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.
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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!
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Everything you need to know about notary journals
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!
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!
(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.
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.
(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)
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