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December 2, 2020

Everything you need to know about writing a great notes section

Originally posted Feb 1, 2016.

Most Notaries underestimate how critical it is to have an amazing notes section on your listing on 123notary.com. They just write how they are background screened and have E&O insurance. They stop there. Yes, this is important information and it can be a deal breaker if you don’t have the right background screening from the right agency, etc. However, the Notaries who get lots of work from 123notary tend to have 123notary certifications, reviews from satisfied clients and a very thorough notes section. So, what is the secret? The secret is to be specific, unique and well organized in what you write about yourself.

(1) Selling Features
The top of your notes section should stress selling features. What can you say about yourself that others might not be able to say that would make someone want to hire you. “I’m reliable.” Everyone claims to be reliable, and then they show up late making a mockery out of their claim. Try something that you can put your finger on. But, I really am reliable? Yes, but your notes section can’t prove it — so skip it. Instead, let’s think about what types of loans you know how to sign. Don’t just say, “all types.” List them one by one. Do you have some unusual qualifications? Were you Notary of the year? Do you do jail or hospital signings? Are you fluent in Uzbekistani hill dialects? These are things that help you stand out. Were you a CEO of a Mortgage company? That helps too. If you have Escrow, Title, Underwriting, Processing, Settlement, or general Mortgage experience, that is a huge plus on your notes section. Make sure to indicate that high in your notes. Remember — the first 200 characters of your notes show up on the search results for your area, so digress to impress! (actually don’t digress, but use that space to squeeze in as many selling features as possible)

(2) Specialties
One of the most valuable pieces of information you can include in your notes are your specialties. Instead of bragging about how you are error-free or dependable (which nobody wants to read,) instead list the types of loans you know how to sign, types of major documents or procedures you are familiar with. Do you go to airports, offices, or jails? Do you do Weddings or Apostilles? People are very impressed when you have highly specialized skills, so mention them.

(3) # of loans signed
Most Notaries up date the # of loans signed once in four years. When I mention that their profile says they signed 200 loans, they say, “Oh, that was five years ago. I must have forgotten to login — I’ll go in there.” You need to “go in there” and update your info every few months or you will have information that is collecting cyber-dust.

(4) What is hot and what is not?
Radiuses are hot. If you have a wide radius, tell the world. 100 mile radius shows you are serious (or crazy.) Last minute signings are a good thing to mention. Do you accept faxes or are willing to do fax backs? That narrows it down. Are you background screened? Is it by NNA or Sterling or someone else — if you’re screened by the wrong agency, you don’t get the job! Do you know how to do eSignings? That will make you stand out!

(5) Professional memberships and certifications
Are you NNA Certified, Notary2Pro certified, 123notary certified, or trained by some other agency. It is impressive especially if you have four or five certifications. Mention these as well as your memberships. But, please don’t say you are an NNA member in good standing. The only way to be in bad standing with any agency is by not paying your bills or perhaps being convicted of a felony.

(6) What is unique about your service?
Is there something unique about the way you do your work? Or do you have a catchy unique phrase about yourself? It is very hard for most people to think of anything unique about themselves. But, if you really put some thought into it over an extended period of time you might come up with something good. We have two blog articles below with some of the best unique information we’ve ever seen.

(7) Avoid vagueness
Did you work for 10 years in the legal industry? What does this mean? Were you the company president or did you mop the floor for an Attorney. State your job title or what you did very clearly. If you were a legal secretary of Paralegal, that is good to know. Not a selling feature. Additionally, try to be specific about your claims. Rather than saying how good you are with people, give a concrete example of how you are good with people, or what experience you have that proves you are good with people.

Also read:
General (vague) vs. specific information in your notes section
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4602

(8) Avoid restating information
Many Notaries restate their company name, their company mission, phone and email in your notes. Your notes is to give additional information about your service, and not to restate what the reader already knows. Remember, those top 200 characters go in the search results, and if you say, “We are here to serve” nobody will click on you.

(9) Counties served
There are 12 boxes where you can indicate your counties served. If you wish to restate this info in your notes, put it near the bottom as this is not a selling feature. If you want to indicate which parts of which counties you serve, the notes section is the only place to go into such detail. Others choose to mention specific towns or cities served. Please avoid stating which zip codes you go to as that is too nit-picky.

(10) Writing about your mentor
New Notaries always want to bend my ear about how they don’t have experience, but their mentor has signed 10,000 loans and they have been to many signings with their mentor. After hearing ten minutes about their mentor I say, “I’ll hire him — I’m convinced — But, I wouldn’t hire you in a million years because you don’t stand on your two feet!” Don’t talk about your mentor. Talk about what training programs you have passed.

(11) Writing about your Real Estate background
Notaries regularly write, “I am a Realtor and therefor am familiar with the documents.” But, when I quiz them on the documents they fail almost every time. Also, many Notaries will write three paragraphs about their Real Estate business or Process Serving, etc. People are coming to 123notary to find a great Notary, not a Real Estate agent. If you want to quickly mention in the middle of your notes that you are a Realtor, that is fine, but don’t make it the central point of your notes.

(12) Educational background
If you want to write about your degrees or former professional experience, unless it is Mortgage related, it should go in the middle or lower middle part of the notes as it is not critical information in the eyes of the reader.

(13) Equipment
Yes, you can write about your equipment. Sometimes we recommend using bullet points for quick points such as E&O, certifications, and equipment. You can mention what type of printer, scanner, fax, or mobile office you have. Just don’t put this up top. It belongs in the middle or lower middle of your notes.

(14) Closing statements
Some Notaries choose to have a closing statement while others don’t. We like it when Notaries do. You can say, “Thanks for visiting my listing.” Or say something a little more unique.

(15) Don’t jumble everything in one paragraph
A good notes section is divided into several logical sections. We normally like to see an intro with selling features, an about you paragraph, some bullet points, and a closing statement. There are many formats for winning notes section and you can decide what is best for you.

(16) Ask for help
123notary gives free notes makeovers. However, we cannot write the content for you. We can filter and reorganize it though. When we redo people’s notes sections they average an increase of 55% more clicks per day to their listing. So, ask! And get some reviews on your listing while you’re at it!

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Other Great Notes Articles

How to write a notes section if you have no experience
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4173

10 quick changes to your notes that can double your calls
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4499

What goes where in your notes?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1076

2014 excerpts from great notes sections
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=13613

Unique phrases from people’s notes sections
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14690

Stating the obvious in your notes section
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14146

A Notary included a copy of her testimonial in her notes
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4680

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November 20, 2020

When a Title company lies to you

Originally posted July 31 2017

In real life, people lie. It is unethical, and should be avoided. After all, your actions determine the type of world you live in. Every time you perform an action, you should ask yourself, if everybody did what I am going to do, would that be the type of world I want to live in?

But, what types of lies do Title companies tell you? You would be surprised.

One Notary had an incident where she was told she forgot to put a stamp on a particular acknowledgment for a document. After checking her records for that particular loan, it turned out there was no document by that name in the package — she had been lied to! (gasp)

Another Notary was told that they did not need to have the borrowers sign the 1003 Universal Loan Application. There are multiple places to sign. After the fact that Notary got in trouble for not having it signed. If you get unusual instructions that don’t seem right, better get them in writing, or perhaps just rely on your instincts (if you have instincts — what am I a cat?)

One Notary keeps a copy of all the documents in a package on a flash drive to prove if a document wasn’t really in a particular package.

Once an Escrow officer with bubbly handwriting forged my signature and made a photocopy of my seal. I explained to the investigating officer that I don’t make bubbles to dot my i’s, and that it must have been done by a 19 year old girl in his office who goofed on something and had to get something notarized fast!

I heard that once a Title company claimed that a copy of the ID was not included in the package. Keep in mind that multiple hands touch loan documents at title companies, and it is possible for one of those hands to misplace a document in the shuffle.

Lost cashier’s checks? I always attach these to a piece of paper and put it in the front of the package so they won’t get lost. But, title companies still lose $10,000 checks. You just can’t just Mortgage professionals. Half of them are a bunch of dummies! And they normally fail my test too after they convince me how smart they are!

The truth is that you might be asked to go out free of charge to redo the document that you “missed.” What a corrupt way to con a Notary. I missed two seals in 4000 signings in my signing career. So, I might not believe them if they claimed I missed something. I triple checked my work. Only when there was a confusion on a day I was tired and running around like a chicken with its head cut off — that is the only time I might have made a mistake of some sort.

And by the way — it is illegal to send a loose Acknowledgment in the mail if it is stamped. It needs to be stapled to the document it is associated with.

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You might also like:

The way you treat Jeremy might be the same way you treat title
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19590

WFG National Title Insurance Company
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19211

Protecting yourself with a contract
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2593

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November 4, 2020

10 risks to being a Mobile Notary Public.

Filed under: Notary Mistakes,Popular on Facebook (some) — admin @ 12:59 am

Originally posted Oct 19, 2017.

Notarize at your own risk. Being a Notary is NOT safe!

Many of you think that being a Notary is an easy way to make a few extra bucks. Stamp a piece of paper, get $10, easy, right? Then you deal with nitpicky signing companies who make you fax things back and you get mad, right? That is an annoyance, but not the bigger problem. Being a Notary is dangerous, particular when you don’t do your job correctly. Most Notaries feel that you look at an ID and if it is close enough and the photo looks like the guy, that you are doing your job, right? Sort of. Here are some itemized risks to being a Notary Public.

1. Hoarders
If you go to someone’s house and they have things stacked to the ceiling, you might be in danger in their house. The signer doesn’t want to hurt you. It is just that they cannot control their psychological disease that causes them to engage in hoarding. My housemate is like this and she has stuff stacked to the ceiling which is dangerous and a fire hazard. Something could fall on you or you could get trapped in a fire.

2. Bio-hazards
Some homes that are not cleaned properly are dangerous. One house Carmen almost went into had some bacterial infection that would have gone straight to her lungs and caused her to go to the hospital. If a house smells funny, maybe you are not safe in there. If it is not ventillated properly, perhaps you should stay away. Poor hygene can be deadly, so be advised.

3. Dogs
Some neighborhoods have unsafe dogs around. Notaries could be harrassed or bitten by dogs. Carrying pepper spray or mace is not a bad idea.

4. Slummy neighbors
You might go to a signing in a bad area and people nearby might be hanging out who look unsavory. I am not sure if this is dangerous, but some people get upset.

5. Angry borrowers.
One Notary got pushed off a flight of stairs and broke her wrist. The borrower didn’t like his APR and I guess the Notary didn’t educate themself on how to give a professional explanation of the APR either. The borrower ended up in jail very quickly and the Notary healed in two months.

6. FBI and lawsuits
Roughly 2% of full-time Notaries will end up in court or with an FBI investigation for being involved with identity theft. If you do not keep a thorough journal with thumbprints and the right amount of journal entries, you are much more likely to be held in court as a witness, suspect, or cause yourself extended grief. Without a thumbprint, the investigators are often helpless to catch really really bad people. So, help them out and keep thumbprints. Do your part to safeguard mankind.

7. Getting sued by a borrower
One borrower got mad and sued the Lender, Title company and the Notary when the Notary had done nothing wrong. The Notary tried to use their E&O insurance, but the company wouldn’t pay out because the Notary had not made any error or omission. Of all the bad luck. So, the Notary lost $30,000 in legal fees. Talk about bad karma.

8. Getting sued by the bar association
If you life in an Attorney state and do loan signings without a law license, the bar association might come after you. Good grief.

9. Jeremy might phone quiz you.
Many Notaries who thought they had it together got a phone call from the infamous Jeremy (that’s me) and failed an over the phone quiz. They rationalized, “I’ve been doing this 30 years and therefore I know what I’m doing.” My rationalization is, “Not if you got 18% on my quiz which consists of very easy and every day notary questions.” You might not lose any money, but you could lose your dignity if you score less than 70%. So, study up!

10. Your seal could be stolen
It happened to me. I had to write to the Secretary of State. My car was broken into and I lost my seal, embosser and journal. What a tragedy. It took me two and a half weeks to be back in business. Think of all the money I lost not to mention the trauma of being robbed of my most prized possession — my inkless embosser that I used as a secondary seal to deter fraud! Boo-hoo.

There is also the risk of traffic accidents and having one of those talking GPS systems that talks back to you when you get in the wrong lane, but I won’t include details of those problems as they are common to all humans who drive and not just to Notaries. The end!

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You might also like:

13 ways to get sued as a Notary
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19614

Notary loses $4000 in legal fees because a fraud adds a name to a Notary Acknowledgment.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19477

Compilation of posts about Notary fraud
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21527

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October 31, 2020

Disney Notary World

Originally posted Dec 9, 2016.

If there were more Notaries in the United States, in addition to having lower rates due to increased competition, there would be a market for Disney Notary World!

Welcome to Disney Notary World
Start your tour by entering the park — get your ticket notarized. You could take the Notarial tram whose path is very twisty and turny as it is an exact giant replica of Mickey Mouse’s signature! Next, go to the haunted house for a signing. The problem is that the signers — are dead, or at least — they will be, and so will you!

Welcome to the Future
In the futuristic section there is a Robot that can notarize documents. He is trained to spot a fake ID faster than a human Notary. Warning, this means you might all be out of work, or have to carry a robot with you in your car.

Pirates of Pen Zance
Next, on to see the Pirates of Pen Zance. These pirates stole a gold pen from a very prominent Attorney Notary from the 1600’s and hid it in a cave in an island. But, everybody who came to find this pen ended up dead because of a curse. Can you find this pen?

Hyperspace Mountain
After that, get into a floating Notary seal, and go down hyperspace mountain until you go straight down into a pool of ink. Please leave all cellphones in a secure dry area.

War of Balloons
Fulfill your wildest fantasy. At this attraction you get to throw a water balloon at someone who works at a signing company who didn’t pay you. They will say, “The check is in the mail.” Then you throw a balloon. If you hit your target, you win a Daffy Duck doll and a giant check.

The Secretary of State
Bring your kids to this realistic Sec of State building. Wait in line (what else is new) and get your kids an official Disney Notary Commission and Notary Seal. They can get notarizing today! Just make sure they get proper ID and use the Disney Notary Journal,

Hall of Notaries
See photos and paintings of famous Notaries from history. You will find Notaries from Italy during the Renaissance, China, England, and other countries as well. You might even find yourself there. Don’t be surprised if you find Mickey Mouse in the hall of records as he was a Notary before he became a famous star. You have to start somewhere.

The Gift Store
For all of your unhappy customers who wrote a bad review about you claiming that if your tired of “Mickey Mouse Notarizations,” then don’t hire this Notary. You can get a Mickey Mouse doll with a notary seal, where you can get real Mickey Mouse Notarizations.

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You might also like:

Best virtual notary comedy compilation updated to 2018
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=17693

Notary space station: In space, nobody can hear you sign!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18920

Zoo – Welcome to the Notary Zoo (popular)
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15994

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October 12, 2020

Certain things you don’t learn from experience

Filed under: General Articles,Popular on Facebook (some) — admin @ 10:53 pm

Notaries who have a lot of experience seem to forget that you can keep doing the same thing wrong for twenty years and nobody will correct you. People with thirty years of experience often know less than beginners. But, how is this so?

1. Document knowledge
If you want to know more about documents, you can read loan signing courses. You can also read the actual documents. Be aware that many documents have document variations and one document name could have multiple meanings. Therefore you need to be aware of all of the potential meanings and assume the possibility that the document might be completely different from what it normally means as well. Many Notaries go through their careers never reading documents yet claiming “familiarity with the docs.” If you don’t read them then you are only familiar with the names of the documents and not the actual content of the documents.

2. Handling situations
As a signing agent, there are many tricky situations you can get into. Experience might help you to figure out how not to botch certain situations, but might not teach you how to handle less obvious situations. Our course Notary Public 101 goes over twenty common situations where Notaries can get into trouble. No Notary on our site does a thorough job confirming the signing without reading our course. I suggest reading up on handling situations.

3. Notary knowledge
You cannot know the rules of notarizing or know how to explain specific notary acts unless you read about it. You might have performed 50,000 notarizations, but if you performed them wrong, then the experience is worth nothing, or might be counterproductive. Reading up on notary procedure and law might be a good idea. After all, you are handling legal documents.

4. Marketing
Many Notaries go through their career doing the minimum in marketing. You might make a lot more money if you took marketing a lot more seriously. We have many blog articles on the topic.

5. Thinking about danger
What if you are in a house and the borrower goes psycho. That doesn’t happen often. There are techniques for handling danger. Some Notaries sit closest to the door, or at a particular angle from the door so they can see who is coming in. Other Notaries can spot a house with health hazards a mile away and redirect the signing to Starbucks. I’m not sure if there are any good guides to dealing with notary danger, but you can surely try to think of all the possibilities before you go out on a job. Otherwise you have to improvise at the last minute like a comedian doing improv at the Improv!

You might also like:

Real life scenarios at loan signings
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19681

The five year rule of notary experience
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21089

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October 9, 2020

123notary changed its business model a little bit

Filed under: Marketing Articles,Popular on Facebook (some) — admin @ 9:42 am

This year due to the change in the type of demand there is for Notaries, we changed our algorithm at 123notary. We used to emphasize quality of the Notaries. However, we reduced the size of the site down to 5300 and lost so much market share compared to Notary Rotary that I decided that my former business strategy no longer applied as the market changed. So, I proceeded to add many more notaries to the site and put a greater value on click averages.

The quality based algorithm (still a major factor in our overall algorithm but toned down a bit) was based on how Jeremy (that’s me) felt about the quality of the notaries. That algorithm helped for many years, but lost its effectiveness recently. So, now I am basing placement of free listings and discounts for high placed listings more on click averages. Click averages are an indication of how popular you are with the users. Since my goal is to attract users, I decided to give preference to those that they liked rather than to those that I liked although I still give some points to those who are pleasing to me on the basis of phone manners and notary knowledge.

Now we have 7600 Notaries on the site and a modified algorithm. The new system has attracted 20% more clicks and a lot of new high placed sign ups.

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March 26, 2018

Notary Marketing 102 — Contents

In our blog, we have many educational articles as well as marketing help and entertainment. We have written extensively on Notary marketing, including a few comprehensive articles. But, this time, I am creating a free mini-course on marketing which is designed to be a lot more thorough than anything I have ever written before on the blog. Below are the contents:

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1. Notary Education — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19771

2. Notary Advertising — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19738

3. Notary Profiles — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19754

4. Notes Sections — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19788

5. Notary Reviews — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19760

6. Certifications — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19762

7. Phone Etiquette — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19764

8. Negotiating fees — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19784

9. Promoting Yourself — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19778

10. Pricing — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19781

11. Getting Paid — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19794

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Please also read

Best marketing resources for Notaries. This was written long time ago and is a good reference.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16322

A comprehensive guide to Notary organizations
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=17088

Notary Public 101 — a free resource for learning notary procedure from A to Z.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19493

Signing Agent Best Practices: 63 points
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4315

The 30 Point Loan Signing Course
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14233

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October 17, 2017

Notary Public 101 — Quiz Questions

Return to Table of Contents for Notary Public 101.

QUIZ QUESTIONS

If you have studied our short but sweet Notary course, you might be ready for some sample questions. We alternate questions on our real test, but these questions will help you learn the knowledge concretely so you do well should we ever quiz you.

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1. What is/are the difference(s) between an Oath and an Affirmation?

2. What is the difference between an Acknowledgment and a Jurat?

3. Name all Notary acts allowed in your state.

4. Who has the final authority to decide what goes in the venue for an Acknowledgment certificate?

5. Can a borrower initial in an Acknowledgment if there is a change?

6. If you add a loose certificate, what precautions do you take to make sure it does not get added to a different document by accident or fraudulently?

7. If the FBI comes knocking on your door because you notarized someone with a fake ID, what piece of information will they want to see?

8. Which Notary act can the signer sign ten years before appearing before the Notary Public?

9. What is the difference between an Oath for a document (such as an Affidavit with a Jurat) and a purely oral statement?

10. If you are using a preprinted Acknowledgment filled out by the lender, after you inspect the boiler-plate wording with the he/she/they, the date, and the venue, what other things do you need to check on the acknowledgment form before signing and sealing?

11. What is wrong with the following Oath? “Do you affirm that the information you provided is true?”

12. Can you give an Oath that says, “Do you solemnly swear or affirm that your name is Mickey Mouse?”

13. Name two Notary acts that do not have a written document.

14. Name several Notary acts beginning with the letter A as their first letter.

15. What does, “Subscribed and sworn to before me” mean?

16. If you see the words, “Subscribed and sworn to before me BY,” then whose name goes after the by?

17. What is an affiant?

18. What is the technical term for state and county?

19. Name several situations where you might add a loose certificate.

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October 12, 2017

Notary Public 101 — Certificates

Return to table of contents for Notary Public 101.

You might also like: 10 tight points on loose certificates.

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NOTARIAL CERTIFICATES

There are certificates for various types of Notary acts. Acknowledgments, Jurats, Proofs of Execution. Some states even have certificates for Oaths and Affirmations. Let’s focus on Acknowledgment Certificates for now.

There are various parts of an Acknowledgment form.

(1) The venue. The venue is normally on the upper part of a certificate. In California now there is some verbiage in a box that I am not trained in. But, above the boiler plate wording there is a venue which documents the county and state. Is a venue the county where you did a transaction or two lines of information in a form? Both! However, the documentation of the venue is the one in the certificate and it is informally called the venue and not the documentation of the venue.

(2) The date. The date is a field the Notary is often held responsible to fill in. The date falls into the area of the boiler-plate wording of the form which is standardized wording from your state or perhaps another state.

(3) The names of the signers. As a Notary, you need to input the names of the signers or affiants into the Notary certificate if required. Sometimes it doesn’t make it clear whose name goes in the form. If it says, “Subscribed and sworn to before me by,” then after the “by” put the name of the affiant or signer otherwise you will ruin the form.

(4) The name of the Notary. The name of the Notary once again is entered into the boiler-plate wording area.

(5) Pronouns, singulars and plurals. Each state has a different wording for Notary certificates for each act. However, it is common and typical to have some sort of Notary verbiage that includes he/she/they executed the instrument, his/her/their signature(s), or his/her/their authorized capacity(ies). The critical thing here is to cross out the incorrect words and leave the correct wording. If you do a notarization for John, then cross out the her and their and the (s) assuming John only signed once. If you do a signing for Bruce Jenner then use a special form called the T-acknowledgment which says he/she/it’s complicated/they

(6) Testimonium Clause. Where it says “witness my hand and official seal,” that is called the testimonium clause. Below the boiler plate wording is the signature area where you sign and then affix your notarial seal. And by the way, “Locus Sigilli” means the location of the seal.

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CHANGES TO CERTIFICATES

Making any change on a Notary certificate is messy in my opinion. You can consider crossing out and initialing wrong information. Remember that ONLY the Notary can initial or write on the certificate forms and the signer cannot touch it. However, it is cleaner to create a new certificate using an Acknowledgment that you get from a pad that you keep your Notary bag. That way you can start all over, fill the form out correctly and then staple it to the document in question.

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ADDING LOOSE CERTIFICATES

If you notarize a document that either does not have acceptable Notary wording or doesn’t have any Notary wording (or wrong information on the form) then you might want to add a loose certificate from your pad of certificates that you purchased from the NNA (recommended). Additionally, if there is no room for your seal in some pre-existing Notary verbiage, you might be forced to add a certificate for logistical reasons.

You might also like this blog article:
Sending loose certificates in the mail is generally illegal!

If you add a loose certificate, the certificate must be filled out thoroughly. This means that in addition to the legally required verbiage, you fill out the ADDITIONAL INFORMATION section. The additional information section includes:

Document name — if you don’t put the name of the document on your loose certificate, it might be unstapled and added to a wrong document by accident or on purposes.

Document date — if you don’t put the document date, your certificate might be added to a different document with the same name by accident or fraudulently.

Number of Pages — if you put nine pages, then it will be hard for a fraud to swap the certificate and put it on a similar document with eight pages.

Other Signers — You can name the other signers on the document.

Capacities — California no longer allows this, but you can mention if any of the signers are signing as Attorney in Fact or some other capacity.

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EMBOSSERS

Cautious Notaries often use an embosser when notarizing. You can use an inked seal and also a non-ink embosser that leaves a raised seal. If someone photo copies your certificates, the embossed impression will not show up in the photocopy. Additionally, you can emboss each page of a document to discourage page swapping.

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AUTHORITY

If there is a disagreement between a Title company involved in a transaction and a Notary regarding what venue or information goes in an Acknowledgment or Jurat certificate, the Notary has absolute authority. The Notary may ask for the Title company’s preference if there are two legal ways of doing something such as crossing out and initialing vs. adding on a loose certificate if there is an error. However, it is the Notary who is legally responsible for filling out the form and it is the Notary who will end up in court if there is a problem.

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WHO TO ASK FOR HELP WITH CERTIFICATES

If the Notary does not know what to do when filling in forms or notarizing, do NOT ask the Lender or Title companies as they have a beneficial interest in the transaction AND because they are not experts in the field. The tiel rep might be a Notary, but not necessarily in your state, and not necessarily an informed Notary. Title and Lenders will typically tell you whatever it takes to get the job done whether it is legal, recommendable, safe, or kosher, or not. They don’t care just as long as their loan goes through and YOU, the Notary are the one who gets locked up if you did something illegal just as long as it is your seal on the page.

If you need help with a Notary problem, consult your state’s Notary division as a first resource and the NNA hotline as your next resource. I would be very wary about trusting anyone else.

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October 10, 2017

Notary Public 101 — Basic Notary Vocabulary

Return to the table of contents of Notary Public 101.

BASIC NOTARY TERMS
We will hold you responsible for these. You might also like our complete glossary of Notarial terms.

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Affiant
An Affiant is a person who will swear under Oath and is commonly used to refer to someone who is signing an Affidavit. A Defiant is a person who swears under a tunnel when he loses the AM reception of a basketball game he bet on.

Affix
When you attach something to another thing that is considered affixing. But, in the Notary profession when you stamp something with your seal that is also called Affixing. If you forget to stamp a document you notarized and title finds out, you will really be in affix (a third usage of the word.) When you attach someone with another person, that’s called fixing up.

Agent
Someone who has received special powers from a Power of Attorney signing is called an Agent or Attorney in Fact and also referred in the document as a Grantee. Someone who’s received special powers to go fight crime is called a superhero.

Apostille
An Apostille is a Notary procedure or act that involves both the Notary and the Secretary of State where the Secretary of State officially verifies that the Notary used in a transaction is indeed a real and current Notary in good standing. This procedure is used when sending certain documents outside the country and Authentications are also used to send to other particular counties. If you’re a real and current notary who gave up your seat on the subway for an elderly person, you’re good, standing, in good standing.

Attorney in Fact
The person who receives Power of Attorney is called an Attorney in Fact or Agent. When this person signs on behalf of the principal they sign: John Smith, as Attorney in Fact for Sharon Smith. There are other versions for how to sign as an Attorney in Fact. The person who receives power of X-Ray Vision is called Clark Kent.

Borrower
The borrower is mistakenly referred to as a “client” or “customer” by newer Notaries. The borrower of a cup of sugar is mistakenly called “neighborly.” The signing company regards the title company as their customer while the signer of the loan is called the borrower in oral language. Please also distinguish between a loan signing notary who supervises the signer and is not himself a signer although many Notaries refer to themselves as signers as a professional designation. The Notary Signing Agent is a signing facilitator, not an actual signing in real terms. The borrower can also be referred to as a Mortgagor who borrows from the Mortgagee (the Lender).

Certificate
A Notary Certificate could be a loose piece of paper attached to a Notarized document. (An unattached loose piece of a** would rather be called promiscuous.) A Jurat could be on a loose certificate where the Affiant writes a statement that they will swear to and sign in the presence of the Notary. Not all Notary acts use a certificate such as purely verbal acts such as Oaths and Affirmations and in some states Witnessing. Please understand that although a Jurat uses an Oath as part of the act, that an Oath by itself does not use a certificate. Some also swear that Donald Trump is a true copy of The Annoying Orange.

Copy Certification by Document Custodian
Some states allow for document copy certifications to be an official Notary Act. Some states only allow for a certified copy of a Power of Attorney. However, the Copy Certification by Document Custodian is an unofficial copy certificate and a glorified Jurat with special additional verbiage where the document custodian swears to the fact that the copy is a true copy of the original document.

Grantee
A Grantee is a term used to refer to someone who has been given something such as Power of Attorney agent privileges. The actual Power of Attorney document uses this term to describe the future Attorney in Fact or Agent.

Grantor
A Grantor is a term used to describe someone who has given Power of Attorney privileges by naming an individual as Attorney in Fact or Agent in a Power of Attorney document. A take it for granted-er is a term used to describe someone who knows his wife will throw his dirty laundry in the hamper.

Principal
The main signer of a document could be refered to as a principal. This is the Grantor in a Power of Attorney signing although the two terms are not synonomous. A Principal is also a term used in a Proof of Execution signing and is the person who signs the document. Another proof of execution: Kim Sung Un’s uncle’s tombstone.

Subscribing Witness
A witness who watches someone sign is called a subscribing witness. A witness who watches somebody else’s Netflix is called a non-subscribing witness. The Signature by X procedure uses a subscribing witness who is also commonly referred to as a credible witness meaning a witness who can be trusted. Proofs of Execution use a subscribing witness as well to appear before the Notary Public on behalf of the principal who is the person who signed the document. The Signature by Ex procedure is commonly referred to as divorce papers.

Venue
The venue is the part of the Notary certificate generally near the top that is used to state the state and county. All states have a venue somewhere in the top third of the certificate for all Notary acts that use a certificate such as Acknowledgments, Jurats, Proofs of Execution, etc. A venue is also the place where the notarization takes place. If you change the venue, does that mean you get up from your chair and go to a different address or does it mean you cross out and initial the venue in the Acknowledgment form. I’ll leave that to your imagination. The venue in my brain that conjured up that question is now closed.

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