March 2017 - Notary Blog - Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice - 123notary.com
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March 31, 2017

Secretary of State hacked by Russians!

Filed under: Humorous Posts — admin @ 8:06 am

Some of the Russian mischief-makers who allegedly hacked the election were fresh out of school and hacked the California Secretary of State’s Notary Division by accident, because their English not incredible good. These hackers deleted the files of a handful of prominent Notaries statewide making them “ghost Notaries.” Their commissions were real, but there were no database records anymore. Fortunately, the Sec of State keeps backup records in paper for every Notary in the state, so with much labor, they were able to recreate their records.

On a more humorous note, Hillary Trump became a commissioned California Notary when she is not even a resident here. Considering California gave her a huge popular vote win, she thought it was the least she could do, then realized deleting her acknowledgment certificates was the least she could do. Ivanka Trump became an eNotary due to the hacking attack. She was sorry the Russians didn’t hack off the “k” in her name while they were at it, but has learned to live with a weird one like “Ivanka.” If you call living in tacky gold overpriced real estate “living.” And Vladimir Putin got the control panels to approve residents with felonies to get commissioned as Notaries in exchange for some spying favors — and only if they say he looks buff with his shirt off riding a horse . What started out as a failed hacking attempt became a travesty of justice!

The official new rates for California Notarizations are:

Acknowledgments — 1 pint of vodka
Jurats — 2 pints, but you have to swear that it’s the best vodka in town.
Sworn Oaths — Just swear you can walk in a straight line — or sign in a straight line.
Depositions — You can’t drink in court, so we’ll stick to the $20, but payable in the equivalent amount of rubles.

Even the titles of common documents were renamed
Deed of Mistrust
Affidavit of non-Compliance
The Note
The Right to make people think you canceled
The affidavit of alleged shortage of available capital.

Additionally, the Russians thought they would help Trump by fraudulently changing the venue for the Great Wall of China to be on the U.S. / Mexico border and make Mexico pay for it.

That’s all for tonight. And remember that it is hip to be Red Square.

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March 30, 2017

Notarization at Standing Rock

Filed under: General Stories — admin @ 8:05 am

A Notary was asked to do a Notarization at the protest of the DAPL pipeline. But, finding the place was a nightmare and cell phones don’t work up there in North Dakota. Let’s look at the map the Notary thought to himself. Sitting Bull is there, Standing Rock is here. I’m not sure if I’m looking for a Bull or a Rock, but I am sure that I’ll be sitting or standing unless the weather warms up. Boy, it’s arctic up here.

The Notary finally got to the protest — and it was horrible. The police were shooting the crowd with water in 20 degree weather. That’s deadly. Then, he saw a young lady get sprayed in the face with industrial strength pepper spray by police. It’s time to bring out the Attorneys and scrutinize the police up there. An elderly lady was arrested for conspiricy and taken away without her diabetes medicine, and she nearly died according to one reporter. Another lady from Pine Ridge threatened to commit what Native Americans call “Sioux-icide.” The whole situation was a travesty of justice. One Native American protested who had grown up down south named Peggy-Sioux said it didn’t seem like the way things were handled in America, and due process had been violated as well as human dignity.

The Notary was asked to Notarize a statement about numbers that had been written on a person’s arm by a police offer. The practice was identical to what Nazis had done a few generations ago and the crowd was livid. So, the Notary tried to notarize the paperwork but couldn’t.

NOTARY: Sorry, my hands froze, I can’t move my fingers.

PROTESTER: Our people have lived her for countless generations. We are used to the cold. Here, let me show you a tribal secret.

NOTARY: Is this similar to the Mr. Miyagi secret?

PROTESTER: He stole that from us. (Rubbing hands together fervently singing tribal prayer. Then he grasped the Notary’s hands with his hot hands.) Wax on, wax off, wax on, wax off — don’t forget to breathe, very important.

NOTARY: Hey wait a second, you stole that from Mr. Miyagi — not fair.

PROTESTER: The technique is from us, but the line is from him.

NOTARY: Wow, my hands are much better. Does the prayer work as well without the drums? Because I’ve heard stories.

PROTESTER: Oh, the drums are more for the state of mind for deeper consciousness.

NOTARY: Well then you won’t need that with me — I’m always in a deeper state of consciousness, at least until my GPS broke. That sort of threw me off, especially around here. Okay, my fingers are working for now. Please sign the journal, I’m stamping here, filling out the form here and signing my John Hancock.

PROTESTER: We prefer to think of it as signing our Crazy Horse.

NOTARY: There’s nothing crazy about your horse.

PROTESTER: Never mind. You wouldn’t understand — it’s an Indian thang!

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March 29, 2017

Names for Notary businesses that can get you in trouble

Filed under: Advertising — admin @ 7:25 am

In general, we recommend certain types of names for Notary businesses.

Geo-Keywords
The name can include a geographical keyword such as the name of your city, state, or region such as Los Angeles Notary Services or Koreatown Mobile Notary.

Professional Keywords
It can also be more professional oriented such as Karen’s Signing Services, or Notary Pro to Go. One successful Notary used the name After Hours Notary, At Your Service Mobile Notary, Notary at your Door, etc.

But, what if you got yourself in trouble picking the wrong name?
Many Notaries use generic business names that nobody will associate with the profession like LMT Services. I would not want to hire them to be my Notary because their name doesn’t gel with the profession. You need what I call anchor keywords to tie in your business with the work being done and/or the area it is being done.

Names that might get you in trouble!
You could also name your business First American Notary and probably get sued by one of our nation’s largest title companies. If you used the same name a signing company used, that causes trouble too. Many companies pick names that are very similar to other company names and get mistaken for each other. National Signers, National Signing Solutions, National Notary Service, Signing National, etc. You can see. So, if you pick a name, try to avoid using words that other services use. Be unique, classy, and relevant to your profession and perhaps to your area. You could use a hotel-like strategy for naming your business like Comfort Notary, Quality Notary, or Holiday Notary. I don’t think those names would serve you well, but who knows. Then there is USA Notary which is too generic and national and not specific to a particular area. Canada Notary would be in the wrong country. Inuit Notary would be good in Alaska, but not anywhere else. Hopi Notary might be good in Arizona, but the tribal leaders might object — just make sure they don’t put a curse on you! Star Notary Service is too generic, but what about Celebrity Notary Service? Royal Notary doesn’t make sense because we have no royalty in America.

Here are some names of Notary businesses our Notaries have:

A1 Notary Services — Will get you up high in the yellow pages. But, might get you confused with steak sauce.
Bay Area Notary — Great name, and has been in business for over a decade.
SOMA Mobile Notary — What does SOMA stand for?
Golden Gate Mobile Notary & Apostille — Sounds like they definitely go to Marin County.
Affordable Notary — Will they be classy enough for my needs?
The Notary To Call — This one has 33 reviews. Sounds like they really are the Notary to Call.
TheBestNotary.Net — He did well with his business.
Arden Mobile Notary Service — It’s a name, but not flashy.
Diamond Star Notaries — Okay
Sunshine Notary Service — Warm and inviting, but do they do late night service?
Dash Notary — Sounds like a good bet if you are in a hurry.
CA Notary Services — They did well in business, but California is a huge state. I prefer a more pinpointed regional name.
One-Call Closing Services, LLC — Exciting. You just call them once and the job is as good as done.
On Call Closing Services — They are waiting for you. Sounds like they take their phone to bed with them.
Denver Metro Notary — A geographically informative name. I know their coverage areas just by the name alone.
Signed-N-Sealed — Very professional sounding.
I & S Notary and Wedding Services, LLC — I’d prefer IB + SD Notary & Wedding; sounds more romantic.
D & D Document — Easy to remember and gets to the point.
1-2-3 Spanish Notary — I prefer 1-2-3 Notary en Espanol if you want to appeal to the prospective clients.
Mobile Notary Services — Very generic; bad name! Probably not even registered with the county clerk.
The S and S Group — Sounds like they don’t do notary work as their main forte.
Indiana Mobile Closers — Statewide coverage? Cool
Notary Mobile Plus — Gets the idea across.
C & S Mobile Closers — Sounds like a generic name like JB Trucking.
Drive by Notary — Sounds like they do notary jobs but do drive by shootings on the side.
DJ Mobile Notary — Someone’s initials at use here.
Emily The Notary — Classy and charming.

So, what are my favorite names?
Emily The Notary — This is a personal and easy to remember name that connects you with the person’s name and what they do. It is simple for the brain to process too.
Dash Notary — This name captures the character of our industry. We live on the edge, always ready to rush off to a signing at the last minute. It is not so different from the term Minute Man which is popular in Massachusetts where we used to have Minute Men.
Golden Gate Mobile Notary & Apostille — This name incorporates a world-class local geographical icon with the notary business. Very classy and relevant to our profession, but with a $6 toll going South (ouch.)

What are your favorite names? Feel free to comment!

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March 28, 2017

Get the Special Jobs

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 8:03 am

I have one scheduled for the end of this week. (I guess that is somewhat meaningless as you don’t know when this is being written). Sorry. A special job is one that is: different, high paying, and probably requires integrity, experience and problem solving skills. As to those three requirements; they are attributes shared by my Notary Public readers, and to a lesser extent: me. I communicate with many of my peers; the vast majorities are “by the book”.

Back to integrity, experience and problem solving skills. As Jeremy has often commented, most Notaries laud themselves highly in their notes section. They are writing their own “feedback” and not writing about themselves. Sure, experience counts; and you probably have a lot. But, stressing the trivial in a boastful manner is not the answer. “I have completed thirty thousand loan packages without missing a single initial.” When I read that I think “You’re about due”.

Integrity can be demonstrated or advertised. It’s most often demonstrated by what you write in your communications. Do you stress the need for proper ID? Though at first thought it sounds improper to purchase proof of your integrity – it makes sense to do so. You pay a fee to earn the equivalent of the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval”. Most likely those with that seal had to pay for their product to be tested. Well, you want to “advertise” your integrity; so have yourself tested by NON-Notary based certification authorities. Your local Chamber of Commerce and the Better Business Bureau are obvious first choices. You’re not buying “integrity” – you are having your integrity checked and verified by already trusted authorities. To your prospective clients – if “they” say you are OK, “that’s good enough for me”.

My Special Job is about 50 miles away, more distant than I usually travel. It’s really a very simple assignment. I receive a package with a deed and a certified check. The deed gets notarized in the distant county (hmmmm, better be sure which it is) – and when that is completed the affiant gets the check. There can be no mistakes. Even though there is but one notarization, the distance puts it into the local area piggyback price range. I did suggest – yup – 123notary.com for a closer notary. Reply: I like your credentials.

This was not a repeat customer so there was no established trust. I was selected on the basis of my web site and my 123notary.com notes/reviews. By documenting qualifications, my client had no issue with “up front” PayPal; my requirement for any distant assignments. The client is paying over triple what an “unknown local notary” would charge. So I get to ride in the woods for a couple of hours, because he trusted the agencies that “vouched” for me.

Rock solid and reliable (in the mind of your prospective client) accreditations are what rings the bell. Take hiring a babysitter as an analogy. The baby is clearly more precious than any certified check. If at I-Baby-Sit.com there is the statement: no baby ever fell out the window or drank bleach in my care – would you want to hire them? Probably not. However, kudos from “name” associations that do more than collect a membership fee – that is what wins. Imagine yourself on “their” side. What would give you the confidence to prepay and trust a high dollar slightly unusual situation to a person you never met? Answer that, then apply it to yourself.

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March 27, 2017

So you’re, “certified”, certified by whom?

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills — admin @ 7:11 am

Many Notaries talk to me an proudly announce that they are “certified.” Or when I bring up our 123notary certification materials, I am immediately told that they don’t “need” my materials because they are already “certified.” There is no such thing as being “certified.” There are no government standards for who can be a certified signing agent. State governments can commission, recommission or decommission you, but not “certitify” you.

The NNA’s certification test is the most famous in the industry. However, NNA is an organization with its unique standards, training procedures, etc. Their methodology is NOT the same as other agencies and you need to specify that you are NNA certified if indeed you are NNA certified and not simply say, “certified.”

Those who pass the NNA’s certification test can only pass 123notary’s certification test 20% of the time based on historical averages. NNA has never decided to make its test harder because then their clients would fail miserably and they wouldn’t have hardly any “certified” members. I cannot say where to draw the line of how hard a test should be. However, if your test is too easy, it means a lot less to pass it.

123notary recognizes 123notary’s certification test. 123notary users (those who use our site to find Notaries) do not care if you are NNA certified. They will not give you more jobs if you are NNA certified. They want to see the little green 123notary certification icon because they understand the quality that it represents. They understand that 80% of Notaries who take my test fall on their face and injure their nose (and their pride.) If you advertise on our site and intend to continue doing so, it behooves you to pass our test no matter how difficult that endeavor might be.

The only other certification that is similar in quality standards to ours is Notary2Pro whose graduates are slightly better trained than ours simply because the owner over there specializes in training signing agents and puts more into it (not that we are slacking off.) On the other hand, Carmen at 123notary spends a lot of time mentoring people for free — talk about doing a good deed and getting good karma. Carmen spends so much effort helping people that I think a particular type of good karma should be named after her — Carmen Karma.

The bottom line is — if you advertise with 123notary, get certified by 123notary, otherwise your listing will not perform up to its full potential.

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March 26, 2017

Is it better to write off mileage or actual expenses?

Filed under: Business Tips — Tags: , — admin @ 9:50 pm

The Federal mileage deduction rate changes each year and is 54 cents a mile for tax year 2016. You can deduct your actual expenses such as gas, oil changes, tires, brakes, transmission and other repairs as a percentage of miles driven. Or you can deduct straight miles. If you own an economy car, you will get a better benefit from deducting using the standardized mileage rate which is in my case about triple what my actual expenses are since I drive a Toyota.

However, if you drive an inefficient car which has expensive parts, guzzles gas, and depreciates a lot every year, then consider both options.

As a Mobile Notary, you need to keep your mileage book updated every time you get in your car — what a pain. But, the deduction can wipe out perhaps 70% of your income leaving you owing hardly any tax! Additionally, you do not have to pay self-employment tax on Notary income (ask for the advice of an accountant and read the SE section of your tax book.) Unfortunately, there are no instructions for how to fill out the forms.

I was asked to fill out two schedule-C documents. One for the portion of my income that was notary income and the rest for mobile fee income which I did pay self-employment tax on.

This is complicated, no accountant will understand what to do, and the IRS will probably misguide you, so good luck and look forward to being audited. But, as a mobile notary, between the mileage deduction and no self-employment tax on notary income, you will owe less than half of what you would normally owe on the same income.

As a Notary, you can determine that in a signing of ten signatures — if your state allows $5 per signature you could arbitrarily decide that $50 of the income from the signing was for signatures and the rest for travel fee. In California with $15 per signature you could say that in many cases the whole signing was travel fees. Or just go through your notary journals at the end of the year and count up your various signatures and see how many there are. Do the math your way just as long as you do it correctly!

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March 24, 2017

Sharktank: Self-Driving Notary

Filed under: Sit-Coms — admin @ 8:02 am

DO YOUR JOB OR YOU COULD SEE THIS ON SHARK TANK!

First into the tank is a notary who plans to eliminate the competition.

CONTESTANT: Hello, sharks. My name is Jesse and I’m seeking $200,000 for 10% of my company, Self-Notary! Imagine eliminating the hassle of human beings showing up late for signings. Of making fun of your driver’s license picture ID. Well imagine no more! Self-Notary brings the future of automated transportation to your doorstep! So sharks, who’s ready to sign… on the dotted line?

MR. WONDERFUL: You’re talking about putting your fellow workers out of business. I’m sure they’ll want to sign all right. Your death certificate! How does this job-robbing invention of yours work?

CONTESTANT: A self-driving notary vehicle shows up at the client’s door. The signer puts his ID in the slot, scans his document, signs the online journal, puts his money in the dollar feed, and the machine sends the document.

DAYMOND: How does it get an oil change if it’s driverless?

CONTESTANT: An automated mechanic drives out to change it.

MR. WONDERFUL: You’re valuing your company at two million dollars. I assume there are SALES to report about. At least there better be.

CONTESTANT: We’re in pre-launch.

MARK: Oh. brother. And you expect us to pre-pay before we even know if it works?

LORI: What does it cost you to make, and what does it cost the client?

CONTESTANT: $100,000 a unit. And it costs the client a fee per signature plus a travel fee.

MR. WONDERFUL: That’s terrible. That’s a big nothing-burger. The day I get my money back on a deal like this is the day I need a haircut – which I haven’t needed since I became BALD! I’m out.

DAYMOND: After the notarization is finished, does the driverless car give the client a flourless cake as a thank you gift?

CONTESTANT: No, but that’s a great idea! My wife is a terrible gardener. We could eat the cake in her flower-less garden.

DAYMOND: It was MY great idea! I’m out.

BARBARA: I’ve been watching your presentation, and I think you’re a lousy salesman.

CONTESTANT: Would you swear to that?

BARBARA: Yes. But you wouldn’t be a credible witness.

LORI: So are you in, Barbara, or are you out?

BARBARA: I’m gonna make him an offer.

MR. WONDERFUL: You’re insane. I forbid you from murdering innocent money like that.

BARBARA: I’ll give you half the money you want, but you’re gonna need a lot of my help. I want 20% and I want another shark to go in on the deal.

LORI: I’ll go in on that deal with you, Barbara. 20% each. I deal with notaries who show up late all the time. I think there’s a market for automated notaries. And the human ones they put out of business can learn from the embarrassment of it and beat the automated notaries at their own game by signing up with the best of them on 123notary.com.

MR. WONDERFUL: What is this, product placement?

LORI: I get a few extra bucks for it. They don’t call me a shark for nothing. You better sign up on 123notary.com before the automated notaries do.

MR. WONDERFUL: You did it again?

LORI: Cha-ching.

Just then, the shark’s worst nightmare rolled in before their eyes!

MR. WONDERFUL: What is that monstrosity?

CONTESTANT: Oh, that’s the other product I’m working on. That’s automated you, Mr. Wonderful! Self-driving Shark!

BARBARA: Looks just like him. Especially the chrome dome.

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March 23, 2017

The 3 day right to rescind

Filed under: (4) Documents,Loan Signing 101 — admin @ 8:00 am

This article intends to clarify dating on the Notice of Right to Cancel or RTC.

A borrower went to confession

TOM: “Forgive me father for I have rescinded.”

PADRE: “Did you rescind in the 3 day period?”

TOM: “Yes, father.”

PADRE: “Then, it is okay in the eyes of the lord. 3 hail Mary’s.”

TOM: “It was in two days, so can you reduce my sentence to 2 hail Mary’s?”

When you get a non-commercial and non-investment personal refinance, traditionally you get three days to resind or cancel your loan. Counties these three days is a skill that Notaries need, but don’t always have. In the old days, and with certain lenders, the Notary is reponsible to write in the TRANSACTION DATE in a blank in the RTC.

The transaction date is the date when a notarization is done or when a loan is signed. Technically with Acknowledged signatures, the signature can be made previous to the Notarization. It might be five minutes previously or twenty years previous to the notarization. During loan signings, the documents are normally signed at the time of the loan signing and promptly notarized.

The signature date is normally the same as the transaction date, but not necessarily and is the date the person signed the document. Once again, in an Acknowledgment, that could come before the notarization if the borrower wishes to sign ahead of time, but at a loan signing is normally on the date of the loan signing.

The notarization date is the date when a document is notarized.

The recission date or deadline or last day to rescind is three days after the date of the signing not including Sundays or Federal hollidays or other days that the Lender allows.

Please note that business days only include Monday to Friday while days to rescind include Monday to Saturday not including Federal Holidays of which there are ten.

Let’s do some practice runs.

(1.) A loan is signed New Year’s eve on Friday the 31st. What is the last day to cancel your Refinance?
Sat would be New Year’s Day a Federal holiday. Sunday would be a Sunday and not counted. So, you would have… Mon, Tues, Wednesday would be the last day.

(2.) A loan is signed on Monday in April when there are no Federal holidays. The last day to cancel is… Tues, Weds, Thursday would be the last day.

(3.) A loan is signed on Sunday in April. The last day to cancel is… Mon, Tues, Wednesday would be the last day to cancel.

(4.) A loan is signed on Thursday in April. The last day to cancel is… Fri, Sat, skip Sunday and Monday would be the last day to cancel.

(5.) A loan is signed Wednesday before Thanksgiving. The last day to cancel would be… Fri, Sat, skip sunday and then Monday would be the last day to cancel UNLESS the Lender allows Friday as an arbitrary holiday (they can be generous if they like) in which case it would be… Sat, Mon, and Tuesday would be the last day to cancel. Whether Black Friday is considered a holiday or not is up to the Lender and they are 50/50 on this one. But, if they don’t specify, then it is considered a regular business day with exceptionally long lines!

Now boys and girls, we understand the RTC or Notice of Right to Cancel. We hope you are also aware of when the ten Federal holidays come. It is not a bad idea to have a Rescission Calendar. I heard that the NNA might have them, so get one that fits in your wallet.

What’s in YOUR wallet?

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March 22, 2017

Notaries with the same name – drama!

Filed under: General Stories — admin @ 7:59 am

We had several situations where there was a small drama because more than one Notary had the same name.

In one instance, a Notary in Michigan named John Smith got the check for a Notary also named John Smith in Alabama. They had the same name. The Michigan John Smith deposited the check too.

In another instance a Notary who had been offline was put back online. The Florida Melody Smith was put back online. Then Melody Smith emailed me to let me know that she was still not online. Then I took a closer look and realized that there was a California Melody Smith as well who was not online. Ooops! So, I put California Melody Smith online and explained my mistake.

Then, we had a new Notary named Howard Lee. I was horribly afraid because I had had a roommate named Howard Lee. What if it were the same person? They were both in California. Gasp!!! However, my heartrate went down when I learned that Notary Howard Lee indicated Korean as a second language, where the ex-roommate who wanted to kill me because of a lie his girlfriend told him spoke Chinese.

In another instance Samantha Cornfield got the other Samantha Cornfield’s password. Ooops — security breach. She emailed me and I sent the password for a completely different person with the same name.

The moral of the story is that I need to really be more careful and check people’s email address when they contact me because email addresses are unique, but there could be infinite numbers of people with the same personal name.

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March 21, 2017

When to refuse a notarization: a comprehensive guide

Filed under: Technical & Legal — Tags: , — admin @ 9:38 pm

Most clients you have will have legal requests, but from time to time, there will be someone who wants you to bend the law, or someone who doesn’t understand proper protocol. Here is how to handle the difficult requests.

Situations where a signer is not appropriate to notarize
(1) If you cannot prove the signer’s identity with satisfactory evidence. Some states allow personal knowledge of the signer, so please study your state rules. Satisfactory evidence normally involves current, or near current driver’s licenses, passports, or other government issued ID. Each state has different variations on what is acceptable, so know your state rules!

(2) If the signer doesn’t appear before you.
This means that they should be a few feet from you and fully visible.

(3) If you cannot communicate directly with the signer.
This means that the signer needs to speak the same language that you speak. If you speak the signer’s language as a second language, but don’t know it well enough to understand all of the communication necessary to give instructions and answer questions regarding the notarization, then you should decline.

(4) If the signer refuses to swear under Oath if an Oath is required as part of the notarization.

(5) If the signer is being coerced to sign or pressured to sign.

(6) If the signer is drugged (perhaps in a nursing home or hospital,) confused, or disoriented. If they can’t answer basic questions about the document, they are not in a clear enough mental state to sign.

(7) If the journal entry requires a thumbprint by law and the signer refuses to furnish you with one.

(8) If the signer refuses to pay the Notary fee

(9) If the signer is so incapacitated that they cannot sign their own signature.

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Situations where the document is not satisfactory

(1) If there are blanks, or omitted pages in the document.

(2) The document lacks a notary certificate and the signer refuses to tell you which type of notary act they need done.

(3) The document is a vital record, or a type of document that may not be notarized or be copy certified.

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Situations where the Notary cannot notarize due to conflict of interest

(1) If the signer is your parent, spouse, child, or other close family member. It might be okay to notarize for cousins and more distant relatives although it is generally better to avoid notarizing anything important for a family member due to conflict of interest.

(2) If you are named as a beneficiary in a document or have any type of financial interest in the document being signed.

(3) If you are the signer of the document, you may not notarize your own signature (contradictory to popular belief.)

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I created this blog because of a discussion I had with a Notary who went to another Notary at a UPS store to get notarized. The Notary refuseed to notarize because the signer (also a Notary) refused to be thumbprinted. I had to look this up. California state law did not discuss the issue, but did say it was illegal for a Notary to refuse service. I researched what NNA had to say about this issue and they concured with California in an article about when to say no. In any case, I hope this article was helpful.

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