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October 13, 2016

Notarization done at jail for vehicle release rejected at the Police station because Notary #1 used the wrong ack!

How is this possible? How can you use a wrong Acknowledgment? I heard this story from a Notary Public in some other state. But, what was wrong with the Acknowledgment? Was it from the wrong state? Was it filled out improperly? Or was the Acknowledgment labeled for a different document? I guess the Police don’t miss anything. In any case, if you are notarizing for a document that is to be submitted to a government authority, don’t miss anything, and make sure your stamp impression is clear as a bell.

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August 16, 2016

Hospital Notary Jobs

Hospital Notary Jobs

Hospital visits present the greatest personal risk, even greater than jail visits. When you visit a prison the staff knows your personal safety is their responsibility. At a hospital you are virtually ignored. The passing of infections is an obvious key issue; both ways. If you have the slightest contagious aliment it’s best to avoid hospitals. Two main reasons: your personal defenses are reduced, and you can infect a patient, potentially with dire consequences. Most of the NY hospitals that I go to have both facemasks and hand sanitizer at the entrance. Use both, also press the elevator button with a pen; generally avoid touching things. If you ask someone they will usually give you a pair of thin rubber gloves – additional protection.

Hospital visits should always be prepaid. You should stress the potential problems and frankly inform your caller that the risks are theirs. Your fee is earned when you to go to the facility and notarize if you are permitted to do so. There may be objections by the facility, ID issues, access limitations, ability to sign, ability to understand, etc. There is a good chance your client will be named as Agent on a Power of Attorney. Persons obtaining POA authority are quite willing to pay mobile notary fees; and have a great interest in obtaining the notarized document. Though their interest is irrelevant to your go/nogo decision; it’s worth mentioning. The majority of hospital POA jobs are, in my experience; for loving, concerned relatives who want to help. Of course some wish to exploit the afflicted – it’s virtually impossible to derive their true motivation.

But, your job is to notarize, if you feel doing so would be morally and legally proper. Hmmmm, just where did morally enter into the law? There are (at least in NY State) some “judgment call” aspects. Do I feel that the affiant understands the document and consents to it? Did the ID meet the standard of “adequate proof” – perhaps the photo on the license was a long time ago. Let’s continue with your approval of the situation.

You don’t know and will not be told what their affliction is. Sometimes there will be a “facemasks required” sign on the door. You should be wearing your facemask during every visit. Also take care about having the patient use your pen. Consider leaving it in the room, or at least giving it a good wipe with the hand sanitizer, there are usually several on each floor. Usually someone else is in the room. Show them where the patient needs to sign and stay a few feet away. But, you still need to witness signing a Jurat and need to administer an oath. They can bring the document to the patient while you observe. Just be sure that “they” do not sign for the patient!

Back to your fee. Some make payment on the web site with a credit card. Others prefer to pay with cash. Cash should be collected in the lobby if possible, or call your client out of the room and settle the finances first. Recall that you carefully covered all of the possible impediments to being able to notarize. Your “payment first” policy should have been carefully covered by phone prior to any travel, when accepting the assignment. Similar to prisons, things tend to move slowly in a hospital. You may have to wait while bedding is changed, test administered, etc. My basic notary fee at a hospital is half again what the fee would be for an office or home visit. Stress openly and honestly that all “risk” is on their side – you will do the job if conditions warrant, and total legality.

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When to ask for ID over the phone & fees at the door
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November 3, 2015

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

Many Notaries just don’t learn to be business-like. You have to get burned a dozen or more times to snap out of it. If you do notarizations at a hospital or for the elderly, they rarely have a current ID. If they do, then they can’t find it. In general, when you do notarizations, you need to verify that the signer has ID. Unfortunately, if you do hospital jobs, the daughter will insist that mom has her ID. When you ask for them to read the ID number to you over the phone they quickly discover that they have no IDea where the ID is. Hmmm. Have them call you back with the serial number and most important — the expiration date. If the expiration date is from 1964 you will not be able to notarize — sorry!

Then, there are the hospital visits that end prematurely because the signer was just drugged by the nurse. It is not legal to notarize someone who doesn’t know which end is up. So, if you notarize for folks in hospitals, tell them that you will cancel the notarization if the signer is drugged or not able to communicate in an intelligent way (or hold a pen.) However, the party involved might not want to pay you after your 45 minute drive since you “didn’t do anything!” But, I drove here you exclaim!

Get your travel fees at the door. Explain when you book the appointment for a hospital, office or jail that you need your travel fee at the door and waiting time. People in Law Offices are never ready on time. They will hold you hostage for two hours without a second thought. They value their own time and not anyone else’s. In fact , their entire business model is based on making everyone else wait for them. So, make them pay for your time.

$40 to $80 travel fee at the door in cash. Sorry, but nine states have restrictions on travel fees which is not constitutional.
Jail and hospital jobs take longer by definition and should have a higher travel fee. Office and home visits are normally fast unless you are dealing with Attorneys who make you wait.
$20 waiting time the minute twenty minutes elapse, and every twenty minutes after before the signatures and ID’s are ready.
$? per signature depending on what your state allows.

So, you walk in the door. Before you see the signer, or any hospital rooms or jail cells you get your $40. Don’t pass go, don’t collect $200, rather, collect your $40 before you even go in the building. Then, you proceed to wherever you are lead. In a jail, you might have to fill out forms and wait in the waiting room. In a hospital you go up to the room and then there will be a twenty minute conversation about, “How are you feeling, and do you think you are up to sitting up?” The conversation always lasts for at least ten minutes before the topic of the Notary being there and please sit up and sign something starts. The Notary’s time is taken for granted at 90% of hospital Notary jobs which is why you charge a waiting fee. At $1 per minute people will either not hire you, or treat your time (and possibly you) with respect.

In the event that your prison inmate has been transferred, escaped, or is in lock down, you will be happy you got your $40 travel fee. For jails, I recommend charging $80 to $120 travel fee. You might get stood up, and there is a lot that can go wrong. Please read our blog’s other articles on jail signings to be a pro at dealing with cons!

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February 6, 2014

Help! I am getting married, my husband is in Jail and I need a Notary!!

“I am getting married and my husband is locked up in jail. Please…(sobs heard on the phone) I need your help. I have money and you are in the business. Let’s talk.”

I got the above message on my phone literally word for word from a desperate woman at around 11:30 p.m. on a week night. Given the tone of the message, I sensed some urgency and decided to call her back the same night to give her some options.

The first thing out of her was, “Hurry Up and meet me at Men’s Central Jail now”. Somewhat taken aback by her unusual demand at that late hour, I asked her to explain the situation. She started sobbing and said that she needs to get married and her husband is at Men’s Central Jail, getting ready to be transported out of state to another facility. I paused and asked her how I could help her because I am not a lawyer, a priest or even a Notary authorized to perform weddings. She said that she needed a document notarized that would allow her to get married without her spouse being present. Wow!! Cool beans but what about conjugal visits was my next thought, which of course I kept to myself.

Having done a number of Jail house notarizations, I was aware of the type of documents that are generally permitted in different jails. When I asked her the type of document she needs notarized, she said that it was an “Inability to Appear” form. We arranged to meet in jail the next morning after she agreed to my fees.

Next morning, I made my calls to the Warden’s office to check if the inmate was at the facility and if I could notarize the particular form that my client wanted. Receiving the approval, I contacted the Client and told her to meet me at the Jail lobby at 10 a.m. and asked her to bring me the inmate’s state issued ID that was current and valid. She told me that she had to retrieve it from the property room and that should not be a problem. Immediately a red flag went up in my head and I asked her to call me when she got the inmate’s ID. I told her that I would make myself available until 2 p.m. that afternoon.

Long story short, she could not retrieve the inmate’s ID because she herself only had a copy of her ID and could not establish to the satisfaction of the guards her relationship with the inmate that authorized her to get his personal property. She called me frantically at 12:30 p.m. and said that she could not get the inmate’s ID but had 2 witnesses, one of whom did not have an ID.

Here is a valuable lesson for those who want to be jail house notaries or notaries who use credible witnesses. In California, the notary can use 2 credible witnesses to identify the signer if the notary does not know either witness or one credible witness who knows both the notary and the signer. My client out of desperation grabbed two people off the street and probably paid them something to act as witnesses. The problem was that these witnesses never even saw the inmate (signer) before and were doing it because they were offered some money. I immediately told my client the reasons these witnesses were not qualified to serve as credible witnesses. By now it was 2 p.m. and she now tells me that she needs to drive back to Irvine and bring 2 witnesses with proper Identification who actually know the inmate. I told her that I could only wait till 4 p.m. and after that time I could not help her. If you have read through everything so far, you probably guessed it. I got a call at 4:45 p.m. from my client who found 2 credible witnesses pleading with me to come to the jail. I politely but firmly said “NO” to which she replied, “I have money and I can call another Notary who will bite on it”. I said, Go ahead……

Look for my next blog on JAIL HOUSE NOTARIZATIONS which will be ready to be published as a blog on 123 notary and on my website, www.a1livescan.com by the end of this month.

Muthiah Nachiappan

Tweets:
(1) Help, I’m getting married and my husband is in jail (sob) It was 11:30pm. She had cash and was desperate.
(2) Hurry up and meet me at Men’s central jail now.

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December 20, 2013

Hospital Signings

“Many notaries say they do not do hospital signings because they are depressing,” admits a Virginia notary. “However, these notarizations do provide an opportunity to give hope to people who may not be around much longer, and allow the notaries to see a side of life that makes them grateful for whatever they have.” “It’s always worth doing something for someone in pain,” adds one Tennessee notary who did the following notarization.

“It was for a diabetic who had had some kind of complications. She asked me to come to the hospital. She was on a gurney, but she needed cash out from her home, a refinance, and she was desperate,” recalls this accommodating Tennessee notary. “Every time her blood sugar dipped, we had to stop.” It is hard to imagine that nurses and doctors would allow a signing to take place under such conditions… but, I guess when people need money, they allow for all sorts of things. The woman got her money out of her home so she could pay her medical bills. “I wonder if she got to do anything else with some of that refinance money,” our Tennessee notary asks. “She was a fun person, but I guess all that sugar caught up with her. I try to avoid hospital signings, but will do them if people can’t find anyone else,” she says.

One Maryland notary signed a veterinarian at an animal hospital. The refinance took place right on the operating table after the young doctor had finished operating on a cocker spaniel who had a cyst. Operations on dogs cost anywhere from $1000 on up, so this knowledgeable young vet was able to purchase a new home in an area of Maryland from which lots of dog lovers commute to D.C. This particular dog belonged to a retired army colonel, and was his pride and joy. “It was the only ‘hospital signing’ where I wasn’t working for the patient,” our Maryland notary recalls.

A more dismal hospital visit was made by a mature male Virginia notary who was shaken by what he saw. “It was in the middle of a hurricane, well, during one part of a hurricane. Getting there was awful. But I was asked to go notarize a will. Well, this guy was in the hospital bed…and I realized he had been amputated from the navel down. But it gets worse,” says our Virginia notary. It seems they “had amputated one leg–but it was the wrong leg…so they ended up amputating both legs.” The notary pauses as if he is sighing. He asks me not to include the name of the hospital, and adds,”You have trouble sleeping after seeing something like this. This man didn’t know how long he would live, and he had pretty much lost his faith in doctors, the military, and everyone else but me. This put a lot of weight on me, and I tried to be as kind as possible and not show how truly upset I was. That man never recovered, but I have never recovered from seeing him and hearing his story,” says our Virginia notary.

A slightly more upbeat hospital signing was for a ‘cash out,’ a refinance, and the notary was asked to come to the hospital. “I ended up signing this woman on the commode,” says our undaunted Maryland notary. “Sometimes,” she points out, “you just have to go the extra mile… even if it just means sitting still.”

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June 16, 2013

Making family members leave the room

I got a call from a social worker at a convalescent home. Seemed the daughter needed a POA signed for her father. I gave him my fee and asked him all the necessary questions. You know, does the person signing have ID, can they sign their name and are they under the influence of any mind altering medication. He assured me that we were a go on all accounts except for one he needed to let the family know my fee and would get back to me shortly . A few minutes passed and I got the return call and we were a go. We scheduled the day and the time. He let me know that it was going to be 1 signature. A POA. (power of attorney)

I arrived at our scheduled time and I met the daughter and the other family members in the lobby, the daughter let me know that she was not happy with the facilities and wanted to get the POA so that she could move him. He went on to tell me that his wife was mistreating her father and she needed to have him moved out of the wife’s reach. She handed me the POA I looked it over briefly and we proceeded to the signers room. We entered the room and he was conversing with I presumed other family members or friends and at this point I didn’t really know who was who. I introduced myself to him and the daughter began to tell him what I was doing there and what she was planning on doing. One of the persons in the room I found out at that moment was the wife. She asked us both in a cautious tone ‘what is going on here’?. There was dead silence so I took over I explained to the signer that the daughter had asked the facility to call me on his daughter’s behalf. I asked him if he’d prefer me to continue with the others in the room. He said no and then I asked everyone to give a few minutes in private. He wanted only his step-daughter to stay. (Funny, he seemed to like her better than his own flesh)

After everyone else was gone .I told him what his daughter wanted and he became livid. He muttered that he didn’t want to sign anything. He said that he didn’t feel that he needed a POA. After I had spoken with him for a few minutes I also felt that he was in good sound mental health and didn’t need one as well. He asked me did he have to sign and I told him certainly not. He was to say the least bewildered and seemed bothered by the whole thought of it. I let him know that his daughter was under the impression that he was being mistreated (information that she said that he had given her) that she had had documents prepared on his behalf. She had not discussed any of this with him.

After our little chat, we asked everyone to come back into the room and I told the daughter that he has decided not to sign anything at this time and I asked “Now who is going to pay me?”. Everybody looked around (you could have heard a pin drop it was so quiet) but after a minute or two the daughter finally spoke up and said “Of course I will and handled me my travel fee” I prepared a receipt and thanked them all and went on my way.

Now this could have turned a different way a turn for the worse. But I was lucky. I got my fee and I took control and made sure that the signer was either comfortable signing or not. In this case he was not. IMO, I felt the daughter was over stepping her bounds. I know she may have had her fathers best interest (or just maybe his money as a little birdie told me he was loaded) at heart but although I did not say (nor could I say) California is a community property state and the wife has the first and final say. Sadly for the daughter, she probably doesn’t know it but legally she has no rights over anything to do with her fathers affairs. He had been married to the wife for over 35 years. And what she says goes whether any of us like it not….I thought to myself the wife is going to need a good lawyer because I got the impression that the daughter was NOT stopping here.

Until next time…be safe

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July 17, 2012

Fees at the door MISUNDERSTOOD on Facebook

Fees at the door MISUNDERSTOOD on facebook 

Tisk tisk: notaries on Facebook.  You mostly misunderstood my discussion question about getting fees at the door for signings to prevent beneficial interest. this discussion took place in Jan 2012. I was NOT talking about loan signings.  At Loan signings they pay you three or four months AFTER the signing if you are lucky, not in cash at the signing. It is very obvious that I was talking about doing a traveling notary job for an individual person.  The problem is that most of you depend solely on loan signings for your living when there are many jobs for individuals which you either don’t know how to handle or reject because you are not familiar with it.
 

A typical botched jail notary job
Let’s say you drive 45 minutes to a jail to meet the girlfriend of a criminal.  You meet her in the parking lot or in the front door of the jail.  Let’s say you don’t collect your travel fee of $50 at the door.  Let’s say that hypothetically you walk to the guard, fill out the forms, but lo and behold, the prisoner has been moved to another jail 90 miles away.  Then you say, may I have my travel fee please.  The girlfriend says, “BUT YOU DIDN’T DO ANYTHING”.  And then you say, “Sure I did, I drove 45 minutes, talked to you on the phone, walked in here, and now I have to drive 45 minutes back home, and also go to the gas station which takes more time and money.  Pay up!!!  You will get stiffed, because they will feel that they do not owe you if you didn’t quote unquote DO ANYTHING. 
 

Yet another hospital notary job
Let’s say you drive an hour to a hospital at 3am to accommodate some desperate people.  You don’t get your travel fee at the door in cash like I recommend.  You go upstairs with the signer’s son in law only to find that the signer is on morphene, fast asleep, and in no position to sign anything or even sit up.  You ask for your travel fee for your 2 hour round trip, and the son in law says, “Sorry, but I’ll pay you when you come back next time, I didn’t realize that the nurse drugged Shelly’s dad”.  You just got stiffed again.
 
This isn’t rocket science. If you work with the public, they will leave you high and dry if you don’t protect yourself.
 
3rd example… beneficial interest
Lets say you go to a notary job.  You do NOT collect travel fees up front. Let’s say that the signer’s name on their ID doesn’t match the name on the document enough for you to legally or ethically notarize them.  They say, “Oh come on — you are being unreasonable”.  They say they won’t pay you a penny unless you notarize the signer. They have you by the balls because you didn’t think ahead.  If you have the travel fee up front, then you are in control and will not be pursuaded under duress to break the law so you can get your lousy fee!
 
Last example:  The law office.
You are called into a law office 10 minutes away. You are instructed to show up at 1pm for a signing. Your trip fee is $30 and your waiting time fee is $20 per half hour with the first ten minutes complementary.  Let’s say that you never collected your $30.  The attorney says they won’t be ready for another 10 minutes.  But, 10 becomes 20, and 20 becomes an hour, and then finally after 90 minutes, you finally do the signing, and then they pay you, but they won’t pay for the waiting time.  If you had gotten your $30 at the door, you could threaten to leave if they don’t pay the wait time up front for each 30 minute increment.  If you don’t have the trip fee, you have no leverage. This has happened half a dozen times to me in my notary career!

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July 8, 2012

Do criminals deserve to be notarized?

Do criminals deserve to be notarized? 

Notarizing Criminals
In my opinion — It is anyone’s legal right to be notarized, and no member of the public with a legitimate request for notarization should be turned down.  But, our notaries have a range of their own opinions based on a Facebook discussion. 
 
One notary says that criminals deserve a loss of privileges. Another notary doesn’t work for sketchy people and refers them to someone else (how nice of her).  Another notary married a couple at a jail.
 
One notary was confused by what I meant by the term “criminal” and asked if attorneys fell into that category.  We had a notary who saw a lot of people at their local jail who looked like former mortgage brokers!!!
 
The bottom line is that criminals who are incarcerated are much more easy to deal with.  They are not going anywhere unless the “system” moves them.  But, ones who are free who come to you even with legitimate requests can be a bit uncomfortable to deal with and make you feel uneasy.

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February 10, 2012

Power of Attorney at a nursing home

Power of Attorney signing at a Nursing Home
 
This was a signing that was doomed from the beginning. I was a relatively new notary, and hadn’t been burned enough to have any sense.  I was like the cat who hadn’t learned to be wary of crossing the road. On the other hand, during my childhood, we had a cat who regularly sat right on the yellow line in the middle of the road.  Let’s just say that she had a good sense of timing.  My timing unfortunately wasn’t so good this time, and neither was my judgement.
 
A call from a convalescent home
It was a call from a lady in her late fifties.  She seemed like a very normal person.  She was taking care of an elderly lady who had nobody.  Of course, when I got the call, I didn’t have the sense to ask who was going to pay me or how they were going to pay me. This job was so bizarre, that even the most experienced notary has probably never seen anything like it.  So, I went to the nursing home and went in the door.  This place was horrible.  People were screaming and moaning all the time.  Plus the stench was horrible. The nurses didn’t want to open the windows because they didn’t want bacteria coming in.  My news for them is that there would be more bacteria going out than in if they opened the window. 
 
A walk down the hallway.
“Help me…. help me…. will you help me?”.  An old bedridden lady wanted to be turned over. I am not skilled at pampering the elderly, and the nurses were ignoring these helpless victems.  A crazy old man tried to make conversation with me walking down the hall.  This hallway should be called the hall of desperation. I got to the correct room number finally. If only I had brought an oxygen tank so I wouldn’t have had to breath in there. The lady in her 50’s wanted me to have the elderly lady sign a power of attorney document. Neither one of them had a clue how these documents worked. They needed my help filling it out and I told them that I don’t offer legal advice.  So, I had to wait while these crazy ladies took thirty minutes to do what they should have had prepared long before they called me. I neglected to ask them if their document was complete by the way.
 
The finished power of attorney
They kept asking me what to do. I kept saying, “you need to talk to an attorney”. I asked them why they had me come all the way down there when they were not ready to sign a completed document.  I had to teach them what a grantor and grantee was.  I told them that in this other place, they should write what the powers the grantor is assigning to the attorney in fact (grantee).  That helped get them through this daunting task.   Finally, the document was done.  The old lady could hardly sit up, let alone write anything.  She wrote some chicken scratch which was not even ledgable. I had to do a signature by X with two subscribing witnesses with her.   Finally, we were done.

 The payment
The attorney in fact got out a checkbook and proceeded to pay me.  I said, that the check didn’t belong to her, but to the old lady.  The lady in her 50’s said that she had been granted the power to do financial transactions for the older lady and would use the old lady’s check book to write me a check.  I didn’t like this idea. I said that I wanted to be paid in cash please. Neither ladies had a dime on them. So, I took the check, and needless to say it bounced. 
 
Insist on cash
If you do a jail or hospital signing, you will be dealing with very unreliable people a very high percentage of the time. Get your travel fee upon walking in the door before you even meet the signer.  If for any reason you can not complete the signing, you at least have some cash in your pocket.  Knowing how to do a signing by X is a valuable skill that experienced notary publics use if you work with the elderly.

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Rules for notarizing a bedridden person

Do you like your job? A major headache of a hospital job.

Dragging the person’s arm

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January 21, 2012

Rules for notarizing a bedridden person

Rules for notarizing a bedridden person
 
I have written a lot on this topic, and posts relating to this topic are in the hospital category on the right.  There are no special notary laws for notarizing a bedridden signer. However, there are a few important things to know that are common when notarizing hospitalized or bedridden or elderly signers.
 
The identification must be current
A few states allow an ID to have been issued five years before the date of the notarization, when the ID technically expires four years after it was issued.  However, elderly signers will commonly have an ID that was used between Christopher Columbus’ time and the French Revolution.  If you do a signing for an elderly person (or anyone else), make sure their identification is current before you drive to that location (if you are a mobile notary). 
 
The patient / bedridden person must be coherent and sober
It is common for nurses to drug a patient right before the notary arrives.  Unfortunately, it is not legal to notarize someone who is so out of it that they can’t think or function.  So, if you want that notarization to happen, put the morphine on hold for now! Keep the valium in it’s syringe for now!  Additionally, if the signer can not move their arm to sign, you have a problem. If the signer can not talk enough to acknowledge that they understand the document, you are in trouble too. 
 
Elderly people get scammed regularly – notaries beware!

Elderly people fall prey to all types of scams, and the “nice” people who you assume are the signer’s children could be scam artists who are conning the drugged patient into signing their assets away.  The notary will (could) end up in court if someone gets scammed, so beware, and make sure the signer knows what is going on — or you (the notary) will be very sorry when the justice system hijacks you for two weeks without pay a few months or years down the road. It is not worth it!

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