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June 18, 2013

Notarizing an I-9 employment verificati​on document

Have you ever notarized an I-9 before? If it were me, I would ask an Attorney, the Secretary of State, or Immigration if a notary public could notarize this form. If you are a notary, the most important thing to do is to clarify that you are NOT an Attorney, and can not give legal advice. Also clarify that you are not an immigration expert and can not advise on matters pertaining to immigration either.

But, it is not generally illegal to notarize a signature on a document.

Have any of you had to notarize an I-9 before?
How about a K-9?

Tweets:
(1) Ask an Attorney if a Notary can notarize an I-9 employment verification document.

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April 4, 2013

How to get something notarized that doesn’t have a signature

Many people want copies of school transcripts notarized. Especially students from overseas. The notary can not notarize a document that is not signed by the signer. Additionally, the signer must be named in the body of the document to get an Acknowledged signature.

So, how do you get something notarized that doesn’t have a signature?

Simple… The notary can draft up a statement stating that you swear that the contents of the copy of the document are a complete, true, and correct copy of the original. It is even better if the notary can inspect the original and testify in writing to the fact that he/she has verified that it is a true copy.

What about notarizing a copy of a birth certificate or vital record?

Talk to your local county clerk and ask them how to get a copy of your birth certificate. Notaries are NOT allowed to notarize copies of vital records.

How do you get a photograph notarized?
You can’t.

Some agencies are happy if the notary affixed the corner of their seal to the back of the photo, or embossed the photograph. But, you can get a signed statement about the photo notarized, and then staple the corresponding photo to the Jurat certificate — be prepared to swear under oath that that is a true photo of you.

So, now you know how to get something notarized that doesn’t have a signature. You don’t. You simply get a sworn statement and a Jurat that DOES have a statement that you can swear to and sign. Easy! But, if you get an inexperienced notary who doesn’t know what they are doing, then the procedure might not be so easy. Shop around and get a notary who knows what they are doing.

You might also like

Identification requirements for being notarized
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4299

Can you send a loose acknowledgment?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16168

Notarizing John W. Smith
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16048

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January 11, 2013

Hold Harmless: Good idea or not?

In a previous blog I discussed the need for us to protect ourselves from lawsuits that really have absolutely nothing to do with us. And, although thank god they are infrequent, when they do hit one of us they interrupt our lives and place great stress and hardship on us and our families. I feel that a hold harmless agreement is a great idea and it seems a few of you are using them. I had planned to work one up and post it here on 123notary but after discussing it with a few of you primarily to get your thoughts and feelings, I have now decided since we are all over the county that it would be in the best interest for everyone to draft up thier own or better yet prepare a rough draft and have an attorney go over it and make sure that it is legit and legal binding for your state and covers you as best as it can.

Things that you might consider in it would be that they are signing of their own feel will, that you a acting as an independent contractor and are not responsible for the content of the document, just to name a few.

Undoubtedly, if you do use it, It wont totally prevent you from being dragged into court and/or sued but I am confident that it will be helpful and have some sort of impact and hopefully deter the notary being dragged into court so readily,. And, if ever your duties and the role that you play are called into question you have a document that has been signed by the borrower/signer. And if the borrower is doing the suing (which so often is the case) their retained attorney might think twice before putting you into the equation of who they will be trying to sue. .

In closing, if you do decide to prepare and use this document make it 100% clear what your are duties are and what legal responsibilities you bear in notarizing one’s signature. Our signers and the public need to know.

Until next time…

Take Care and be safe!

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October 20, 2012

A notary gets sued, but E&O won’t help out!

We had a notary public whose name will remain anonymous. I will not disclose her location either. But, she is being sued because a lender pulled a fast one on a borrower. The borrower is suing everyone connected to the loan. But, the borrower should know that the notary public has nothing to do with the loan, doesn’t know the lender, and doens’t benefit from the loan other than to collect their small fee.

The story gets worse though. This notary’s E&O insurance policy wouldn’t help out with any of the legal expenses, or potential damages simply because they claim that the notary never made a clerical error which is true.

The notary public went to get legal counsel, and a neighbor / friend of the notary public offered to help at a discounted rate. But, the discounted estimate for the entire case was $30,000. It doesn’t make sense to me why a notary should pay $30,000 to defend themself from a false accusation.

In any case, we should pray for this notary public, so that she can get off the hook of being falsely accused. She did nothing wrong and shouldn’t suffer like this.

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May 4, 2012

Notarizing your foreign language document!

Notarizing your Foreign Language Document

“The bank refused to notarize the document because it is written in Hungarian”, said the exasperated client to me. “No Problem” for http://kenneth-a-edelstein.com was my reply. There is no requirement for the New York notary to be able to read the document, none whatsoever. Consider a 765 page document regarding the sale of a Supertanker – do you think the notary will read it prior to notarizing the signature on the last page? Well, if they are not going to read all pages of all documents – why would they want to be able to read some pages of some documents? I doubt if I will ever know.

There are some interesting considerations regarding languages involved in the notarization process. But none have anything to do with the actual document. The main language requirements in New York are related to the required oath given by the notary. The notary must be able to give the oath directly (no interpreter allowed) to the person whose signature will be notarized. The person signing must be able to read the document in order to swear/affirm that the document is truthful/correct. That is the relevant language consideration – the document could be in Braille or Latvian – it does not matter to me.

Part of some NYC notaries’ refusal to handle this situation is their employer’s desire to avoid the possibility of being involved in a lawsuit. Some Manhattan banks will not notarize a Power of Attorney, some refuse a Bill of Sale – the reasons are the same; avoiding being involved in
litigation. If the notary can’t read any of the document it “might” be a prohibited (by “bank” policy) – thus all “unreadable” documents are often refused. At http://newyorkmobilenotarypublic.com that is never the case.

It is a “best practice” to prepare foreign language documents in both languages. Most times this is done by formatting the document into two columns with English on one side and the other language on the other. One advantage of doing this is that it allows the affiant to sign twice. The signature on the English side will be compared to their ID – the other language is not. Thus, it is the English signature that is being notarized – and most ID documents in this country have English signatures.

Tweets:
(1) No problem – there is no requirement for the notary to be able to read the document (written in Hungarian)
(2) The notary must be able to give an Oath w/direct communication w/affiant (no interpreter allowed)

You might also like:

Where can I find a Chinese speaking notary?

A California Notary Acknowledgment Goes to Taiwan!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=6981

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April 10, 2012

Can a notary sign on a different day?

Can a notary sign on a different day? 

This is a tricky question and a bit vague if you ask me.  The date of a notarization corresponds to the date that the signer signs the notary journal (according to me).  Some signers will sign for an acknowledged signature a minute, day, week, month, year, or decade before the notarization, and that is legal according to California notary law, and probably in most if not all other states.  For Jurats, the signature must be made while personally appearing before a notary public.  Oaths should ideally have an accompanying journal entry, however, there is no signature on a purely oral Oath (BTW… jurats are used with written statements that have an accompanying oath).
 
So, in all types of notary acts, the signer should ideally sign the notary journal, and the date and time when they sign the journal establishes the notarization date.  Please keep in mind that a signing where the signer signs the document at 11:59pm and signs the notary journal at 12:01am the following day could be dated either day, but I prefer my golden rule of dating the notarization when the journal is signed.
 
The document date can be the date of the notarization or before, but is generally not after.
The signing date for an acknowledged signature can be the date of the acknowledgment or before, but never after
 
So, there are three dates that might concern the notary.  It is a crime to backdate a notary certificate, but putting a previous date in the certificate wording. It is also a crime to post date the date in the certificate wording.
 
So, what does it really mean to ask, “Can a notary sign on a different day?”
 
If the notarization takes place on Monday, where the signer signs the document by Monday, and signs the journal on Monday, can the notary stamp and seal the certificate wording on Tuesday if the notary has possession of the document?  This is not recommended, and is neglegence. However, if the signing was a late night signing on Monday, and you sign and affix your stamp to the document in your possession early Tuesday morning, that is still unacceptable, but sounds less unreasonable than letting it slide 24 or 48 hours!
 
So, the official answer to the above question is — NO!  Sign the certificate within a minute or two of when the journal is signed if humanly possible.

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Can you notarize a Birth Certificate?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2300

Can a notary perform a wedding?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1891

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February 23, 2012

Rules for Notarizing Minors

Rules for notarizing minors 

You can notarize the signature of a minor, however, their signature is not legally binding since they are under age. The minor still needs to be positively identified, so they need an identification document of some sort that is current, government issued, has a photo, physical description, signature, serial number, and expiration date.   It is prudent to document in your journal, and on the document the age and possibly the date of birth of the signer, so everybody reading the paperwork will immediately be aware that the person is under age.  Rules for notarizing  minors could vary state by state, so please ask your state notary division what their recommendations are.

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February 8, 2012

Can a notary notarize a birth certificate?

Can a notary notarize a copy of a birth certificate? 

Notaries are advised to stay away from notarizing copies of vital records including birth certificates, marriage certificates, and death certificates.  The state and/or county clerks are in charge of vital records.  Just politely decline when asked to notarize a signature on a brith certificate.  These types of vital records must be certified by the entity (the county clerk).
 
No place to sign!
Additionally, there is no place for a signer to sign on a birth certificate, so how can you notarize a document without a signature?  Conceivably, you could draw up an Affidavit that claims that the copy is a true and complete copy of the original birth certificate.  The signer could sign that affidavit, and you could notarize the signature on the affidavit and give them a quick oath. But, this is not legal in many states in conjunction with a birth certificate.

 What should a notary do?
As a notary, you should know the name of the document that is to be notarized BEFORE you get in your car.  Imagine driving 45 minutes in traffic only to find out that you are going to be asked to notarize a birth certificate. Have fun getting your travel fee in that case when you tell the client, “no can do”. 
 
Fetal Death Certificates?
I never knew this existed until I read someone’s reply to a forum post about notarizing (or not notarizing) birth certificates.  I never knew there was such thing as a fetal death certificate.  How can you give a certificate to someone who has not yet been named?  Do souls have an SKU number?  Was the fetus mature enough to have been infused with a soul yet?  When you study spirituality, you start asking questions like this!  On a brighter note, the fetus will be reincarnated, and won’t suffer much according to a colleague who specializes in past life regression!
 
Notarize THIS!
I am remembering this great mafia movie about the mafia boss and the shrink called Analyze this!  Imagine a movie about mafia people and notaries!
 
 
You might also like:
 
Can I notarize a birth certificate – forum discussion http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=3924

How to get something notarized that doesn’t have a signature
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4695

The chicken & egg: Birth Certificate problem solved
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3474

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February 3, 2012

Must a thumbprint accompany a notarized document?

Filed under: Legal Issues,SEO,Technical & Legal — Tags: , — admin @ 9:38 am

Must a thumbprint accompany a notarized document? 

To deter fraud in notarizing, thumbprints are sometimes required by law in certain states, but are always a good idea.  California notary law stipulates that the notary must take a journal thumbprint when notarizing signatures on powers of attorney or deeds effecting real property such as Grant Deeds, Quit Claim Deeds, Mortgages, Subordination Agreements, etc.   Other states have their own rules.  Texas has some rules restricting the use of thumbprints, but I don’t know enough about those restrictions to comment.
 
Prevent fraud
As a general rule, if the notary public you use takes a journal thumbprint (many do not bother with this or even own a thumbprinting pad), you have more security.  The thumbprint is proof that nobody faked an ID and pretended to be you, or forged your signature.
 
Serious documents should have a thumbprint
If you are having a serious document notarized, you might ask ahead of time if the notary carries a thumbprinting pad.  They are two inches in diameter and weigh about half an ounce, so it is not a burden to the notary, assuming he/she is prudent about notarizing (that is assuming a lot).
 
Does the thumbprint go on the actual document?
I have never heard of a procedure which requires a thumbprint on an actual document, but it is not a bad idea. You could neatly put it to the right of a signature and document which thumb was used from which individual.  If you are missing a thumb, you can use the other thumb or a finger, just document it somewhere.

You might also like:

Identification and thumbprint requirements for notarizations
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4299

Signing agent best practices
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4315

Notary thumbprints can save your neck
http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=4939

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February 1, 2012

Do I notarize every page of a document?

Do I notarize every page of a document? 

As a notary public, you notarize signatures on documents.  Generally, signatures are on the last page of a document, and there is some notary certificate wording below the signature section. If there is no notary certificate verbiage when you are notarizing, then you can attach a loose notary certificate with the official notary wording from your state.
 
What if the signature is in the middle of a multipage document?
With longer documents such as affidavits of support, living trusts, and other long documents, you are likely to see a signature in one of the internal pages of the document, and maybe another signature at the end of it, but not necessarily on the very last page.  Where do you attach a loose certificate if a signature is in one of the middle pages of a document?  It is normal to add notary certificates at the end of the document.  It is prudent to indicate on the certificate the page number of the document that has the signature you are notarizing with that particular certificate form.  Other notaries might use one certificate form to notarize all signatures in the document.  Which way is correct?  That is hard to say, but it is cleaner, if you have a separate notarization for each signature on a document that requires multiple signatures from the same person.  There might be separate agreements inside the same long document, making them more like separate documents that have been connected.
 
You can not notarize every page of a document.  However, you can use an embosser seal to make an inkless raised impression in all of the pages of a document you notarized, to safeguard from pages being switched after the fact.  This is a very prudent practice and I recommend it.

You might also like:

Can I sign on a different day?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2457

Can a notary help draft documents?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2047

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

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