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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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December 27, 2016

The Care and Feeding of Mentors

Filed under: Ken Edelstein,Popular on Facebook (shares) — Tags: — admin @ 11:01 pm

The Care and Feeding of Mentors
Jeremy published an excellent article on finding a Mentor – http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16793 OK, you followed the advice and found one willing to work with you. Now what? That is the essence of this post.
“I’m in a hurry, I don’t have much time in my schedule to devote to study or research; the bottom line is this: I want to know specifically, using my Notary License, exactly what you can do to make me rich”.

Believe it or not, that is essentially what several Mentor requesting notaries have asked me. A common theme is that they want the “fast path” to the Big Bucks. They perceive their Notary status as having the deed to a gold mine, if only they could find the exact location of their mine, to pick up the nuggets lying about for the taking. In a similar manner, when I go to the NY State Dept. offices (which administer Notary and Real Estate Broker license tests) I often hear the prospective Brokers discussing the “killing” they plan to make by selling the Empire State Building – “that commission alone will set me for life”.

There is nothing wrong with having high aspiration, but it’s real life that it also requires a large amount of perspiration to “get there”. Delusional can be defined as a false or mistaken belief or idea about something. I don’t use that word to be critical, but rather to stress the point. A Mentor devotes their time, and shares their skills and knowledge; generally without compensation. That is not always the case. I had a request to teach how to process some rather complex documents – it took a full “hands on” day; and I was paid accordingly. However, that is a rare exception.

Most requests for me to Mentor come via email and start with a liberal dose of flattery. OK, it makes sense to say something nice to someone you want to do you a favor. As covered in the above mentioned blog; I really don’t want to create competition “across the street”. So far, that has not been the case. It’s a heavy lift to train someone to be a Signing Agent from “scratch”. So I usually suggest they take a course on the subject and really learn the material. There are several sources for “basic training”. It’s just too time consuming to cover the Venue, ID requirements, Oath, and such. When I was learning to fly an airplane, initially I read about theory, and then flew simulation on my PC, graduating to renting a plane and an instructor. Getting in the plane with instructor and not knowing anything would be inefficient.

The following scenario has repeated itself several times over the past decade. I receive the request, with flattery, to help someone who wants to grow their business. Rarely is there a specific question included, just the general goal of self improvement (scores intent points) and, of course, the desire for more money. That’s fine with me – they are, in my mind, a “contender” wanting to better themselves. So, with my very first email reply I want to determine if they are willing to really WORK for their goals.

I give a “homework assignment” – it’s always the same. I ask that they read my last dozen, or more if they wish; blog entries. Then, citing which blog they are referring to: ask 12 detailed questions that relate to an issue or concept in that blog that is unclear or should be expanded upon. Why? If I’m to spend time being a true Mentor, I have to “know” the person I am working for (yes it’s working for). They have to show me that they really will put “skin in the game” and work for their own benefit. I also want to see their writing skills and get a sense of what they consider important to learn. This dispels the myth that I have a bucket of knowledge that I can simply pour in their direction. As Jeremy mentioned, there is a vast wealth in the blogs, of which my stuff makes a minor, but often useful contribution.

Sad to say: to date not a single “student” submitted their homework – not one! My intent was never to “chase them away” – If I wanted to do that I would simply reply that I was too busy. Beginners: let your prospective Mentor know that you are willing and able to WORK hard “with” them, for your gains.


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December 17, 2016

Who is involved with 123notary behind the scenes?

Filed under: Advertising,Popular on Facebook (shares) — Tags: — admin @ 12:05 am

When most of us see a website, we see the front end and are absolutely oblivious to what goes on behind the scenes. The fact is that running 123notary involves all types of work that you might not be aware of. Here is a breakdown of what gets done and who does what.

123notary is hosted by Connectria and has been for eight years. They keep the site online and help solve technical issues with the servers. You might be surprised to know how much it actually costs to host 123notary. The cost is about $1500 per month and that is before a single hour of programming is billed.

Programming 1999-2010
123notary has had many programmers over the years.

Mark — was our main programmer and he built most of the functions on 123notary.

SzeWan — worked with Mark and did a lot of the phone lists and other functions of 123notary.

Peter — The original programmer for 123notary was actually Jeremy’s dad Peter who is a retired Ada Compiler programmer. Peter worked on much more sophisticated projects during his day and figured out web programming from the ground up. All of Peter’s work had to be rebuilt in newer languages such as ASP, and once again ten years later needs to be rebuilt in a newer version of ASP. When does it end?

Programming 2010-2016

InvitraTech — after Mark quit, which was a huge tragedy for 123notary, we used some programmers in India who we had used on another project. Due to some technical reasons logging into the server, we had to transfer programming to someone in Phoenix.

Phoenix Programmers –Unfortunately the guy in Phoenix had such a temper problem we had to cancel a very critical migration the day it was scheduled. We tried many programmers after that, but found them to be either incompetent, or to be unwilling to work. After that, it many months of trial and error to find another programmer who I liked and who would be loyal to us, and about two years of paying for two servers to finally get the migration to go through since I was so busy (and frustrated.)

Fred — Now, we are laying low on programming and Fred does small fixes for us. Fred was responsible for finally completing the migration and got it done very smoothly I might add.

Brent — In addition to Fred, Brent and his team help us out with fixes from time to time. This is a very long list of programmers. I think my life would have been easier if I could have found one who would stick to the job. Maybe I should have learned programming.


Carmen — has been with 123notary since 2003 which was the year our business started to really pick up. I remember sitting in the car in March 2003 answering a sales call and my friend (ex-friend) tried to get me to shut the phone off. I explained to him that my business is finally taking off, and why stifle myself? After a few months of the phone ringing off the hook which was a welcomed form of over-work after years of poverty — I came to my senses and realized I needed help. So, in 2003, I pleaded with Carmen to get her on board. She was very resistant at first believe it or not, and then developed a love and loyalty for the job which has lasted until today and hopefully for many years to come. Carmen became full-time with 123notary in 2005.

Jeremy also does outbound sales from time to time.

Adine, Wendy, Sally, and Leah have also done sales, although they all got busy with other things and decided not to work for 123notary anymore.


123notary’s blog became very popular around 2012. Instead of the world ending like the Mayans claimed, 123notay’s world got filled with interesting articles. 123notary was able to find a few amazing writers to help out. Ken does writing mostly about technical and business advice issues. Since he is an accomplished Notary, it is easy for him to write about the finer points of Notary marketing, pricing, and documents. Jeremy does a little of everything at 123notary and writes the majority of the articles. Andy is a professional TV and screen writer who wrote for Cheers, Seinfeld and more. Andy helps write comedy articles for 123notary and also helps with idea generation. Andy’s blog articles became hits and we have a folder for him in our Guest Bloggers category on our blog.

So, who else?
Mrs. Meao helped 123notary guard its working quarters from unwelcomed intruders (mice.) But, there were no mice, so Mrs. Meao took naps most of the time. In the future, I’d like to see more variety of blog writers. The problem is that the blog writing applicants come up with such lame topics that I never hire them. They are simply not in tune with what people want to read. We tried to create a teaching program, but none of the Notaries who had teaching backgrounds wanted to cooperate. So, we’ll see how 123notary develops. Wish us luck!


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December 5, 2016

Affidavit of Support

What is an Affidavit of Support?
The Affidavit of Support is a common immigration document. This document needs to be notarized with a Jurat (a common Notary act which involves a sworn oath.) The purpose of this document is typically for one family member to promise to the government that they will financially take care of the individual who they are trying to bring to the United States.

Where can I learn about Affidavits of Support?
For official information about this document, please consult an Immigration Attorney or the Department of Immigration. Please do not ask immigration questions to a notary as they are not authorized to answer these types of specialized questions unless they have some type of official authorization.

How do you notarize an Affidavit of Support?
Please make sure you have the document in your hand, and fully understand it before calling a Notary. The Notary will have you swear under Oath and sign in front of him/her. Next, the Notary will will in the Jurat certificate verbiage (notary wording) in the form and stamp the document in at least one place. When I was a Notary, Affidavits of Support required two stamps. There is also a problem that the document doesn’t leave ample room for the Notary Seal, so try to squeeze it in or attach a separate Jurat form if the client chooses for you to do so.

My personal experience with Affidavits of Support.
I had fun notarizing Affidavits of Support. I had lots of clients from around the world who treated me to tamales, dim sum, Thai coffee, and other international treats. Notarizing for Chinese people is the best as they are much more likely to feed you than other nationalities — plus, I love Chinese food.

What are some other commonly Notarized immigration documents?
The Affidavit of Citizenship is a commonly notarized immigration document. The Affiant commonly drafts his/her own statement and then has the Notary notarize the statement which normally includes a sworn Oath and normally requires the signer to sign in the presence of the Notary.


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November 26, 2016

I felt like I was being used (Snapdocs assignment)

Another Notary worked for Snapdocs and had an emotional reaction after the fact. She got one of those low-ball assignments, took it, and then complained she felt like she was being used. If you don’t like working for below market rates, nobody is putting a gun to your head! This new signer was concerned about wear and tear on her car, ink, paper, gas, etc. The bottom line here is that anyone who uses you is using you no matter the price. You sell your services for money. The question is, do you know the value of your time and do you know the itemization of your expenses for various types of jobs?

There is no set value on your time, so you have to create your own value. If you don’t know your value, how will you accept or reject jobs. For newbies, the value of getting work under your belt is much more than the value of your dignity. An inexperienced Notary in my book is not worth much. If you have less than 1000 signings and no certifications, I personally wouldn’t use you for anything. If you have 5000 signings and three certifications, then you become valuable as long as you have a good track record.

SIGNING CO: Would you do this modification for $100?

NOTARY: I will not – I have morals

SIGNING CO: How about $1,000,000?

NOTARY: Well, okay…

SIGNING CO: How about $150

NOTARY: What kind of Notary do you think I am?

SIGNING CO: We’ve already determined that, we’re just haggling over the price.

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November 20, 2016

Power Of Attorney Documents – Submitted as a double credit document

Filed under: Ken Edelstein,Popular on Facebook (shares) — Tags: — admin @ 9:22 pm

Power of Attorney vs a Will
There are many types of Power of Attorney documents. However, the general theme is that someone is granting authority to someone else. A Will contains the maker’s words, directives and decisions. The executor of a Will is not a decider of asset allocation, rather a facilitator of the deceased’s allocation desires. In contrast to a Will, the Agent of the Principal (of a Power of Attorney) “may” have the authority to “call the shots” – or, the Agent may be severely constrained. Usually the Agent has “some” authority to sign for the Principal. In almost all cases, the authority granted by a Power of Attorney ceases upon the Principal’s death. The Principal granting power to the Agent may revoke such power at any time unless incapacitated. A Will can also be revoked, until Probate…..

Lifespan of the Power of Attorney
The Durable Power of Attorney – (General or Limited) remains in effect when the Principal becomes incapacitated. If the Power of Attorney is not Durable, the authority of the Agent does not exist if the Principal is in no condition to revoke the authority.

The Springing Power of Attorney – Similar to the Durable, the Springing only “comes into effect” when the Principal is incapacitated. As the definition of incapacitation can vary, the specific definition of the “trigger” should be specified in detail in the document itself.

Scope of the Power of Attorney

The General Power of Attorney – This allows the Agent to sign the name of the Principal unless it’s illegal for them to do so. One example: you can’t grant power for someone to sign your notary signature. If the word Durable is included, the power remains unless revoked or death of the Principal.

The Limited Power of Attorney – (sometimes called a Special Power of Attorney) grants from Principal to Agent authority to perform specific actions. Often this format contains an expiration date. Commonly used with loan documents, authority is granted for the Agent to sign various paperwork related to obtaining real estate.

Entitlement of Agent to Receive Payment

Unrelated to the “Gift Rider”; when the Agent manages (in some jurisdictions) property, they have a statutory right to be paid. Amounts vary, but a very rough guideline (unless otherwise specified) is:
3% of money received by the attorney,
3% of money paid out by the attorney on your behalf, and
3/5 of 1% of the average annual value of the assets covered under your power of attorney.

In personal transactions, the Agent has no right to be paid unless specified by the Principal. In some cases, the Agent applies to the Court to allow payment for Agent Services. In the vast majority of what we will see as Notary Publics, payment is rarely a concern or specified. When a payment arrangement exists, it will usually be part of a separate contract and not contained in the distributed Power of Attorney.

How the Agent uses their Authority

Assume Lock is giving Key an Agent relationship. Key would probable use one of the following formats:
Lock by Key as Attorney-In-Fact
Key as Attorney-In-Fact for Lock
Opinions vary, I prefer the first example because Lock is written first matching the “under the line”.

Considerations for the Notary

ID – Follow your jurisdiction requirements – To The Letter. Power of Attorney documents can easily be litigated in a court. Look very closely at the ID, if it’s a 35 year ago picture does it look like the affiant?

Capability – a tough one, but I like to ask why they are signing, what does this document do?

Initials – Almost never required, but let’s think about it a bit. Initials are mainly used to acknowledge seeing a page. But, I submit they also “mark” a specific page as having been accepted. While I don’t suggest affiants to initial each page (Principal, Agent(s), Monitor(s) and Successor Agent(s)) – I would insist upon it if I was the Principal and not the Notary.

Blank Lines – The Principal should consider a N/A in each not-applicable area. For example: there is usually an area for the “second agent”. If this was subsequently completed, and a “loose ack” added to the document – it might appear that the second agent was approved by the Principal.

Oath – I know, many do not bother to administer an oath. On Power of Attorney documents ya better!

Suggest More, Earn More – Under most jurisdictions, a photocopy of a notarized document – is Not a notarized document. One copy will suffice for a task specific use, as in a Signing. However, a general care giver might need many copies. It is likely that a financial institution will require an original for them to permit the Agent to use their power(s). Your client might not know this, often they assume a photo copy will work the same as an original that was “wet signed” and embossed. A few dollars for each extra copy is a value to your client and might add up to some Sesame Chicken for you.

Witnesses – rare for Power of Attorney but does occur. I feel the witnesses should also be notarized whenever possible. The California “Long Form” Acknowledgement is perfect for this as it has specific areas to associate the “loose ack” to witnessing the document.

Closing Thoughts

I receive many calls for processing Power of Attorney documents. Often the caller is somewhat angry about their recent notary experience. They relate that the notary at the bank refused to notarize a totally legal to process document, it’s bank policy – they relate. The bank does not want their “deep pockets” as part of litigation. These are much more likely to be contested than an application for a passport.

It’s not often, but sometimes someone wants me to notarize their self written Power of Attorney. Of course I can do that, but I caution them that, in the majority of my experience – the document is not in a state specific standard form. Furthermore, your document might not be accepted as you intend. I am willing to proceed, but you have been cautioned that it might not suffice. They can make an informed decision.

Sometimes for a Power of Attorney signing I receive a copy (photocopy or via email) of the relevant Power of Attorney. They send it so I can “verify” and “accept” the Agent signing for the Principal. It is my opinion that I have no requirement to see that document. First, I am not an Attorney, and “technically” am not qualified to judge, read, or take any action; even if the original “wet signed” was submitted. Nor would I be in a position to know if the authority had been revoked, or if the Principal is deceased. When I notarize “Lock by Key as Attorney-in-Fact” – I am notarizing Key – only. Key is stating explicitly, and under oath (I think – it gets a bit fuzzy here, I’m not an attorney) that Key currently has AIF authority.

At the start of this blog entry I mentioned Lifespan and Scope and covered the more commonly used documents. Note that their characteristics can be combined in multiple ways. I think there could be, of the ones covered Four Factorial permutations: 4 * 3 * 2 *1 = 24 variations! This is one document that I never want to have to read and explain (with liability!) to those I will notarize.


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November 19, 2016

The Uber principle at Snapdocs. New blood!

Snapdocs has grown in popularity in the last half year. Many of our clients have gotten a lot of business from them. One guy got 350 signings from them while another got 150 last year. Most Notaries are fed up with the low-balling and hand-holding. But, the ones who can tolerate the low-ball practices are getting volume. At low prices after you deduct your toner, paper, gas, and phone-time, you might not end up with much, but at least you get something.

My question is, can these guys stay in business with this business model of low-balling the Notaries? So many Notaries are so sick of it and drop out as a result of these practices. The answer lies with Uber. Uber burns out their drivers very quickly. I forget how long the average driver lasts, but it is not more than a few weeks. They just can’t stand the low pay and difficult situations they are put in. Snapdocs seems to pray on new blood too. Although most Notaries we know have dropped Snapdocs (we should call them SnapDrops) there seems to be an infinite supply of new Notaries with no knowledge, no experience, and most important, no self-respect who work for pennies.

On the other hand, perhaps the signing and title companies will get sick of bad quality Notaries and come back to 123notary where we deliver the highest quality search results in the business. I manicure my directory daily for accuracy of data and quality of Notaries. People value quality, but do they value it enough to pay for it?

I estimate that 123notary is losting 7% of our search volume due to Snapdocs. On the other hand, we are not losing revenue simply because we make our money from Notaries who get paid for high paying Title work for the most part. The Notaries who do low-ball work don’t have much money, don’t spend much money, and won’t lose us much money if they wandered into other pastures. So, we’ll keep our business model of quality search results and quality Notaries over here and hope for the best.

To sum it up. As long as SnapDocs has new blood and the Title companies will stoop to the level of accepting untrained, inexperienced and unqualified Notaries, SnapDocs will stay in business. Scary to think — but true! On a brighter note, they did an excellent job of harnessing modern technology in a way that nobody else did or wants to!


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November 16, 2016

Examples of great notes sections

Filed under: Popular on Facebook (shares),Your Notes Section — Tags: — admin @ 11:14 pm

Here are some notes sections that I feel are the best. If you stumbled upon a great notes section, you can recommend that I add it to the list as well. A good notes section is key to successful notary advertising!
To view these listings, just visit

And look up by n#

Thorough & Organized
9741 Saliva Tests

Short & Sweet

Good References & Lists of Capabilities

12886 Sand Ceremony



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November 15, 2016

How to spot fake ID at a notarization

Most Notaries study Notary law. But, do we keep handbooks that are up to date about spotting fake ID’s? Perhaps we should . Our primary task as a Notary is not to make people feel good, and is not to get the job done either. It is to identify signers and make sure that fraud doesn’t take place. It is better to say “no” rather than to get a Notary job done wrong — hence the name “no”–tary. Otherwise we would be yestaries and the world would go down the tubes.

ID Handbooks
The NNA and other vendors have books going over every state’s identification documents. They can tell you about distinguishing features, new watermarks, and other telltale signs that the ID is genuine.

Jeremy’s Solution — an online ID database
Personally, I think there should be a computer system to let the Notary look you up on a Federal or state database — but, that’s just me.


Things to look for one the ID

(1) Physical Description
Sometimes the physical description doesn’t match the signer. With ladies changing their hairstyle frequently, it is hard to tell their identity.

(2) Mispellings
Then, there could be misspellings in the name or a wrong name variation.

(3) Tampering
Obvious signs of tampering are almost a guarantee of a fake ID. I saw one of those once and only once.

(4) Watermarks
Finally watermarks are used in identification documents and currency to prove authenticity. It is possible, but hard for a fraud to replicate an authentic watermark. In China I’m sure they’ll figure it out as faking things is their specialty. But, for the rest of us it would not be so easy.

(5) Lack of raised lettering
Many of the newer ID’s have raised lettering. However, without a guidebook, you won’t know which states and which identification years of issue have raised letters.

(6) What’s your sign?
Ask the signer their sign. If they are using a fake ID with wrong DOB it will be very difficult for them to immediately recite their sign. You can also ask for their zip code to spot a fraud.


Most Notaries do not inspect ID’s carefully. They just record the information in their journal. Unless something fake is jumping out at them, they will not notice that something is wrong. It pays to get a handbook and become and expert. After all, the whole point of being a Notary is to deter fraud. In my opinion, each state’s Notary division should require all Notaries to be experts at spotting fake ID’s in addition to other critical related skills. Maybe one day technology and training will improve.

Smokey bear says — say no to forest fires. Notary Jer says — say no to fake notary identifications — if you can spot them.

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October 21, 2016

Building a Wall Around Signing Companies


Signing companies are invading our territory. They’re lowering rates for signings, not paying people, and micromanaging the people doing signings.

We will build a wall around these signing companies. And let the signing companies not paying people on time pay for it. The good notaries will make good people sign their legible signatures on the wall. The bad notaries will turn to petty crime and write illegible graffiti on the wall.

In addition to the signing companies, too many new notaries are invading our territory, willing to do twenty dollar signings. They’re killers… of the marketplace by working for cheap. Others are executors… of documents that have something wrong with them. . Others are improperly backdating… Or allowing clients to sign incorrectly… They’re misidentifying people… They’re not administering oaths properly…

We will make notaries great again. They’ll become certified on 123notary.com. They’ll start winning again. Believe me, they’ll get so tired of winning, they’ll start losing their minds just to remember what losing feels like!

We’ll impose a temporary ban on all lousy notaries until we can figure out what the hell is going on. We’ll deport the notaries who aren’t doing their jobs back to where they came from, unless they’re already citizens, in which case we’ll export them to countries we’re not that crazy about. We’ll let them come back legally – by letting a competent notary make them swear they won’t screw things up the next time around.

And when that’s finished, we’ll build a wall around my mouth.

In answer to Bernie Sanders and Pink Floyd… We don’t need no (free) education! All in all it’s just another brick in the wall!

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