marriage licenses, you should visit google and enter the words:

Your state
Your city
confidential marriage license
wedding officiant
Notarizing

You might not be able to use all of those words in each search, but fool around with the words and you might find someone good who is not too far away.

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February 13, 2019

How do you notarize a copy of a passport?

A few states might allow copy certification on the part of the Notary which means that the notary would officially vouch for the truthfulness and authenticity of the copy.

However, most states do not allow this. Copy certification by document custodian is an embellished Jurat. It requires the signer or document custodian to swear to the truthfulness of the copy of the document. It is generally best that the notary also inspect the document to make sure it is a true copy and perhaps write an informal note stating the same. This is how I was trained when I was a Notary Public.

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February 3, 2019

Credible Witness Notary — information & resources

Here are some links that explain the credible witness process in the Notary profession. Please keep in mind that each state has a different procedure and rules for credible witnesses and a few states don’t allow this practice at all. Please also keep in mind that a Credible Witness for Notary work is also called a Credible identifying witness as their function is to identify signers who lack proper identification.

California Credible Witness Information
There is a long list of things a California Credible Witness must swear to that go above and beyond the identity of the signer. The credible witness must also swear that the signer cannot easily obtain identification. Here are what the CW must swear to:

1. The individual appearing before the notary public as the signer of the document is the person named in the document;

2. The credible witness personally knows the signer;

3. The credible witness reasonably believes that the circumstances of the signer are such that it would be very difficult or impossible for the signer to obtain another form of identification;

4. The signer does not possess any of the identification documents authorized by law to establish the signer’s identity; and general information

5. The credible witness does not have a financial interest and is not named in the document signed.

Please note that the credible witness does not have to swear that the signer has a particular legal name. Shouldn’t that be the whole point of the Oath?

Please refer to page eight and nine of the 2018 California Notary Public Handbook for details.
http://notary.cdn.sos.ca.gov/forms/notary-handbook-2018.pdf

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Information & Resources

Credible witnesses from A to Z
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=452

Glossary Entry — Credible Witness
http://www.123notary.com/glossary/?credible-witness

Which states allow credible witnesses?
http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=4047

Credible Witnesses — the process explained
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16695

NNA’s guide to credible witnesses
https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2015/10/notary-challenge-how-handle-credible-witness

NotaryClasses.com guide to credible witnesses
https://www.notaryclasses.com/tutorials/homestudy/56.aspx

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2 Credible Witnesses
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California Notary Oath of credible witness

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January 29, 2019

Can a Notary go to jail for Notary fraud?

Filed under: Technical & Legal — Tags: — admin @ 2:52 am

Can a Notary go to jail for Notary fraud?
Can a Notary go to prison for Notary fraud?

Notaries very rarely end up in jail. There are many illegal things that Notaries to almost daily. However, the law seems to rarely catch up with them unless a crime is committed where there are damages. Additionally, if the crime was committed with intent to steal, embezzle, or harm someone, the Notary would be in a lot worse trouble.

Notaries typically do not administer Oaths for Jurats. Those that do, typically administer an Oath in my opinion incorrectly. I test Notaries regularly and this is how I know. It is illegal to sign a Jurat that makes you claim that you supervised an Oath when in fact you did not. That might be considered perjury, although I am not an Attorney and cannot say with any certainty. However, Notaries very rarely get in trouble for omissions in their duty.

The only time I have heard of a Notary going to jail was one who assisted in fraud involving real property. The Notary falsified paperwork, probably Deeds of some sort and helped someone steal someone else’s property. That Notary got put away for a long time.

However, Notaries end up in court regularly for things that signers did fraudulently. Some signers alter documents after they were notarized. Other signers committed identity fraud. Once in a while, someone will forge a notary seal and pretend to be a particular Notary. It is common those these acts of fraud to result in a Notary being supoenaed to court or at least being investiated.

So, unless a Notary does something intentionally to cause financial harm to another person, it is unlikely that they will end up in jail — but, then.. who knows…

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