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October 1, 2012

3 Notaries walk into a bar

3 notaries walk in to a bar. The first thing that happens is that the bartender asks for ID.

Notary #1 says, “Wait a second… I’m a notary… I ID YOU… YOU don’t ID me.”

Then the bar tender says, “Listen buddy, if you want a drink, I need to know you are of age”.

Notary #1 said, “No problem, I can produce ID, but I can also swear under oath, and the other notary sitting next to me can take the oath for me.”

Notary #2 — Raise your right hand

Do you solemnly swear that you are above 21 years of age and of sound mind and body?

Notary #1 — Sound body I’m not so sure about, but my mind is pretty sharp, and I’m 63… at least last time I checked I was.

Notary #2 He’s 63… do you really need to ID him?
Bartender — thats what I said last time I saw a notary and he asked for ID. I said, I’m 63, I don’t need to be carded, now STAMP THIS FORM!! damn it!

Notary # 3 retorted — well, notary #1 didn’t need to be carded because he looks old. But, you Mr. bartender don’t look a day over 18 which is probably why the notary needed to card you!

Bartender — that has nothing to do with it… he carded me because I ordered an affidavit with a MIXED notarial wording: 2 parts acknowledgment with an oath and a touch of mint (no olives).

Tweets:
(1) 3 notaries walk into a bar & the bar tender asks for ID. But, the notary wants to ID the bartender!
(2) Do you solemnly swear that you are above 21 years of age and of sound mind and body?
(3) You don’t need to ID him because he looks old, but you look about 18 Mr. Bartender, so we should ID you!

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May 8, 2012

California notaries with complaints

Notary Public California – complaints against local notaries 

It is easy to hire a notary public in California that you found online. But, how do you know they are reputable, or any good?  You don’t.  You take your chances. However, some notaries on 123notary.com have reviews about them.  You can read who has good reviews or bad reviews.  It is not always safe picking a random notary. As far as horror cases go, we have only had a handful of serious nightmarish notaries over the last decade, and we remove them once we have determined that they are a source of endless trouble!
 
The Kinko’s story
We had a California notary public fail to print out documents and have the borrower’s pick her up, drive her to Kinko’s where she could print the documents and then driver her to their home.  Borrowers are not chauffers, and this notary got dropped off once the borrowers got a hold of the lender.  A year later — the drama continues.  The California notary public in question is operating under a business name, and hiring other notaries to do tasks for her such as obtaining apostilles in Sacramento.  The problem is, that when checks come, they all have an elastic characteristic.  Notaries have complained on the forum about this company several times, and this particular California notary is one of the worst notary nightmares we have ever experienced and goes down in history as a legend.
 
Stories of notaries that fail and what they did wrong – http://blog.123notary.com/?p=143
 
Affordable Notary Service – http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=4880
 
24 hour service?
Another California notary public advertised 24 hour service.  An individual calls them at 6am with an emergency.  The notary hangs up on the individual claiming that it is “too early”.  If you are not offering 24 hour service, don’t CLAIM that you do.  It is a requirement that if you want the 24 hour icon, you have to be willing to answer the phone after midnight whether you feel like it or not.
 
The white out story
A notary in California goes to a signing. She forgets to have the wife sign the Mortgage (oops), and then uses white out to change some information in the loan documents.  The worst possible thing you can do during a loan signing is to use white out which voids the usability of the document.  It gets better — then, the notary blames the Title company for not hilighting the signature areas in the documents where the wife was supposed to sign.  When she was requested to return to the borrower’s house to finish the incomplete signing, the notary recommended that they find someone else.  The notary replied to this complaint against her by stating that she used the mother-in-law as a required witness to the signing. Then, the Title company asked her to use someone else at which point she used white out to remove the mother-in-law’s signature and go and get a neighbor. 
 
123notary’s opinion: There is no crime in having an additional witness.  The problem is using white out, and cross outs also look unprofessional in a loan signing and can cause a loan not to fund. Additionally, a witness should be a party who doesn’t have a beneficial interest in the transaction — they should be uninvolved like a neighbor or stranger.
 
The four hour rule
Another California notary accepts a job for a signing.  Then she cancels at the last minute because she learns that the company who hired her doesn’t pay their bills.  There were a few forum posts about the company stating that the company didn’t pay their notaries.  In any case, the notary could have researched the company simultaneously while talking to them by using www.123notary.com/s and would have learned that they didn’t pay BEFORE accepting a job from them. Or, the notary could have researched them soon after the phone call and then cancelled.  The last minute cancellations cause a lot of grief to many parties and are not acceptable. The Lender emails me stating that the notary cancelled 2 hours after the signing and said that she was, “not able to help”.  Then, the notary replies to me stating that she EMAILED the borrower 45 minutes before the signing (that is considerably sooner than 2 hours after like the lender stated).  The notary claimed they called the borrowers but couldn’t get an answer or a voice mail. I’m not sure I believe all of this story, do you?  How many people do you know who don’t have an answering machine or a disfunctional one?  I think that the notary should have given four hours notice in a case like this and should have kept trying the borrowers every 30 minutes until she got them. You can’t just leave people high and dry!

Tweets:
(1) A notary had the borrowers pick her up, take her to Kinkos where she printed the docs & made them pay for it!
(2) 1 Notary claimed 24 hour service & hung up on a client who called at 6am saying it was “too early”
(3) The Notary forgot that the wife had to sign & then used white out to modify the documents!
(4) A Notary accepted a job, then cancelled right before the signing when she learned the signing co. had a bad payment record.

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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.

You might also like:

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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April 8, 2012

Don’t put the Fedex in the drop box!

Please, no drop boxes!

I know a lot of you use drop boxes (Fedex, UPS, etc) to drop your documents. And before you say it, I know some of you have no other options that are close to you. In this case your options are limited. You are forgiven. Maybe you have had issues with this or maybe you haven’t. But, irregardless, it is something to consider, if at all possible please don’t drop your packages in drop boxes. Because, if it goes bad and the documents get lost; and you have no documentation; It can cause you a great amount of grief, stress and aggravation; and  in the end it could cost you a valuable client.

Loan package with a hefty cashier’s check thrown in a drop box

To give you an example, here is one story of several that has been shared with me. I had an Oregon notary just the other day call in to 123notary. From her tone she was obviously very upset. It seems she had completed a signing successfully and had dropped her documents on a Friday in one of those infamous drop boxes of Fedex. It was now Tuesday, and she got that dreaded call: the title company still hadn’t received the package.  I thought to myself, this is going to be bad. When this Oregon notary public and title went to track the package, there was no tracking information available. To make matters even worse there was a substantial amount in a cashier’s check also in the missing package. The assignment that had been given to the Notary in Oregon was for the paperwork that was to be used to purchase the property. So,  now everyone is upset and confused as to what to do.

Get your tracking — people!

Now in my mind, I’m thinking why in the world would you drop a set of documents in a drop box, especially with a large amount in a cashiers check. This to me this is a disaster waiting to happen.  The first thing I let our Oregon notary friend know is that unless absolutely necessary, you should always hand your packages to a driver and ask him to scan them or take them to hub or staffed service center, have them scan them and  get a receipt. This way YOU are off the hook. Which brings me to another point…

Hand fill the shipping labels

PLEASE remember when you are required to hand fill out the shipping labels with the client; title-escrow etc  account numbers you should always list the person that you are shipping to as the recipient and as the shipper. Do NOT use your information at all. This will serve two purposes. One-if the envelope is lost, it will not come to you it will just automatically go to the company that hired you. Two- if the company has not paid their bill you will not get charged for the service. Currently I have about 3 notaries battling with Fedex on this matter (cause they put their name as the shipper)and they are in collection status with them. Be careful! This can cause you a great deal of trouble with UPS, Fedex etc. and worst of all it will effect your credit if you cant straighten it out. You will have to pay it if you cant prove to their satisfaction that, you were hired by a 3rd party.

Now I understand that some of you may not be near a hub or have a location that you can go into to get a scan or receipt near by. But for those of you that do. It is better to safe then sorry. Always try to get a receipt or have driver scan your packages for you. This will protect you. For me, I need to know where my documents are at ALL times.

Now,  unfortunately as of today I haven’t heard back form the notary in this situation so I cant give up an up to date  but I am confident if those documents didn’t turn up everything would have to be redone…and all I can say is what a mess. If and when I hear from her I will let you know….Just remember: No drop boxes if you can help it…

Thank for reading and be safe…until next time!

PS — Jeremy did a signing ten years ago that was put in a drop box.  The documents were missing for a week.  The signing company eventually called Fedex — and you will never guess where the documents were.  They were still down there at the bottom of the drop box, and getting very cold by this point!  The driver who was assigned that drop box had quit and his replacement wasn’t given good instructions as to which drop boxes to pick up from every day!

Tweets:
(1) You could lose a client if you put a FedEx in a drop box on the off chance it never gets picked up.
(2) Sooner or later, the FedEx you put in a drop box won’t get picked up. Be safe & take it to a hub!
(3) If you put a FedEx containing a cashier’s check in a drop box, that is a recipe for disaster!
(4) Once I put a FedEx in the drop box that never got delivered. FedEx found it a week later still in the box!

You might also like:

What tasks can you do which are worth $1000 per minute?

Compilation of Notary stories on the blog categorized
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21898

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March 23, 2012

Notarization Dates, Document Dates & Signature Dates!

We had this question as a Facebook competition question. It was fun, but we got too many wrong answers which is a little bit disconcerting.  There are different dates you have to be aware of as a notary. Some are more important than others, and each date has its own function.
 
Signature Dates
The date the signer signs the document is the signature date of the particular signature.  There are cases when a husband and wife will sign the same document, but on different days.  People are busy, and two notaries could handle the same paperwork on two separate days with two separate signers.  Those loans are tricky, and are more likely to have to be redrawn.  Just as long as you get paid, don’t stress!
 
Notarization Dates
The date you notarize someone’s signature is the notarization date.  The date corresponds to the signature, not the document.  A document could be signed by more than one party on different dates.  Or an addendum could be added and signed on another date as well.  Its complicated.
 
Document Dates
This is the question that 90% of the notaries got wrong.  I had very few choices of contestants to put in the drawing to win Starbucks!  The document date is NOT necessarily the date the document was drawn up, although it usually is.  It generally should not be dated after the signing to avoid confusion.  It is often dated the day the signing is intended to happen on, and is often dated the day it was drawn, or sometime in between.  There is no rule governing when the document date can be.  The function of this date is to be an identifying mark on the document to distinguish it from other documents.  Of course, if you have ten documents all entitled, “Affidavit“, to be signed by the same two parties, and all having the same document date, it really doesn’t narrow it down.
 
Your Journal
If you live in a state that doesn’t require journals, please don’t read this paragraph.  Actually, do read it, and get a journal anyway.  Your journal of official notarial acts is your record of all notary acts that you have done in your commission. It is evidence if you ever have to go to court, or if you are ever questioned about a particular act. It adds to the integrity of the notarization and safeguards against fraud, especially when you take thumbprints for all documents (optional, but recommended).   If a fraudulent notarization takes place with someone impostering you, without your journal, you will never have proof that you didn’t notarize that person. Journals keep records in sequential order, so you can go back to July 3rd, 2003, and see that you indeed never notarized Shelly Deeds and her Deed.
 
Backdating
In your career, you will most likely eventually be asked to put a fraudulent date on your notarial certificate which is refered to as backdating. This is illegal, and you can lose your commission as a result, if you get caught.  A lender might need you to date the certificate for the 27th, when its the 28th, so that the borrowers can keep their lock. Its their problem, don’t get involved.  Lose the client and keep out of jail! Please see our blog article entitled “Backdating from A to Z

You might also like:

Leave a few spaces open in your journal

The transaction date = the signature date: Feb 2013 Phoninar
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4054

How do I fill out a journal entry?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1725

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March 21, 2012

Background Screening for Notaries?

Background Screening – who needs it?
 
Notaries are never quite sure whether background checks and background screening are an important part of the industry, or just a way for the agencies who provide it to make more money.  The state and DOJ screen you when you become a notary, right?  You can not be a felon and still be a notary, right?  So, why a redundant background check?  Does it make the signing companies feel better? Do they even want it?  The reality is that few companies ever ask notaries for background checks, but a few do.  How much work will you lose by not being background checked?
 
In California or Out of California – it makes a difference
If you are outside of California, aside from getting more inches of rainfall per year, the standards for becoming a notary are different.  California has been more
stringent in commissioning notaries for more than a decade, than other states in the country.  After 2005, it got even harder… a lot harder.  Its now very difficult to become a California notary public.  The test is murder, and then you need to get live scan fingerprinting (last I checked — and this is always changing), and checked by the DOJ and the FBI, and in some countiesof California maybe even the KGB.  Okay, maybe not the KGB, but I’m trying to illustrate how picky things are here.  Nobody who is the least bit sketchy or questionable will be able to become a notary, unless they didn’t get caught yet.  But, what about other states?  The rules change from state to state. It is possible that many states are very lax about background checking their notaries, and in those states, maybe the NNA should background check notaries!
 
A popular topic on the forum
Background checks are a very popular topic on the forum simply becuase there is so much confusion and emotion tied to the subject.  There is nothing notaries hate more than having to do something redundant.  Personally, I do redundant things daily, and I don’t mind providing I’m getting a benefit from it.  Others don’t see it the way I do based on these blogs. 

You might also like:
If you visit the forum and use the search box you can look up many more strings about background checks, but these are the strings that I thought you would like the most!
 
Question 13: Background Checks
http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=2673
 
Background check standards 2010
http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=4035
 
2nd Background check by Service Link
http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=4007
 
Nations Direct and Background Checks
http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=3518
 
Background Screening?
http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=328
 
Its back, background check requests
http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=3442

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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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January 13, 2012

Borrowers and their filthy homes

The notary who was very ill
A while back I had tried to reach one of our notaries (and she has become a dear friend as well) for some time but with no response I started to worry. When I did finally reach her she shared a horrifying story with me. She confided in me that she had been quite ill. In fact she expressed to me that she was very near death.  I could hardly believe my ears what she had begun to tell me.

Coming down with a flu
She had had a busy week with notary work and she became ill with what she thought was the flu/cold. She did not quite know what was wrong but knew that her body was telling her something was not quite right. This was more than a cold. She eventually ended up in the hospital and with her stay her body continued to slowly shut down. She was literally dying right before the doctors and staff’s eyes. They ran test after test and could not come up with anything.

But, what was her illness?
They were baffled. What they did know for sure is if they didn’t do something and do something fast she would surely die.  They were clueless, was this an infection or was airborne or contagious?? They continued with the tests but nothing. They were afraid to give her any medication for fear that it would kill her. If they didn’t know what was wrong how could they treat her. So they quarantined her and everyone that tended to her wore masks, gloves, etc. They were stumped/baffled to say the least.

A test for Legionnaires disease
Now, If it weren’t for what she would call her ‘angel’ she would not have lived to tell this story. There  just so happened that there was a young intern at the hospital (who’s sex it still unknown to her to this date; not that it makes any difference) suggested for them to  run the test for Legionnaires Disease. Why he or she suggested or thought to test for this is still unclear but as far as our notary and I are concerned, it was our heavenly father above. The doctors ordered the test and what a shocker those results were, positive-BINGO-that is exactly what she had. Now you may ask what exactly is Legionnaires Disease?? I have posted a summary below.

Legionellosis is a potentially fatal infectious disease caused by gram negative, aerobic bacteria belonging to the genus Legionella.[1][2] Over 90% of legionellosis cases are caused by Legionella pneumophila, a ubiquitous aquatic organism that thrives in temperatures between 25 and 45 °C (77 and 113 °F), with an optimum temperature of 35 °C (95 °F).[3]

Legionellosis takes two distinct forms:
Legionnaires’ disease, also known as “Legion Fever”,[4] is the more severe form of the infection and produces high fever and pneumonia.[5][6]

The disease was traced to a borrower’s home
If it sounds scary well it is…When the notaries test came back positive the CDC was called in.  Can you believe it! Haz-mats and all. And they wanted to know EVERY place she had been., Every detail.  Being barely able to communicate she let them know all of the places she had been. They traced her steps, they checked her home and all the places that she had been after she had became ill and low and behold the LD was ultimately traced to a BORROWERS home that she had closed a loan for. It seems the borrower had never cleaned/serviced their air conditioning unit and whenever it was warm and they turned it on it was blowing the LD bacteria into the air and our unfortunately notary had breathed this deadly bacteria in while she was there closing her loan. Our notary let me know that the house itself was filthy and she says now with her near death experience she will never enter a filthy home again.

No more dirty homes
She says that if she arrives to a house  that is not clean for notary work, she will not set foot in it. She immediately (but kindly) offers to take them for coffee and they sign the paperwork at the coffee shop. No exception! She told me that she had to learn allot of things all over things that we just do naturally and take for granted, like eating walking, etc. The disease had essential destroyed her immune system and left her weak…so she felt that no signing job was worth what she had been through..so NO more dirty houses.

The borrowers were immune
What got me is that the people that lived in the house never got sick…the CCD said that because it was their filth they were immune to the bacteria. But any friend, worker, etc that entered that house and stayed any length of time on a hot day with that uncleaned air-conditioning running would get deathly sick. So next time a house is really filthy you may want to think twice about entering it.
Until the next time. Be safe!

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