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December 24, 2010

Notary Public: Just Say No #3

Just say no 3 
Notaries need to know what to do and what not to do.  Although rules change across state lines, here are some basic rules to think about.
 
Staples anyone?
Many states require that the notary certificate be attached to the document.  Many companies will get mad at you for stapling their deed of trust together. But pages can easily be switched without a staple.  Attach is one particular formal way of saying staple. There doesn’t seem to be any other way to “attach” a certificate to a document.
 
Leaving loose certificates
Once again, certificates can not be sent without the document they correspond to.  If you notarize a document, the certificate wording should either be embedded in the document, or on an “attached” form.  If you are asked to send another “Jurat” (by this, people really might mean acknolwedgment certificate) in the mail.  You need to ask the company to send the document so you can attach it.  They they say, “Oh, come on”.  Tell them that if they want their “jurat” you need the original document otherwise they could attach it to anything.
 
New pages in a document?
If a signer had a document notarized and has a new page that they want notarized, you need to notarize the document all over again despite their whining.   You can not notarize individual pages of a multi-page document.
 
Notarizing a photograph?
You can not notarize a photograph.  If you have a document regarding a photograph, you can staple the photo to the document and notarize the document.  You could even put an embosser halfway through the photo with the other half going through the document as its attached to the document.
 
Notarizing before the signer signs?
Don’t save time by filling out the notary forms before the signer shows up.  If you affix your notarial seal before the signer has signed the document and your journal, you have committed a crime.  Just wait until all the other necessary steps are complete and then fill out the wording and affix your seal.
 
Beneficial interest?
If you are mentioned in a document, or are closely related to a person who is mentioned in a document, that can constitute beneficial interest.  If you derive a benefit from a document being signed, that is definately beneficial interest.  One of our notaries informs us that if you only get paid as a notary if a particular document gets signed, then you have beneficial interest.  Get your travel fees at the door before you figure out if you are doing to notarize a document.  If the ID is not good, or the signer is drugged at a hospital, you will feel motivated to try to find a way to notarize that person if you haven’t been paid. That is actually a very common type of beneficial conflict of interest that invovles notaries on a daily basis.
 
Notarizing yourself?
Don’t notarize yourself. You can not notarize your own signature no matter what in any state.  The whole purpose of a notary is that they verify other people’s signatures.

Tweets:
(1) It is illegal to notarize something without making sure the certificate is attached!
(2) If you are adding a new page to a document, do you need to notarize the whole thing all over again?
(3) Some notaries save time by notarizing before the signer signs! This is illegal!

You might also like:

Notary Etiquette from A to Z

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October 27, 2010

Stories of notaries that fail and what they did wrong.

Here are some stories about notaries who did no-no’s and what happened.

(1) A CA notary accepted a loan signing from a signing company. The notary waited until 30 minutes after their appt. began to call them & tell them that her car broke down and ASKS THE BORROWERS FOR A RIDE!! The borrowers graciously offer the notary a ride, but it gets better!!

The notary asks if they can stop at Kinkos to print docs. Then, the notary asks the borrowers to pay for the printing fees since the notary was flat broke. The husband borrower got put off and called the loan officer. The LO told the husband to GET OUT OF THERE and leave the notary @Kinkos.

The next day, the notary calls the loan officer and told him that the wife had to work late which is why they didn’t complete the signing, but that they would complete it tonight. The notary thought the signing company wouldn’t find out what happened. This is pure insanity.See More

(2) We get complaints every month about a notary who makes a mistake on a document. Then, the lender tries to contact the notary, but the notary doesn’t respond to emails or phone calls. Then, we get some lame excuse from the notary about how they were on VACATION or had some family emergency. If you are a notary, take responsibility for your work. Unless you are dead, you can still respond to an email. Wi-fi makes this possible.

(3) From time to time we get complaints about notaries who fail to return documents. The lender needs to know tracking #’s and when they can expect the documents back. Sometimes, the notaries just don’t answer their phone, or respond to email. This is the fastest way to get in trouble with 123notary and your clients. Let people know when and where you dropped their Fedex and what the tracking # is. Send them an email with the same information just to be redundant and show that you are a thorough and conscientious person.

(4) One notary arrived LATE to an appointment, didn’t handle the closing professionally, and then didn’t fax back the correct docs. The documents were also not returned properly. Can you believe this? That makes us all look bad!!!

(5) Another notary couldn’t call Title because she WORKED full time. News flash!!! — most notaries have full time jobs and do this on the side, but are able to return calls!

(6) Once in a while a notary will do a “No-show”. Some of these non-showing notaries will also ignore emails and phone calls from their clients. What a nightmare!

(7) An unusual case. A high quality signer who has been with us for a long time had a serious incident. He went to a signing at a Starbucks. The signers were there. Then he just disappears. I called him to see what had happened. He got a call from his wife that his daughter had hit her head. A parent’s nightmare!!! So, he panicked, and left without even telling the borrowers what had happened.

Where do we draw the line at family emergencies? This is a tough call for all of us.

Tweets:
(1) From time to time we get complaints about notaries who didn’t return docs. Let them know the tracking #.
(2) One notary couldn’t return a call because she had a full-time job. Do you buy this?

You might also like:

Just say no #2

Notary etiquette from A to Z

Best materials from our forum

California notaries with complaints

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September 7, 2010

Everything you need to know about journals

Everything you need to know about notary journals.
Not all states require a journal of official notary acts. However, it is wise for notaries to keep a journal, as it is a record of all notary acts that they have ever done. A notary journal is a bound and sequential book containing records of all notary acts done by a particular notary. If a notary completes all the entry of a particular journal, they can start a second journal.

What goes in a journal entry?
(1) The date and time of the notarization
(2) Type of notarization
(3) Name of the document and document date (if there is one ),
(4) Name and address of the signer
(5) Type of identification ( personally known to the notary, credible witnesses, or ID document )
(6) State/Country, Serial #, and expiration date of the ID.
(7) Additional notes
(8) Signature of the signer
(9) Thumbprint of the signer
(10) Notary fee charged (if any)

The additional notes section is a part of the journal not understood by many notaries.
If credible witnesses are used, their signatures and ID’s should be recorded in the additional notes section.
If any unusual situations arise during the notarization, or there is anything unusual about the signer or the venue, that should be documented in the additional notes section. If travel fees are charged, that too can be documented in the additional notes section.

Journal thumbprints
Not all states require journal thumbprints. However, documents effecting real estate or large amounts of money should have a journal thumbprint accompany their notarization. A thumbprint is the only absolute way to identify a signer if fraud is suspected. ID cards and signatures can be forged, but a person’s thumbprint is unique to that individual. If a notarization is ever investigated due to suspicion as to the identity of the signer, a thumbprint can end the investigation cold in its tracks and possibly save the notary from having to appear in court.

Lock and key
The notary must keep their journal under lock and key. Bosses, co-workers, family members, and strangers alike are not allowed to inspect the notary journal without the presence of the notary. They are not allowed to do notarizations with the notary’s seal and journal under any circumstances.

Lost, stolen, or damaged journals
If your journal gets lost, stolen or damaged, contact your state’s notary division immediately and let them know what happened in writing.

What do you do with your journal when your commission is over?
If you don’t renew your commission, ask your state notary division what to do with your journal. It is most likely that they will need to be submitted to your county recorder’s office.

Where do I purchase a journal?
Notary journals can be purchased from the NNA, or from many other vendors on the internet. Some local office supply stores might have journals too, although that is not a predictable place to buy journals unless you are sure they have them.

How many journal entries do I create?
If one signer signs one document, create one journal entry. If one signer signs two notarized documents, that would necessitate two journal entries. If three signers each sign two notarized documents, thats six journal entries, all of which need to be signed by the corresponding signer.

Where do I keep my journal when I’m not using it?
Keep it under lock and key. You can have a notary carry all bag with a mini-lock, or keep it locked in a desk drawer to which only you have the key. Nobody else should ever be able to access your journal

What if someone has an inquiry about a particular journal entry?
Just ask them what the date of the notarization was and the name of the signer, and look it up in your journal. If you have several journals in your archives, you may have to go through your archives. You can make a copy of the journal entry and send it to the person making the inquiry, but hide information pertaining to notarizations of other individuals on that same page.

Tweets:
(1) A journal entry must include: time & date, type of notarization, doc name, name & address of signer…
(2) Journals must be kept under lock & key and returned to the county clerk at the end of your commission.
(3) Learn the finer points of journal entries: where credible witnesses sign, thumbprints & notes.
(4) Everything you need to know about journals, but were afraid to ask.

You might also like:

The dog ate my journal
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3368

Saved by the notary journal
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3353

I need a new journal every week
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2605

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

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August 2, 2010

Funniest things that happen to Signing Agents

Funny situations at signings for signing agents
Signings are usually very normal, but our notaries and signing agents have seen almost everything from roach infested houses, to naked signers, to having a tornado come to the signing. Here are some noteworthy experiences that are from our FACEBOOK profile on May 25th, 2010. WHICH ONE IS THE FUNNIEST?

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Chicken coops
I had to walk around the chicken coops while he collected just hatched eggs. I brought home a 1/2 a dozen.

The two year old
A two year old decided to take all our blue pens hide them and mom could not find them, Lesson keep more pens in the car.

The angry husband
It was probably when a couple began arguing with me present. The husband yelled that she never let him read anything in peace or make a decision so he took his car keys and screeched out the driveway only to end up accidentally running over his kid’s bike in the driveway. We had to wait for him to return so that he could sign the papers as well but… She kept muttering under her breath that he doesn’t understand what he’s signing so what ‘s the point (had to agree with her he seemed unnecessarily confused). Funny thinking about it now but it was dramatic and awkward then. Only two weird incidents like this but they stick out like sore thumbs lol

5 dogs & 3 kids
As a signing agent, I had to notarize for a couple who had 5 HUGE dogs and 3 super hyper kids, that were taller than me, mind you I’m only 4′ 11″ (in high heels! lol ), before I even rang the door bell, I knew it was going to be a challenging job, there were toys all over the front yard, and of course there was a HUGE gate, that I had to get on a tippy toes in order to reach the latch, I walked to the front door, and sure enough, as soon as one of the kids answered one of their huge dogs decided to jump on me and smell me!! to get to know me of course! lol, oh man, I’m cracking up just remembering! The family was so friendly and full of love, it was not a bad experience at all after I shared all my extra pens and paper with the kids.. they were so sweet they even took my business cards and handed them out to their friends and colleagues, I really appreciate that! All in a notary’s day’s work!!

The mistress
I had called the Borrower the day before to confirm, and for some reason I guess the Wife thought I was the Mistress, because that night at 2am, I received a phone call, screaming at me, yelling at me, asking me why i was cheating with her husband, etc!!!!. When i arrived in the morning to the signing, it was the most awkward thing in the world!!!

He had the H1N1 Virus and died soon after
Was told by the signer if her boyfriend came home to grab the papers and run. That was stressful. But the worst one of all happened in April of this year. The signer was an old man with a walker. He started the conversation with I have the H1N1 virus with a 102* fever. He said “Is that okay with you?”. I told him to go home, get better and then resign. I called a few days later and he had died. Very sad.

The little boy
I went to a signing out in the middle of nowhere. The little boy, probably about 4, comes running out and hugs my legs. The Daddy tells him to get back in bed, he hugs tighter, Dad starts to count to 3.. I tell him you better run. Just as his Dad gets to 3, he tears loose and runs and jumps in bed. Then he yells out.. “Hey Lady, whats your name?”.. I say Susie, he yells out “Good Night Susie”..

The naked daughter
Awkward…at a extravagant house w a couple in the morning. Middle of signing the 3 year old daughter comes running out naked. Wouldn’t stop jumping all over the couches and running around. NAKED.

The argumentative selling agent
I had a sale in which the Selling agent and the Seller were arguing. The Selling agent had called the police because he said their dog had bit him when they conducted the final walk through. The Seller’s insisted it did not happen. It was a hostile closing environment until the agent decided to drop his pants to show the teeth marks on his buttocks! I was in tears from laughing so hard. It remains my funniest closing to date.

Can you help give birth?
I was scheduled to do a closing and the borrower called me the morning of to cancel unless……..I was willing to come to labor and delivery as the wife had gone into labor that morning…..but they really wanted to sign that day. I called the company and they said it was my call. I decided to go. They had to get me cleared through security. We would sign a few pages and take a break, then sign a few more and take a break. I did let them know that they could kick me out at anytime…..lol. We did complete the closing. I didn’t stick around for the birth and don’t know if they named the baby after me or not…..but it has been a great story to tell!

Signing on the hood & Affidavit of &#%
There are a couple of them that stick out in my mind.
1- the request to notarize an affidavit saying this lady never had*****with another ladies husband. people think just because i notarize it it is the truth.
2- the lady who insisted i come to her home at 11 pm and sign documents on the hood of my car, down the block cauz she didnt want her boyfriend to know what she was doing. Oh yeah, she snuck out of the house through a window in her nightgown lol. And she was a fairly large woman.

1 – I went into labor at a signing and tried to hide it from the borrower because the first comment he made when I walked into the front door was, “you’re not going to have that baby today are you?” (I did actually)
2 – I had a borrower on a reverse mortgage closing who was expecting me to arrive with a brief case full of cash because he was receiving $70,000 as a lump sum disbursement. Also, he lived in a mobile home on blocks and planned on putting the cash in a floor safe.

Once you get here we can untie my husband
I accepted a signing and when I inputed the address into my GPS, it turned out to be a hospital. I called the client to ensure I had the correct address and she stated, “yes, we are in the lobby waiting for you. Once you get here we will untie my husband’s hands so he can sign this will.” Needless to say, I cancelled!

The tornado
I was sitting at the kitchen table facing the patio, which was high off the ground, doing a signing. It was cold in the house and I thought the borrower had turned on the heat when she got up, but it was too noisy to be heat. My mouth flew open as a huge stainless steel barbecue grill traveled quickly past the patio doors. What I thought was the heat, turned out to be the freight train sound of a tornado! We looked outside and a tree was down, the legs of their covered swing had gone through the side of the neighbor’s garage, and the people across the street had shingles ripped off a quarter of their roof like you would rip the label off a jelly jar. News crews came to cover the tornado while we finished up the signing. My car and the borrower’s house were fine.

Are you allergic to cats & snakes?
As I walked to the door I knew it was bad..bo meets me asks if I am allergic to cats. Um no. Good she said she has 40 and we go in..She turns and asks what about snakes? Um NO..We walk in and cats and snakes..big ones all in and out of cages all over the place..My lungs hurt from the stench..Got out in a big hurry! Yuk!
 
Let us know which one you think is the funniest, and let us know if you have some funny stories of your own. As you can see, our signing agents have a very interesting life — at least from time to time.
 
Tweets:
(1) The notary was asked to notarize an affidavit that claimed the signer never had $&%
w/the other ladies husband!
(2) One you get here (to notarize) we can untie my husband!
(3) One signer asked, “Are you allergic to cats or snakes?” What kind of signing is this going to be?

Other related reading material.
 
Tips on being the worlds worst notary or signing agent
http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=1910
 
Humorous and interesting posts fom the forum
http://www.123notary.com/interestingposts.asp

Top 12 things to do when you are on hold
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3946

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