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June 17, 2011

Notary in Louisiana murdered in home invasion

A Louisiana notary on our database was murdered in his Louisiana home by an armed gunman in June 2011.  Two adult residents and a three year old were at home cooking gumbo when a young man aged 19-23 entered the house and opened fire.  One of the residents covered the three year old with his body to protect it from gunfire.  That resident named Keith Hamilton was shot, but lived after a brief stay in the hospital.  The other resident, who was a well known Louisiana notary public and loan signer named Anthony Wilmore was shot twice in the chest and lower back and died.

Anthony has been listed on 123notary for several years now on our Louisiana Notary search results, and it is very sad and tragic to learn of his untimely death.  We have never had anything like this happen to any of our members before.  We have had members fall victem to cancer, hurricanes, earthquakes, and fires, but nobody died so suddenly like he did in such an unusual situation.  Most notaries are afraid of going to someone else’s house who might be psychotic, but this notary got into trouble staying at home cooking dinner!

Anthony lived in Orleans Parish in Louisiana in New Orleans.  That is a city that is filled with a festive energy, great food, great music, and great people.  Unfortunately, tragedy seems to hit that city on a regular basis.  Hurricanes, oil spills, high unemployment, and a high homicide rate as well plague the area.  I visited New Orleans briefly and enjoyed it thoroughly. Luckily, my four days there didn’t permit me to see anything tragic other than the aftermath of their hurricane.  The only reminders visable were the waterline on some of the houses that was still there. The damage had all long been cleaned up when I got there.  I have been told that some of the better restaurants relocated to Baton Rouge as well.

We grieve for Anthony and those who were close to him.  For the other notaries, I hope that nothing like this ever happens again.  Cancer, strokes and heart attacks are common killers of notaries though. So, please take lots of antioxidants, exercise, eat healthy foods, and see the doctor regularly.  Most of these health issues can be detered with a healthy lifestyle.

(1) A notary in Louisiana was murdered in his home by an armed gunman while he was cooking gumbo!
(2) The housemate of the notary threw his body over the 3 y/o to protect him from the gunfire!


May 17, 2011

Fax Backs are a Pain!

Fax Backs are a pain!
Notaries want to make easy money, and why not?  Everybody else wants easy money too!  But, the realities in the notary world are not fair.  A handful of notaries walk off with unreal amounts of money for doing easy signings. Maybe they have a nice manner, or have experience?  Maybe people swear by them?  They are the lucky and the few, and they are not complaining about anything.  But, for the rest of us, we have to hustle for our money.  Some jobs involve putting up with cancellations. Other jobs are for companies that don’t always pay you, or string you along while you wait for payment.  Some notaries end up with “Readers”, who are borrowers who read every letter of every word in every document and ask a total of about three dozen questions, call the lender three times, and take forever.  But, these cases are mild compared to signings with fax backs.  Fax back has become  a dirty word in the signing agent business!
Commentary from notaries
I love reading forums and hearing what notaries have to say.  One notary says, “I don’t usually do these fax back signings”. Another notary states that after downloading, printing, driving, coordinating, and signing, its just not worth it to do fax back jobs for $60.
Why do companies require fax backs?
After running a Facebook profile for over a year, and a Forum for years, I realize that some notaries really know their stuff well, while the majority really do not even know what they are supposed to explain to the borrower, and what to refer to the lender.  Most notaries do not know what a “Document Date” is, or how to distinguish it from a document creation date. A few, can not even distinguish it from a signing date or notarization date.  Even if a notary is certified by NNA or 123notary, it doesn’t guarantee that they know their stuff. Our certification allows two wrong, and if one of the questions you got wrong was regarding what you can tell the borrower, then you could cause a lot of trouble.  The simple fact is that something like half of the mobile notaries out there do not know what they are doing, have not been trained, and need to get educated fast.
The companies requiring fax backs hire inexperienced notaries
To safeguard their loans from inexperienced notaries, the companies requiring fax backs read the faxes to see if documents were notarized correctly and signed correctly, so that they can have another notary go out and take care of business if there is a problem.  And, there could be more problems than you might think. For the notaries who do know what they are doing, they feel insulted being required to do fax backs. Its a waste of time and an insult to their intelligence, right?  Experienced notaries should work for outfits that make it a practice to work with experienced notaries and stay away from this type of babysitting job!

(1) Why do so many companies require fax backs? It is because notaries often miss things which could ruin a loan!
(2) Companies requiring fax backs generally hire inexperienced notaries.
Here are some related posts on the forum!

Fax Backs
Nation’s Direct and Fax Backs
FASS and fax backs
New Milleneum and fax backs 

Countrywide huge fax back


May 1, 2011

The signing from hell

The Signing from hell….

I have been a notary signing agent for many years now and for the most part I have enjoyed it tremendously. I love the freedom and independence that it affords me and I enjoy meeting wonderful new people from all walks of life. As with most jobs there are good and bad days. This is the tale of one of those bad days. Probably the worst day as a signing agent ever-for me that is.

The story begins

Get ready for a hell of a story. Here we go.  I got a call late on a Friday afternoon from one of my title company schedulers (Fidelity National Title)  for a job on the following day, a Saturday. I gladly accepted. I received the confirmation and then proceeded to call the borrower to verify time and place. Saturday came and I made my way over to the borrower’s home. When I drove up to the borrowers home the first thing I noticed was the house was VERY run down, and I couldn’t help wondering to myself if the bank knew what they were doing in granting a loan for this property but who am I to judge.

Going up the stairs…

So I parked and then proceeded up the stairs to the house  and could see and feel that the whole house was crooked, like on slant. It was obvious It had once been a single family house that somebody who obviously didn’t have a contractors license had chopped it up and made some what I call make  shift apartments out of it. And you could actually see the termites crawling on various pieces of exposed wood.  But again it is not my place to judge. So I went to what looked like the only real front door (as there were several) and knocked. I heard what I thought was an animal with paws approaching the door.

The Signer and his long clicking toe nails!

But to my surprise  it was a young man. But not just an ordinary man but a  man with the longest toe nails I have every seen (that is what I heard coming to the door the clicking of his toe nails hitting the floor as he walked). He was also the filthiest person that I have seen as well who living in a house  and not on the streets. He was wearing dirty boxers and a dirty torn tee shirt.  Then to top it off there was a smell that I cannot to this day describe. While I stood motionless in disbelief and shock, I heard a sweet woman’s voice saying ‘is that her, is that the lady…tell her to come on up…please come on up’…and I cannot tell you why but I went into the door way and accened up a dark stairway and I heard what I assumed was the young man that opened the door who now was behind me start turning about 4-5 locks one by one and as they clicked and locked behind me and I became terrified..truthfully I thought I was going to see my maker that day but I kept on climbing the stairs and the further I ascended up the stairs the stench got worse.

The air was so thick… I could have cut it with a knife…

I could hardly breath. There was absolutely no ventilation. The air was so thick I could have cut it with a knife. And I thought to myself I must have lost my mind. To this day I still cant explain why I didnt just turn around when the front door first opened and just leave. When I reached the the top of the stairs it was very dark and as my eyes started to adjust there was more horror. Dishes and trash pilled everywhere  and there were two extremely dirty mattresses one on the floor which the young man who had let me in proceeded to ly down on and cover himself up with a dirty blanket and the other which was sitting up on a mattress frame  was the lady who I presumed had called out to m. She was sitting on the edge of the mattress with two swollen legs that resembled tree trunks with clearly to me looked like flesh eating disease. There was an abundance of open sores and I’ll just leave it at that. She then says to me that they had just painted the floor and I was to sit in that area…I said excuse me….and she then pointed to a 10 foot corner that had a coach that clearly had been freshly painted…I thought to myself I must be in the twlight zone or on one of those candid camera tv shows….

The signing begins..

I sat down and asked for the documents (they had been overnighted to the borrower; it was one of those WAMU deals, and I guess it it obvious now why they went out of business…lol) and the signers ID. She looked puzzled but asked the young man to get up and look for the requested items….he reluctantly got up and looked for a few minutes but to me it didnt seem that he was really looking or knew what he was looking  for. He was wandering around aimlessly and then told the lady that he could not find them. She accepted this and all I’ll say is that I was so grateful that the ID and and loan docs couldn’t  be found…I immediately got up let them know I had to go for I had another appointment and if the missing items came up  please call so we could re-schedule another appointment (yes, I lied) and then with the young man in front leading me out I proceedded to the stairway and headed down the steps.

No ID? No problem, let’s reschedule.. time to go!!!!

Thankfully he had the  unlocked those locks and he  was opening the door when I reached the foot of the steps. I thanked him and bolted through the door gasping for air as I went. I really didnt realize how much I was  shaken up until I reached my car. I fumbled for the key, opened the drivers door, sat behind the drivers seat and began trembling. I could still smell that dreadful smell. Dear god, I had brought it with me. Before I could compose myself, in a state is horror, I once again heard those clicks of those toe nails and looked up to see the young man at my passenger side car door excitingly letting me know that he had found the loan doc’sI could hear him saying “Oh Miss, Oh miss I got what you need” and me being the quick thinker I am, I asked him had he found the ID as well. He  looking disappointed said oh no…and walked back to his house.  All I could do was just sit there and try to regain my composure. Soon after however I felt sick to my stomach and I opened the door leaned my head down towards the street concrete and everything that had been in my stomach come up….After about 15 minutes I started the car up and went home.  I opened my front door and stripped down and left it all outside. Clothes, briefcase and all. I took a long hot shower and washed the clothes I had been wearing. After this I immediately sat down and sent Fidelity a very long recap of all of these events and told them NOT to send a request that I go back…ever. When Monday came I got a an apology via email from Fidelity and that was the end of it. I never heard one thing about it ever again. Shortly after however, I did  receive my full fee of 150.00. Of this I was thankful.

I was polite through the whole ordeal!

In closing, there is one thing I want to add. Although I was very uncomfortable with the whole situation. The borrower and who I presumed was her son, never new for one minute that I had issues with any of what I  described here. I was cheerful, kind and professional throughout all of it.

Until next time…


April 27, 2011

Low Ball Signing Companies

Low Ball Signing Companies 

Notaries are always complaining about low ball signing companies.  My advice is to just say yes or no. As long as its quick and they pay you, you have nothing to lose, but your dignity.  Sometimes a quick $40 is not so bad.  If it takes you an hour or slightly more for the whole affair, that is not bad pay.  Just don’t take a low ball job and have to do fax backs, and wait for two hours while the borrower reads each phrase of each page and asks a million questions.
Tough times are here
We are living in tough times, and people in foreign countries live on a quarter of the income you have.  They have simpler habits and smaller cars or mopeds.  They eat less meat and more beans and rice or “Rad Na” if they live in Thailand.  Its better to take what you can get and save up for a rainy day.  I used to work for very little. When I was booked, my prices would go up.  When things were slow, I would accept jobs for very little, no matter what.  My bills didn’t care how many dollars per hour I made.    My mistake was not to ask for high amounts of money.  Some people and companies will pay you double what you think they will. Just ask.  If they say no, then take less if you have to.  Its better than starving.
Your lives are not that bad
Assuming you don’t have a health emergency and are not having your life threatened by your local gang, and assuming that a tsunami didn’t visit your neighborhood, your life is not that bad (I’m guessing).  As a world traveler, I see how middle class people live in India.  Broken roads, clunky cars, the other drivers’ purpose in life is to run you off the road and kill you, food that gives you dysentary, traffic from hell, salaries 20% of what Americans make, expensive rent, cab drivers that always try to rip you off.  Just crossing the street in Pune, India is an ordeal that most of you will never have to face.  Additionally, they have terrorist attacks on a regular basis and its not safe for women to go out after dark.  Few of you have any of these situations to contend with.  So, count your blessings.  Even in America, I know many who work for minimum wage who ride a bicycle to work through dangerous areas.  If you own a car, you are doing better than my bicycle riding friends who can barely pay their rent.
Forum posts on the subject:

The text below is written by notaries, and does not represent the viewpoints of 123notary.com

If you accept $50 signings
If one accepts $50 signings, then it’s obvious one has not taken into account everything that is involved in the signing, from consumables to time to depreciation of equipment ……
Vital Signings
……If you want to support Vital signings be aware YOU will not make any money. After a dozen signings I calculated I made $18.00 per signing. They get the bucks, you don’t.
The best micro-managers in the business. What a pain. They can’t pay me enough to work for them again.
If make an error, they take away YOUR fee and make you pay their fee as well…..  (scroll down for this one)
Firma Signing Solutions
…..So, you can imagine how hard my chin hit the floor when he quoted $35.00 for the whole thing! The low ballers fail to remember what all it takes to become adept at this job, you have to know what you’re doing. You’re not “just a notary” but a certified signing agent, which takes training and education to fully understand this process. I will just decline the job if the price doesn’t meet my fees, it’s just not worth it…..
Fax Backs
…. (scroll to the bottom) Has anyone else had jobs recently where they want the whole package faxed back? I have had two from Nations Direct. Of course, as usual, they are low balling the price and then state that the whole package needs to be faxed back. Both times I have told them I will not do a job for their low price, especially with all of the fax backs. Yesterday, for example, they asked me to go 30 miles away with edocs and fax back the whole package for $70. I don’t think so.
Question 2 Price Formula
……Rule of thumb: The lower the offer, the bigger th PITA it will be. It never fails….when you agree to a lower fee, docs will be late, the closing will go awry somehow, you will have a ton of fax-backs and need permission to ship…AND…you’ll wait at least 60 days to get paid the low ball fee. HONEST !!  ………

(1) Notaries are always complaining about low-ball signing co’s. Don’t complain, just say no!
(2) We are living in tough times. Maybe those low-ball signing companies keep you from starvation!
(3) Read real stories about four low-ball signing companies.

You might also like:

Getting what is due! A clever plan!

Bounced checks, Collection Agencies, FBI reports!


March 31, 2011

Things that get notaries complaints

Things that get notaries complaints
Complaints are taken seriously at 123notary.com.  None of the notaries on board have voiced an opinion supporting our review system which allows browsers to post legitimate complaints about notaries.  Many notaries on board feel that they have a license to cause trouble, and that I have no right to ask questions or do anything about it since they pay us for advertising. Many notaries want the right to harm others without being held accountable.  My point of view is that if you cause misconduct while on our site, ITS MY BUSINESS, and you will be held accountable. 
I want to take a positive approach to this problem and let the notaries know what the common things that go wrong are, so that you can avoid getting a complaint in the first place.   I’m going to list types of complaints in order of how frequently they come up.
(1) Rudeness
Of all the complaints we have gotten, the largest category was rudeness which includes using bad words, hostility, hanging up on people, rude tones of voice, antagonism, harrassment, and threats.  If a signing company doesn’t treat you the way you like, DON’T WORK FOR THEM.  Don’t threaten to use their fedex account.  Don’t threaten to put a lien on the borrowers house if you don’t get paid.  Don’t withold a borrower’s documents until you get paid.  Have a policy for what you accept from others.  If others violate your terms, then stop dealing with them.  Period!
(2) No Show no call
It amazes me that notaries think they can completely blow off a signing without even calling. Then, the excuses notaries give remind me of being a substitute teacher in eighth grade. The excuses are clevely worded so that you will feel guilty for asking them any more questions.  Heartbreaking stories, grueling conditions, family crisises, and earthshaking emergencies.  Many of these excuses are true, but there is no way to verify, because not once have I ever been offered a scan of a document that proves someone’s argument one way or the other.  If you are offered a signing and you can’t make it, call at least two hours in advance.  If you are having a family emergency, in a snow storm, in WW3, in a flood, or are almost dead, you better call otherwise you will get a complaint, and I am not too interested in the excuses.
(3) Notary Mistakes
Many notaries make mistakes. The good notaries triple check their work and are willing to go back if they made even one small mistake.  But, not all notaries are good notaries. Many will be unwilling to go back to an appointment a second time to fix what they did wrong.   If you make a mistake, fix it whether you get paid to or not, otherwise you will lose clients and get complaints.
(4) Failure to return calls or emails after a signing
This is another type of problem that people have every conceivable type of excuse for.  Personally, when I’m on vacation, I answer emails.  I had a vacation where I slept in my car, slept in a tent, and couldn’t find an internet cafe for half a day. I kept looking until I found it and answered as many emails as I could.  Signing agents will go on vacation, or say they did, and use that as an excuse not to return phone calls or emails.  I won’t accept this as an excuse.  You have to be available up to 48 hours after a job is done in case there is a problem, and the problem could very well be the fault of the title company, but you still have to be available.  No excuses.

 (5) Slandering or sabotaging companies you work for
One notary said that the terms of the loan were not good.  Another tried to sell the borrower a modification right at the signing.  A third threatened to use the lender’s Fedex account # because she said she didn’t get paid enough.  Another one sent porno spam to us and others. 
(6) Other types of misconduct.
Some notaries just cause a lot of various types of trouble.  Others are unwilling to fix mistakes they made.  Once in a while a signer will outsource jobs to another signer and then not pay them.  Last minute cancellations are completely unacceptable unless there is a documented health emergency or other type of uncontrollable circumstances.  One notary has a habit of double booking appointments and then trying to reschedule them at the last minute.  Two notaries walked out of an appointment.  One had a family emergency and flaked.  He forgot to even tell the borrowers who were in the other room that he was going to the hospital.
The moral of the story is to avoid all of these problems by being very careful to go to all your appointments, be polite even if others are not polite to you, and do a good follow up after the job is done.  I’m personally tired of all the complaints, excuses, the dramas, and irresponsibility.  We want good notaries on 123notary, and for the most part, the notaries on board are excellent. We do not want a few bad apples to cause a bad reputation for the others.

(1) Many notaries feel that since they pay us for advertising, we’ve no right to post bad reviews on their profile.
(2) Many notaries are rude to signing companies who manipulate them. Don’t be rude! Just don’t work for them.
(3) Many notaries just don’t answer their phone or email after a signing which can cause a nightmare.

You might also like:

Florida Notaries with complaints

A list of things that rude notaries do


March 10, 2011

Going on vacation?

How to lose half your clients while on vacation!
Are you going on vacation?  Smart notaries call all of their regular clients up and let them know that they will be away.  Its good to let people know when you will and won’t have phone or internet access just in case.  Smart notaries give everyone a “heads up” in any situation just to let people know what to expect.  The worst thing for a signing company is to be left high and dry by a notary, and it happens all the time.
Will you lose your clients?
If your clients love you and swear by you, you are in good shape.  Sure, they will use a substitute while you are gone, but if you are loyal and good to them, they will go back to using you when you come back, especially since you gave them a  “heads up” before you left.   Not all notaries are so clever though. Many notaries just leave when they feel like it, and when their regulars call, they get an answering machine and no call back.  Thats a no-no!  The main thing is to give great service when you are in town, so that everyone will wait for you during the periof of time when you are going to be away.
When should you go on vacation?
Its good to get away regularly.  If you are on a budget, even a nice camping trip will do you a lot of good. There is nothing better than being around trees, rocks, grass, and animals — so long as the animals are not bigger than you (or hungrier).  Keep your food in a bear container if bears are around. Nature replenishes the body’s qi supply and replenishes the mind and soul.  Your mind needs a break and needs a few days to think about something completely different than phones, work, pressure, and problems. 
I recommend going away no earlier than the 4th of the month and no later than the 14th of any particular month.  The first few days of the month sometimes have some clean up issues from problems during the end of the month rush.  Going towards the end of the month when people need you is suicide. Of course, since the economy is so bad, the end of the month rush might not be such a rush.  But, in general, go when its quiet.  December is generally a slow month in general, and people expect that you might be away for the holidays anyway.
Excuses, excuses.
Don’t be an excuse maker.  Nobody wants to hear it.  Whenever notaries fail to call a signing company back, the signing company often comes to me, and I always get the same types of excuses. 
(1) “I was on vacation in Panama and didn’t have access to a phone”. 
Commentary – you could check into an internet cafe every few days.  Internet cafes exist in almost all countries.
(2) “I was at a funeral, and couldn’t step out”
Commentary – Did the funeral last for the 72 consecutive hours that you were not able to make your call for? — Did someone had a gun to your head who wouldn’t let you go to the bathroom either during this time? Give me a break!
(3) “I was in the hospital and couldn’t make a phone call”
Commentary – If you are not incapacitated, and want to keep your customers, call them NO MATTER WHAT!
Be accountable for your last job.
Notaries often get in trouble when they are on vacation. They forget that they have to be accountable for the last few jobs that they did.  Maybe there was a mistake.  Its usually a mistake made by the Title company or Lender, but the notary still needs to be responsive.  Many phone plans will charge you $2.00 per minute to answer calls overseas.  $2 is less expensive than losing a client!  Stay in touch, and keep your clients.  Getting clients is hard, but losing them is easy.  Just be unresponsive while on vacation!
Maybe its good to not do any jobs for 48 hours before your trip!
In this economy you need all the jobs you can get.  But, if you do a job, and are in Japan the next day, what if there is a problem with the loan?  The lender will need you to go back and fix the problem with the loan whether its your fault or not, and if you are in a Zen garden in Osaka with no phone, this will be difficult.  At a minimum, let the signing company know that if there is any type of problem, you will be staying in Kyoto and that they can call the hotel there if they need you.  Then say, “Sayonara”.
Map out where the internet cafes are.
Its tough when you are on vacation.  There are tight itineraries, foreign languages, strange customs, and even stranger people depending on where you go!  Just getting off the plane and getting to your hotel without an intestinal challenge can be a mouthful in itself in many countries.  Should you schedule time between your museums and culinary adventures to spend thirty minutes at an internet cafe?  If could save you a client.  Then, go back to your trip, enjoy the scenery, enjoy your tours, savor your nights out, and then enjoy the pleasures of reverse culture shock and jet lag once your plane lands and you arrive back on American soil!
The main point is to warn people ahead of time regarding where you will be and when.  When you are not around, its much better if you are accessible through one means or another too.

You might also like:

Notary etiquette from A to Z

Typical things notaries do wrong

Vampire notaries: 24 hour service


March 3, 2011

Mobile Offices from A to Z

Mobile offices and their advantages
One of our notaries in Maryland commands higher prices for his loan signing services due to his expertise in signings and also because he has a mobile office which facilitates last minute notary jobs and last minute quick changes to documents.  This notary has state-of-the-art equipment that comprises his mobile office in his pickup truck.  He has a scanner, regular sized printer, laptop, extra toner, paper, a special inverter, cables, a powerful alternator, and extra heavy duty fuses.  His internet connection is courtesy of Verizon Wireless Broadband.  Additionally, he considers it really important to have a really powerful battery because the equipment puts a heavy load on the battery.  Another interesting fact is that he uses a police squad laptop holder so he can work comfortably while in the drivers seat.   He prints by putting the printer in the back seat.  His wires are directly wired to the car’s electrical system instead of using a plug in that would go in the cigarette lighter.
What are the technical issues of a mobile office?
This notary started his mobile office in 2004.  He has lots of experience with mobile offices and the issues related to them.  He claims that someone with a regular car might not have enough battery or alternator power to handle the load of a laser printer.   He used to blow fuses to do overload, but learned that buying top of the line heavy-duty fuses and having a state of the art alternator he could handle the demands of the job.  Our Maryland notary public learned that it was not technically feasable to run a printer and laptop simultaneously using his mobile office.  So, what he does is to put the laptop on battery only while printing documents
With a mobile office, a signing agent can download documents while you are driving.  Imagine the time you can save multi-tasking.  Our Maryland Notary Public uses a regular sized printer without any issues.  However, the printer gets hot, so a firewall is necessary.  He uses wood covered by velcro to make sure that no fires are created when he places the printer on a seat or on the floor. 
How does this help his business?
You can get more money for signings having a mobile office because you can do last minute quick prints of last minute documents.  Imagine that the lender has a quick change to the Settlement Statement or other critical document.  No problem, it can be reprinted at the signing.  What if there is a quick name variation change, or change for a critical figure in the loan.  Again, this is easy to printout at the last minute.  Many loans have to be completely rescheduled due to the notary’s lack of equipment, but not if you have a mobile office!
What does it cost?
You could spend $2000-$3000 for a mobile office.  The inverter is about $100 and thats critical for good electrical flow.  Scanners and printers a few hundred each.  The biggest expense is the laptop, and those can run anywhere from $500 to $2000 per unit.

(1) One of our notaries commands a higher fee simply because he has a sophisticated mobile office!
(2) Having a mobile office is perfect in the “unlikely” event that a lender sends you docs late when ur on the road.
(3) You could spend up to $3000 for a really good mobile office. Don’t forget to start w/an inverter!
You might also like:

Erica’s mobile office story


February 2, 2011

Interesting and uncommon notary acts

Notary Acts
There are various types of notarial acts, and the rules and types of acts vary from state to state.  In this blog entry, I’ll go over all of the types of notary acts that I can find information about, and introduce some of the points that differ from state to state.  The states associated with each specific act are NOT necessarily the ONLY states associated with those acts, but are the state(s) that we are referencing.
An acknowledgment is the most common notary act and accounts for roughly 80% of all notarizations with Jurats being in second place.  Many states allow notaries to charge a maximum fee per notarized signature, while Florida’s fees are based on how many times you affix your stamp when executing an acknowledgment.
An affirmation is a type of Oath where there is no mention of a higher power (God).
Attesting to a Document’s Validity (AR)
This is a notary act that is peculiar to Arkansas.  I don’t recall seeing this as a possible notary act in any other state. Please visit our Arkansas Notary page for more information.
Authentication, Apostilles, and Magistracies (General)
These are general notary public procedures common to most states. However, less than 1% of notaries know how to do such notary acts, and you normally have to contact your state notary public division to learn the rules.  The process of getting one of these generally takes a minimum of a few days, and the price is usually high.
Certified Copies (WA)(CA)
Some states allow Certified copies of powers of attorney such as California.   Other states often allow a notary to make certified copies of any type of document.  New York doesn’t allow any type of certified copies. The type of documents that a notary may certify copies of vary from state to state.  Washington allows a notary to charge $10 per certified copy of any document for example.
Copies of Journal Entries
California notary law allows a small fee of 30 cents per entry for notaries to charge if a member of the public needs a copy of a specific journal entry.  The notary should be careful to make sure that all other transactions recorded in the journal do not show up on the photocopy sent to the individual making the inquiry to protect people’s privacy.
Depositions – Certifying Depositions (AR)
Most states use the term, “Take a deposition” while Arkansas allows notaries to certify a Deposition.  Some states allow a fee for the Deposition and then another fee for each oath to each witness.  Rules vary from state to state.
Document Copy Charges (CO)
Colorado notary law allows a notary to make copies of documents and charge for this act.  This act ensures that the copied document is a real copy and not a different document or one that is slightly altered.  If you are in another state that doesn’t have this type of notary act, its still advisable to witness the photocopying of documents that are to be certified as copies. Its also not a bad idea to make a notation on the document that you witnessed it being photocopied even though thats not an official act outside of Colorado that we are aware of.
Rules for e-notarizations differ from state to state.  The main point is to use an electronic journal to record transactions and for the documents to be online or electronic documents.  e-signings are signings where some of the documents are online while others are printed out.  A regular journal is used when doing an e-signing although the signature on the document is electronic.
This is the second most popular notary act.  A Jurat requires the signer to sign the document before the notary and to take an Oath before the notary as well regarding the document or verbiage.  Several years ago, Jurats did not require identification in many states, but as of 2011, almost all states require the signer / affiant to be positively identified for this notary act.
Marine Protest (RI)
Rhode Island is the only state we have seen to have a separate fee for a marine Protest.  A Protest is an act where
someone Protests non-payment of a bill.  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 next port. This type of act is used if unfavorable weather conditions were encountered.  The Marine protest will protect the vessel and their owners from further claims brought forward by charterers, shippers, and cargo receivers.
Non-Certified Copies (VA)
Virginia allows for notaries to make copies that are not certified.  A non-certified copy if for information only and is not accepted for legal purposes such as school enrollment or applying for a drivers license or passport.
Most if not all states allow notaries to take Oaths.  An Oath is a solemn promise or statement where the affiant swears that they are telling the truth.
Photocopying & Supervising Photocopying (AR)
In Arkansas, a notary can get paid to photocopy documents or supervise the photocopy of documents. 
Proof of Execution
This notary act requires a subscribing witness who sees the principal sign a document.  The subscribing witness appears before the notary public.  This act is the only notary act where the actual signer doesn’t appear before the notary.
This type of notary act is where an individual protests the nonacceptance or non-payment of money owed.
Safe Deposit Openings (NY)
Here is a unique notary act only allowed in New York and Florida that we are aware of.  The notary must witness the opening of a safe deposit box and record the contents of the box in a certificate, but not in their journal.  Please click on the link to read the details.
Taking a Renunciation of dower or Inheritance (SC)
Please see the South Carolina notary division’s website for details on this unique notary act.
Verification – Taking a verification upon an Oath or Affirmation (DE)(PA)
Please consult the Delaware or Pennsylvania’s notary division website for more information on this unique act.
Weddings (ME), (SC), (FL)
Notaries in Maine, South Carolina, and Florida can solemnize weddings.  Notaries need to be familiar with the procedure and proper wedding etiquette to provide this type of service.
Witnessing an Absentee Ballot (FL)
Notaries are not allowed to charge for this notary act in Florida, or California. 
Witnessing or Attesting to a Signature (DE)
Attesting to a signature simply means witnessing a signature, and then signing your own name to document that fact that you witnessed a signature.  Delaware is one state of many that considers being a witness an official notary act.

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