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May 3, 2018

Letter to Florida Notary Division

Filed under: Florida Notary — Tags: — admin @ 10:13 am

Dear Florida Notary Division,
I run 123notary and am constantly made aware of the sloppy behavior of the Notaries that you commission. I will remind you that the purpose in having Notaries Public in the first place is to ensure the integrity of transactions done via signed documents. The Notary makes sure the correct person signed the document, fills out forms, keeps records, administers Oaths, and upholds the law regarding Notary Public. Based on my quiz results for many Florida Notaries: Florida Notaries do not normally keep proper records, rarely administer correct Oaths, and do not have a clear idea of the laws affecting their work in many cases. Below are my comments and suggestions.

1. Journal Thumbprints.
A journal thumbprint is a piece of biometric evidence that Notaries should keep in their journal. The reason is that the FBI can catch identity thieves that steal people’s assets a lot more easily with thumbprints. Florida recommends against Notaries keeping thumbprints which essentially stifles the FBI. Florida is afraid that the Notaries will not be reputable custodians of biometric data and therefore recommends that they do not take the evidence to begin with. This tells me that the following MIGHT be true:

(a) Florida might desperately want to assist identity thieves in having open season in Florida, and wants to make sure that identity thieves not only can defraud hard working citizens, but that the rights to privacy of identity thieves will be honored at the expense of the safety of society, borrowers, signers, and Notaries by recommending against taking journal thumbprints. Ludicrous! The State of Florida might want to make sure that identity thieves will be protected from being caught and wants to deter the justice system from having adequate evidence to book these very dangerous white collar criminals.

(b) Florida commissions Notaries in a position of trust and integrity equivalent to that of police, attorneys, judges and government workers, yet doesn’t trust them to safeguard a thumbprint. Either you trust them or you shouldn’t commission them. Maybe you should spend more time figuring out who is trustworthy and who is not. Since 90% of your Notaries cannot administer an Oath correctly (which is the notarial equivalent of tying your shoes), I would consider weeding your database of the Notaries who refuse to know how to do their job. Or you could resort to actually training your Notaries and screening them a little better.

(c) The State of Florida is confused and doesn’t realize how stupid they are being by safeguarding society’s most dangerous criminals by discouraging Notaries from keeping journals and taking journal thumbprints. Discouraging journal thumb printing is similar in essence to discouraging wearing seat belts or condoms. Notaries might not get Aids, or break their ribs, but they could end up in court or jail as a result of this stupidity.

2. Journals
For the Notary’s safety, their notarial journal is their only hard evidence in court of what they did as a Notary on a particular date, or assignment as well as what they did NOT do should their seal be stolen, copied, or forged. By not requiring a journal for notarial acts you are endangering the public, Notaries, and their clients. There are many types of crimes that can be committed without a paper trail since you don’t require journals. The Notaries you have commissioned are mostly very lazy and negligent people who would prefer to spent an hour arguing with me about how journals aren’t required by their state so that they can save a few minutes each time they commit a Notary act. By not requiring journals you are encouraging people to be reckless. Additionally, one might argue that you as a state and as Notaries for that state are aiding and abetting criminals by not keeping proper records of highly sensitive transactions.

I give these Notaries the lecture about how California requires seat belts where India does not require having or wearing a seat belt in your vehicle. If you get into an accident in India, will you be any less injured since seat belts aren’t legally required? If an identity thief imposters you in Florida and steals the equity out of someones’ apartment complex, will you be in any less in trouble with the FBI in Florida simply because your state is too foolish to require you to keep adequate evidence of all transactions?

The reality is that the FBI has investigated many of the Notaries listed on 123notary.com. Many of the Notaries kept thumbprints in their journal which was a huge boon to the FBI. However, I heard that those without proper evidence are routinely accused of collaborating with frauds. Does the State of Florida really want their Notaries ending up in court or jail simply because they are too stubborn or stupid to require a simple journal? Millions of dollars of assets are on the line in each day of Notary work doing loan signings and you don’t even require a single record of the transactions conducted? Even third world countries are not this foolish.

Summary

My suggestions are as follows:

1. Be more careful appointing Notaries. Give preference to those who have held government jobs or highly responsible jobs in the past.

2. Have an IQ test and a meticulousity test to make sure Notaries are logical enough to make legal distinctions necessary to perform the duties of Notary Public. Many errors Notaries make are due to logic errors and scrambled thinking. Notaries also need to show they are adept at conducting themselves in a step by step manner doing paperwork otherwise they will not do good work filling out their Notary forms. You should test this before you put them through school otherwise you will be wasting their time.

3. Have a two day live seminar with hands on training. One day is not enough in my experience.

4. Test on Notary laws as well as on hands on procedure

5. Require Notarial journals and orthodox journal entry creation which means one entry per person per document notarized and no short cuts.

6. Require Journal thumbprints for Deeds affecting real property, Powers of Attorney, and transactions done with Credible Identifying Witnesses.

7. Check up on your notaries from time to time to make sure they are maintaining proper legal standards for your state.

8. Have a minimum fee of $25 per appointment for Notaries public plus $25 minimum travel fee as well as a minimum waiting fee for hospital, jail and other jobs that require more than ten minutes of waiting. Travel fees should be paid in cash at the door by law to discourage clients from manipulating the notary into committing illegal acts under the duress that the Notary will not be paid his/her travel fee if he/she doesn’t cooperate in some illegal act. Higher fees will give you a higher supply of higher level people which will be helpful when you weed out the incompetent Notaries in your state.

9. If you have fewer Notaries in the state, it will be easier to keep an eye on them. I recommend having roughly 25% of your current number of Notaries to ensure adequate quantity without sacrificing on quality!

Thank you
sincerely,
Jeremy Belmont
123notary manager

You might also like:

A Notary from Florida travels to India
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19636

An identity fraud case in Florida with 123 defendants
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19449

Letter to California notary division
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19939

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May 1, 2018

Letter to California Notary Division

Filed under: California_Notary — Tags: — admin @ 10:46 am

Dear California Notary Division,
I am someone who runs a Notary directory and is acutely aware of the deficiencies in Notary knowledge throughout the state and the nation. California Notaries are better than those in other states on average due to the excellent training, but the training does not cover practical aspects of the Notary profession. Additionally, there are issues with fees that need to be addressed.

PRETRAINING
As there are so many ethical violations out there among California Notaries, and misunderstanding of Notary law, it is clear that a longer and more comprehensive notary training is necessary. However, I also think that due to the incompetence out there, a few other pre-measures should be taken.

1. A IQ test should be administer to applicants. It can be a ten minute quiz. Notaries with low intelligence often bungle and misinterpret Notary laws which can lead to illegal activity and wrongful explanations to clients of what can and cannot be legally done.

2. A meticulousness test should be administered to Notaries to see if they can be orderly about conducting tasks which require multiple steps. Being a good Notary means filling out journals and forms correctly in their entirety, and a meticulous person is less likely to make errors. The majority of your Notaries are far from meticulous.

3. Following directions and ethics are some other problems that are common with California Notaries. How you test this is hard. You have to find a way to trick them into doing something right or wrong while they are being watched.

4. Preference to those with clerical, police, military, legal, mortgage, or settlement backgrounds might help attract better quality Notaries as those are professions that are normally high in terms of integrity, and clerical skills which are both critical in the Notary profession.

TRAINING
A single day course on Notary Public knowledge is not enough. California stresses theoretical knowledge and does not test on hands on aspects of being a Notary. When a Notary is out there in the field, they need to know how to handle various types if situations. Here are my detailed comments.

1. Oaths & Affirmations
Administer Oaths correctly and roughly half of Notaries in California do not administer Oaths at all, or not in a relevant and acceptable way. Here are some examples of irrelevant or wishy-washy Oaths.

(a) Many Notaries have the signer to swear to their personal identity rather than to the truthfulness of the document.
(b) Many Notaries make the signer swear they signed the document but not to the truthfulness of the document.
(c) It is common for Notaries use Affirm in an Oath when they should ideally use the verb swear.
(d) Many Notaries do not understand the term “administer” in the sentence “Administer an Oath to an Affiant.”
(e) Many Notaries use a court Oath for a witness asking if they swear to the truth, whole truth and nothing but the truth when the document does not necessarily reflect a whole truth.
(f) It is common for Notaries not to mention the document being sworn to when administering an Oath, hence administering an Oath that is regarding thin air.
(g) Most Notaries do not know the difference between a court Oath for a witness, a document Oath and an Oath for a statement that has not been made yet.
(h) Notaries need to be taught asking “Oath questions,” such as, “Do you solemnly swear this document is true and correct?” or “Do you solemnly swear that the statement you are about to make is true and correct?” Many Notaries will ask the Oath question about the statement, get a yes, and then not have the Affiant make the actual statement. This is why an IQ test should be mandatory and a result of 95 or higher should be required. Most of the problems I have with Notaries arises from low IQ’s and bad attitudes.

The handbook makes it clear that an Affiant must swear to the truthfulness of a document. However, there is no prescribed wording or guidelines. My solution is to have prescribed components of Oaths, but no official verbiage just to keep life flexible. At a minimum, in an Oath, the Affiant must use the word “I”, and then the word “swear”, mention the foregoing document, and make reference to the fact that they feel the document is authentic or correct. Using “affirm” was asked to administer an Oath means that the Notary has overided the client’s request to have an Oath which means that the Notary chose the notary act instead of letting the entity who is paying or swearing.

2. Fill out their journal correctly
Many Notaries are unclear as to how many journal entries should be filled out if there are multiple signers signing multiple documents. The 2018 handbook does not make it clear HOW MANY journal entries are necessary if there are multiple documents per signer all using the same Notary act. This should be clarified as it is an area of common misunderstanding. One journal entry per person per document is how I was trained. Additionally, the use of arrows for repetitive information in appointments with multiple documents per signer are discouraged now from what I have heard, but the handbook does not mention this. There needs to be a SINGLE SOURCE of notary law information and that source should be the handbook and not some bulletin or blog article or other supplemental sources (although those can help teach the materials in the handbook.)

3. Understand the components of notary forms including the “Additional information” section of an Acknowledgment which might not be legally required, but deters fraud by making it very detectable if someone swaps an Acknowledgment and puts it on a different document than what was intended.

4. Many Notaries do not understand how to handle requests that are illegal or seem illegal. Many Notaries will accept illegal requests while declining acceptable requests. This is due to poor training. So, training needs to focus on handling questionable requests. Many Notaries feel it is illegal to EXPLAIN the various notary acts to clients while it is not. It is illegal to choose for them, but not to explain them as far as I know.

5. Foreign language signers are an area of misunderstanding as many Notaries are not aware that they are NOT required to understand the content of the document but ARE required to have direct communication with the signer/affiant.

6. Many Notaries are unaware that the ID does not have to exactly match the name on the document but must PROVE the name on the document. Many Notaries take liberties and will Notarize a signature that says John W Smith with an ID that says John Smith, etc. It is common for Notaries to refer to the “more than but not less than rule” which is a rule created for Title companies and not a law which states that the signer can over sign their name to include more middle initials or names, etc. However, the Notaries who remember this law often do not care if it is legal to notarize a name that is over signed. It is not clear whether you can notarized John W Smith as John Smith if the ID says only John Smith. This is another common occurrence that needs to be clarified.

7. Credible Witness law is a little bit complicated and perhaps should be simplified. Most Notaries are unaware that the handbook states that the credible witness is the entity who has to swear to the fact that he/she believes that the signer cannot easily obtain an ID. Since the Notary has OFTEN seen an ID with the wrong name on it, how can the Notary ACCEPT an Oath from a credible witness that the Notary knows to be based on false information or made fraudulently regarding how the signer cannot find an ID? This law about CW is convoluted and a source of a lot of trouble. Close to NONE of your Notaries would be able to recite these laws by memory. Therefor, I suggest simplifying it because most notaries cannot learn it properly and the CW rules are convoluted and make no sense. Here is my idea of a better set of rules.

(a) A Notary can use the Oaths of two credible witnesses to identify a signer.
(b) The credible witnesses must either be immediate family members or know the signer intimately enough so they know his/her middle names without being reminded. (The law for how well you have to know the signer to be a CW is convoluted, wishy-washy, and useless currently.)
(c) The Oath for the credible witness should be, “I solemnly swear that the signer in front of me is legally named _____.”
(d) A CW can be used regardless of whether the signer has ID or not as names on ID do not always reflect the whole, complete or current name of a signer.
(e) A journal thumbprint must accompany all Notary acts done involving credible witnesses.
(f) The CW must not have any beneficial or financial interest in the document being signed.

8. Acknowledgment confusion.
(a) Box at top of page
Many Notaries get confused by the information in the box at the top of an Acknowledgment. Many Notaries feel that the signer does not have to verify the validity of the document where it says clearly that the Notary does not have to. It is better to clarify this point as many Notaries are lacking the gift of logical thinking which can cause a lot of confusion.
(b) Perjury clause in Acknowledgments
Many Notaries feel that the signer is signing under the penalty of perjury in an Acknowledgment where it is clear that it is the Notary who is filling out the form correctly under the penalty of perjury. This point is widely misunderstood and needs to be elaborated since there are so many who cannot think logically about this point.
(c) Notaries are often unclear about whether the signer has to sign in their presence. Since the signer must personally appear, Notaries misinterpret this to mean that the signer must sign while they personally appear which is not true in California. The signer can sign ten years ago, but cannot be notarized until they appear.
(d) Notaries are often unclear about who is acknowledging what in an acknowledgment. Many thing that the Notary is acknowledging that a signature is correct. This is not true. The signer needs to acknowledge that they signed a document in the presence of the Notary. This point needs to be clarified for your notaries because there is too much confusion and misinterpretation going on out there.
(e) The additional optional information on NNA forms should be REQUIRED by law on loose certificates as it deters the fraudulent switching of acknowledgments to other documents by virtue that it identifies the name of the document, number of pages, document date, signers, and more…

9. Chain of Authority.
Many Notaries work with Title companies regularly and think of the Title companies as their boss. Wrong! The state is not exactly their boss, but is the entity they have to refer to if there is a legal question. It is common for Notaries to ask Lenders and Title what they can and cannot do as a Notary. This is wrong. They will get either a wrong answer or an answer that benefits the Lender or Title both of whom have beneficial and financial interest in the documents being Notaries. This point needs to be drummed into the Notaries heads. The State of California should ideally have a Notary hotline because there are so many times when Notaries have questions about what they can and cannot do, and often late at night when help is not available. The point of a Notary is to ensure the integrity of transactions done involving signed documents. If the Notary cannot find out what the law says, then the notarization will not have any integrity. This is a very serious issue.

10. Hands On Training
Notaries take a written exam, but this is not really as important as practical matters. What is important is to have someone do hands on training and testing to see if the Notary can fill out forms, journals, administer Oaths, take thumbprints, use credible witnesses, and decipher between legal and illegal requests. A written test cannot do this.

.

SUMMARY

1. Notary training should be two, three or four days long for new Notaries with a refresher every year to keep everyone serious.

2. Notaries should be trained by hand to see if they can handle requests, explain terminology and fill out forms, etc.

3. Notaries need to be audited regularly. Not only journal auditing which you are already doing (super!!!) Auditing people by pretending to be customers and asking them to do Oaths, or asking them if such and such a notarization would be legal under particular circumstances will let you know which of your Notaries are acceptable and which are criminals. It takes work, but you are a prudent organization that values integrity and I believe you will do the work.

Thanks
Sincerely,
Jeremy Belmont
123notary manager

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You might also like:

Letter to Florida Notary Division
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19896

Logic errors can cost you as a notary
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20110

Letter to Trump about the sad condition of American Notaries
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19403

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April 9, 2018

When do I need to use a California All-Purpose Acknowledgment?

Filed under: California_Notary,Other Guest Bloggers — Tags: — admin @ 10:42 am

When do I need to use a California All-Purpose Acknowledgment?
A Notary Public in California only needs to use the notarial language found in an All Purpose Acknowledgment if the document is being filed in California.

California Civil Code Sec 1189 ( c ) allows a Notary to use the preprinted acknowledgment language from another state as long as the Notary is not required to determine or certify in which capacity the signer is signing the document. Certifications are prohibited for Notaries to perform by California law. Notaries are not required to even include the disclaimer at the top of the notarization which essentially states that the Notary Public completing the notarization is only verifying the identity of the signer and not the “truthfulness, accuracy or validity of the document”.

A document that many Notaries see and something that I see brought to my office often at A1 Live Scan Fingerprinting and Notary Services in downtown Los Angeles is Form TSP-70 which is the Thrift and Savings plan Financial Hardship In-Service Withdrawal Request form. This form has preprinted Notarial Language for Acknowledgment and has specific instructions for the Notary that reads in relevant part, “Notary:……No other acknowledgement is acceptable (see instructions)”.

When you see forms such as TSP-70 that is being sent or filed in another state or jurisdiction, use the preprinted form as long as you are not being asked to certify the capacity in which the signer is signing the document.

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You might also like

Who does what in an Acknowledgment?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20108

Notary Public 101’s guide to Acknowledgments & other Notary Acts
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19500

The new acknowledgment form for transgender people
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19658

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September 24, 2016

Can a Washington Notary notarize in Idaho?

As a general rule, a Notary can notarize in any county of their state of commission. A few states have some bizarre exceptions to this rule for Deeds of properties that are in the Notary’s home state. Louisiana also has a weird rule that you can only notarize in Parishes that you are commissioned in or ones with reciprocal agreements unless you have statewide jurisdiction. What does it have to be so complicated? And why can’t they have counties like normal states?

A Washington State Notary Public may Notarize in any part of the state of Washington. However, it is allowed for a Washington Notary Public to get dual commissioned as an Oregon Notary Public or an Idaho Notary Public which is very practical if you live near a state border. Notaries in Vancouver, WA often get dual commission in Oregon so that they can service a larger area. Additionally, Notaries in Spokane, WA often become dual commissioned in Idaho as an Idaho Notary Public as well.

If you are in a pinch, and someone out of state needs your Notary services, you can meet them right at your state’s border (on your side of the border) and Notarize them there. It rarely matters what state a person is notarized in, but you could lose your commission if caught notarizing outside of your state’s borders!

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August 27, 2016

Can a Virginia Notary notarize in DC or Maryland?

Filed under: Virginia Notary — Tags: , , — admin @ 9:03 pm

A Notary can only notarize in their state of commission except under some very unusual circumstances. So, a Virginia Notary Public can notarize in any county of Virginia. However, they cannot notarize outside of state boundaries using their Virginia Notary Seal.

But, it is common for a Virginia Notary to get dual or triple commissioned. A Virginia Notary may apply for a Maryland Notary Commission or a District of Columbia Notary Commission. 123notary has many Notaries on board our Notary directory who are dual or triple commissioned in the DC area. A DC Notary may also apply for a Maryland or Virginia Notary Commission.

DC is a very small territory for a mobile Notary to cover. On the other hand, there are so few Notaries in our nation’s capitol that out of state Notaries are necessary to handle the volume of work.

In the worst case scenario, if you need a Virginia Notary to help you while you are in DC, you can meet them right at the Virginia side of the border and then they can notarize for you. Just make sure your identification is current!

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November 7, 2013

California Acknowledgment Wording Explained

California Acknowledgment Wording Explained

The most common notary act in the United States is the Acknowledgment. Acknowledged signatures represent roughly 80% of notary acts; with Jurats comprising of most of the remainder.

Here is some sample California Acknowledgment Wording.

State of _____________
County of ____________

On _________ before me, ________________________________________,
(name of notary public )
personally appeared _____________________________________________
who proved to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence to be the person(s)
whose name(s) is/are subscribed to the within instrument and who acknowledged
to me that he/she/they executed the same in their authorized capacity(ies),
and by his/her/their signature(s) on the instrument the person(s), or entity
upon behalf of which the person(s) acted, executed the instrument.

I certify under PENALTY of PERJURY under the laws of the state of California
that the foregoing paragraph is true and correct.

WITNESS my hand and official seal.

____________________________
(Signature of Notary)

Please note that the top section of the certificate wording is called the venue which consists of a documentation of the state and the county. Next comes the body of the acknowledgment certification which documents the date, the name of the notary, the name of the signer who personally appeared before the notary, the fact that the signer was identified properly (they use the term satisfactory evidence to mean that the signer had ID, or was identified through the use of credible witnesses).

The most critical part of the California Acknowledgment Verbiage is that the signer acknowledges subscribing to the within instrument. This simply means that the signer claims that they signed the document. They could have signed hours, months, or years before seeing the notary — and it doesn’t matter so long as they appear before the notary to “acknowledge” that they signed the document. Additionally, the signer must sign the California Notary Journal as well.

Witness my hand and official seal is confusing California Acknowledgment verbiage. A seal, in notary verbiage, could refer to a signature or an official notary stamp (confusing). The notary must sign and affix his/her/its notary seal to the California Acknowledgment Certificate. Please note that the stamp may not be placed over any signatures or wording otherwise it voids the seal.

Please also note that there are lots of (s), is/are, he/she/they, within the text. The notary is expected (many do not do this though) to cross out the inappropriate text near the forward slashes. If you are doing a notarization for a single man, then cross out the she and they and (s) in name, unless he has more than one name being used in the notarization (which would be an interesting case).

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November 4, 2013

How much can a California Notary Public Charge?

Notary Public California: What does a California Notary Cost?

Looking for notary service in California? The price for notary work in California is based on state government set maximum notary fees. The exact fee might depend on the particular act. Please remember that a California Notary Public charges you for each notarized signature. If you have one document where you are being notarized twice, then you pay two notary fees. Additionally, many California Notaries are in the mobile notary business and might offer you the convenience of coming to your office, hospital, home, or jail cell for an additional travel fee on top of the California notary fees.

You can visit
http://www.123notary.com/california_notary/
For detailed information about California Notary Fees as well as California Notary Public search functions.

CA Notary — maximum notary fees
Acknowledgments – $10
Oath or Affirmation for a Jurat – $10
Certified copy of a Power of Attorney – $10
Proof of Execution – $10
Administering an Oath for a Witness – $5
Taking a Deposition – $20
Protest – $10, plus $5 for recording it
Apostilles & Authentications – $20

Please note that a notary is not required to charge the maximum allowed notary fees. They are welcome to notarize your signature for free, or for a nominal fee if they like. Find a great California mobile notary on 123notary.com!

(1) A California Notary can charge $10 per signature for Acknowledgments & Jurats. But, what about other acts?

You might also like:

Find a California Notary in Fresno
http://www.123notary.com/notary-result.asp?state=CA&n=Fresno&county=127

Find a California Notary Public in Riverside
http://www.123notary.com/notary-result.asp?state=CA&n=Riverside&sub=34

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August 30, 2013

Alabama Notary Acknowledgment Verbiage

To become an Alabama notary, you must be at least 18 years old and a state resident who can read, write, and understand English. Your record must be free of felony convictions unless you were pardoned and had your civil and political rights restored. The Alabama notary commission is valid for four years. A sample application to become an Alabama notary can be found here: http://jeffconline.jccal.org/probatecourt/docs/NotaryApplication.pdf An interesting fact is that, while notaries may administer oaths and take acknowledgments, they are not authorized to execute jurats or affidavits. [I do not understand this at all.]

Notary wording for an Acknowledgment in Alabama: (Alabama Acknowledgment Wording)

Acknowledgment for Individual

THE STATE OF ALABAMA
______________________COUNTY

I, a Notary Public, hereby certify that _______________________________________ whose name is signed to the foregoing instrument or conveyance, and who is known to me, acknowledged before me on this day that, being informed of the contents of the conveyance, he/she/they executed the same voluntarily on the day the same bears date.

Given under my hand this _____________ day of _____________, A. D. 20____.
____________________________________

Notary Public
Print Name __________________________
My commission expires:
__________________

REFERENCE:

(Code 1852, §1279; Code 1867, §1548; Code 1876, §2158; Code 1886, §1802; Code 1896, §996; Code 1907, §3361; Code 1923, §6845; Code 1940, T. 47, §30; Acts 1951, No. 85, p. 301.)

Ala. Code § 35-4-23 (1975) Effect of Witness Compliance

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August 17, 2013

A California Notary Acknowledgment Goes to Taiwan!

A California Notary was asked to notarize a document from Taiwan. The document didn’t have California Notary Acknowledgment Wording or California Notary Acknowledgment Verbiage. So, the notary said, “No problem, I’ll just add a California Acknowledgment Certificate”. That was easy. The notary followed legal procedure for California notarizations. The document was sent to its custodian in Taiwan who rejected the document. The message was that the stamp needs to be on the document.

So, the California Notary Public informed his client that he cannot legally stamp the document without the corresponding Notary Verbiage which must be California Acknowledgment Verbiage or California Acknowledgment Wording. The client said, “Is it really necessary? People do this all the time!” The notary stated that the law was the law and that he wasn’t going to break it for another person’s convenience or why bother having notaries at all?

So, the California Notary emailed the Acknowledgment boiler plate wording template to his client who emailed it to his contact in Taiwan. The document came back with the wording at the bottom of the page. The notary notarized it, and all was well!

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June 17, 2013

California Notary laws that you need to know

CA Notary Laws that You Need to Know

There are lots of reasons to want to become a California notary. The fact that it is a resume booster is just one of them.

Notary Public California: Basics

By now you know just how easy it is to become a California notary public. Because the process (though lengthy) is so easy, a lot of notary hopefuls believe that the job itself is going to be easy. For the most part this is actually true…provided, of course, that you follow the letter of the law. The laws surrounding California notaries are strict, and it is important that you know them inside and out.

California Notary Laws

Here are just some of the laws that you need to follow when you are a notary in California.

Proper Identification Required

It used to be that if you personally knew the person whose documents you were notarizing, that person wouldn’t have to present any ID. That law is gone. Now—even if you’ve known them since preschool, they have to show you ID.

Your Journal Is Important

You know that journal the Secretary of State says you have to keep? You really have to keep it. It must be perfectly updated, and you really do have to know where it is at all times. More importantly, you have to know that it is safe at all times.

If you fail to keep the journal updated, secured, and protected, you could get charged with a misdemeanor!

NOTE: The same rules apply to your seal!

To this end, if anything happens to your journal or notary seal — if you lose them or they get stolen or damaged, you need to notify the Secretary of State immediately. Do not simply hope that it will turn up! You don’t want your seal to be used on fraudulent actions without your knowledge and without the Secretary of State knowing that it was not actually you who performed those actions!

To Thumbprint or Not to Thumbprint

As of January 1st, the state requires every notary in California to get a journal thumbprint for any notarizing involving “real property.” What does that mean? There is a partial list of what constitutes “real property” in the California Notary Law Primer.

Webcams Are a No-No

Notarizing something via webcam is not the same thing as being there in person. This means if someone wants you to perform a notarial action through a webcam, you could get in big trouble if you say yes!

Double-Check the Wording

There are some situations (like jurats) in which the wording in the document must exactly match the wording required by the Secretary of State. Make sure you know which situations require exact wording and which will let a “close enough” slide through.

Every year, the Secretary of State makes changes and tweaks to the laws for what California notaries can do, can’t do, and how they are required to do things. It’s okay to have questions and to feel unsure. When you aren’t sure what you can or can’t do, ask!

The 2013 Notary Public Handbook is available for free online. If you don’t find what you need there, contact someone in the Secretary of State’s office in Sacramento and ask.

Erin Steiner writes full time in Portland, Oregon, and has covered a wide range of topics from gutters to personal finance.

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