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May 26, 2014

Notarizing Female Accessory to Murder!

Notarizing Female Accessory to Murder!

This story was told to me by a North Carolina Notary Public

A North Carolina Notary Public was called in to do yet another jail notarization. But, this one was different. The lady who had been locked up had not committed a crime, other than failing to report a crime that she knew about! But, the punishment was severe! She was locked up for months and with no visitation rights!

It all started out months before. A 20 year old guy was dating a 30 year old girl. The girl dumped him and started dating a 32 year old guy. The 20 year old guy was upset when he saw them together in a pick up truck. He jumped in the bed of the truck and the older guy threw him off of the truck. The 20 year old guy died. But, there’s more!

The father of the younger boy who died got taunted by the other locals. A few mockingly said, “Sorry about your kid.” The taunting and mocking kept on happening and the father was getting steamed. One night he got really drunk and had his sister (This is the father and the father’s sister — just to keep the characters straight). They went to a local store to buy supplies. But, at the store, the father saw the 32 year old who had killed his son. The father shot that 32 year old dead on sight! (sorry for the bad grammar) The father went back into the car. Later he told his sister what had happened. The sister went to the police 48 hours later and was locked up for not reporting it earlier. She was an accessory to murder.

Anyway, to make a long story short, the sister and father were getting a loan notarized with a North Carolina Notary Public so that they could afford legal expenses. Personally, I have never heard of any story like this before. It sounds more like something you would see on television or in a movie — but, this one is actually true, and took place in Transylvania County, North Carolina of all places!

(1) A lady is locked up for not reporting the murder her dad committed.
(2) They had to sell their house to afford the legal expenses for a revenge killing


May 21, 2014

Notarized Power of Attorney

Filed under: Power of Attorney — Tags: — admin @ 10:28 am

How do I get a notarized Power of Attorney?

It is a common thing to need a Notarized Power of Attorney. The problem is that many people don’t know where to go for help. Step one is that you need an actual Power of Attorney. Be careful. If you have the wrong Power of Attorney form, it might not be acceptable to whomever the custodian of the document is, or to the courts. I am not an Attorney and can’t advise you, but I suggest you consult an Attorney first to draft a Power of Attorney for you.

Step 1.
Get your Power of Attorney drafted by an Attorney or someone who your Attorney recommends.
If you use a standardized form from an office supply store, make sure you get it all filled out before calling the notary.
You will need to have an Attorney in Fact (Agent or Grantee,) a Grantor, and you need to specify what powers you are granting, and for how long, and under what conditions. It’s complicated and critical, which is why you need an Attorney at $200-$400 per hour!

Step 2.
Find a notary. Any notary can notarize a Power of Attorney. They can also notarize a Durable Power of Attorney, or notarize a Health Care Power of Attorney. Some states even allow the Notary to make certified copies of a Power of Attorney. 123notary offers a wide selection of mobile notaries who can come to your home, office, hospital room, or jail cell and get your Power of Attorney notarized. Make sure you have current photo-ID from a government agency.

Step 3.
Once your POA is notarized, you might need to submit it to a particular party, or have it registered somewhere. Ask your Attorney. Keep in mind that banks often have their own forms for Banking Power of Attorney which are often very simplified forms on card stock which would be significantly below the standards of an Attorney. But, if it is for their bank, they have the right to request any type of form they like. Just make sure your Attorney doesn’t object too terribly much. It’s complicated! Be prudent and consult the right people and Attorney before making your decision what to do.

Final Note
Don’t ask legal questions to Notaries. First of all, they are not trained to answer legal questions. Secondly, they are not allowed by law to answer legal questions. Get your legal questions out of the way with your Attorney before you make your initial call to the notary. Nothing is worse than keeping a notary on hold while you resolve issues that a responsible person would have resolved long before they called in a notary! Additionally, don’t ask a notary to draft documents unless they are authorized to do so based on some other qualifications they might have that are separate from their notary commission which does NOT authorize them to draft any legal document in most states.


If you are a VIP Notary — read this!

Many notaries think it is fashionable to name their business something swanky like VIP Notary Service. But, in real life, there is one thing you need to keep in mind. Your clients might be the VIP’s, but you will not be treated like one. I have gone out on so many assignments for important people. It is a different ball game entirely. They have more to spend, but they cancel more and keep you waiting. You are just a servant to them.

In my experience, the most difficult notary clients are the cream of the crop and the people who meet you to notarize their boyfriend’s signature in a jail conference room. Regular middle-class folks are the easiest to deal with, but not necessarily the most profitable.

I did signings for Attorneys who were completely unprepared. Their secretary was the one who booked the appointment and the documents hadn’t even been drafted by the time I got there. The signer was 45 minutes late, and they had to talk for 30 more minutes before they were ready to see me. My advice is to get your waiting cash up front in cash so that you can leave if it gets too crazy. Attorneys might be rich, but they are the first ones to chump you out of your waiting fees.

Then there are the famous actors. If you go to their home, you deal with their personal assistant. Unfortunately, not someone named Giles with a distinguished British accent. You’ll get some American guy around 30 who couldn’t find a real job, but wants to work in Hollywood. You’ll wait in the garage or waiting or entrance hall for a long time while the assistant runs up and down the stairs to see if your actor client is ready. They value their convenience, but they don’t care about your convenience or your schedule one bit!

Then, there is notarizing on a set. You might wander around for half an hour looking for someone and asking around, and be kept another half hour until they are free. Important people always have dozens of people tugging on their shirt-tails.

So, if you want to do notarizations for the rich and famous, learn how to handle them. They are a different animal.

(1) If you run a VIP Notary Service, your clients might be important, but you will not be treated like a VIP
(2) The most difficult clients are the cream of the crop and girls who want you to notarize their jail-bird boyfriend’s signature.
(3) VIP’s value their convenience, but they don’t care about your convenience or your schedule one bit!

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While you wait


May 20, 2014

Dress British, Think Yiddish

Dress British, Think Yiddish
Long ago, about half a century (honest), I was given those four words as the secret to success in business. The same sage advice applies equally to both sexes; to all races and, well, to everyone. A very compact and easy to remember slogan – its simplicity hides a multiplicity of actions that you should consider. It’s time for me to delve into those four simple words.

Dress British – it does not mean that you need to purchase a wardrobe from the UK. The words acknowledge that the British are well renown for dressing impeccably. Clothes make the (wo)man. You do not need an expensive wardrobe to look like the professional you are. You do need immaculately clean and wrinkle free attire. Are you a fugitive from the barber shop? Is there something about your appearance that, at a glance, is highly memorable? When I was in the corporate environment we often had “dress down” days on Friday. However, management would remind us that “dress down” is not to be confused with “dress clown”.

I’m not going to insult you with a litany of the obvious. I also take offense when receiving a signing assignment that asks me to check if my finger nails are clean. But there are subtleties that are worth mentioning, especially if you aspire to dress British. Your attire should be subdued and somewhat bland, the borrower should be paying attention to what you are saying; not what you are wearing. Your professional “uniform” should be changed out of the moment you return home; replaced by “home attire”. True, you will change clothes often; here is a little tip on how to handle that. My work pants have two cell phone cases on the belt, wallet and billfold in the back pockets, business cards and tiny notary stamp in front left pocket, and my current promotional item in my front right pocket. I just hang the pants “loaded” rather than unloading the items. Thus, the pants are ready loaded to put on and I don’t have to look for items.

Think Yiddish – no you are not being asked by to learn a new language. At the risk of offending some of my Jewish readers; the words translate to “keep an eye on the money”. You are working to make a Profit. Not just to receive revenue. Doing a lowball job that, after your expenses nets “chump change” is not working for Profit. Know your expenses and set a realistic fee for your professional skills, time and efforts. I used the term “nets”, it implies that you actually receive payment. Run your business as a business. The accumulation of toxic accounts receivables is to be actively avoided. Carry a “duds” list of firms that must PayPal (or similar) prior to printing – and within 15 minutes of their call to you. Strictly limit their “I’ll have to get back to you” to protect your calendar. If you later discover their last check was issued when Hoover was President contact them. Send them a screen shot of the bad reviews you found online; with the choice of immediate payment or you must relinquish the assignment. It’s valid to reply to “you took it you must do it” with “I took it prior to learning about your terrible reputation”. Unpleasant yes, but worse is dunning for your cash and being stiffed.

Some other types of assignments should prepay. The objective is to eliminate risk. A prime example is an assignment at a hospital. Make it clear that the payment received is for best efforts within the bounds of legality. If the patient is unconscious or not available; the fee was earned because you made the trip. Nobody, repeat nobody, else is looking out for your “bottom line”. It’s up to you to be wary of situations that might not proceed smoothly – shift the “risk” to your client; but make the rules very clear prior to accepting any money.

Thus, the ancient advice given to me of “Dress British, Think Yiddish” has served me well for a very long time. Few are the long drives only to find nobody home; as they found a cheaper notary and did not bother to call me. It’s interesting how diligent folks become about having government issued photo ID available when they prepaid for my visit. Again, it’s vital that you communicate the “rules of engagement” to your client. Neither giving nor receiving “surprises” makes for a smooth transaction, pleasant to all.

(1) Half a century ago, I was given these words as a secret to success in business! Dress British, Think Yiddish!

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May 18, 2014

Signs you’re a notary workaholic!

Many people are just downright lazy. But, there are others who work so hard, that it is a disease. There are types that have two cell phones, a pager, and are always checking their Twitter account to see if anyone messaged them. On the surface they might seem like a typical distracted teenager in the body of an adult. But, look a little more closely and you will find that they are booking dozens of signing appointments and raking in the dough.

Of course, this year, business is slow for everyone, but if you mixed in your notary work with other work that was faster, your phone might ring off the hook.

Speaking of phones, the notary workaholic probably has a waterproof phone they bring with them into the shower. They don’t want to lose their next job just because Frankie calls during their nightly lather. That 24 hour icon on their listing — some have it just for show, but don’t like to be bothered late at night. Many of our workaholic types like phone calls at 3am. They are insomniacs and feel compelled to say busy.

Then, there are the notaries who are so busy, that they have to eat on the road. Are you the type that has a database of all good Thai restaurants within a 75 mile radius of your home with commentary about the Rad-Na verses the Angel Wings?

If you notice that your stash of “used” notary journals is stacking up to the roof, you probably qualify as a workaholic as well.

Whether there is business or not, the workaholic types are much more likely to attract it than the lazy types who whine a lot. Keep your open-ness alive. Jump to answer your phone. Try to keep a flexible schedule so you can say, “yes” at the critical time. And keep a positive attitude. Just because things are slow now, doesn’t mean they will be slow forever.

(1) If you notice that your stash of “used” notary journals is stacking up to the roof, you probably qualify as a workaholic as well.
(2) Speaking of phones, the notary workaholic probably has a waterproof phone they bring with them into the shower.
(3) Many notary workaholics are insomniacs & like 3am calls. They need to stay busy.


May 12, 2014

Do you have to be a CSS to get work these days?

CSS = Certified Signing Specialist

Notaries are complaining that there isn’t enough work. Early 2014 has been brutal and late 2013 was horrible. Things just died around September 2013. But, the new laws are making it worse. I don’t know if the laws about this topic are being enforced, but I heard that signing companies would be required b law to use a CSS unless they couldn’t find one.

A CSS is someone who passed a yearly background check, and passed a new much harder signing agent exam that is up to government standards. The NNA administers this type of education and 123notary does not. 123notary has its own certification exam for signers which is very basic and proves basic competency to think under time pressure. 123notary’s certification exam gets signers a lot more work on 123notary and is good for the life of your listing, but is not recognized on other sites.

Notaries are asking me if they absolutely have to spend the several hundred dollars each year to get this new designation. My thoughts are that only a few hundred notaries will spend the money and take the time to get this advanced, but necessary designation. The others simply don’t make enough income from notary work, or don’t have the skills or motivation to do it. The result of this across-the-board stubbornness is that non-CSS Notaries will still be necessary simply because there will be so few CSS Notaries around. Signing companies will not have a choice when things get busy and will have to hire those who didn’t go through the CSS program.


Those who do go through the program and spend the $300+ will get a larger market share. Whenever you have a designation that others don’t have — whether necessary or not, you get more work. 123notary’s certification has never been officially recognized by anyone, yet those who have it get more than double the work than those who don’t on our site in comparable positions on the search results. Those who have the CSS which in contrast to our informal certifcation IS necessary will get a much bigger market share. In a dead market, a bigger market share might not look that great. But, things change. Notaries tend to base their decisions on today and tomorrow. If you get an important designation and renew it regularly, you will have it three years later when the market picks up and you will be the one raking in the bucks while others are trying out new recipes for Ramen noodles (the one with the slow-cooked pork belly is actually not that bad.)

Are you in good hands?

(1) Notaries are complaining that there isn’t enough work. But, w/o your CSS you might not get any!
(2) I heard that signing co’s would be required to use a CSS unless they couldn’t find one!
(3) So many OTHER notaries are too stubborn to get the CSS designation, so you might survive w/o it.
(4) Do you really need that annual background check? You might get a better market share if you do.
(5) For those who don’t think they need the new CSS designation, we have some good Ramen recipes for you.


May 9, 2014

Sherlock Holmes — Notary Public

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 7:49 am

Sherlock Holmes – Notary Public

It was a quiet afternoon at 221b Baker Street. As the chronographer of my brilliant colleague Mr. Sherlock Holmes; I, Dr. John Watson was looking forward to his next assignment. Upon a glance from the window of the flat that we shared, I spied young Jeremy the messenger with, what was to become; one of Sherlock’s greatest challenges.

Sherlock examined the package with great intent prior to opening it. This contains a high dollar refinance that must be executed this very day, and my fee is enclosed. Furthermore, the persons signing are elderly; and most likely have a large mastiff hound guarding their property! How the devil could you possibly deduce that prior to even opening the packet I inquired?

It’s elementary old fellow; the return address is from solicitors Grubb and Sloth who only cater to North End clients. That a messenger was used in lieu of the post, indicates urgency. I could feel the shifting of the gold coins, Grubb and Sloth distain having any records of their transactions. North End estates are very large and it’s quite common for such a hound to secure the property. As to elderly, not a single North End estate has changed hands in over fifty years. It’s all quite obvious.

Examination of the contents revealed, or rather did not reveal important details. There was a confirmation page; but the clerk at Grubb and Sloth redacted the names and address of the property. An inspection of the documents shed no light upon which property was to be visited as they were similarly redacted! How can they expect you to complete this assignment, no phone number, no name or address?

Clearly a message to Grubb and Sloth is in order, said Sherlock summoning Mrs. Hudson to fetch young freckle faced Jeremy. Jeremy, always quick with his bicycle, was instructed to await the urgent reply. Within the hour we received a packet with astonishing news. “We have no knowledge of any North End property that has been brought to your attention; please investigate – as our firm has been forged!”

MORIARTY! Exclaimed Holmes. Only he would have the resources and nerve to craft such a fiendish plot. And surely he would expect me to discover the forgery! His true intent is the mystery, Watson! The game is afoot, we must thwart his plot; and with luck put him in prison where he can do no harm.

With magnifying glass in hand Sherlock proceeded to examine every inch of the forgery. Criminals always leave unintentional clues, Moriarty made a mistake. Observation and deduction; those are the tools to defeat him. Hours passed, the documents were reviewed, square inch by square inch; but even to my astute friend’s examination; nothing shedding light on Moriarty’s plot was found. The North End property remained elusive.

Dr. Watson also exhausted from the intense examination of the documents; said “There is nothing here; these documents are not worth a brass farthing”. Good Show, shouted Holmes. I think you have uncovered the essence of the mystery! Holmes continued “how stupid of me”, I neglected the obvious and searched the trivial. The real clue is not the documents; they are a blind to mislead us. The choice of Grubb and Sloth being the sender of the forgery is the key to the mystery!

It’s common knowledge that Grubb and Sloth prefer to transact business with cash. The really unusual aspect of this assignment is the prepayment! British Sovereign coins, known as “Kings,” were minted in the late 1800s and early 1900s as legal tender. Moriarty was testing his forged coins to see if we would accept them. As a Notary Public I should have suspected that the payment itself; being that it was “in advance” would be a fake!

(1) “There is nothing here; these documents are not worth a brass farthing”
(2) The signer paid in advance, but with forged coins — good god!


May 2, 2014

Fingerprinting 101 – What’s Worth Knowing

Fingerprinting 101 – What’s worth Knowing
First, it’s necessary to clear up a bit of nomenclature confusion. Fingerprinting is the recording of the pattern of loops and whorls, typically on a standard FD258 (civilian, non-criminal) card. This is accomplished with either ink or a scanning device. “Fingerprint Kits” on Ebay are most often fingerprint “lifting” kits, essentially very fine powders that are applied to the fingerprint and a “copy” taken (lifted with tape, etc.), physically or they can be photographed.

I choose to not do fingerprint lifting as it would require me to prepare a written report and probably be called to testify in a courtroom. Yecch. Also, such activity is usually done by a Police professional – trained for the task. However, I do a lot of fingerprinting. New York State does not offer a fingerprint license; if they did I would have it. My authority to establish positive ID on the cards comes from being a Notary. I fingerprint people for FBI background checks, various licenses, and many immigration related purposes. There is no “oath” nor is there a need to be able to converse with the applicant, however, a translator is often helpful.

Back to the nuts and bolts. First, there is the “Live Scan” machine. Essentially a scanner hooked to a PC that communicates to a specific destination. All this must be prearranged and “type accepted” by the receiving party. A Live Scan setup is target centric and is generally not able to transmit (over telephone lines) to multiple destinations. This makes sense when many applicants go to a single place, which transmits to a single place. The more common and flexible fingerprinting is done with ink. Ink can be either embedded into a ceramic pad, similar to a common ink pad; or spread on a glass or metal plate with a roller. The latter is more time consuming but gives greater control to the fingerprint technician.

The FD258 fingerprint card is a bit narrower than a standard 8.5 inch wide sheet of paper. Of course the card holders are designed for the card to fit with no wiggle. Therefore a downloaded and printed image of the FD258 card does not fit a standard cardholder. It is possible to fold the edges and create an imprecise fit of the sheet of paper card image. Unfortunately, most computer paper is really not suitable for accepting standard fingerprint ink properly. Bottom line: printouts of the fingerprint card image should be avoided. Much better is to maintain a stock of FD258s. A common variation is the FINRA (used by the brokerage industry) cards. They are the exact same FD258 with the addition of preprinted barcoding, required by FINRA.

Proper finger preparation is essential. I have seen fingerprinting done without even having the applicant wash their hands! Access to hand washing facilities (soap and very warm water) is essential. Once the hands are washed the applicant should touch nothing, not even their ringing cell phone (I have had mixed results with this request!). Next, a mild solution of pepper extract (an “irritant”) is applied to the fingertips to raise the “friction ridges”. The friction ridges are ever so slightly “higher” than the underlying finger flesh; it is the ridges that form the fingerprint. This solution requires a second hand washing to remove prior to applying the ink.

It is critical that the minimum amount of ink be applied, lest the ink pass the friction ridges and collect in the “valleys” between the ridges. Perhaps the most common mistake is over inking. Using the traditional ink and roller allows greater control of ink application compared to the ceramic pad. If the layer of ink on the glass or metal plate is exactly correct; it’s impossible to transfer too much to the fingertip. With the ceramic pad the transfer of ink is directly proportional to the pressure exerted, and the risk of over inking is greater.
There is also a psychological aspect to fingerprinting. Many clients have two issues. Some don’t like to be physically manipulated; a necessity to take the fingerprint impressions. Always use a blank sheet of paper to check how the ink layer reacts to their fingertips. The test prints are good for explaining the procedure on a spare card while demonstrating the procedure. Emphasize that you must be in control and not be “assisted” – your subject must not press down or actively turn their finger. You must, when completed; check their ID and match to the name they printed and signed on the card. Lastly, you sign and date each card; or, if it does not meet the standard of clarity and completeness – break out another card and start over; it must be perfect.

(1) is the recording of the pattern of loops and whorls, typically on a standard FD258 (civilian, non-criminal) card
(2) Proper finger preparation is essential for fingerprinting. Wash each finger one by one!


May 1, 2014

Thank You – Excuse Me – I’m Sorry

Filed under: Etiquette,Ken Edelstein — Tags: , — admin @ 11:36 pm

Thank You, Excuse Me, I’m Sorry
Now that’s an odd title! But the three are actually related, much more so than you might expect. The first thing that comes to my mind is the term (that applies to each) underused. The second term that seems to apply is overused. Paradox? Of course. My regular readers expect no less from me, and this blog will not disappoint you.

GENUINE Thank You(s) are way too few and far between. When you are leaving the borrower’s home do you take a moment to say “Thank You for your time”? Do you send a Thank You when receiving an assignment? Think back when you were a little kid. Mom often said “What do you say” to prompt you for giving a Thank You to the person who did a kindness to you. Mom stressed that thousands of times to drill it into your little brain so it would become a lifelong part of you. When did you start to forget that Mother Knows Best?

Thank You is just the first two words. They should be followed by “for” and a description of what action the recipient has taken to earn your gratitude. Thank You for your nice compliment about my shoes, is an example. A Thank You without details seems robotic and a bit hollow; kinda like an autonomic mindless reflect statement. Make your Thank You genuine and actually talk with substance and conviction; let them know your words are relevant and genuine.

Excuse Me has some very interesting uses. Recently, it seems to be spoken after deliberate bad manners; to absolve the transgressor for their misbehavior. It does not accomplish that objective. I know one person, basically a nice guy, who has a most annoying habit. He constantly interrupts when I am speaking to him. His interruptions are always prefaced with a loud “EXCUSE ME” followed by whatever he wanted to say. He seems to feel that a formerly used for politeness term can be invoked to permit bad manners. A real Excuse Me is for, typically, an accidental transgression. You are in the supermarket reaching for the last can of tuna that has been marked down. Just as your hand is about to grasp the can, the shopper behind you, moving a bit quicker; snatches the tuna for their shopping cart. You are momentarily stunned by their action. They say “Excuse Me”, Jeremy would not publish what I would say to that shopper.

Lastly, I come to “I’m Sorry”. So very inappropriately used, especially by business entities. As I write this I am waiting for an item to be delivered that should have been here yesterday. I ordered the item at 10AM and paid for 2 day FedEx delivery. I was assured it would be shipped the day ordered and arrive in 2 shipping days. Well, today is the third day and I checked and found the item is “Out for Delivery”, a day late. When it did not arrive yesterday I called the vendor and complained that I paid for 2 day delivery and did not receive the service that was promised and paid for.

“I’m Sorry” about the delay, we did not ship till the day after you placed the order. You did order in plenty of time for us to make the shipment that day, again we are sorry about the situation. My response was direct and probably a bit on the aggressive side: I’m sorry and other apologies are for small children when they deviate from proper behavior. Your business is not operated by small children. Businesses make “restitution” for their errors and do not “wash them away” with a blithe verbal apology.Kindly refund the price of the shipping. There is a 2 day FedEx rate and a 3 day FedEx rate. Subtract the smaller from the larger and refund it to me. I’m sorry does not “cut it” in commercial transactions. I was fortunate to speak to a senior manager who appreciated the logic of my argument and issued a partial refund.

As a I have ample opportunity to say Thank You, Excuse Me, and I’m Sorry. I thank persons who extend me a courtesy, such as selecting me for a notary assignment. I ask that the homeowner excuse me when I forgot to wipe my shoes on their entrance rug prior to entering their spotless house. I have made I’m Sorry but I will be a few minutes late calls; when stuck behind a fire truck on the way to a signing. They are magic terms, when used appropriately. It is the intentional misuse of these phrases, as a perceived exoneration for anti-social behavior that leaves a very bad impression. Sincerity, politeness and honesty will never go out of style.

(1) I’m sorry and other apologies are for small children when they deviate from proper behavior. Your business is not operated by small children.
(2) Businesses make “restitution” for their errors and do not “wash them away” with a blithe verbal apology.