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October 2, 2012

Top 5 books every notary should own (and read)

In any career, being the best means that you have to participate in professional development and be aware of new developments in your field. This is even truer for notaries who can face fines, suspended licenses, lawsuits, and other consequences if they make a mistake. Whether you’re new to the notary industry or a seasoned professional, make sure that you stay on top of your game with the books listed below.

The U.S. Notary Law Primer

Published in June, this book by the National Notary Association provides up-to-date information that every notary, or aspiring notary, needs to know. For those interested in becoming a notary, it lists the necessary qualifications and gives contact information for notary regulating officials. For those new to the profession, this book includes a variety of basic information including signer identification, notary journal maintenance, and misconduct penalties.

2012 – 2013 U.S. Notary Reference Manual

In the 11th edition of this manual, Charles N. Faerber has compiled the most current notary regulations from all 50 American states and six U.S. jurisdictions. Faerber, the National Notary Association’s Editor-at-Large and Vice President of Notary Affairs, makes sure to include detailed information for each state as well as the overarching laws that govern all notaries. This information is especially useful for national companies that use notarized documents and notaries who practice in multiple states.

How to Open & Operate a Financially Successful Notary Business

In this guide, Kristie Lorette and Mick Spillane not only review notary basics, but they also offer advice as to how to grow a notary business. This thorough book contains checklists, case studies, an appendix of state-specific information, and even comes with a companion CD-ROM of customizable professional forms. This how-to has invaluable information for notaries at any level in their careers.

101 Useful Notary Tips

Written and published by the National Notary Association, this handbook delivers the answers to frequently asked notary questions. Topics range from the basic (e.g., stamp expiration dates) to uncommon situations like notarizing a spouse’s document. Filled with practical advice, this book is a helpful reference for both new and experienced notaries.

Twelve Steps to a Flawless Notarization

As the title implies, the National Notary Association offers readers the twelve steps they should take each time they notarize a document. This book also includes helpful tips that notaries public should follow in order to guarantee that the notarization process is accurate as possible. The information provided will guide beginning notaries through their first notarizations and assure that practiced notaries don’t miss any steps.

These books are just a starting point in ensuring your success as a notary public. Since rules regulating notaries vary from state to state, always make sure that you are familiar with the exact laws within your jurisdiction and pay attention to any changes that may affect your notarizations. New developments in state-issued identification or the mortgage lending process affect how you do your job. Stay current by reviewing updated versions of your state notary handbook, talking with colleagues, and visiting industry websites such as this one.

Stephanie Marbukh is a freelance blogger who writes about a variety of topics including legal matters, education issues, and the importance of maintaining your home gutters. http://www.gutterhelmet.com/

Tweets:
(1) Being the best #notary means keeping up on industry trends & reading these top notary books!
(2) The top 5 books every notary should read include: 101 useful notary tips, 12 steps, law primers, etc…

You might also like

The 30 point course – a free loan signing course for beginners
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14233

Best Blog Articles for Advanced Notaries
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14736

Notary Information for Beginners — Best Posts
Here are about 20 really useful posts for beginners. Seasoned Notaries might find these posts useful or interesting as well.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=10472

Notary Public 101 – a free notary course
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19493

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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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September 17, 2012

Sample Notarized Affidavit

Here is a quick sample notarized affidavit.
I apologize that I am not able to scan a copy of a realistic signature or notary seal for legal reasons, so please accept my unrealistic looking signature and notarial stamp (seal)
 
I, John Doe authorize Mary Spencer to type of business documents for my company XYZ Associates. She is to have work completed by 5pm Pacific Standard Time daily, and will be paid half price for late work.  Mary is to work in our office and travel to locations to visit clients upon request.  Either party has the right to disolve this agreement at any time in writing.  A letter stating that you want to discontinue this relationship  and agreement will terminate and nullify this agreement.
 
 
 
______________________
John Doe
 
 
______________________
Mary Spencer
 
 
State of Nevada
County of Clark
 
Subscribed and sworn to ( or affirmed ) before me on
this 20th day of March, 2012 by

John Doe and Mary Spencer, proved to me on the basis
of satisfactory evidence to be the persons who appeared before me.
 
Larry Doe, notary public
——————————————-
Signature of Notary
 
——————————————-
|   Larry Doe                        |
|   Notary Public                   |
|   County of Nye, Nevada     |   (official notary seal)
|   Exp. 3-21-2012                |         
|________________________|

Please see our glossary’s article on affidavits

Tweets:
(1) Sample Notarized Affidavit verbiage including notary certificate & Oath wording.

You might also like:

Notarized affidavits information
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1963

Affidavits of Support
http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=2316

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August 27, 2012

Notarizing Documents for the Elderly

Notarizing for the elderly: Making a difference

Notarizing documents for the elderly can sometimes be a precarious task. At best, it can also be very rewarding, a chance to save senior citizens from poor medical or financial decisions. Some of our notaries have recently done a great service by scrupulously looking out for this fragile population and speaking out in order to protect them.

A California notary tells us, “I was going to a signing, and I really didn’t have any information about the borrower. The caregiver for the elderly man answered the door, and said ‘Are you aware that Mr. Jones has Alzheimer’s? He thinks you are here to give him $3000. He was cleaning the house all night to impress you.’ Apparently, someone had called him from an Internet company and had gotten him to do the loan. The care attendant said she would have to call the man’s son. I left the loan documents with the man, and immediately called the loan officer. I said, ‘This man’s son has a power of attorney. If I hear of this man signing these documents himself, I will turn you in.’ I never heard from them again,” sighs the California notary, who knows to this day she provided an unanticipated service for Mr. Jones.

Another California notary from Oakland tells a similar story: he came to notarize a refinance, but the woman who owned the home did not want to sign. It turned out that the ‘relative’ who was claiming to have a valid power of attorney was not even related to the homeowner…but had somehow persuaded the lender that she had a POA–and was planning to drain $20,000 from the home and then put the woman in a nursing home. The notary got a bad feeling about all this when he first called to confirm the signing. The old woman confided in the notary her unwillingness to sign, and the notary, on a hunch, called the authorities. They arrested the “relative”…and an actual relative was called upon to assist. Luckily, the equity in the home remained intact, and our notary was very pleased. “It was just lucky that I realized what was going on,” he says, “and made the call. Some people might say it wasn’t any of my business. A notary actually is taken quite seriously as a ‘reporter’ in cases like this. I was glad I did what I did,” says our California notary.

“One man thought he was getting back $400 more on his loan than he actually did. When we went over the paperwork, he actually started crying. I was able to explain things to him, but he chose to call the lender and delay the closing…although he did end up closing that week. The lender did something for him, made some deal with him that made him feel better. Many elderly people feel they are being taken advantage of, and many are in a position of weakness. I see a lot of happy, wealthy elderly, some who own several houses in several parts of the country. I also see a lot of poor people who are elderly and who never recovered from 2008,” says one Hawaii notary with relatives in California. “We are trying to do more to protect them.”

A Hawaii notary in Honolulu who does a lot of notary work with the elderly tells us, “Sometimes at a hospital signing I have to determine whether or not the person knows what he or she is signing. I ask the person’s name and I keep asking questions. If the person does not know what he or she is signing, I leave.” Our astute young Hawaii notary adds, “There are lots of times there is a doubt as to the competence of the person, and you really have to be very sure. Your have to protect their interests. That is why it is good that California, for instance, just passed a new law regarding notarizing a power of attorney.” [see blog June 3 2012 “A New California Notary Law”]

Tweets:
(1) Notarizing documents for the elderly can sometimes be a precarious task; at best very rewarding
(2) “Are you aware that Mr. Jones (the signer) has Alzeimers? He thinks ur here to give him $3000!”
(3) Many elderly signers feel they are being taken advantage of, and that they have a weakness.

You might also like:

Power of Attorney at a nursing home
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2305

Dragging the person’s arm: A signing for an elderly woman
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=610

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August 17, 2012

Stealing a Business Name

Stealing a business name 

One of our notaries was accused of stealing someone’s business name.  The notary went to a signing and said she was associated with some other gentleman with a particular name. I don’t remember the name, and would be confidential in any case.  The client was having some paperwork notarized that would be used to register a company name in Wyoming
 
I couldn’t figure this situation out, so I emailed the client, and they said that the notary name was registered the next day by the friend of the notary, but not the notary themselves.  They registered his business name before he could register it.  Why would someone go out of their way to steal someone else’s business name?  This poor client had already printed out business cards and mailing labels with his future business name, and now he couldn’t register it.
 
What a sad story.  The moral of the story is don’t print your cards until your business name registration is complete.  Someone else can register that name up to seconds right before you attempt to!!!

Notaries are encouraged to register their business names, and get a business license. Notaries with official business names get considerably more business than those that don’t have a notary business name!

Tweets:
(1) One of our notaries was accused of stealing a signer’s business name right before it got registered!
(2) One of our notaries registered a clients’ business name 24 hours before the client went to register it.

You might also like:

Funny sounding business names: Grandma’s notary service & more!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4231

Notary business names
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2302

Business Cards for notaries
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=36

Business Licenses
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=742

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August 5, 2012

Power of Attorney and Verifying Capacity

Powers of Attorney and Verifying Capacity 

Recently, we had two notaries that had situations where they felt obligated to stick their head into other people’s business.  Both notaries were doing signings for an attorney in fact, and both notaries wanted to see the power of attorney to verify if the signer indeed had that capacity.  But, this seems to be going above and beyond the job of a notary public.  A notary’s job is to identify a signer, and make sure the signer really signed the document, keep a journal, and fill out certificate forms.
 
So, does the notary need to verify the capacity of the signer: i.e. as an attorney in fact?  In California, notaries are prohibited from identifying a signer’s capacity.  But, what about other states?  I have no idea!  Maybe our readers can comment. We will have a facebook discussion on this topic as well to stimulate dialogue.
 
I feel it is only the notary’s job to notarize the signature of the signer, and acknowledge that that particular person signed a document.  If that person claims to be an attorney in fact, that is their business. Whether the signature on the notarized document will be recognized in court as an official siguature of an attorney in fact is another story, especially if the “missing” power of attorney form doesn’t show up. I saw let the courts worry about authorization, it is beyond your job as a notary!

Tweets:
(1) When you notarize for an Attorney in Fact, is it your job to verify the signer’s capacity?
(2) It’s only the notary’s job 2identify the signer, not to determine if they’re authorized to sign in a particular capacity.

You might also like:

POA — proceed on alert
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14661

Notarized Power of Attorney
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=9862

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June 3, 2012

A New California Notary Law

A New California Notary Law

A new law regarding California notaries went into effect on January 1, 2012. One of three main changes to California notary law in 2012 is that a subscribing witness may not sign a Power of Attorney in California in a case where a signer is too frail or unwell to appear before a notary. In other words, it is now clearly mandated that a person giving someone else Power of Attorney in California must be well enough to appear personally before a California notary. There are situations in which an actual signer can’t appear before the notary and a subscribing witness may be used, but this is not as strong as having a California notary take an acknowledgement, and ought not to be allowed in most situations. In matters involving finance and property, California previously made clear that important documents such as mortgages and securities may not be signed by a subscribing witness; instead, the acknowledgment must be taken by the notary with the proper signer present. In 2012, California has now wisely added POA to the list of documents that may not be signed by a subscribing witness.

The second of the changes to California notary law in 2012 setsforth the rule that only California notaries who work for the financial institution concerned may demand payment or accept payment on “foreign bills of exchange” for the institution –and only these California notaries may protest for nonpayment. The third change in the law makes clear that these notaries who work for financial institutions will of course no longer be paid a fee for such services—as an independent notary would have been. The world of banking has its own notaries for all occasions, California notary law reminds us.

Tweets:
(1) A new 2012 California notary law – subscribing witnesses may no longer sign Power of Attorney in certain cases.
(2) Important documents such as Mortgages & Securities may not be signed by subscribing witnesses.

You might also like:

California notary issues
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3528

California Acknowledgment and Jurat Information
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1786

Power of Attorney Signings
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1627

Find a notary in Fremont, CA
http://www.123notary.com/notary-result.asp?state=CA&super=&county=162&sub=3&n=Fremont%20City&cc=1&

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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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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

How do I get a foreign language document notarized?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18788

Where can I find a Spanish speaking Notary?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18824

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April 26, 2012

Can a notary also witness documents being signed?

Q. Can a notary also witness documents being signed?
A.  Any individual over the age of 18 can be a witness to a document signing or Will signing.
 
Q.  Can a notary charge for acting as a witness?
A.  If acting as a witness is an official notary act in the state where the notary is commissioned or acting, then they can charge whatever their state’s maximum appointed fee is.  In all other states where witnessing is not an official notary act, then the notary can charge whatever the client will agree to.
 
Q.  Should I hire a notary to act as a witness?
A.  You can if you like, but unless you need some special documentation done, that only a notary can perform, there is no real need to have a notary around.
 
Q. Can you recommend some more detailed reading materials about this topic?
A.  Yes, please read:  Can a notary be a witness?

Tweets:
(1) Any individual over 18 can witness documents being signed, including a Notary Public.
(2) Can a notary charge for acting as a witness? Yes, but your state might have a maximum charge.

You might also like:

Credible witnesses from A to Z
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=452

Fraud and Forgery related to the notary profession
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2294

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