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October 16, 2018

A guide to notarizing documents with blanks or multiple signatures

Filed under: Technical & Legal — admin @ 1:04 am

Don’t notarize documents with blanks!!!
That’s the end to the guide!

Dealing with Blanks
However, the main thing to understand is that as a Notary, you have many responsibilities. You have to identify people, keep a journal, staple things together, give Oaths, fill out certificates. You are so busy, that you might not have time to scan a document for blanks. But, you need to scan every single page.

If you spot a blank, you can put a diagonal or horizontal line through it. The main thing is to make sure that no new information is added to the document after the notarization.

You can also refuse to notarize and make the signer or document custodian complete the document before submitting it to the Notary.

Notarizing Individual Pages (or not)
Additionally you cannot notarize particular pages of a document separate from the document. Sometimes a particular page needs to be fixed or changed in a document and you might get a request to notarize just that page. You simply notarize the entire document as a whole.

Multiple Signatures
However, sometimes you get a document such as a health directive which has multiple notarizations within a very long document. I have seen health directives or living wills with fifty or more pages. Sometimes at a notarization you are notarizing signatures in the middle of the document as well as at the end of the document when the certificate is at the end of the document. I have also seen cases where there are multiple signatures in the middle of a document and a certificate in the middle of the document. This is confusing. Affidavit of Support forms have Jurats in the middle of the form too, and not enough room for your stamp (dumb government workers.)

The 1003 is a great example of a document with an entire page intentionally left blank. But, that is a signed document, not a notarized document.

The main point of this quick article is to remind you that you have to scan documents for blanks.

You might also like:

Cross out and initial, or use a fresh form?

Affirmations – pleasing the politically correct while offending all others

Five things a Notary must do


September 23, 2018

Index of Notary Courses & Educational Articles

Here are some of our most popular courses and educational articles


The 123notary Elite Certification Study Guide
Everything you need to know to pass the elite test, once you have passed the regular 123notary certification test

2018 Certification Standards
Everythign you need to know to pass our certification test

Notary Public 101
A guide to general best practices for Notaries Public.

The 30 point course
A guide to being a loan signing agent from A to Z

Notary Marketing 102
A complete guide to marketing your mobile notary and signing agent business.

Best blog articles for advanced Notaries

Signing Agent Best Practices: 63 Points



September 19, 2018

123notary’s quiz questions routinely accused of being state specific

Filed under: Technical & Legal — Tags: — admin @ 11:03 am

The people who accuse us of having state specific questions are never specific about which questions are state specific. Such ambiguity over specifics. We change our questions over time and questions are now based on Notary Public 101, and not a particular state. We don’t even cater to California rules when we are in California. We test on good practicies, NOT state specific practices. It is up to you to know your state rules and I’m sure you do … (or not).

Here are some questions that might seem state specifics.

1. Proof of Execution — state specific
This act is done in about 45 states which is almost all. However, Notaries never do this act in real life. I don’t even know which states don’t have it. Some call it a verification upon proof or some other similar name. I ask this question not because of its practicality but to see if you even read my materials before the quiz. I think it is a waste of everyone’s time to quiz when you didn’t study.

2. John Smith — NOT state specific
We ask this question about good old John as a prudency question and not a legal question. Is it prudent under the circumstances to notarize the signature John W Smith on a document when the ID says John Smith.Most Notaries cannot give a straight answer — they change the circumstances to asking the signer for another ID. That makes it a completely different question. Whether your state requires an exact name match or not, it is still NOT PRUDENT if you can’t a prove a person’s identity. That is the whole reason for having notaries in the first place.

3. Fixing Notary Certificates — state specific
This one is very important and definitely state specific. We ask a question that California Notaries are not allowed to do simply because the folks in the other states still need to be tested on this. How do you fix a wrong county on a certificate? In California you have to use a clean new form or redo the notarization. In other states you can cross out and initial, but don’t have the borrower initial a notary form. This is critical information here. Maryland does not allow the use of loose certificates, and Oregon does not allow the Notary to make any changes to certificates or even add new ones as that might be considered UPL the way they see it in the drizzly state. Food for thought.

4. FBI Thumbprint Question — NOT state specific
If the FBI shows up on your doorstep investigating a notarization you did involving a fake ID, your fake info in your journal won’t cut it even if your state doesn’t require or permit thumbprints. The FBI is federal and has some bad guys to catch. They want a thumbprint whether your state allows you to have it or not. This is a Federal specific question as the FBI is federal and doesn’t care about your petty state rules. This question is NOT state specific because it does not ask what your state wants or allows or permits.

5. Journals – sounds state specific, but not the way we ask it.
Many states don’t require a journal, so my journal questions are not based on state rules, but on the rules of prudency which are universal. Your journal is your only evidence in court of what happened at a notarization. Not keeping one is like not wearing a seatbelt on the freeway. Eventually something will happen and there will be injuries. This is a good practices question and once again NOT state specific.

6. Oaths & Affirmations – not state specific, but…
Oaths & Affirmations Universal — like God himself. But, the 2018 California Notary manual no longer has a set fee if you do these as separate acts not connected to a deposition or jurat. Hmm. So, you can do these acts in California, but what would you charge?

If you have been asked any other annoying questions by us which you feel are state specific, please mention them in the comments section clearly and please be to the point without any tangents so that the readers can get to the point. And once again, none of our questions are based on California practices, but are based on best practices (which often overlap with what California practices are — but not always.)



September 11, 2018

Logic errors can cost you as a Notary

Many of the mistakes that Notaries make are logic errors. Not being a logical person, or having a low IQ are dangerous in the Notary profession. I believe that state Notary divisions should require an IQ of 95 minimum simply because the misapplication of rules often happens because of incompetent or sloppy thinking. Additionally, not being meticulous can really cost you and your clients as a Notary. Missing items on forms, or missing items when you check forms can lead to court cases. One wrong number or one missing initial can ruin a loan. It is not safe being a Notary unless you are a very cautious and logical person. Let me elaborate how an illogical Notary can get in trouble.

1. Additional Information Sections in Loose Acknowledgements.
The illogical notary says, “This is not legally required, therefore I will not fill it out.” Unfortunately, a fraud can switch the acknowledgment from the document it was supposed to be on to another document signed by the same person which was not “notarized” and get away with it. The reason being that the Loose Acknowledgment was not labeled as to which document it belonged to.

The optional additional information section goes over the document name, document date, number of pages, other signers, capacities, and perhaps more. With all of that specific information, it would make it difficult but not impossible to find another similar document to swap the certificate to. If you want to be even more cautious like me, get a secondary embosser seal that leaves a raised impression and emboss all of the pages in everything you notarize. Then, if someone swaps pages or an Acknowledgment, it would be easy to catch the fraudulent act.

2. Not stapling forms together
If you do not affix, attach, or staple an Acknowledgment form to a document, or if you do not staple the document together, it is easy to swap pages after the notarization is complete. Swapping pages is illegal and unethical and dangerous, so you want to prevent this from happening. In California, not stapling Acknowledgments to documents is also illegal. An illogical person would not see the necessity of stapling forms as they do not bother to think of the reason why they should be doing it and what can go wrong if they don’t. Yet another reason why illogical people should not be Notaries.

3. The John Smith Dilemma
When I ask dumb Notaries this question, they normally get it wrong which is dangerous as you can end up in court for screwing this up regularly.

If the ID says John Smith, but the signature on the document says John W Smith, would it be prudent to notarize the signature under the circumstances.

The most common answers include:
You can always over sign — this is a title rule and not a legal rule. The legal rule is that you must prove a signer’s name/identity in order to notarize them. The meaning of “you can always over sign” means that if the name inscribed in the signature section of a document says John Smith, but the signer wants to sign John W Smith, that Title will not mind. Although in real life that is a matter of preference and Title might mind.
Just ask for another ID — once again, another illogical answer. Of course you can always ask for another ID, but in this circumstance there is no other ID. Having a second ID would be a different circumstance, and not the one mentioned. Additionally, in a yes/no question, you need to give a yes/no answer otherwise you are not being logical and also not proving you know the answer to the question which is NO.
The longer not shorter rule — this is not a rule and can easily be reversed. Never memorize a rule that can be reversed. The ID can be matching but longer than the name notarized. But, the ID cannot just be longer. The signature notarized can never be longer than the ID if you follow prudent procedure although some states have wishy-washy identification rules and might allow this.

My logical answer is that the ID must prove the name you are going to notarize the signer under. The ID can be matching but longer than the signature on the document, but not unmatching or shorter.

4. Understanding basic notary acts
You could get in trouble for not understanding basic notary acts. If a client asks if you can notarize an Acknowledgment when they ALREADY signed the document, most Notaries would say no. However, almost all states do not require the signer to sign in the presence of the Notary, but only to Acknowledge in the presence of the Notary — a distinction an illogical person often cannot make. So, by not understanding the rules, you will deny a valid request for notarization which is by definition — illegal. Many Notaries deny legal requests all day long and then accept illegal requests because they are completely ignorant of Notary law and procedure which describes most of the Notaries on our site which is appalling.

5. Omitting or scrambling required Oaths & Affirmations
The illogical Notary doesn’t realize that Oaths are administered in all states by Notaries and that they are required for Jurats. The illogical Notary makes the following mistakes.

Omitting the Oath / Affirmation — It can be considered a felony of perjury to omit an Oath when you filled out a paper stating that an Oath was taken. Yet many Notaries are completely unaware that they need to administer Oaths and don’t even care until they get busted and have their commission revoked which doesn’t happen very often.
Giving an Affirmation instead of an Oath — Many Notaries who were asked to give an Oath used the word affirm because they don’t like the idea of swearing. That constitutes choosing the Notary act for the signer which is not allowed. The signer decides if they want an Oath or Affirmation, so you should probably ask if the law allows for either or.
Giving an Oath as to the identity of the signer — if you are giving an Oath about a document, having the signer swear their name is John Smith does not constitute an Oath about the document unless the document says, “My name is John Smith.” An Oath is incomplete or not administered unless it is topical to the subject matter. An Oath for a document should be regarding the truthfulness of the document.
Giving an Oath regarding that the signer signed the document — once again, by law a Jurat signature must be signed in the presence of the Notary, and the Oath should be about the truthfulness of the document and not whether they signed it.
Unique state laws — if your state requires more than just swearing that the document is correct, then by all means, fulfill your state requirements which we know nothing about here at 123notary. However, if you fulfill the other state requirements, but don’t administer an Oath regarding the truthfulness of the document and I caught you as a judge or notary division worker — your commission would be revoked on the first offense as that is perjury and undermines the integrity of the Notary profession and society.

In short, being illogical as a Notary can not only cost Title companies thousands and get you fired, or sued. Being illogical as a Notary can even get you jail sentence of up to five years for perjury which is a federal law which has no regard to the particular laws of your particular state. So, learn to be a correct Notary and keep in touch with your Notary division so you don’t goof on anything.


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September 4, 2018

Find a Notary who can notarize an inmate at Men’s Central, Twin Towers, Century Regional. Pitches Detention Center

Do you need a Notary who can do prison notarizations? 123notary has many Notaries who offer mobile service to jails, prisons, correctional facilities, penitentiaries, and detention centers. Here are some issues involved:

1. Someone needs to meet the Notary at the jail. That person can be an Attorney, family member, friend, or paid assistant.

2. The inmate must have identification that is satisfactory to the state where the notarization takes place. It is ideal if the person meeting the Notary has a current ID for the inmate such as a valid and current driver license, ID card, passport, etc. However, if the inmate has a wristband or jail ID card that is acceptable to the state where the notarization is taking place.

3. A California Notary may accept an inmate identification card issues by the state Department of Correction and Rehabilitation.

4. Florida allows Notaries to accept inmate ID cards issued by the U.S. Department of Justice or Bureau of Federal Prisons.

5. Credible witnesses are allowed in most states. A credible witness is a person who can vouch for the identity of a signer who does not have ID. Typically the credible witness must swear under Oath as to the identity of the signer (exact procedure depends on state laws) and must be identified by the notary and sign the journal in the additional information section. Some states allow one credible witness who knows both the Notary and inmate while others allow two who both know the signer, but don’t necessarily know the Notary. Other states allow one or two, while some states do not allow identification via credible identifying witnesses.

6. In states that require a journal, you must find a way to get the journal to the other side of the glass. Normally a warden will be happy to assist you with this task, however wardens might keep you waiting for five or ten minutes in my experience.

7. Lock downs happen in jails. If a lock down happens, you might be asked to leave, or might be taken virtually hostage until the lock down is over.

8. The Notary must have full vision of the signer and the signer must appear before the Notary. It is okay if the signer is on the other side of a glass provided that direct communication is possible. In my opinion, the signers should be within about five feet of the Notary otherwise you cannot fulfill the “personal appearance” requirement of most Notary acts.

9. Power of Attorney documents are common documents to be notarize in a correctional facility. That document normally requires an Acknowledgment which is a common Notary act which just requires the signer to sign the document, and then sign a Notary journal (most states but not all states). The Notary would need to check whatever ID the inmate has available and enter that information into the journal.

10. You can find a Notary on 123notary.com to do your jail signing. It is best to bring cash, and pay the travel fee up front. Then pay waiting time and whatever fee there is per signature after the work is done. Each Notary has their own fee and method of collecting their fee. Paying in two stages makes it easier for the Notary as some people try to get out of paying the Notary at all if there is any type of problem getting the inmate to come to the visiting room or sign, or be identified.

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See our Jail Notary string

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Jail signing information


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Can you go to jail for notarizing a family member in Florida?


September 1, 2018

UPL — Unauthorized Practice of Law in the Notary Profession

Unauthorized practice of law… what does this phrase really mean? The sad truth is that this concept is widely misunderstood, and differs from state to state. The definition of UPL (not UPS) is generally arbitrary and is often set by bar associations set on protecting the financial interests of their Attorneys who don’t want any unnecessary competition in the legal services field. So, one could say that Attorneys as a group are engaged in a form of corruption and using the law to enforce standards that serve no purpose other than to eliminate competition (sounds like the mafia). Instead of burying you in cement, a bar association can investigate a person suspected of UPL, and sue them or perhaps fine them for huge mounts of money leaving the Notary essentially financially broken.

Case Study
One of the Notaries listed on our site lost or almost lost (forgot the story as it was from a decade or more ago) $40,000 for doing a loan signing in a state where Notaries are not allowed to do such things.

Attorney States
In certain states that we refer to as Attorney States, only Attorneys are allowed to do loan signings. The premise is that by engaging in the facilitation of a loan signing, that you are making an unstated assertion that you have the same knowledge as a Mortgage Broker, Lender or Attorney and that you can explain the documents. This is simply not true. When a Notary goes to a loan signing, some Notaries do not explain any terms or documents while some do. In my opinion you should catch a Notary in the act explaining a legal term and then bust them. But, merely by facilitating the signing a loan in an Attorney state, a Notary can get busted.

States where Notaries are not supposed to facilitate the signing of loans include Georgia, South Carolina, Massachusetts and perhaps others. This information could be outdated and the interpretation of the rules is far beyond my capacity. However, many Notaries in all of these states advertise on 123notary claiming that they do signings. However, I have heard that they typically don’t do signings for properties that are in their state, but only for out of state properties. I have heard that this is still illegal, but I guess people are not getting caught. My word of advice is to consult an Attorney before doing something that could get you in trouble.

Notary unauthorized practice of law
As a general rule, drafting a legal document, giving legal advice, giving advice about a court case, giving advice about how to draft a legal document, or helping to interpret a legal document might be construed as unauthorized practice of law. However, I am not an Attorney and cannot say with any certainty or authority what constitutes UPL in any state. I am just relaying to you what I have read over the years. Additionally, explaining the terms of a loan or what certain mortgage terms mean might be considered UPL as well – once again, I am not sure, but you can ask an Attorney if you really want a definitive answer.

Choosing the Notary Act
As a Notary Public, it is the choice of the client or signer which type of Notary act they want. The Notary has the right to explain the various Notary acts to them and the rules that apply, but the Notary cannot choose for them. Under many circumstances there might only be one particular Notary act that the Notary would legally be able to perform. In such a case, the Notary should explain the circumstances, how to change the circumstances and ask if the signer wants to proceed as is.

It is common for Notaries while administering Jurats to automatically perform an Affirmation because they are afraid to offend people by administering an Oath. First of all the Notary is required to give the signer a choice as to which Notary act they want to have performed. Second, many people might be offended by Affirmations more than by Oaths. However, I can state with definitiveness that dogs prefer Affirmations.

Drawing in a Signature Line
It used to be common in loan signings for a document to have no signature line, yet have an instruction that it must be notarized. You cannot notarize a document without a signature, and how can you sign without a signature line? If the borrower draws in the line, that is their business, but if the Notary does it, are they practicing law?

Oregon Standards
I have heard that in Oregon, a Notary may not cross anything out on a Notary certificate, nor may they attach a new Notary certificate. But actions would be considered practicing law there as far a I know in my layperson capacity.

Unauthorized Practice of Law is a crime and is a very wishy-washy state-specific convoluted subject. Please ask an Attorney for a professional opinion on this subject if you are at all concerned.


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Penalties for Notary misconduct, fraud, and failure of duty

Filed under: Notary Mistakes — Tags: , , — admin @ 11:23 am

Notaries by and large do not willfully engage in any type of illegal activity or illegal notarizations. The normal types of crimes Notaries commit are due to complete ignorance of Notary procedure, Oaths, and certificates. The only serious and purposeful crime I have ever heard of a Notary associated with us committing was one that assisted someone in fraud concerning real property — and the Notary ended up in jail. Please keep in mind that Notary law is different in every state and changes all the time as well. Penalties and fines for Notary misconduct are different in each state, California being the most stringent.

Negligent vs. Willful Misconduct

In California, the penalties are much more severe for Notaries who have engaged in willful misconduct rather than just making a careless mistake or omission.

Failure to keep your seal & journal under lock and key.
In California this is very serious and is a crime. You can keep your Notary equipment in a bag with a small lock that locks the zippers together. If you are the only one with access to your car, then the trunk of your car could work as well.

Unauthorized Practice of Law
The definition of UPL differs from state to state. However, offering opinions on legal matters or offering to draft legal documents might constitute UPL. For a professional opinion — ask an Attorney!

Asking a notary to do an improper notarization.
This is a misdemeanor in California. If it involves real property, then it is much more serious. Clients might ask you to notarize their signature using a different name variation that is not documented on their identification, or put a false date. This is illegal. They would guilty for asking you to do this, and you would be guilty if you give in to their pressure. If you have driven forty minutes to a signing job, in a sense you have a beneficial interest in notarizing their document unless you have gotten your travel fee up front when you walk in the door. So, to be prudent and avoid this issue, you MUST get your travel fee BEFORE you see the document, or are informed who the signers are, or see their ID, because a conflict of interest can easily happen. If someone asks you to do something illegal, you can threaten to report them to the Secretary of State’s office. This is a serious crime and you should treat it as such.

Issuing a false certificate
A notary who signs and seals false certificates, and this could include backdated certificates would be guilty of a misdemeanor. A false Acknowledgment certificate constitutes FORGERY. Additionally, the notary public could have their commission revoked if found guilty of this crime, with an additional fine of $1500 per incident in California (fines change over time so look this up in the statues).

Failure to Identify a Credible Witness
A fine of $10,000 per incident could occur if a notary fails to check a credible witness’s identification documents and see that they have acceptable identification.

Failure to get a thumbprint!!!
This is my favorite. Thumbprints are critical for identifying a signer if fraud is suspected. Powers of Attorney and Deeds require a journal thumbprint in California. A fine of up to $2500 per incident would be the penalty. Most other states do not require thumbprints, and Texas and Florida actually recommend against thumbprinting as those states do not trust Notaries with biometric data which is the only foolproof way to identify a signer. How ironic!

Failure to administer an Oath
A fine of $750 per incident could be incurred, not to mention revocation, or suspension of a notary commission, or refusal to grant a commission. I heard that some Notaries in Oklahoma had to go to court for a loan document signing in question. The Judge found out that the Notaries had not administered Oaths on the Affidavits in the loan package. I heard that the Judge overturned the loan and had the Notaries commissions permanently revoked by their state.

Felony Convictions
If you have a felony conviction or have been convicted of a crime involving dishonesty or moral turpitude, you will most likely not be allowed to get a notary commission in the first place. If you already had a notary commission, it would be suspended or revoked the minute your state’s ntoary division finds out about it!

Professional Misconduct
This refers to dishonesty in your professional activities. The penalty would once again be suspension, revocation, or refusal to grant a notary commission.

Failure of Duty
This means that you refuse to serve a member of the public who has a legitimate request for a notarization. However, if the signer doesn’t have proper identification, or doesn’t have a properly filled out document, or seems very questionable, you have the right to refuse service to such a client. The penalty would be refusal to grant a notary commission, suspension, or revocation of a notary commission. Additionally a fine of $750 could be imposed on the California notary public.

Falsely Acting as a Notary
This is a misdemeanor. Borrowing someone’s Notary seal and doing Notary work is a serious crime. If you are a Notary, keep your seal and journal locked up.

Making false statements to a notary
Anyone who induces a notary to make an improper notarization with regards to real property can be found guilty of a FELONY. This is the most serious type of fraud possible in the notary profession.

False or misleading notary advertising
Making false statements in notary advertising is illegal, and the penalty for a California Notary is $1500 per incident. Additionally, such a notary’s commission could be suspended, revoked, terminated, or there could be a refusal to issue a commission. Claiming to be an immigration expert, or be able to give legal advice could be a serious example of false advertising and perhaps unauthorized practice of law.

Selling personal information
It is illegal for the notary sells or misuses personal information of those he/she has notarized. Remember to keep your journals locked up, so that nobody can have access to that information. When making copies of journal entries, make sure that the neighboring journal entries are covered, so that their information is not shared with the public. Once again, your application could be denied, or your commission could be revoked or suspended for this type of crime.

Misstatements on a notary application (Application misstatement)
Your notary commission could be suspended, revoked, or refused if you are guilty of this misconduct

Here are some other crimes… I will just list them here, but may or may not describe the penalties.

Failure to deliver a journal to the county clerk at the end of your commission. – misdemeanor
Failure to safeguard seal and journal – revoke/suspend/refuse
Failure to report a lost or damaged seal – $1500 fine
Nonpayment of judgement / Refusal to pay child support – refusal to issue a commission
Failure to keep a journal – such notaries will be prosecuted

There are a few others laws that I am not going to mention, but these were the interesting ones…

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August 3, 2018

Notary Public 101 — Scenarios: Hospital signing issues

Filed under: Technical & Legal — Tags: — admin @ 6:48 am

Have you ever done a signing in a hospital? You should be prepared, because one day you might do it. There are many issues that come up in hospital signings. First of all, it is common to have to decline service because the signer has been medicated, or has lost their mind. As a Notary, you should be aware that you can easily be subpoenaed for hospital signings as it is common for people to not remember what they signed and for people to try to take advantage, so be cautious.

As a Notary you need to be able to gauge the situation over the phone before you commit to coming, and once again gauge the situation once you are in front of the signers. The person who calls you to come to the hospital is almost never the signer, but usually a family member, Attorney, or scam artist.

Confirming the appointment.
Have your contact person read the name as it appears on the ID, and the expiration date (the expiration date of the card, or the patient, whichever comes first). Then, have the contact person read how the name appears on the document. Not only are you checking if names match, but if they even have an ID, know where it is, and have their document all ready. Confirm that they will not be medicated before you come and make sure the nurses know that the notary job is off if they medicate at all.

Once at the appointment.
Get travel fees at the door. Otherwise you will have a beneficial interest (in my opinion) in having the document signed. When you meet the signer, you can ask them questions about the document being signed. Don’t ask yes/no questions. Ask questions that make them explain the document to you. You can also make small talk about how you love what President Clinton did yesterday. If they are on the ball, they will know that President Clinton is no longer in office. You need effective ways to screen out people on morphine and those who have lost their mind. You should also ask if they have been medicated in the last twelve hours.

It is not your job to decide who gets morphine and when. However, if a signer does get medicated, let the contact person know that you will walk off with their travel fee as you do not dare notarize a medicated person who is not fully conscious, especially on a Power of Attorney.


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Do you like your job? A story of being kept waiting forever at a hospital.


Notary Public 101 — Scenarios: How do you notarize a document with no signature line?

If you have been instructed to notarize a document that doesn’t have a signature line, that is a cross between a quandary and a conundrum.

You cannot notarize a document without a signature. Notaries notarize signatures on documents, not documents, and especially not documents without signatures. And you cannot have a signature without a signature line. But, it could be construed as UPL for a Notary to add a signature line to a document. So, now your ability to get the job done is really on the line — which unfortunately doesn’t exist in this case, until someone writes one in.

So, what do you do to get the document notarized? If the signer draws a signature line, then they are the one engaging in UPL, not you, especially if you do not advise them to do so. The bottom line (no pun intended), which is the signature line, is that without a signature, there can be no Acknowledgment or Jurat on a particular document. An Oath or Affirmation are the only Notary Acts you can do without a signature.

So, once a signature line has been added, the affiant can sign, and then you can notarize the signature on the document.

But, what if you have a signature without a document — that is an entirely different question.


July 31, 2018

Notarizing the elderly — do more digging to be sure it is legit

There are many people who prey on the elderly. Elderly people need help and cannot always get it. Perhaps their family no longer talks to them, or is far away. Perhaps they have no family. Those who seem like they are family members or “helping” the elderly might be scam artists.

If you are notarizing for an elderly person, you need to check out the people who are helping. Here are some things you should find out.

1. What is your relationship to the signer? What is your name?
2. Why are you having this document signed? What is it about?
3. How does it benefit the signer?

This is a little nosy, but Notaries end up in court a lot in elder signings, so perhaps it is better to be suspicious up front to discourage the others from defrauding others.

You might indicate in your journal who the helpers are. This is not required, but if you have ID information for the helpers, that could help catch them in the off chance you are investigated. Also, nobody who is doing something illegal wants their ID recorded in a Notary journal. They might back off. The point of all of this extra work is to discourage people from getting you in a position where you will have to end up in court.

If when asking the helpers questions about their relationship with the signer, why they are helping, etc., you can see if they flinch or are awkward. I am not an investigator and do not know how liars act, but you might find them to be very uncomfortable if you start digging. Be polite in your digging and explain that many elder signings end up in court and that you want to make sure that nothing will go wrong.


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Notarizing documents for the elderly

How do I do a signature by X Notarization

When to ask for ID over the phone & fees at the door

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