We recently got a bunch of questions from newer Notaries about journals which were interesting. Here are the questions and my commentary.
1. What if someone signs in the wrong line in my Notary book?
If someone signs in the wrong line in your Notary journal, this poses a problem. If they signed above the journal entry in someone else’s entry, if it covers the other signature, that is a problem. Just cross out the wrong signature without defacing the signature that belongs there. On the other hand, if someone signs below in a blank journal entry, just cross the entire line of journal entry out and have them sign in the correct place. If you are doing a husband and wife notarization and you fill out your journal for all of the loan documents for each signer — and the husband signs where the wife is supposed to sign (but hasn’t yet) just cross out the entire entry, make a note of what happened in the journal and make a new entry for the one that got botched.
It is better to watch signers and use your finger to point to where they are supposed to sign as they will likely sign in the wrong place.
2. What if someone forgets to sign my Notary Journal?
If you are doing a notarization, you need to fill out your Notary journal BEFORE you stamp anything. Yes, you can fill out the Acknowledgment and Jurat forms before the notarization or before the person signs or swears under Oath. But, you cannot complete the notarization by signing your signature to the certificate or stamping until the person has signed your journal and the corresponding document.
If you make a mistake and forget to have someone sign your journal — call them up and go back. Get them to sign after the fact. That is better than not getting a signature at all. Tell them that their notarization could get “nullified” or not recognized if there is no signature in your book. In real life, a Notarization can only be “disqualified” after the fact if there is a formal investigation by an Attorney, investigator, Secretary of State, etc., who determines that the Notarization was done fraudulently or incompletely. So, you can scare them with this information and they will most likely be willing to sign your journal. However, don’t scare them unless they refuse to cooperate just to be polite!
3. What if I am signing two documents for two signers — how many journal entries?
Two documents that two signers will sign both of? That’s easy. That is two entries per person = FOUR journal entries. Just prepare all four journal entries with the name of each document and signer, plus all other pertinent and required information in each journal entry. Each person’s name will appear in two entries — one for each document.
Jan 1, 10am John Doe Ack Power of Attorney Address CA Dr. Lic 5553334 Exp.10-01-21 Fee… Signature Thumbprint
Jan 1, 10am John Doe Jurat Affidavit Ditto Ditto Fee… Signature. Thumbprint
Jan 1, 10am Sally Doe Ack Power of Attorney Address CA Dr. lic 1234566 Exp. 10-09-19 Fee. Signature. Thumbprint
Jan 1, 10am Sally Doe Jurat Affidavit Ditto Ditto Fee Signature … Thumbprint
You can NOT say ditto for the other signatures. Signatures must be signed. If your state law requires thumbprints on Powers of Attorney or Deeds, then do so for all entries for a Power of Attorney documents and Deeds. There is no penalty for always taking a thumbprint as it is prudent.
There is MORE… to be indicated in the journal entry than I indicated. Document Date, Notes about the signing that might help jog your memory after the fact.>