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February 18, 2013

What does a notary charge in 2013?

What does a notary charge 2012?

Notary fees vary across state lines, and vary depending on what type of notary act you are having done. Acknowledgments and Jurats are by far the most common notary acts. Please see our find a notary page and then look up your state to find out the notary prices / notary charge or charges for common services. Prices published are 2012 notary prices.

Please keep in mind that notaries on www.123notary.com are normally mobile notaries (traveling notaries) and will want to charge a travel fee for coming to your office, home, hospital room, or jail cell. Travel fees vary person to person, but notary prices per signature or per notary act are set by your state in terms of maximum allowed fees. A notary may not charge more than the maximum state notary fee, otherwise they can get in trouble.

If you need a quote for what a notary charges, just ask particular notaries on our database.

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June 11, 2012

Which states allow e-notarizations?

What states allow e-notarizations or e-notaries?
 
The status of being an electronic notary is a very new and very misunderstood profession or office.  To be an e-Notary, so you can do e-Notarizations, is often a completely different type of commission in many states.  Another fact to understand is that e-Notarizations can not (or can not always) be done for Deeds or other documents that effect real property.  The biggest issue that bothers notaries about e-Notarizations is that the signer doesn’t always have to appear before the notary to receive an e-Notarization.  The first time a signer is notarized, they should appear before the notary, but in some states, the subsequent e-notarizations  may or may not require physical presence. 
 
e-Notarizations require the use of an electronic journal (ENJOA).  The signature of the signer would go in that journal.
 
An e-signing is normally done with a physical journal and done in the presence of a notary public.  The documents might be signed online, or at least most of them signed online. However, the signer woudl still appear before the notary public and sign a physical journal of notarial acts.
 
Here are the states that currently allow e-notarizations. The rules for e-Notarizations might be very different from state to state.
California, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

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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.

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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!

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

Compilation of Notary stories on the blog categorized
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April 4, 2012

How much should a notary charge for swearing in a…

How much should a notary charge for swearing in a … 

Please keep in mind that notary rules, and notary prices vary from state to state.  Also, notaries engage in various types of notary acts involving Acknowledgments, Jurats (which include Oaths), Oaths, Affirmations, Protests, and more depending on what state is in question.
 
How much should a notary charge for swearing in a witness?
Notaries can swear in witnesses, and so can a judge, as well as other types of state appointed officers such as a justice of the peace, etc.  When you are swearing someone in, you are giving them an Oath.  You might have the affiant raise their right hand and ask them, “Do you swear or affirm to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?”.  They might say, “Yes”, or “I do”.  
 
An Arizona Notary can charge $2 for administering an Oath
A California Notary can charge $10 for administering an Oath.
A Florida Notary Public can charge $10 for administering an Oath
An Illinois Notary may charge $1 for administering an Oath
A Maryland Notary may charge $2 for administering an Oath
A Michigan Notary can charge $10.00 for administering an Oath
A Notary in New York can only charge $2 for administering an Oath
A Notary in New Jersey can charge $2.50 for administering an Oath
An Ohio Notary can charge $1 for administering an Oath
A Pennsylvania Notary can charge $5 for administering an Oath
A Texas Notary can charge $6 for administering an Oath
A Virginia Notary can charge $5 for administering an Oath
A Washington State Notary can charge $10.00 for administering an Oath
A Washington DC Notary can charge $2 for administering an Oath
 
Note:  The price for Oaths and Affirmations in the mentioned states are identical.  We are only showing rates for highly populated states, and the rest of the state notary prices and notary rules and be queried by visiting our find a notary page.
 
Swearing in a Credible Witness?
If you need to use a Credible Witness as part of a signing, please consult your state notary manual to see if you can charge extra for each Oath you administer to them.
 
How much should  a notary charge for swearing in an affiant who is signing an affidavit?
Any time a person signs an Affidavit, or other document which requires a sworn Oath, the Notary (if they are using a notary) needs to have them raise their right hand and swear under oath.  The notary generally has to choose the verbiage for the oath which requires a small amount of skill and extemporaneous “improv” talent.   The notary should charge whatever their state allows as a fee for an Oath.
 
How much should a notary charge for swearing in someone who is not signing anything?
Sometimes the Oath accompanies a document that is going to be notarized, and other times it is an Oath of Office, an Oath for getting a commission, an Oath swearing them into court, or for a variety of other purposes.  The notary price for this type of Oath should be whatever the local state you are in allows a notary to charge for an Oath.
 
How do you document an Oath without a signature as a notary public?
Not all states require a notary to have a journal, but without a journal, you can not document any of your transactions, many of which might be very sensitive such as notarizations of Deeds, Powers of Attorney and other important documents that  could have high stakes involved.  If someone is taking a purely oral Oath with no paperwork involved, you should document this in your journal, and have the affiant sign your journal. You should document in the notes section of the journal that you administered an Oath, and write a few words describing what the oath was about.  The exact wording of the oath is not critical for the journal entry.  The notary price or notary fee for this type of act should be whatever the state in question allows a notary to charge for an Oath.

 Travel fees and waiting time?
Many years ago, I went to a lady’s house in Los Angeles.  She was having a court case by phone, and I was there to swear her in before the judge on the other end of the line.  I had to wait for 45 minutes, and had to drive twenty minutes as well. So, I charged a travel and a waiting fee.  I was a very reliable notary and got to this very critical appointment early, so I feel entitled to my fee!  Not all states allow travel fees or waiting time fees, so you need to know the notary prices and acceptable charges in your state of commission.

Tweets:
(1) How much can a notary charge for swearing in a Witness. A state by state fee chart!
(2) Notary Fees for swearing in witnesses range from $1 to $10 in the states we compared.
(3) How do you document an Oath that has no accompanying documentation? #Notary #Journal

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March 23, 2012

Notarization Dates, Document Dates & Signature Dates!

Document 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

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The transaction date = the signature date: Feb 2013 Phoninar
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February 10, 2012

Power of Attorney at a nursing home

Power of Attorney signing at a Nursing Home
 
This was a signing that was doomed from the beginning. I was a relatively new notary, and hadn’t been burned enough to have any sense.  I was like the cat who hadn’t learned to be wary of crossing the road. On the other hand, during my childhood, we had a cat who regularly sat right on the yellow line in the middle of the road.  Let’s just say that she had a good sense of timing.  My timing unfortunately wasn’t so good this time, and neither was my judgement.
 
A call from a convalescent home
It was a call from a lady in her late fifties.  She seemed like a very normal person.  She was taking care of an elderly lady who had nobody.  Of course, when I got the call, I didn’t have the sense to ask who was going to pay me or how they were going to pay me. This job was so bizarre, that even the most experienced notary has probably never seen anything like it.  So, I went to the nursing home and went in the door.  This place was horrible.  People were screaming and moaning all the time.  Plus the stench was horrible. The nurses didn’t want to open the windows because they didn’t want bacteria coming in.  My news for them is that there would be more bacteria going out than in if they opened the window. 
 
A walk down the hallway.
“Help me…. help me…. will you help me?”.  An old bedridden lady wanted to be turned over. I am not skilled at pampering the elderly, and the nurses were ignoring these helpless victems.  A crazy old man tried to make conversation with me walking down the hall.  This hallway should be called the hall of desperation. I got to the correct room number finally. If only I had brought an oxygen tank so I wouldn’t have had to breath in there. The lady in her 50’s wanted me to have the elderly lady sign a power of attorney document. Neither one of them had a clue how these documents worked. They needed my help filling it out and I told them that I don’t offer legal advice.  So, I had to wait while these crazy ladies took thirty minutes to do what they should have had prepared long before they called me. I neglected to ask them if their document was complete by the way.
 
The finished power of attorney
They kept asking me what to do. I kept saying, “you need to talk to an attorney”. I asked them why they had me come all the way down there when they were not ready to sign a completed document.  I had to teach them what a grantor and grantee was.  I told them that in this other place, they should write what the powers the grantor is assigning to the attorney in fact (grantee).  That helped get them through this daunting task.   Finally, the document was done.  The old lady could hardly sit up, let alone write anything.  She wrote some chicken scratch which was not even ledgable. I had to do a signature by X with two subscribing witnesses with her.   Finally, we were done.

 The payment
The attorney in fact got out a checkbook and proceeded to pay me.  I said, that the check didn’t belong to her, but to the old lady.  The lady in her 50’s said that she had been granted the power to do financial transactions for the older lady and would use the old lady’s check book to write me a check.  I didn’t like this idea. I said that I wanted to be paid in cash please. Neither ladies had a dime on them. So, I took the check, and needless to say it bounced. 
 
Insist on cash
If you do a jail or hospital signing, you will be dealing with very unreliable people a very high percentage of the time. Get your travel fee upon walking in the door before you even meet the signer.  If for any reason you can not complete the signing, you at least have some cash in your pocket.  Knowing how to do a signing by X is a valuable skill that experienced notary publics use if you work with the elderly.

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Dragging the person’s arm

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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!
 
 
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February 3, 2012

Must a thumbprint accompany a notarized document?

Filed under: Legal Issues,SEO,Technical & Legal — Tags: , — admin @ 9:38 am

Must a thumbprint accompany a notarized document? 

To deter fraud in notarizing, thumbprints are sometimes required by law in certain states, but are always a good idea.  California notary law stipulates that the notary must take a journal thumbprint when notarizing signatures on powers of attorney or deeds effecting real property such as Grant Deeds, Quit Claim Deeds, Mortgages, Subordination Agreements, etc.   Other states have their own rules.  Texas has some rules restricting the use of thumbprints, but I don’t know enough about those restrictions to comment.
 
Prevent fraud
As a general rule, if the notary public you use takes a journal thumbprint (many do not bother with this or even own a thumbprinting pad), you have more security.  The thumbprint is proof that nobody faked an ID and pretended to be you, or forged your signature.
 
Serious documents should have a thumbprint
If you are having a serious document notarized, you might ask ahead of time if the notary carries a thumbprinting pad.  They are two inches in diameter and weigh about half an ounce, so it is not a burden to the notary, assuming he/she is prudent about notarizing (that is assuming a lot).
 
Does the thumbprint go on the actual document?
I have never heard of a procedure which requires a thumbprint on an actual document, but it is not a bad idea. You could neatly put it to the right of a signature and document which thumb was used from which individual.  If you are missing a thumb, you can use the other thumb or a finger, just document it somewhere.

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February 1, 2012

Do I notarize every page of a document?

Do I notarize every page of a document? 

As a notary public, you notarize signatures on documents.  Generally, signatures are on the last page of a document, and there is some notary certificate wording below the signature section. If there is no notary certificate verbiage when you are notarizing, then you can attach a loose notary certificate with the official notary wording from your state.
 
What if the signature is in the middle of a multipage document?
With longer documents such as affidavits of support, living trusts, and other long documents, you are likely to see a signature in one of the internal pages of the document, and maybe another signature at the end of it, but not necessarily on the very last page.  Where do you attach a loose certificate if a signature is in one of the middle pages of a document?  It is normal to add notary certificates at the end of the document.  It is prudent to indicate on the certificate the page number of the document that has the signature you are notarizing with that particular certificate form.  Other notaries might use one certificate form to notarize all signatures in the document.  Which way is correct?  That is hard to say, but it is cleaner, if you have a separate notarization for each signature on a document that requires multiple signatures from the same person.  There might be separate agreements inside the same long document, making them more like separate documents that have been connected.
 
You can not notarize every page of a document.  However, you can use an embosser seal to make an inkless raised impression in all of the pages of a document you notarized, to safeguard from pages being switched after the fact.  This is a very prudent practice and I recommend it.

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