December 2015 - Notary Blog - Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice -

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December 30, 2015

Notarize JUST the Name

Notarize JUST the Name
We are all familiar with the two most common notary actions. The Jurat: “Sworn to and Subscribed…….”, and the Acknowledgement: “This instrument was Acknowledged before me…..”. I’m not going to cover the not so subtle differences between the two of them. What will be discussed is the expansion of the notary statement to include virtually anything.

I just shipped off an Edoc. I had to redact (no changes were made, no replacement text, just a thin line thru with my initials at the end of the line) some superfluous verbiage. Before I get into the details let me credit the source of “my” opinions. The office of the New York County Clerk has told me, quite strongly: “You notarize just the name as proven on the ID, nothing more”. What they are referring to are what I call “name attributes” and there are many. Not to be confused with name components (Jr. Sr. III, etc.) which were on the birth certificate. Name attributes, and there are many include: MD, PhD, DDS, etc.

Those name attributes are rarely a problem and they are usually not added to the name in the notary section. What is a problem are what I will call “name descriptors”, and they are becoming a growing problem. A Jurat in the edoc included “a resident of ”. How would I know where the person signing resides? It’s not for me to say (I know, that’s a song title too). This was in the (usually) simple Sample Signature document. Why? I can’t figure out any rationale for inclusion of residency information on that document.

The same package included, after the name, the phrase “a capable person”. Capable of what? Such a phrase could keep lawyers in discussion forever. This particular bit of foolishness was on the AKA statement. Of course no discussion of name descriptors would be complete with mention of the classic and most common one: the marital status. Before me appeared Suzy Snowflake, a single woman. Says who? Suzy of course. So why is it in MY statement? If Ms Snowflake wishes to make a statement that she is not married, I would be happy to notarize it. But, I certainly will not include her marital status in my statement.

Even if I were to be absolutely sure of her marital status it is improper for me to include it in my statement. But, one cannot prove their marital status – it’s impossible; think about it. The problem stems from some shoddy computer programming taking the “vesting name” from the mortgage (where marital status makes sense) and propagating it into other areas.

I have discussed the issue of name descriptors many times with foggy headed drones who feel that because it is preprinted I must live with it. Not so. The notary section IS the statement of the Notary Public and IS subject to change and or deletion. My licensing officials don’t allow it, and I am certainly not able to state someone is capable, married or where they reside. Sometimes it’s a tough judgment call. If the descriptor is “of legal age” I would have to know exactly where that phrase is applied. If they are under 21, it “might” matter in some states; and could also be document specific.

We want to process the document with little conflict, as raising “issues” often sours the client. To me it’s better to lose a client than receive a summons; and become a party to litigation. As a public official my words have, “authority”; and with that comes responsibility for accuracy.


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December 29, 2015

The Last Notary

The Last Notary
There are very few of us left. The aliens have been very methodical in their extermination campaign against notaries. I doubt if I will be able to hold out much longer. Not many embossers left. The Notary Resistance sent me only a dozen. They taught the remaining notaries how to use the embossers to lure their hunter-killer drones. The bleary electronic eye fixates on an embosser and seeks to destroy it, and its owner. But the drones were not so smart. An embosser in the open next to a fallen notary could lure them to attack. The resistance taught us how to toss our embossers into the intake and bring the drones crashing down. I’m doomed. There are so many drones and I have few embossers. I will break the prime directive today. This notary journal will survive me and I will notarize my own signature on the last page. I can hear their bird like exhaust; soon my journal will be the last notarized document on this planet.

They attacked our, no; make that my planet; as I’m possibly the last notary. First they used their pulse weapons to short circuit our technology. Some of the older devices survived. Tube radios and ancient tractors were immune. But they persisted. Their agenda was to cause the fall of our economic and social structure. We were resilient; the loss of our machines did not crush us. We simply reverted to an earlier, simpler existence. With the loss of our armed forces, followed by the civil authorities; they thought our civilization was defeated. But the spark of commerce did remain. The drones targeted money and it became too dangerous to use. They were gigantic flying metal detectors, tuned to our coinage. Paper money was also easy for them to track, the very features designed to protect from forgery made that possible. But, still we were not defeated, our commerce, what little there was; managed to limp along, just barely.

Long after the initial attacks and destruction, after the pulse bombs and the destruction of money – they learned of us, the notaries public. As in days gone by, hundreds of generations back in time; again, the notaries public facilitated commerce. The invaders, not being familiar with such a concept had ignored us. Now they are on to us. All of the supporting services of our civilization are long gone. No police, fire, or hospitals; they were early targets. Now they are venting their wrath upon the last civil function that supports our way of life. Contracts, deeds, promissory notes, authenticated documents; only few remain. Thus they hunt us. For by eliminating the notaries there will be no more reliable documents; the final step in the fall of our civilization. They are not content to let us just die off; their plan requires us to be eliminated.

As the Trusted Ones we did everything that was to be considered official. We created birth certificates and marriage documents. We wrote wills and even issued the New Money. There was no one else. Our stamp and embossing was the definition of authentic. Of necessity we passed along our craft to others, and issued them notary public credentials. The invaders overlooked us for many years. Now they are wiser, and we are hunted. It is death to possess a notarized document, and, of course; notaries were killed when located.

I think I am the last notary public. All of the notarized documents have long been destroyed. No replacement policy or procedure replaced them. Our way of life is doomed. Somehow, someway the invaders will be defeated and, perhaps my journal will be found. To my reader in that distant future I bequeath the title of Notary Public; go forth and facilitate the return of civilization.


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December 26, 2015

December Best Signing Company Gossip

Filed under: Signing Company Gossip — Tags: — admin @ 12:40 pm

Here is some of our recent best signing company gossip.

Great Lakes Settlement
One Notary claims they waited until November for a September signing. But, the check did not go through because the account was closed.

$90 for 125 pages instead of $125 for 90 pages.
This signing company just doesn’t pay the same anymore

Notary on the Run
The bookkeeper only comes twice per month. See how trying to get paid works with this accounting set up. Maybe it should be called Accountant on the Run.

Timios Title
See how this Notary has made a career of negotiating fees with them on packages that keep getting larger — up to 225 pages.

Signing Trac
The fee is only $50, but the signings are within 10 miles… Worth it?

Signing Stream
A $5 deduction from the Notary’s fee? There is a different excuse every time according to one Notary.

TL Signing Service
Four months and finally paid…


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December 24, 2015

Lender no longer allowing docs to be fixed after the closing?

Filed under: Technical & Legal — Tags: , , , — admin @ 12:31 pm

I read a discussion on Linked In that a particular lender would no longer documents to be fixed or resigned after the closing. This discussion surprised me. In general, I have never known any lender who wanted anything signed after the date of the signing. If the dates don’t match on the documents, that is generally unacceptable to Lenders. Once in a while, there will be that one document that needed to be modified and faxed over. Additionally, almost every experience I have had as a signer with documents that required to be “fixed” ended up with a resigning. Although I followed the Lender’s instructions for what to fix and how at the signing (10 years ago, fuzzy memory,) I remember that they almost all needed to be redrawn and resigned.

So Notaries: if you are doing loan signings, get it right the first time, otherwise you have no idea how much trouble you are causing. And Lenders: Make sure the docs are correct before you involve a Notary in a frustrating and time consuming signing.


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December 23, 2015

Crossing the Line – Stepping over the Cliff

Crossing the Line – Stepping over the Cliff
It seems to me that the wide availability of mobile notaries has attracted the attention of various entities that seek to capitalize on our integrity and reputation FOR impartiality. There are good reasons for them to want us. Most of us are highly trained, pay attention to detail, willingly travel to homes and offices, and, and it’s a big “and” carry official notary stamps. We manage our calendars, show up on time, dress appropriately, and are familiar with document signing.

We represent ONLY our licensing authority. Hired because we are notaries, we are not “agents” of any other entity. Why then are we sometimes asked to masquerade as representatives of some other entity? Is it that our “image” is being associated with a specific transaction? I think so. Most of us will agree that the Police Officer responding to an accident has no “vested interest” in who was at fault. They record objective and factual information. Of course if someone is worthy of a traffic citation, they get it. Similarly, to be “on site” as a notary requires being a Notary.

One entity requires reading a document, word for word. It’s a “sales presentation” designed to induce people to agree to sign a document. “Almost” worse, the clueless notary is required to sign a different document attesting to the fact that they did read the script. Does this sound like the actions of an impartial public official? Fortunately, for all concerned; all questions should be referred to “headquarters”.

Now, to give the other side of the picture. I said you were a notary; some of these situations are structured specifically such that notarization is not required. Thus, an argument could be made that you are not there in your official capacity as a notary. Actually, then you are just a clerk, supervising the signing of paperwork and reading the canned script – sometimes.

One Loan Officer literally grilled me to determine if I would be a “Bulldog” with a fierce determination to bring back completed paperwork. I allowed this travesty to continue for a few minutes to see how far he would go. He tested me on my responses to borrower doubts and concerns; wanting to “arm” me for any eventuality. I asked “how about if I just have them call you with their issues or questions”? That’s not acceptable – I’m paying YOU to get signatures!

Back to being an “actor” not a “notary”. While you may not be required to notarize, you certainly will be required to act as a witness. And what a witness! Common witness statements attest to determining the signer both understood what they are signing and are competent. You can bet your embosser that if this ever went to litigation you would be asked if you were a notary, and if you are familiar with determining the “mental comprehension and ability” of those who signed. You might not be functioning as a notary during your “performance” but that fact will certainly be made very clear in court. They hired you because you are a notary, no doubt about it.

As a notary public you have sole jurisdiction over the content of the notary section. I get very nervous if I am required to sign a document, just me; as a condition for receiving my pay. I also am rather proud of being a notary public. The thought of wearing a name badge that identifies me as an employee or representative of a company I know nothing about gives me chills. Over the years I have been offered “signings” for Loan Modification, Debt Consolidation and similar. Each has been declined. For me they are “over the line” and put me “over the cliff”. No Thanks.


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December 22, 2015

A Newbie at a Title Company

Filed under: Ken Edelstein,Popular on Facebook (A little) — Tags: , — admin @ 12:00 pm

A Newbie at Title Co.
Most of our jobs are quite routine. Once in a while, thankfully not often; something crosses our path that is extraordinary. It could be very nice, or a mess; as you might have expected – I write about a mess. The docs are the docs, we are expected to make them work. However, there are limits to what, as notaries, we can process. Title has an agenda. It’s their objective to get the papers processed as quickly as possible. It has to be a mess of galactic proportions for them to either dump it, or redraw the docs. Notaries also have an agenda, and one item usually at the top of the list is to do the assignment legally. It’s not our job to enforce the law; merely to abide by it.

After accepting the “piggyback”, for a fair, but modest fee; I learn it’s to be via POA. OK, kinda, they take longer but that is our lot in life. I am told that some “special signing instructions” will be sent to me. I assume it’s their preferred POA phraseology. Some want “Mickey Mouse by Minnie Mouse, his attorney in fact”. Others reverse it: “Minnie Mouse as attorney in fact for Mickey Mouse”. I prefer the latter because the name to be sworn comes first. Both are not at all a factor in the notary section where *only* Minnie would be named. But, this assignment tried to, IMHO, not bend, but break the rules.

The instructions directed me to name the affiant and POA issuer, as sworn. Thus, before me appeared: “Minnie Mouse & Mickey Mouse via POA”. To me that was a new twist. It would appear that Minnie would be, based on the POA; taking my oath issued to Mickey! Just as we cannot delegate our notary status to someone else; oath taking cannot be via proxy. Sayeth title: “there are two signature lines on the notarized document, thus there needs to be two persons named in the notary section”. Admirable logic, a bit of arithmetic; 2=2; that’s hard to argue.

But, that would be an improper notarization. Only the person(s) who actually “appeared before me…” can be named. This set of docs had it both ways. Some had both names filled in the notary section; some had “via Power of Attorney”; and a few were for me to write in. When I called title, informing of the need for me to redact all entries other than “Minnie Mouse”; I received more bad news.

“Her legal first name is not “Minnie”, it’s “Min”. However she took title as Minnie, and an AKA form is not allowed – you just have to notarize her as Minnie””. Strike Two – this job was going downhill faster than the Cyclone at Coney Island. I call Ms. Mouse, to my surprise and delight her driver license had “Minnie”. She told me she used that name all her life; though Min was on her birth certificate. Words, Words; to me it’s what is on the driver license that counts.

During my chat with Ms. Mouse she also mentions that the papers need to be processed quickly. It seems that Mr. Mouse is deceased! Whoa, hold on partner – in every state when the agent knows of the principal’s demise – their authority ceases to exist. Title and Ms. Mouse want to proceed with a voided Power of Attorney! What is my position? My notarizations would make no mention to a Power of Attorney. In my Jurat “before me appeared Minnie Mouse” would be the only entry, and she does have valid ID in that name. I never did find out if title knew of the demise of Mr. Mouse.

I bail out. There had been too many heated exchanges with Title; my insistence on proper format soured them. She told me her legal name was Min, so some doubt. Worst of all would be to facilitate the use of a no longer valid Power of Attorney. Best to not be a party to the eventual litigation!


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December 21, 2015

I just got 2 jobs from 123notary, what do I do now?

Congratulations. Give yourself a pat on the back. Some people are lucky on 123notary and get a few jobs within hours or days of signing up. Others have to wait. A few don’t even track their calls, so they’ll know they got work, but won’t know where it is from. Metaphysically speaking, since you invested thought and action into creating a 123notary listing, you are much more likely to get business from it within a short time period after signing up. Additionally, those that pay for listings get more business because of the metaphysical commitment they made by paying. Those that edit their notes and information more often also get more business since they are paying attention and devoting their thought to it. Thought is the most powerful force in the universe, and it applies to 123notary as well.

So, what do you do now?
Add more to your notes section. Your notes section should evolve with you. As you learn new skills or get new certifications, enter that into your notes section. As your number of signings goes up, add that to your notes ase well. Get a few reviews from your satisfied clients as well. Reviews speak louder than words. Consider upgrading too. For advanced Notaries we have the Elite Certification program as well where you can learn the most sophisticated notary, signing agent and marketing techniques in the business. That’s all for now!


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December 20, 2015

Go to jail, but DO collect $100

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — Tags: , , — admin @ 1:19 am

Go to Jail, but DO collect $100
As a notary on official business, not to become a “resident”. I’ve been to several jails. They, so far, have shared a virtually identical routine. Oops, I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. First, you need the assignment. In your profile on did you check the box for Jail Signings. You can access that part of your profile by selecting “Edit Additional Info”. While there glance at your commission expiration date – often overlooked, it needs to be kept current. OK, now you do qualify to show in a search for Jail.

Once the call comes in, obtain the basic information; stressing the need for ID. Not just asking that it will be available; verify that your state mandated ID will be available. The jails I have visited issued a “must carry” photo ID to each inmate. I do not accept that ID. Often, you will be meeting an attorney who needs the inmate signature notarized. Once in a while an attorney will present their interpretation of what is proper ID. They tend to be good talkers. True, it’s a different environment; but you know notary law; they don’t. Have the ID issue fully handled prior to any making any commitment.

You might not be admitted. Accept that as a fact. The facility might have a rule that only the attorney and family can visit. Make it absolutely clear to your client that your fee is earned by meeting them at the facility and putting forth “best efforts” to complete the job. My visits have always been with attorneys. They say the right things to the admitting guard. But there are no guarantees; they are not (IMHO) obligated to let you in. With ID and getting in being issues, all jail Notary assignments are prepaid. Make sure to have your driver license and current proof of your notary commission.

You should prepare for your visit. What works for me is having two zip lock plastic bags. One is for what I wish to bring in, the other for what I cannot bring in. After checking in, the two bags are surrendered at the window. They are very choosey about what goes in. Your embosser will probably be forbidden, stamping device usually accepted. However, a better strategy is to go in with absolutely nothing. Do the notarizations in the lobby, after you leave the secure area. On those days I wear my Velcro closing belt, without a bit of metal. When I tell the metal detector operator it’s Velcro and has no metal; I’m usually allowed to wear it.

It’s a Jail. You will be told what to do. Avoid asking any questions and comply immediately with what you are told to do. Doors slide open and clang shut. Your photograph may be taken. Your hand might receive a visitor stamp, similar to the “paid for admission” at many events. You will be told to sit someplace and wait. They are not in a hurry. Time is what they serve, often in great quantities. Eventually, the prisoner will arrive; sometimes you will be directed to a conference room. The cardinal rule is to give nothing whatsoever to the inmate. Nothing. If you had to bring in a pen, make sure you leave with it.

ID checked, signatures given oath; take possession of the pages with the signatures witnessed. You don’t want your client accidently adding or changing documents for different ones that were also signed. Making certain to enter the correct county in the Venue; complete the process after your “release”. You should do at least one Jail “visit”; strict adherence to notary law will follow.


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December 19, 2015

2015 List of Title & Escrow Companies

Capital Title

Chicago Title

Client First Settlement Funding

Convenient Settlement Services

Crystal Settlement Services

DB Title, LLC

DRI Title & Escrow

Finiti Title

First Service Title

Homefront Escrow, Inc.

LandSel Title Agency, Inc.

Landmark Title

Lender Title Solutions

Meymax Title Agency of Ohio, LLC

Monroe Title Insurance Corp.

Moritz Title Company, LLC

National Title Solutions

National TitleNet, LLC

New House Title

Northpoint Title

Old Republic National Title Insurance Company

Peachtree Settlements

Performance Title

Preferred Choice Escrow

Professional Settlement Services

Providence Title

Quality Title Agency

Ravenswood Title

Residential Title & Escrow

Reunion Title

Silk Abstract

So Cal Escrow Center, Inc.

Stewart Title — Tumwater, WA

Superior Abstract & Title

TranStar National Title

US Title Agency

Vantage Point Title



December 18, 2015

Do Notaries need to be mentally reprogrammed?

Filed under: Humorous Posts — Tags: , — admin @ 12:38 pm

I was watching a sneak peek at Woody Allen’s movie “Sleeper.” They had put him to sleep for 200 years and then woke him up contrary to the rules of the state. Woody complained about being woken up. “I get grouchy if I don’t get at least 600 years of sleep!” The people who woke him warned him not to tell anyone what happened otherwise he would need to be mentally reprogrammed.

Then, it came to me. A lot of Notaries need to be mentally reprogrammed. Yes, there are the Notaries who play by the book, know Notary law inside out, and understand loan signing to a T. But, what about the Notaries who don’t know what they are doing who insist on doing notary work anyway?

Carmen told me today about some notary who ignorantly screwed up someone’s loan and the borrower lost their lock when interest rates were climbing fast. The Notary might get sued, and E&O is not going to help. You have to be very careful as a Notary and know how to deal with all types of complicated situations — especially when the Lender or Loan Officer doesn’t answer their phone at the critical moment. Most notaries just resort to calling the Lender when things get tricky, but if the Lender isn’t there, you need to actually know something! Most Notaries don’t. So, what is the solution?

Mental reprogramming. Notaries need to be wired up to a machine that will give them some subliminal messages about how they need to master Notary law, signing agent knowledge, and pass 123notary’s test among others. Better yet, perhaps they need to be taken to a special camp for gifted people.

Picture this paragraph being phrased with a thick German accent. My housemate is from Austria and said it sounded kind of creepy!

“We are going on a little train ride — ya! We are going to meet new friends, unt learn new things — ya! You will like it there! You can talk about all the new things you learned with your new friends who you will have so much in common with. You will be very happy — ya…. Unt zen, you will return, but only when you are ready! Ya!”

In any case, before your state government decides to reprogram you, why not reprogram yourself. Sit in front of the mirror and say, “I can learn, and it is imperative that I do — I will learn Notary law and signing agent basics and pass Jeremy’s test!”


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