May 2012 - Notary Blog - Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice - 123notary.com
123Notary

Notary Blog – Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice – 123notary.com Control Panel

May 29, 2012

Are webcam notarizations legal in my state?

Are webcam notarizations legal in my state 

As of 2011 & 2012, webcam notarizations are not legal in any state.  The California Secretary of State even went so far as to make an official posting on their California notary division website to specifically state that it is illegal to do webcam notarizations in California and that there was a company who engaged in this illegal notarization practice.  This illegal notarization technique was used for signings in New Jersey by the company in question.  I have not heard if those individuals doign these webcam notarizations have been arrested or what.  We actually advertise them on our website, but post information stating that their webcam notarizations are illegal in California and other states.
 
As a customer for notary services, it is your responsibility to have some basic idea about notary law, and you need to know what is illegal in this business.  Any notary job that lacks personal appearance from the signer is an illegal notarization except for a proof of execution.
 
If you want to look up your state’s notary laws, each state has a notary division website where you can look up specific notary laws particular to your state. It might be hard to sort through and the legalese is not easy to read, but you can learn a lot in a short amount of time by reading through state notary division websites. 
 
You might also like:
 
Contact information for state notary divisions

Do you accept credit cards?
http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=3135

Being asked to backdate
http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=3155

e-docs — worth it or not
http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=632

Accepting verses bidding on a job
http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=2306

Share
>

May 23, 2012

Where do credible witnesses sign the notary journal book

Filed under: Credible Witnesses,Journals — Tags: , , , — admin @ 12:26 pm

Where do credible witnesses sign the notary journal (register)(book)? 

Some states require notaries to carry an official journal of notarial acts while others recommend it, but don’t require it. Some states call the journal of notarial acts a journal, while others call it a registry or a book.  The main thing to remember, is that a good notary journal must be bound and sequential. Each entry must be in chronological order.  Different journal manufacturers make journals differently.  I recommend getting one with a thumbprint section and space to write notes. Most states don’t require notaries to take thumbprints, but for your security as a notary, you need thumbprints to keep you out of court if anyone questions whether the signer was a fraud or imposter.  Thumbprints are a better proof of identity than any other means.
 
The credible witness signs the notary journal in the additional notes section!
They do NOT sign in the signature area!!!  Signature areas are for the document signer, and only one document signer can sign in a particular journal entry’s signature area. If there are two signers, then make two journal entries!  The credible witness must sign in the notes section because there is blank space there.  You should document the credible witness’s identification, phone, and address to be thorough.
 
The notary needs to administer an Oath to the credible witness where the credible witness must swear to the identity of the signer. Make sure the credible witness really knows the signer well, otherwise they are not really qualified to identify someone that they know only as “Ralph”, and don’t even know his middle or last name!

You might also like:

The dog ate my journal
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3368

Saved by the notary journal
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3353

Everything you need to know about notary journals
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=70

Share
>

May 22, 2012

Maine Notary Public Application Information

To become a Maine notary public, there is a $50 application fee, and you must be at least 18 years of age and be able to read and write good English. Maine notaries must also pass a notary public exam; however, there is no education requirement or specific course that is required. A number of organizations offer online courses. One of the requirements to become a Maine notary is that a registered Maine voter must give you an “endorsement,” certify that you are able to perform your duties. A registered notary public in Maine will have a term of seven years, and can perform marriages; Maine is one of three states, including Florida and South Carolina, that allows this extra opportunity.

In addition to filing an application with the Maine Secretary of State, the notary must also swear an oath before a Dedimus Justice, an office that exists only in Maine. Appointed by the governor for life, a Maine Dedimus Justice has the sole duty of swearing in a variety of public officials. He or she generally does not charge a fee, but may charge between $1 and $50 by law. The oath must be sworn within 30 days of the date of the appointment as a Maine notary public and the Certificate of Application must be received by the Maine Secretary State. If this does not occur, the commission is suspended and the person applying to be a Maine notary public must apply for a new Certificate of Appointment.

Share
>

May 17, 2012

Can a notary from New Jersey be a Pennsylvania Notary?

Can a notary from New Jersey be a Pennsylvania notary? 

If you are a New Jersey notary public, you can become dual commissioned in Pennsylvania as a Pennsylvania notary public.  Just contact the Pennsylvania notary division and fill out a Pennsylvania notary application.  The rule is that you need to work in Pennsylvania or have an office in Pennsylvania.  I’m not sure if you can convince the Pennsylvania Secretary of State to let you get a notary commission if you plan on doing traveling notarizations right across the border, but it is worth a try.  Many of the border areas are very sparsely populated, so I feel you are doing a service to humanity be being dual commissioned.
 
Please keep in mind that if you have a dual commission, you have two sets of seals and journals.  One seal and Journal for New Jersey (or whatever state #1 is), and another seal and journal for Pennsylvania.  Please make sure that you only use the Pennvsylvania notary seal when your two feet are on Pennsylvania soil (or concrete), and only use the New Jersey notary seal when your two feet are in New Jersey. 
 
If you have one foot in PA, and the other in NJ, then I guess you could use either seal (or use half of the NJ seal and half of the PA seal) — sorry… “humor”…
 
Dual state commissioned notaries make more money!
If you are serious about making money as a traveling notary, you need to have a wide net.  You need to cover a wide territory and be flexible about where you go.  Take on new clients with far away jobs just to get in their good graces and get on their database.  In the long run this pays off generously.  To succeed in life you need a well established client base, and this is not possible if you regularly say, “no, it’s too far”.  If you live near a border, a dual commission can double your territory without doubling your travel distance!

Share
>

May 14, 2012

123notary behind the scenes

123notary behind the scenes

All of you know what 123notary Notary Directory looks like on the surface, and you know what some of the rules are, and if the site works for you or not. But, have you ever wondered how 123notary is run? We are not a typical company to say the least. I have read books about Starbucks and how they do it, and Cliffbar as well. Their stories are unique and interesting. But, 123notary’s story is interesting too!

When we started
123notary started as a Notary Directory in 1999 on a shoestring in the ashes of the .net bust. It was my idea after seeing how the NNA’s signing agent directory was not always easy to use. I noticed that if you needed a notary in a particular county, that if nobody was in that county and you didn’t know the names of neighboring counties, you would not be able to use their site without an atlas to find out what the neighboring counties names were. Few of us carry a nationwide atlas with us. So, I wanted to start a directory with more features than the other guys. Also, I needed a way to market my own personal notary services as yellow pages were really expensive.

You can read about our growth in other blog entries and our about us page. We started as a California only directory, and then slowly spread out into other states. But, one of our notaries pointed out, that we should tell everyone how 123notary is run NOW.

How were we run in previous years?
I started out doing everything myself. My father helped with programming our Notary Directory back in 2001, but then we hired a local programming house to handle the programming after that. Business was very slow until 2003 when overnight in March, things just started to take off. Revenue multiplied by ten, and the phone was ringing off the hook. I found that working 12 hours a day was crazy and I couldn’t handle it for long. A lady named Carmen bought a course from me and kept calling asking me questions about loan signing. We spent a lot of time talking. I found that she was so smart and people saavy, that I wanted to hire her. She was very resistant at first, but I talked her into it. She was very busy doing signings for several years, and didn’t go full time with us until 2006. I started taking it easy in 2006 and 2007 because I was exhausted from all of the hard work. I wanted to meditate more and do more hiking. Then, in 2008, I started to work on optimization. I worked very hard, and through good strategy and hard work, brought a lot more traffic to the site.

How are we run now?
Most companies have an office and are centralized. 123notary has no office and no employees. I work at home on my computer and my cell phone. I don’t even have a landline because our building has some problems with the phone lines getting scrambled, and they couldn’t fix my line. Carmen is a subcontractor paid on commission and works from her home roughly 4 miles from me. Additionally, I travel quite a bit, and do a lot of my work on the road from Northern California. I sometimes go overseas and have been to Europe and India where I did my work at internet cafes.

Who does what?
Carmen is the person people are more familiar with, because she is in the front lines. Carmen does incoming phones and answers everyone’s questions. I do most of the emails and outgoing phone calls myself. But, there are more people involved in 123notary’s functionality that we can not ignore. There are programmers. We have a team in Los Angeles, and another team in India. Additionally, we have a company in El Monte who is helping us with social media including Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, and Blogging which really helps keep search traffic coming in so you guys can get work. Once in a while I hire someone to do outgoing phone calls for welcome calls and update calls as well.

What else?
Where are our servers? — one person asked. We have a server at a programmer’s office in El Monte, with a backup server in Dallas, TX in a data center. It would take a tsumani, earthquake, and WW3 all combined to take our servers down. There is a lady in downtown Los Angeles who helps us a little bit with artwork. Communication is hard, as I only know 30 words in Korean, and she only knows 30 words in English — but, we work well as a team because she is so talented and efficient!

What is a typical day like for Carmen?
For Carmen, she answers the phone all day long, sends passwords, and takes orders. It is pretty much the same every day, but at the end of the month, there are far more phone calls and it gets crazy. Carmen gets about 25 calls a day on regular days, but at the end of the month it could be double easily.

What is a typical day like for Jeremy?
For me, I answer emails first, then process orders and mark people as renewed who paid their bills. I do a small email blast every day or two to tell people about what is going on in our blog, or a reminder to update or renew. Additionally, I write tons of blog entries, and do phone calls to people who are renewing soon. I have to supervise programmers in America and in India, so that can be time consuming and frustrating if they don’t understand my complicated instructions. Additionally, I write for our Facebook campaign and Twitter too. I have to come up with strategies for optimizing and detailed plans for modifying programming. There are many internal formulas in 123notary that help us to know which notaries have better stats, and that takes a lot of thinking to plan. I typically will work seven days a week for a few weeks, and then take a week off in the mountains. I find Los Angeles to be too stressful for me, so I need fresh air, streams and mountains to bring me back to my inner rhythm.

Share
>

May 8, 2012

California notaries with complaints

Notary Public California – complaints against local notaries 

It is easy to hire a notary public in California that you found online. But, how do you know they are reputable, or any good?  You don’t.  You take your chances. However, some notaries on 123notary.com have reviews about them.  You can read who has good reviews or bad reviews.  It is not always safe picking a random notary. As far as horror cases go, we have only had a handful of serious nightmarish notaries over the last decade, and we remove them once we have determined that they are a source of endless trouble!
 
The Kinko’s story
We had a California notary public fail to print out documents and have the borrower’s pick her up, drive her to Kinko’s where she could print the documents and then driver her to their home.  Borrowers are not chauffers, and this notary got dropped off once the borrowers got a hold of the lender.  A year later — the drama continues.  The California notary public in question is operating under a business name, and hiring other notaries to do tasks for her such as obtaining apostilles in Sacramento.  The problem is, that when checks come, they all have an elastic characteristic.  Notaries have complained on the forum about this company several times, and this particular California notary is one of the worst notary nightmares we have ever experienced and goes down in history as a legend.
 
Stories of notaries that fail and what they did wrong – http://blog.123notary.com/?p=143
 
Affordable Notary Service – http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=4880
 
24 hour service?
Another California notary public advertised 24 hour service.  An individual calls them at 6am with an emergency.  The notary hangs up on the individual claiming that it is “too early”.  If you are not offering 24 hour service, don’t CLAIM that you do.  It is a requirement that if you want the 24 hour icon, you have to be willing to answer the phone after midnight whether you feel like it or not.
 
The white out story
A notary in California goes to a signing. She forgets to have the wife sign the Mortgage (oops), and then uses white out to change some information in the loan documents.  The worst possible thing you can do during a loan signing is to use white out which voids the usability of the document.  It gets better — then, the notary blames the Title company for not hilighting the signature areas in the documents where the wife was supposed to sign.  When she was requested to return to the borrower’s house to finish the incomplete signing, the notary recommended that they find someone else.  The notary replied to this complaint against her by stating that she used the mother-in-law as a required witness to the signing. Then, the Title company asked her to use someone else at which point she used white out to remove the mother-in-law’s signature and go and get a neighbor. 
 
123notary’s opinion: There is no crime in having an additional witness.  The problem is using white out, and cross outs also look unprofessional in a loan signing and can cause a loan not to fund. Additionally, a witness should be a party who doesn’t have a beneficial interest in the transaction — they should be uninvolved like a neighbor or stranger.
 
The four hour rule
Another California notary accepts a job for a signing.  Then she cancels at the last minute because she learns that the company who hired her doesn’t pay their bills.  There were a few forum posts about the company stating that the company didn’t pay their notaries.  In any case, the notary could have researched the company simultaneously while talking to them by using www.123notary.com/s and would have learned that they didn’t pay BEFORE accepting a job from them. Or, the notary could have researched them soon after the phone call and then cancelled.  The last minute cancellations cause a lot of grief to many parties and are not acceptable. The Lender emails me stating that the notary cancelled 2 hours after the signing and said that she was, “not able to help”.  Then, the notary replies to me stating that she EMAILED the borrower 45 minutes before the signing (that is considerably sooner than 2 hours after like the lender stated).  The notary claimed they called the borrowers but couldn’t get an answer or a voice mail. I’m not sure I believe all of this story, do you?  How many people do you know who don’t have an answering machine or a disfunctional one?  I think that the notary should have given four hours notice in a case like this and should have kept trying the borrowers every 30 minutes until she got them. You can’t just leave people high and dry!

Tweets:
(1) A notary had the borrowers pick her up, take her to Kinkos where she printed the docs & made them pay for it!
(2) 1 Notary claimed 24 hour service & hung up on a client who called at 6am saying it was “too early”
(3) The Notary forgot that the wife had to sign & then used white out to modify the documents!
(4) A Notary accepted a job, then cancelled right before the signing when she learned the signing co. had a bad payment record.

Share
>

May 4, 2012

Notarizing your foreign language document!

Notarizing your Foreign Language Document

“The bank refused to notarize the document because it is written in Hungarian”, said the exasperated client to me. “No Problem” for http://kenneth-a-edelstein.com was my reply. There is no requirement for the New York notary to be able to read the document, none whatsoever. Consider a 765 page document regarding the sale of a Supertanker – do you think the notary will read it prior to notarizing the signature on the last page? Well, if they are not going to read all pages of all documents – why would they want to be able to read some pages of some documents? I doubt if I will ever know.

There are some interesting considerations regarding languages involved in the notarization process. But none have anything to do with the actual document. The main language requirements in New York are related to the required oath given by the notary. The notary must be able to give the oath directly (no interpreter allowed) to the person whose signature will be notarized. The person signing must be able to read the document in order to swear/affirm that the document is truthful/correct. That is the relevant language consideration – the document could be in Braille or Latvian – it does not matter to me.

Part of some NYC notaries’ refusal to handle this situation is their employer’s desire to avoid the possibility of being involved in a lawsuit. Some Manhattan banks will not notarize a Power of Attorney, some refuse a Bill of Sale – the reasons are the same; avoiding being involved in
litigation. If the notary can’t read any of the document it “might” be a prohibited (by “bank” policy) – thus all “unreadable” documents are often refused. At http://newyorkmobilenotarypublic.com that is never the case.

It is a “best practice” to prepare foreign language documents in both languages. Most times this is done by formatting the document into two columns with English on one side and the other language on the other. One advantage of doing this is that it allows the affiant to sign twice. The signature on the English side will be compared to their ID – the other language is not. Thus, it is the English signature that is being notarized – and most ID documents in this country have English signatures.

Tweets:
(1) No problem – there is no requirement for the notary to be able to read the document (written in Hungarian)
(2) The notary must be able to give an Oath w/direct communication w/affiant (no interpreter allowed)

You might also like:

Where can I find a Chinese speaking notary?

A California Notary Acknowledgment Goes to Taiwan!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=6981

Share
>