June 2013 - Notary Blog - Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice - 123notary.com
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June 26, 2013

Clarifying vague claims in your notes section

Vague: I am experienced
Better: I have signed a million loans including reverse mortgages, HELOCS, 1st & 2nd mortgages, and Debt Consolidations

Vague: I am dependable
Better: I always confirm the signing from my car. I let them know my ETA and let people know if I am running late (which is not the norm)

Vague: I am meticulous
Better: I always triple check my work and make sure that my stamp is clear, especially on recorded documents.

Vague: I love people
Better: It is so nice to constantly be meeting new people all the time at signings.

Vague: I love animals
Better: I always introduce myself to all of the animals at a house when I do a signing. Animals understand me — and if you don’t believe me then ask them!

Vague: I am detail oriented
Better: I am very particular about where each initial goes, and how it is formed. I like people to put suffixes on their initials such as Jr. or III when applicable just to be thorough.

Vague: I am very professional
Better: I wear business casual to all signings. I introduce myself at the door and NEVER park in the driveway unless requested to by the borrowers. I introduce the documents one by one and show the borrowers all critical information on each one, before we start signing.

Vague: I have a flexible schedule
Satirical: My schedule is very flexible because IT does yoga. I do not do yoga, but my schedule takes regular yoga classes at Bikram, so I can accommodate signings at the oddest of hours.

Better: I am available from 8am to 10pm, but will consider signing after that if given advanced notice and extra financial compensation.

Vague: 10 years of notary experience
Specific: 1000 loans signed (more more informative)

Vague: I have 20 years in the financial industry
Specific: I was a Mortgage Broker for 10 years and a Title Officer for another 10 years.

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June 25, 2013

The man who wouldn’t use his middle initial

Once upon a time, there was a man who didn’t want to sign with his middle initial.

This man was very uncomfortable using his middle initial and protested vehemently.

He wanted to use his regular signature to protect himself from identity fraud. He felt that signing in a slightly different way would make him succeptable to identity fraud.

During the initial signing, he was forced against his will to sign with his middle initial. This was during the time when he was doing a purchase on the property. Then, several years later on the refinance signing, the notary explained how he wouldn’t get his money if he didn’t sign with his middle initial.

No initial — No $200,000 — it’s that simple.

So, after a little coaxing, the signer did what the notary asked, and signed using his middle initial, and all went well.

And everyone lived happily ever after

The End!

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June 20, 2013

Few are broke in brokerage

Few are Broke in Brokerage

Many notaries are broke, or nearly so. Not so with the lucrative Mortgage Broker Profession. Not to be confused with the Loan Officer, generally a bank employee, the Mortgage Broker directs lenders thru the “front end” of the system. While the Loan Officer has the final say in granting the loan, it is the Mortgage Broker who often initiates the Mortgage process. The typical Mortgage Broker will handle fewer transactions compared to the Loan Officer; but makes more money per loan compared to the Loan Officer.

Mortgage Brokers are licensed and regulated. Their allegiance is to the borrower to market to them the “best fit” loan. They actively advertise to attract clients and provide support is creating the “front end” services necessary for the Mortgage to proceed. They determine the financial status of the client often analyzing salary, tax returns and bank statements. The Mortgage Broker will assist the mortgage applicant in obtaining pre-approval and completing the lender application forms. They actively search the various bank and other financial institutions to find an appropriate mortgage loan offering. They submit the completed package seeking to obtain from the Loan Officer approval for their clients’ Mortgage Loan need.

Notaries take note: While most Loan Officers work for the lending institution, it is also permitted for representatives of the Mortgage Broker to refer to themselves as “Loan Officers”. The more “independent” Mortgage Broker is licensed and personally liable for inappropriate activities.

The Loan Officer on the other hand is an employee of the bank and is usually covered by their license and their insurance. Mortgage Brokers are licensed by the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry. Loan officers, working for direct lenders, must register with the NMLS, but are not licensed.

Where do us notaries fit in? Well, we fit in before, during and after the Mortgage Loan is
processed. Our activities before assist the Mortgage Loan Broker in preparing the completed package for approval by the Lending Institution. Our stamps and seals on the Mortgage are required during the processing of the Loan. But how about after? Actually our work becomes very important after the Lending Institution grants the Loan and Mortgage. The selling of loans on the Secondary market is a tool for the direct lender to raise capital. In addition to the “quality” of the borrower, the “quality” of the paperwork is critical. Paperwork that passed approval for the Loan Officer to grant the Mortgage may not meet “standards” on the secondary market – making that particular loan difficult to transfer! Keep your stamp clear and clean, be sure all entries are EXACTLY proper and legible. Lending Institutions always want the option to sell the loan. Work with the system and consider the lifespan of each loan package you process.

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Optional info on Acknowledgment Certificate

So, you are a notary? But:

(1) Do you fill out your certificates thoroughly?

(2) Do you know what the optional or additional information section of the acknowledgment certificate is?

(3) Do you know what a certificate is?

(4) Do you know what the Acknowledgment wording is in your state?

(5) Do you cross out the his/her/their or (s) in capacity(s)?

Most notaries don’t do their cross outs which is illegal to skip. And the Secretary of State is too busy to catch up with all of the notaries in their respective state.

What is in the optional information section, and should it be optional?
(1) Number of pages in the document

(2) Document name

(3) Document date

(4) Capacity of signer

(5) Other signers who signed the document but, were not notarized on that notarization

(6) Right thumbprint of signer

Why is this important?
There are a lot of frauds out there. California law requires notaries to STAPLE (legally, the word used is attach) the notary certificate to the corresponding document. But, do you know how many people detach the staple? Title companies complained about my staples because they detached everything I stapled. They are inviting fraud if you ask me. It looks tampered with if they detach documents. Very sketchy. If I were the Secretary of State, I would investigate anyone who unstapled a notary document and might have them arrested for suspected fraud!

If a fraud wants to take an Acknowledgment OFF one document and attach it to another, it will be hard work if the optional information is all filled out. The number of pages would have to measure up. The document date would need to correspond. The Document name would have to be consistant as well. Most frauds would have not go that far, and might make a mistake matching all of the statistics since they were not trained well (probably). But, imagine if you submit an Acknowledgment certificate that has none of this information? You could conceivably reattach it to ANY document that the signer signed — an invitation for others to commit fraud.

Therefor, I believe that it should be required by law in all states to fill in the optional information section — hence renaming it the required additional information section. Be square and deter fraud today!

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June 19, 2013

The lady and the handwritten will

Filed under: Carmen Towles — Tags: , , , — admin @ 10:35 am

I got a call to go to a neighbors home. She said we just live a few blocks from you. She stated, my mother needs to sign a Will. She is not well so we will need to get this done ASAP. I tell her I understand. I ask her, does your mother have current ID and is she mentally coherent? She tells me yes on all counts. I tell her great, but I caution her that although we as California notaries are not prohibited from notarizing a Will. We need to make you aware that without proper wording (which only an attorney would know or an line service like Legal Zoom could prepare) you could ultimately do your family members more harm and dis-service than good. Bottom line — a judge could throw it out if the words are not up to snuff. She says that it was reviewed by an attorney and she said the he had given it the okay! I said, ‘ok, well great’. I then ask her, when, where and what time would you like me there? We set it for the following day.

I arrived at our scheduled time and good god the house is an utter mess, and the smell of impending death was clinging in the air. It was horrible. But, they needed me and it is after all what we do. I followed the daughter to the kitchen area where the mother (our signer) was seated. She was alert and coherent. I was offered a seat and sat down. That’s where the problems began.

I ask for her ID and the daughter hands it to me and you guessed it — it is expired. I tell the mother we have a little problem I need current ID. The daughter speaks up and says “oh, I thought it was current” I’m thinking “Yeah right, sure you did”, I ask the mother did she have any other government ID such as a passport, etc.? She says no. So, now I tell them that we can use 2 credible witness but they cannot be a party to the transaction or stand to gain any financial interest in this particular transaction . So the daughter gets on the phone and begins calling. I ask to see the document (the Will) and the daughter hands it to me. And I cant believe what I am looking at! It is a handwritten Will on a single yellow sheet of legal paper written or (I should say scrawled) with different colored inks and cross outs. It was a MESS! A hot mess!

I looked at the daughter in bewilderment and I am at this point a little cross to say the least. I ask her did she remember our conversation the previous day? She said yes, and I go on to re-cap our conversation. She tells me that she is sorry but she thought her mother had current ID and that their attorney HAD actually looked at her Will. I couldn’t help myself at this point and exclaimed…”Are you serious and attorney signed off on this?”. She said, “yes” and I let it go. Because what was the point in arguing with her. She was having it with the mother being ill, now the ID problems and obtaining witnesses at this late date. So I told her that once she got everything in order I would happily come back.

Surprisingly, the mothered offered me my fee, but I kindly refused. It was more than obvious that they were struggling and after all they were my neighbors!

They never called me back….and I never expected that they would!

Until the next adventure…be safe!

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June 18, 2013

Notarizing an I-9 employment verificati​on document

Have you ever notarized an I-9 before? If it were me, I would ask an Attorney, the Secretary of State, or Immigration if a notary public could notarize this form. If you are a notary, the most important thing to do is to clarify that you are NOT an Attorney, and can not give legal advice. Also clarify that you are not an immigration expert and can not advise on matters pertaining to immigration either.

But, it is not generally illegal to notarize a signature on a document.

Have any of you had to notarize an I-9 before?
How about a K-9?

Tweets:
(1) Ask an Attorney if a Notary can notarize an I-9 employment verification document.

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June 17, 2013

June NEW list of signing companies

Filed under: New Signing Companies — Tags: , — admin @ 10:39 am

Here is another small list of signing companies that are new to our list!

Notary Delivery, LLC
http://www.123notary.com/signco-idv.asp?sid=1063&Notary+Delivery
They never sent the paypal to Ken. Hmmm.

Premier Notary
http://www.123notary.com/signco-idv.asp?sid=1053&Premiere+Notary+Service
Payment issues, or record keeping issues? You decide!

Quickloansigning
http://www.123notary.com/signco-idv.asp?sid=1064&Quick+Loan+Signing
Notaries think that they are not so quick about paying for their signings

Ravenswood Title
http://www.123notary.com/signco-idv.asp?sid=1065&Ravenswood+Title
One thumb up

Sign N Seal Notary Service
http://www.123notary.com/signco-idv.asp?sid=1056&Sign+N+Seal+Notary+Service
There are mixed reviews on this company

Signingtrac
http://www.123notary.com/signco-idv.asp?sid=1013&Signingtrac%2Ecom
Is this company owned by another company with a history that you should know about?

Solutionstar
http://www.123notary.com/signco-idv.asp?sid=1052&SolutionStar
Low ball fees and fax backs? Sounds familiar. Might be a good place for newbies to apply!

Wise Settlement Services
http://www.123notary.com/signco-idv.asp?sid=1062&Wise+Settlement+Solutions
How difficult did it used to be to get paid, and how hard is it now?

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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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June 16, 2013

Making family members leave the room

I got a call from a social worker at a convalescent home. Seemed the daughter needed a POA signed for her father. I gave him my fee and asked him all the necessary questions. You know, does the person signing have ID, can they sign their name and are they under the influence of any mind altering medication. He assured me that we were a go on all accounts except for one he needed to let the family know my fee and would get back to me shortly . A few minutes passed and I got the return call and we were a go. We scheduled the day and the time. He let me know that it was going to be 1 signature. A POA. (power of attorney)

I arrived at our scheduled time and I met the daughter and the other family members in the lobby, the daughter let me know that she was not happy with the facilities and wanted to get the POA so that she could move him. He went on to tell me that his wife was mistreating her father and she needed to have him moved out of the wife’s reach. She handed me the POA I looked it over briefly and we proceeded to the signers room. We entered the room and he was conversing with I presumed other family members or friends and at this point I didn’t really know who was who. I introduced myself to him and the daughter began to tell him what I was doing there and what she was planning on doing. One of the persons in the room I found out at that moment was the wife. She asked us both in a cautious tone ‘what is going on here’?. There was dead silence so I took over I explained to the signer that the daughter had asked the facility to call me on his daughter’s behalf. I asked him if he’d prefer me to continue with the others in the room. He said no and then I asked everyone to give a few minutes in private. He wanted only his step-daughter to stay. (Funny, he seemed to like her better than his own flesh)

After everyone else was gone .I told him what his daughter wanted and he became livid. He muttered that he didn’t want to sign anything. He said that he didn’t feel that he needed a POA. After I had spoken with him for a few minutes I also felt that he was in good sound mental health and didn’t need one as well. He asked me did he have to sign and I told him certainly not. He was to say the least bewildered and seemed bothered by the whole thought of it. I let him know that his daughter was under the impression that he was being mistreated (information that she said that he had given her) that she had had documents prepared on his behalf. She had not discussed any of this with him.

After our little chat, we asked everyone to come back into the room and I told the daughter that he has decided not to sign anything at this time and I asked “Now who is going to pay me?”. Everybody looked around (you could have heard a pin drop it was so quiet) but after a minute or two the daughter finally spoke up and said “Of course I will and handled me my travel fee” I prepared a receipt and thanked them all and went on my way.

Now this could have turned a different way a turn for the worse. But I was lucky. I got my fee and I took control and made sure that the signer was either comfortable signing or not. In this case he was not. IMO, I felt the daughter was over stepping her bounds. I know she may have had her fathers best interest (or just maybe his money as a little birdie told me he was loaded) at heart but although I did not say (nor could I say) California is a community property state and the wife has the first and final say. Sadly for the daughter, she probably doesn’t know it but legally she has no rights over anything to do with her fathers affairs. He had been married to the wife for over 35 years. And what she says goes whether any of us like it not….I thought to myself the wife is going to need a good lawyer because I got the impression that the daughter was NOT stopping here.

Until next time…be safe

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June 15, 2013

Hey, do you have a real story about cross-outs?

“Yes”, said one of our friends who works for a signing company.

I had a closing many years ago that created a huge issue with cross outs, because we lost the rate lock.

The notary crossed out on the legal docs and had no idea that this was incorrect. I can’t think of anything dramatic, but I’ve had so many of these over the years. That is a rare occurrence now with so many Short Sales that the docs are faxed prior to the notary leaving so you can catch more mistakes.

You might also like:

Signing agent best practices
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4315

Tutorial on Cross-Outs
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14406

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