All you need to know about notary work
There is a lot to know about notary work. You should visit your state’s notary division website to learn what they want you to know about your state’s notary laws. Regardless of what state you are in, you need to know:
Who can become a notary?
Generally state residents who are 18 or older who don’t have a felony conviction or misdemeanor involving dishonesty. Some states allow residents of neighboring states to apply to be a notary as well.
What is the application process to become a notary?
Some states have online applications, while others require you to mail it in. Each state has a different application fee. Check your state’s notary division website for more information
What is the procedure to get my official notary seal (notary stamp)?
Most states require the use of a notarial seal, but some states have authorization forms to get your seal.
How do I get my notary commission paperwork?
Most states will mail this to you. Many states require you to file an Oath and Bond at a county recorder’s office, or some other government office in your area.
Do I need to be bonded to be a notary?
Refer to your state’s notary division website for information
What notary acts do I need to know about?
Most states allow notaries to perform notarial acts such as:Acknowledgments, Jurats, Affirmations, Oaths, and Protests. Some states allow copy certifications for particular documents, and there are other types of notary acts as well that are particular to certain states. Please read your state’s notary division website to learn the details.
Do I need to keep a journal of notarial acts?
Most states require a journal, but even if they don’t, you should keep a journal for your records in case you are called into court. A well maintained journal is evidence that can be used in court, or keep you out of court. You will not remember someone you notarized five years ago, so keep good notes in your journal if something strange happens at the notarization.
How do I identify signers?
Generally, a current drivers’s license, state identification card, or password will do. The ID should be a current government issued photo-ID with a physical description, signature, serial number, and expiration date. Other forms of identification might be allowed, so please visit your state’s notary division website to learn the details of your state’s rules
Notary acts such as Jurats and Acknowledgments require notarial paperwork to accompany the act. Oaths often do not require a certificate though. Notary certificates come in pads, and you simply fill out the certificate with information about the document and the signer, the date you notarized the document and a few other pieces of information — then you stamp the certificate paper, and staple it to the document. The document itself might have the certificate on it which means that you do not have to attach a loose certificate.
What else do I need to know?
You could learn about how to use credible witnesses, signature by mark, and other types of notary procedures. You should learn how to take journal thumbprints for your security in identifying potential frauds. Become an expert on your state notary handbook (if your state has one). You are responsible for all laws pertaining to notaries in your state.
Can a notary notarize outside of their state?
There are some weird exceptions in two states, but as a general rule, you are not authorized to perform notary acts outside of your state boundaries. If you live near a border, consider getting commissioned in the neighboring state if that state will allow it.
How long is a notary term?
Notary terms can range from three years to life, however, the majority of states have a four or five year notary commission term.
How do I make money as a notary?
Become a mobile notary, get a loan signing course from 123notary.com, and advertise on our site to get business as a loan signer and mobile notary if your state allows loan signing!
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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 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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Do you like your job? A major headache of a hospital job.
Dragging the person’s arm