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January 17, 2017

Notary vs. Signing Agent

Filed under: Technical & Legal — Tags: , — admin @ 12:21 am

We write about this topic every so often. It is so basic and so critical that all new Notaries should understand. Every year, hundreds of thousands of Americans become Notaries. As Notaries they can perform tasks such as Acknowledging signatures, performing Jurats, administering Oaths, and other tasks which might be state specific. Notaries can hold their heads up high as their function is to identify signers, keep good records (in most states at least) and deter or prevent fraud. But, that is only if they are doing their job correctly — and most states do not vet their Notaries well enough to know the difference.

What is a Notary?
(1) A Notary Public is a state appointed official that is authorized to perform particular Notary functions. All states allow Notaries to perform Acknowledgments, Jurats, and Oaths, while some states allow Notaries to act as an official witness, safety box opener, proof of execution, protests, take Depositions, and more.

(2) A Notary receives a formal certificate of commission from their state, and a commission number.

(3) Many states require a Notary to have an official notary seal that has the Notary’s name, commission number, expiration date, state andcounty.

(4) Many states require the Notary to keep a bound and sequential official journal of notarial acts.

To be short, a Notary can perform certain basic Notary functions that their state allows them to function. Their state offers them a formal certificate of commission, and normally allows them to get one or two official Notary seals with their name, commission number, expiration date, city and state, etc. Notaries use prescribed state specific wording for particular Notary acts and that wording can be used on loose certificates that they can purchase from businesses who sell Notary supplies. A Notary is a public official, although most Notaries don’t understand that on an emotional level. They are appointed by their state as an official who will uphold (or at least are supposed to) the laws of their state at all costs.

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January 5, 2017

When you can’t stamp!

Filed under: Technical & Legal — admin @ 12:46 am

When You Can’t Stamp – Conditions For Turning Down A Notarization

Notaries fulfill a critical role in our society. If you’ve taken up the stamp yourself, you’ve already gone through plenty of training to familiarize yourself with your responsibilities. It’s always handy to review the situations in which you should turn down a notarization, though. Handling these delicate incidents with care is an important part of your job.

Know Your Statutes And Regulations

While the broad responsibilities of notaries are the same all over the country, specific regulations vary from state to state. For instance, in some states (like California), employers can set restrictions on what employees can and cannot notarize during business hours. In other states, notaries have an ironclad obligation to provide their services to qualified citizens. Make sure you’re thoroughly familiar with the rules governing notaries in your own state so that you’re in full compliance.

Remember that part of your responsibility as a notary is to document the work you perform. If you refuse to perform a notarization or simply have misgivings about one or more points of a particular document, make sure you record the event in detail in your notarial journal.

General Issues That Can Prevent Notarization

Most of the common reasons to turn down a notarization are fairly obvious. In situations where you can’t verify a signer’s identity, communicate with a signer (e.g. language barriers), or where one or more parties are absent, it is both your right and obligation to turn away the signers. You should also refrain from notarizing documents that involve you or your close family members or those that subject you to conflict of interest in some other way. Incomplete documents or improperly formatted ones are grounds for a refusal as well.

There are more questionable areas where you are within your rights to refuse service. If you know or suspect that the documents presented to you represent a fraudulent transaction, or you suspect that one of the signers is being coerced into signing, you have a right to refuse service. Document such cases extensively in your journal, as these are the sort of circumstances that may be investigated by authorities later.

Hot-Button Topics

As public servants, notaries have an obligation to perform their jobs without regard to their personal feelings and biases. This means you can’t refuse service to a client based on their gender, race, religion, or orientation. Modern society can present you with many different documents for notarization whose content makes you uncomfortable. Examples include documents that touch on same-sex marriage, euthanasia, abortion, and legal marijuana.

In situations like this, you have to bear in mind that your responsibilities do not extend to interpreting the laws which govern your state. Set aside your personal bias and remember that your notarial services do not in any way serve as an endorsement of laws you don’t agree with.

Refusing To Serve With Grace

It’s very easy to think about refusing a notarization when you confine yourself to hypothetical scenarios. Matters become more complicated when you’re facing an actual signer and need to turn them away, though. Tact is your strongest ally in these situations.

Remember that you don’t have any obligation to expose yourself to risk. If you’re turning down a notarization because you suspect foul play, you’re entitled to give a less contentious explanation, such as being unfamiliar with the type of documents involved. Fortunately, these situations are few and far between. With most refusals, you’ll have a clear legal basis for refusing to notarize. Explain this as thoroughly and professionally as possible.

Turning away signers who want your services isn’t the easiest part of your job as a notary. As long as you maintain a clear grasp of your obligations and their limits and behave professionally, though, you should be able to keep both yourself and your clients within the bounds of the law.

Jeff Wise is a health care professional who specializes in senior care. If you are looking for premium in-home care for your loved one, visit MiamiHomeCareServices.com today.

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December 21, 2016

DOJ — and the risks of unsupervised notaries public.

Filed under: Technical & Legal — Tags: , — admin @ 12:18 am

On Feb 9, 2012, the Department of Justice released some settlement terms for some of America’s largest lenders regarding the mandate of proper training and supervision of notaries. In October, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released their Examination Manual which included requirements for the proper and correct execution of notarized documents.

There are risks to hiring uneducated and unsupervised notaries. Many do not know how to give Oaths, or properly fill out Acknowledgment or Jurat Certificates. Companies are exposed to losses should their notaries make serious mistakes. If you hire notaries, you should make sure you find a way to test them on basic notary procedures and inspect the forms that they fill out. Additionally, you should ask them all about what types of identification is acceptable and how to fill in journal entries. More than half of commissioned notary publics really don’t know what they are doing.

February 9, 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice released settlement terms for some of the nation’s largest financial institutions; including the mandate of proper training and supervision of notaries public. October 2012, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released their Examination Manual which includes requirements for proper execution of notarized documents.

For years, educators and advocates of notaries public have warned employers of the risks associated with uneducated and unsupervised notaries public. Employers of notaries public can no longer ignore the risk to which these vital employees expose our institutions and companies. This live audio conference outlines the critical protections your company should put in place to protect your reputation and financial assets, above any statutory or regulatory responsibility to do so. In addition to the relevant settlement released in February 2012, precedent setting case law demonstrates the need for employers of notaries public to take a closer look at their notary education standards, management program, and disciplinary actions to protect their company and business transactions from losses that result from unrelated or from their own uneducated notaries public. Considering that the majority of the commissioning agencies of notaries public do not require any education of your notary-employees; your company is exposed to losses as a result of their errant processes.

After completing this live audio conference, you will understand basic notarial responsibilities, identify specific actions of notary-employees that expose your company to risk, and be able to implement a management and supervisory program that includes basic notarial education and performance expectations for all notary-employees.

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December 7, 2016

Marine Protest

Filed under: Technical & Legal — Tags: , , , — admin @ 10:31 am

A Protest is an antiquated Notary act that used to be performed in the 1700’s to protest the non-payment of a bill. Rhode Island is the only state where a Notary can perform the unique act of a Marine Protest. There is also a separate official state Notary fee for performing a Marine Protest. I have never met a Rhode Island Notary who actually performed such an act, but maybe one should just for fun.

A Marine Protest or Sea Protest is a statement where a captain or officer can include relevant details about the ship, voyage, cargo, drafts, date of departure, date of arrival in the next port. Thie type of act is commonly used in unfavorable weather conditions as that could affect a late arrival of a shipment. The Marine protest will protect the vessel and their owners from further claims brought forward by charterers, shippers, and cargo receivers.

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November 30, 2016

Notary Acknowledgment Wording

If you are a Notary, or want to get something Notarized, you will have to deal with Notary wording and perhaps Notary Acknowledgment Wording. There are various types of Notary acts, and Acknowledgments are the most common with Jurats in second place. The process of getting something notarized normally involves the signer personally appearing before a Notary Public, showing ID, signing a journal, etc. The Notary needs to fill in the notary wording on the certificate and then sign and stamp the paperwork. Here are some facts about Acknowledgments.

(1) Certificates
The instrument that contains Notary Acknowledgment wording is called a “Certificate.” A certificate can be a separate piece of paper that is added by staple to a legal document. Or, the certificate wording could be embedded in the document below the signature section. In either case, the Notary certificate must contain notary verbiage specific to the state requirements where the notarization is taking place. The format of the certificate typically includes a venue, body of the acknowledgment and then a signature area at the bottom. There is often an additional or optional information section as well. The Notary’s seal must be affixed near the signature section of the certificate whether it is a loose certificate or boiler plate wording embedded in the actual document.

(2) State Specific Wording
If the notarization is being recorded in one state, but being notarized in another, then the Notary Acknowledgment wording must be substantially similar to the approved and required state wording where the document is being recorded. Notary Acknowledgment Wording differs from state to state. You can Google your state’s Notary wording if you like, or visit our find a notary page for more detailed information.

(3) Jurats
Please also keep in mind that some people call all Notary forms a “Jurat” while a real Jurat is substantially different from an Acknowledgment as it contains an Oath (by definition) and requires signing in the presence of a Notary. State rules for Jurats also differ from state to state, so you need to find out what the rules are in the state that you are being Notarized in are.

(4) Sections in an Acknowledgment

(a) Venue (State of Nevada; County of Clark)
(b) The words, “Appeared before me”
(c) The date (i.e. 08-04, 2012)
(d) That the signer acknowledges signing the instrument that their name is subscribed to within
(e) Name of the signer and the notary.
(f) Proof of identity of the signer
(g) Signature (seal) of the notary
(h) A place for the notary to affix their official notary seal.

(5) Optional Information
There is also an additional information section on Acknowledgments where you can indicate the number of pages in the document, the document name, and other identifying factors. To deter fraud, it is a prudent habit to fill out as much additional information as possible and even get a thumbprint on the certificate as well as in the journal.

(6) Sample Acknowledgment Wording

State of California
County of Los Angeles

On 5-15-2011 before me, John Doe, notary public, personally appear Joe Barber who proved to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence to be the person whose name is subscribed to the within instrument and who acknowledged to me that he executed the same in his authorized capacity and by his signature(s) on the instrument the person, or entity upon behalf of which the person acted, executed the instrument.

I certify under PENALTY of PERJURY under the laws of the state of California that the foregoing paragraph is true and correct.

WITNESS my hand and official seal

—————————————— (affix stamp here)
(Signature of Notary)

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November 13, 2016

Notary Verbiage & Notary Wording

Notary verbiage is a fancy way of saying Notary wording. Notary verbiage is legally required on all notarizations that are in writing. Oaths and Affirmations might not contain any written proof of the transaction other than in the Notary journal. The Notary form where the Notary wording is documented or written is called a Notary Certificate. A Notary Certificate would be a separate piece of paper where official state Notary wording is written or it could be the official notary wording embedded at the end of a legal document after the signature section.

Notary verbiage varies from state to state
You need to make sure that the Notary wording you are using is prescribed for your state. Each state has different wording, and you can look up that wording on Google by using terms such as, “New Jersey Acknowledgment Verbiage.” You need to specify which type of Notary act you want to know the wording for. Acknowledgments and Jurats are the two most common forms of Notary acts, although some states allow for certified copies of powers of attorney and other specialized notary acts.

Out of State Notary wording causes confusion
If you are a California Notary Public notarizing a deed with Florida Notary wording, you are allowed to Notarize the document. Notary wording on out of state documents might be a little different than what your state’s official Notary verbiage is. But, so long as it is not substantially different it is allowed. That means that so long as there are no differences in meaning behind the words in the Notary verbiage then it is okay. Most Acknowledgment sections claim that the signer appeared before the Notary on a particular date and acknowledged that they in fact signed the instrument (document).

International Wording
Out of state notary wording has never caused a problem in my personal Notary career of eight years. However, international requirements can cause a huge nightmare. It is common for overseas document custodians (the entity who will record or hold on to the document after it is notarized) to have requirements which are not only “not done” in the United States, but could be illegal. It is common for Chinese organizations to want an American Notary to put a stamp on a blank piece of paper with no Notarial wording which is completely illegal. In such a case, you have to explain to the signer that you are required by law to staple a notary certificate to the document being Notarized, fill it out completely, and then stamp it to complete the Notarization. Most states also require the signer to be identified and sign a journal.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT CERTIFICATE WORDING FROM TOP TO BOTTOM

(1) The Venue

Q. What is a Venue?
A. The venue comes at the top of a Notary certificate and documents the state and states the county.

State of California
County of Los Angeles

Certificate verbiage will contain a venue which is a section at the top of the notary certificate which includes the state and county where the notarization took place, and a signature section at the bottom which is where you put your signature and Notary seal impression. It is possible that a preprinted venue will have the wrong state which is a problem. If there is wrong information in the venue, you either have to do a cross out, or start with a brand new form. Most venues preprint the state, but leave a blank where the county is to be inscribed. A prudent Notary will make sure all forms get filled out correctly with no cross outs as that is very unprofessional, especially on documents such as Deeds or Power of Attorney which are likely to be recorded by the county or some other organization.

(2) The body of an Acknowledgment.
Below the venue, the acknowledgment certificate will state that on such a date, a particular person or several named people personally appeared before a Notary Public and acknowledge that they signed the corresponding document. The wording will also include the fact that the signer was positively identified or perhaps known to the notary (some states allow for personal knowledge of a signer at a notarization.)

(3) The bottom of an Acknowledgment
Locus Sigilli is a lovely Latin term means the location of the stamp. At the bottom of the Notary certificate form is where the signature of the Notary goes and also where the stamp goes. Most Notaries use an inked Notary Seal while others use a non-inked Notary embosser in addition to prove authenticity of the notarization as it is possible to emboss all of the pages of the document to prove that pages were not swapped after the fact.

(4) Examples

Example of a Florida Acknowledgment Certificate

STATE OF FLORIDA

COUNTY OF BROWARD

The foregoing instrument was acknowledged before me this ___________ (date), by __________ (name), who is personally known to me or who has produced _____________ (type of identification) as identification.

______________________________

Notary Public

Printed Name:__________________

My Commission Expires:

____________________

Commission #_________

California Acknowledgment Wording

State of California
County of Los Angeles

On 7-21-2016 before me , Joe Smith Notary Public, personally appeared Sam Sarno
who proved to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence to be the person(s) whose name(s) is/are
subscribed to the within instrument and acknowledged to me that he/she/they executed the same
in his/her/their authorized capacity(ies), and that by his/her/their signature(s) on the instrument
the person(s), or the entity upon behalf of which the person(s) acted, executed the instrument.
I certify under PENALTY OF PERJURY under the laws of the State of California that the
foregoing paragraph is true and correct.

Witness my hand and official seal _______________
Description of Attached Document
Title or Type of Document: _______ Number of Pages: ________
Document Date: _____ Other: _____________

Crossing out verbiage is required
On an Acknowledgment form, the boiler plate wording in the middle of the form requires cross-outs. Normally on legal forms you don’t want to cross out anything, but these cross-outs establish whether you are dealing with an individual signer, a male, female, group, etc.
If you look at the California Acknowledgment wording above, you will notice the term “Person(s)”. If it is a single person, then cross out the (s). The term name(s) — if there is only one name then cross out the (s). If you are doing a name affidavit, you might have a single person and six or seven names in which case do not cross out the (s). Then there is the he/she/they wording which can be complicated if you are notarizing someone of ambiguous gender or for Siamese twins.

Jurat Wording
Jurat wording is substantially different from Acknowledgment wording in that the Jurat requires the signer to sign in the presence of a Notary and swear under Oath as to the truthfulness of the document. Many states have a simplistic wording that just says,

“Subscribed and sworn to before me this __________ date of ______, (enter year) _______. ”

Other states have more elaborate wording, but the basic facts documented are the same.

Certified Copy by Document Custodian
This is a type of Jurat that is used only from time to time. Many individuals want to make a copy of a document and then have a Notary “certify” that the copy is correct. Most states don’t allow a Notary to certify this information. However, a Notary could make the photocopy him/her-self and write a note claiming that they attest to the fact that the photocopy is a true and complete copy of the original. However, the offficial Notary act that takes place is a Jurat where the signer swears under Oath that the copy is genuine. I completed many such Notary acts for college transcripts especially for foreign clients.

Read More about Notary Wording

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November 10, 2016

Acknowledgment or AcknowledgEment?

Are you in the Notary profession or getting a notarization done? You might want to get some information straight. There are various types of Notary terms out there that you should probably be familiar with. Common terms include: Notary Seal, Venue, Scilicit, Locus Sigilli, Acknowledgment, Jurat, Affidavit, Affiant, Affirmation, Oath, Protest, etc.

The spelling of Notary terms i.e. Acknowledgments
In the Notary Profession, there are various types of Notary acts done. Roughly 80% of Notary acts done are Acknowledgments. But, the Notarial spelling of AcknowledgEment should NOT have an “e” after the “g” — e.g. — Acknowledgment.

Legal issues with “Notary Acknowledgement”
Although I have never heard of any legal consequences for spelling Notarial words incorrectly, it is just good form and a sign of a good upbringing to spell terms correctly. If you can master spelling Notary Acknowledgment correctly, then you can try to master funny looking Latin terms for the Notary industry like Locus Sigilli which means the location of the stamp.

Where can I learn more?
123notary publishes all types of blogs about Notary issues, notary terminology, marketing, and other technical issues. We also publish comedy blogs especially for Notaries which sometimes strike a chord. We have keyword fees for various notary terms, not to mention categories on the right of our blog where you can browse all types of technical and non-technical notary issues.

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Jurat

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October 11, 2016

Do you have to send a copy of your ID to companies?

Filed under: Technical & Legal — Tags: , — admin @ 10:44 pm

Is this a security risk? Sending your identification or drivers license photocopy to companies? Personally, I think it is okay, and a necessary part of getting a job. But, does it bother you?

We live in a world where bank accounts get broken into, credit card numbers stolen, and a lot more identity theft. It is scary to give your information to anyone these days. However, the critical information is more your mother’s maiden name, social security number and other personal information. Your Drivers License has more public information. But, on the other hand, your birthdate is used for security information and access as well.

I have personally been a victim of identity theft many times. Once was horrible involving my bank account which was connected to Paypal. I had to create new accounts and negotiate with Paypal. We got the money back, but $9000 is a lot. This is why I don’t recommend online banking if you have more than a few thousand in an account. The reps always say, “Oh, but this is for your convenience.” How convenient is it if you have heart attack because someone stole $20,000 from you leaving you penniless. Do the reps ever think of that or are they complete self-centered idiots? Then, my credit cards get routinely compromised. Every 18 months it happens. When I get that call from the credit card company I say, “Don’t tell me, I already know…” I stopped using my cards at gas station pumps as a result as that is the easier place for them to get compromised.

So, be careful with your personal information. But, an ID card copy doesn’t seem to risky to me. What do you think?

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October 8, 2016

Where can I find a Notary to sign adoption paperwork?

Where do I find a Notary to sign adoption papers?
If you need a Notary for adoption papers, any commissioned Notary Public in your state will do. 123notary is a huge Notary directory with roughly 7000 Notaries who are ready and able to help you sign any type of documents. Just make sure that the name on your ID matches the name on the document. The name on the ID can be matching, but longer than the name on the document, but not shorter than the name on the document.

Visit our advanced search page to find a notary in your area. We also have bilingual notaries and a bilingual search function. And if you like the Notary enough, you can offer to adopt a Notary as well!

Where can I find a Notary for adoption paperwork at night?
123notary has many Notaries who offer late night service. They will have a 24 or owl symbol next to their name.

How much does it cost for an adoption Notary signing?
You need to contact individual Notaries to find out how much they charge. Notaries on 123notary normally charge a travel fee and then a fee by the signature for each signature Notarized.

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October 1, 2016

How do I do a Signature by X notarization?

How do I do a Signature by X?
How do I do a Signature by Mark?

Signature by X is a relatively simple proceedure normally used for elderly people who are too frail to sign their entire name and who can barely hold a pen. Signature by X requires the use of two subscribing witnesses. The function of a subscribing witness is first to witness the signature of the principle and second, to sign the person’s name next to their X.

Subscribing witness #1 must sign the person’s first name and middle initial (if any) to the left of the X in the Notary journal and on the document.

Subscribing witness #2 must sign the person’s surname to the right of the X on the document and in the Notary journal.

It is also prudent to indicate on the document who the subscribing witnesses are, and perhaps even their driver license information just in case they need to be identified after the signing for any legal reason.

Signature by X is also known as Signature by Mark (which would be a great name for a Notary business if your name was Mark.) If your name is Malcolm X, you also might find the signature by X might be the only way to get yourself notarized. Additionally, if you sign by the x with an X, there might be too many x’s. Just make sure there aren’t three x’s in a row otherwise that would be pornographic.

How much should a Notary charge for a Signature by Mark?
A Notary could charge for the signature of the principle and also might charge an extra fee for the witnesses, although you would have to query your state laws on charging for witnesses, especially if an Oath is involved. To learn more about Signature by Mark, you can get a Notary Law Manual for your state from the NNA or look up the Notary laws on your state notary division’s website!

Find a Notary on 123notary.com to do your Signature by X Notarization!

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