August 2017 - Notary Blog - Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice - 123notary.com
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August 30, 2017

Attorneys bullying Notaries — when does it end?

I get a call from an attorneys assistant in Kentucky. (this office had used me a couple of times previously and had been happy with my work). On this occasion they had a power of attorney- purchase assignment and wanted my assistance. We agreed to a handsome fee. I received the email confirmation of time and place and I call borrower to confirm. I receive the documents a couple of days day before the assignment and as I am going through the notary instructions, i see references made to the notary acknowledgement wording. It states that I must NOT correct or modify the notarial wording on the Mortgage/Deed, (I just love how these folks love to tell us how to do our jobs) as there had been problems with other transactions in the past and they had trouble recording the deeds that had been modified. It was also suggested that I was free to attach my California compliant acknowledgement if I wish but I MUST also complete the notary certificate that they had already partially filled out. (another no-no in my book) I go to the mortgage/deed and it reads: John Doe as Power of Attorney for Mary Doe as her Attorney In Fact. Now, for us California notaries we cannot ‘certify’ a capacity. This means that everything must go but the name of the person that is appearing before us. In this particular case it is ‘John Doe’ and nothing else.

I call the attorneys office and explain this to the assistant and she said I must do it her way because it will not record. She says she is aware of our rules but insist that they have had problems in the past with the recorders office and that I can also, in addition to notarizing the pre-typed acknowledgement add an acknowledgement if I choose too. I tell her that would mean that I was notarizing everything twice and that was not going to happen. I give her 2 choices: 1. I can line through the unacceptable verbiage and initial or 2. I can cross the whole acknowledgement out and then attach a fresh acknowledgement. Her choice. We go back and forth. We are at a standstill. I go to our Secretary of States website and print out and scan to them the section that prohibits us from certifying a capacity. But that still is not enough for them. I start receiving angry calls from the others in the attorneys office as well as the lenders loan officer. All were insisting-even demanding that I do it their way. Frustrated, I told them to just find someone else. They ignored this request and I assume it is because they knew they would have this same problem with another notary.

At this point, I am really at my wits end and I decide that I should call the County Clerk in Kentucky and see what they have to say about this situation. I ask to speak with a supervisor. I tell her my story and she tells me that she has no idea why they felt that it wouldn’t record. She said that her office is very aware of the different notarial procedures by state and she assured me that the mortgage/deed would record. I emailed all parties involved the supervisor’s name and number.
No-one replied.

On the day of the signing, since they refused to choose whether they wanted a fresh acknowledgement or for me to line through the Power of attorney verbiage and initial. I choose for them. I choose option No. 2. and I attached fresh acknowledgements throughout the package replacing theirs. A much cleaner method.

Moral of the story-I stood my ground. I refused to let folks intimidate/bully me to do something that was illegal for me and my state. Notaries you need to know your notary laws and your do’s and don’ts! Now, although this attorney office never called again and I lost a good paying account, I did what I was supposed to do. I did my job.

.

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The ultimate recipient
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Power of Attorney of the Future
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The war between men and women Notaries
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3693

Compilation of posts about Notary fraud
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21527

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August 27, 2017

How many journal entries do you use for two signers on three documents?

Filed under: Journals — Tags: , — admin @ 11:51 pm

Many states don’t require a journal. However, your journal is your only evidence if you are investigated. As a Notary, for every 3000 Notary appointments (not acts) you do, you will probably be investigated once based on my personal experience. If fraud is involved on anybody’s part and you don’t have a journal entry, you will have no evidence and could be pulled into court for weeks which would result in your loss of income.

Additionally, we recommend the use of thumbprints in your journal for all critical notarizations, especially those involving Power of Attorney documents Living Wills, or Deeds affecting real estate. It only takes a few seconds to thumbprint someone. A thumbprint cannot be faked, but ID can, so you have no reason not to take thumbprints, and plenty of security related reasons to do so. NNA sells inkless thumbprinters for about $15.

If your state doesn’t require journals, use one anyway for your protection.

Back to the question. If there are TWO signers and THREE documents, you will need SIX journal entries. One per document per signer. What some Notaries do is they create one journal entry per signer and then indicate a list of all the notarized documents they signed. This is wrong and perhaps illegal. Not only is it bad to only create one journal entry per signer, but you might forget to add a document, or if there are cross outs after the fact it will look very sketchy.

However, you don’t need to write all of the info for each journal entry. The signer’s name, address, and ID information can be copied by putting a down arrow or “ditto” quotation marks. However, legally, the signer needs to sign for each document that is notarized and the name of the document, date, time, and type of notary act needs to be indicated for each document.

Additionally, there is an “additional notes” section of each journal entry near the right. If the building looks unusual you can take notes about the building. If the signer is acting weird or looks weird or has a tattoo on his neck or anything else unusual, you should write that in your journal to jog your memory if you ever have to go to court.

I did about 7000 Notary appointments and they all became a blurr to me. The only people I remember were Gary, the guy who blew up his apartment while experimenting with explosives (not a good idea) and a Korean lady who had me notarize the sales of her massage parlors (she paid cash). I also remember Dr. Kwak (pronounced Dr. Quack) who was an acupuncturist. I vaguely remember an impatient rich guy who lived in West Hollywood, did business deals in his pajamas, and played golf. And of course Mr. Yee the Attorney who had me do all of the Health Care Directives each with 80 pages of which I embossed every single page every single time to be prudent.

So, the moral of the story is that if you don’t know how to use your journal like a pro, the NNA has tutorials that you can purchase, and they are highly recommended as they could keep you out of court (or jail.) Or both!

.

You might also like:

What entities might want to see your journal?
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NNA – what every notary needs to know about notary journals
https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2014/10/what-every-notary-needs-to-know-about-journals

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August 24, 2017

Letter to Donald Trump about the sad condition of American Notaries

Filed under: General Articles — admin @ 12:56 am

Dear Donald Trump,
I run a nationwide Notary Public directory called 123notary.com and have some sad commentary about the general state of affiairs in the Notary industry. The most pressing is the dismal quality of the knowledge of general Notaries about their rights and responsibilities as well as the poor level of screening that the state notary divisions engage in.

Since you have entered office, my personality has changed. According to feng-shui principles the members of an organization tend to take after the leader of the organization in some subtle or not so subtle ways. Since April, I have been preverbially draining the swamp of “fake notaries.” Some people with absolutely no Notary knowledge whatsoever are commissioned by states run by idiots who will commission anyone — sad! What the states don’t realize is that bad Notaries are a danger to society by empowering and facilitating identity thieves. An improper notarization or improper bookkeeping at a notarization done by a shoddy Notary can make it easy for an identity thief to drain a person’s equity from their property, steal their property, or defraud people in other ways.

In a nutshell, the real problem is that the states do not screen their applicants, do not educate applicants in all aspects of Notary education and do not have sensible testing either. California’s screening is far better than any other state, but still falls short of the mark as our local California Notaries do not always know how to explain notary acts, keep proper records, or which acts are legal versus illegal to do.

My solution is to suggest some Federal guidelines with Federal enforcement. Since the states don’t enforce proper notary procedure with the exception of California who audits journals (but, not anything else), it is necessary for the Feds to step in and add another thin, but intelligent layer of regulation to the industry. Here are my ideas.

1. Standardized Notary Education and Enforcement.
Many states have differing Notary Acts, and that is not a bad thing. However, if there would be a core of universal Notary Acts used in all states, territories, and military bases, that would make education and enforcement easier on a national level. The most critical elements to teach would include:

(a) Proper identification of signers
(b) Proper journal record keeping
(c) Oath giving (Notaries are required to do this but more often then not don’t know how or don’t bother)
(d) General understanding of Notary law, acts and procedures.

2. Reduction in the quantity of Notaries, with an increase in quality.
Judging the quality of Notaries might be hard for you to do, but I do it daily and have the art refined in certain ways. I will vouch for what I condsider the characteristics of a good Notary verses a bad one.

(a) An IQ of 100-120.
Being a Notary requires a certain amount of intelligence as a rudimentary knowledge of law, and applying the laws relating to Notary Public are required to perform the duties of Notary Public and faithfully discharge your duties lawfully while accepting lawful requests and declining illegal requests. Most Notaries do not correctly distinguish between what they are allowed to do and what is illegal and prefer to rely on what they feel comfortable with which is neither here nor there. Those unlawful Notaries need to be weeded out. Notaries that are too smart tend to leave the industry early and are not a detriment, but will not be likely to stick around.

(b) Attorney Notaries are not generally good Notaries.
Many states like the idea of having Attorneys do certain Notary functions such as loan signings. In my experience, Attorneys are over-priced, the least likely to be available, and also are the bottom of the bottom of the barrel in the legal world and are so incompetent that their average stupidity exceeds that of our average non-Attorney Notaries. I am not against Attorney Notaries providing they can pass a tough Notary test to prove their basic knowledge. Attorneys should also be declined any special privileges in the Notary world. In New York, I heard an Attorney can become a notary without a test at all which I feel is a mistake.

(c) A clerical background is desireable.
If someone has a background doing clerical work in a capacity which requires being picky and attentive to detail, that would be a good background for being a Notary Public. Notaries fill out certificates and journals and being nit-picky and anal precedes you as a good Notary. On the other hand a clerical background filled with clerical errors that have gone unnoticed for years would be a disaster.

(d) Being meticulous and having integrity.
Those who dot their i’s and cross their t’s are the types I would like to see as Notaries. Those who are ethical and care about safeguarding society are also idea. Having a generally good attitude matters too.

(e) Willingness to study and learn.
My biggest complaint about Notaires Public is that so few of them read their state’s Notary Handbook. If you aren’t willing to read your state’s laws and Notary rules, how on earth can you possibly enforce them?

3. Regular auditing of Notaries
Notaries need to know someone is watching them as few uphold the law. If Notaries are audited by a mystery person who appears to be a client, that client can ask them to do something seemingly illegal to trick them into incriminating themselves. This is the only reliable way to catch large quantities of bad Notaries. Having Notaries come to the county clerk for a pop quiz once a year is another highly recommended idea. The quiz should be hands on Notary work in addition to multiple choice questions. To audit all Notaries twice a year requires there to be less Notaries to audit.

4. Higher pay for Notaries
To attract good Notaries, there needs to be a good minimum wage for Notaries. I suggest $40 per appointment minimum on the East and West coasts and $30 in the interior states. Additionally, many Notaries travel and states should have minimum travel fees of $40 for appointments that are 30-60 minutes away plus waiting time. Travel fees should be paid in cash at the door or by paypal to eliminate what I call “Beneficial Interest” which is a term that depicts a person who is named in a document who stands to benefit from the document being signed in financial ways or by gaining privileges. By being a Notary whose travel fee is contingent on a document being signed, the Notary will be swayed to accept non-matching identification or comply with illegal requests so they will get their measely travel fee so they can pay their rent. Notaries who are poor are likely to bend the rules to ensure they get paid. Having travel fees paid up front as a matter of law will safeguard the public from Notaries having any semblence of beneficial or financial interest in a document or set of documents being signed.

5. Universal Notary Acts
Most states have Acknowledgments, Jurats, Oaths, Affirmations, and perhaps a few other acts such as Copy Certificaiton Safety Box Opening, Attestations, Witnessing, etc. The problem is that the rules for these acts are not always consistent across state lines which causes a lot of confusion especially to those of us who run nationwide Notary directories. I suggest these as universal acts.

WITNESSING
Some Notary acts require rigid identification rules. It would be nice for those who don’t have identification or don’t have identification with the correct name variation on it to be able to get notarized on informal documents in any case. Having a witness notarization with optional identification would be convenient without being a risk for identity fraud since the documents being witnesses would not concern large sums of money by definition.

A signer could:

(a) sign in the presence of the Notary in a witness notarization.
(b) Identification could be a choice of a thumbprint, an ID with a non-matching name, or an ID with a matching name.
(c) The description of the ID should ideally be documented on the Notary certificate for this act as well as the Official Journal of Notarial acts.

Some states already have an official notarial witnessing act. But, having universal and flexible standards would be wonderful.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Formal documents such as Deeds, Powers of Attorney and contracts normally use an Acknowledgment. Acknowledgments in most states require:

(a) The signer to be identified by the Notary using state approved types of ID cards such as passports, drivers licenses, etc.
(b) The signer has to acknowledge having signed the document in the physical presence of the Notary in a non-verbal way by presenting the document to the Notary with the request for it to be notarized.
(c) California requires the signer to be named in the document
(d) There is an Acknowledgment certificate which must be embedded in the document in question or added as a loose piece of paper and then stapled to the subject document.

The first issue with Acknowledgements on a national level is that there are six states which specifically require an Acknowledged signature to be signed in the presence of the Notary Public while the act intrinsically does not require this. The second issue is that Notaries in states that do NOT require the Acknowledged signature to be signed in the presence of the Notary typically require the document to be signed in their presence because they feel uncomfortable with the alternative. Notaries let their petty comfort related concerns supercede the law which is a problem that needs to be dealt with and enforced. This constitutes the denial of a legal request which by definition is not legal as Notaries Public must provide the public with Notary work for all legal requests unless (in particular states) there is some legitimate reason why the Notary feels that it would not be safe to notarize the person. Standardizing the rules of Acknowledgments makes a lot of senses as that single act constitutes 80% of Notary work nationwide. For those signatures that must be signed in the presence of a Notary, there are other acts such as Jurats and Witness notarizations that require that.

JURATS
Jurats are notarial acts where the signers must sign in the presence of the Notary Public and swear under Oath to the document in some way shape or form. Whether they swear to the truthfulness of the document, or whether or not they signed the document using their own free will, or whether they agree to the terms of the document could all reasonably be sworn to. Most Notaries omit the Oath or give an Oath which makes no sense under the circumstances which is unacceptable.

OATHS & AFFIRMATIONS
Most if not all states have these acts. However, some states (such as Florida) require a certificate for an Oath. If a certificate is to be required, it should indicate the nature of the Oath. Florida’s documentation of Oaths does not require any indication of what the Oath was about. There is no point in keeping paperwork if the paperwork has no pertinent information on it. As a former Notary, I will vouch for the importance of issuing certificates as it is a record for the customer to keep of what happend. The more critical information the merrier (without going overboard.) Notaries need to be taught how to administer good and relevant Oaths and Affirmations as 90% do not know the difference. Oaths use the word swear and normally mention God while Affirmations use the word Affirm or state and leave God out of it which is something that ultra-religious and athiests both agree upon.

6. Thumbprinting
Journal thumbprints are a matter of contention. California is the only state to require it for Deeds affecting real property and Powers of Attorney. Several of the Notaries listed with us were able to provide critical pieces of information to the FBI which helped nail identity thieves, ponzi schemers and other fraudulent menaces to society. Many companies and individuals object to being thumbprinted which creates pressure for the Notary to not thumbprint unless required to by law. Therefor, the only way to safeguard the equity in your real property from being syphened by identity thieves is to require journal thumbprints nationwide.

Since journals are NOT required in all states, it would be necessary to require journals in order to require journal thumbprinting. I recommend a thumbprint requirement for all notarizations of Deeds, Living Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Subordination Agreements, or notarizations where the identification did not completely match the signature on the document.

7. Proper Journal Entries
Most Notaries who I deal with keep a journal, but do not keep it correctly according to what I consider best practices to be. It is common for Notaries to enter multiple documents on a single journal entry which is signed once by the customer / signer. This is a bad practice because it would be possible for the Notary or someone else to add extra document names to the journal entry AFTER the signing was over which would constitute fraud. It would also be possible for someone to accuse the Notary of fraud when he/she did not engage in fraud with such shoddy bookkeeping practices. Therefor, it should be necessary by law to have one journal entry per signer per documents which would be six entries if you had two signers each signing three notarized documents at a particular appointment. The primary purpose of a journal is not to please the state where the notary is commissioned. The primary purpose is to please judges and investigators who use the journal as perhaps the primary or only piece of evidence in an identity fraud court case or investigation. The journal is the only evidence a Notary Public has of what Notary work they have done, so it behooves society to ensure that journals are filled out prudently, completely and correctly.

.

You might also like:

Letter to Donald Trump about the State of the Notary industry
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19908

Is Trump to blame for a Notary slowdown?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19138

If Trump hired you as a Notary, would you get fired?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19120

Letter to California Notary Division
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19939

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August 23, 2017

Letter to the NNA about Notary Testing

Filed under: Popular on Linked In,Popular Overall,Social Media — admin @ 12:10 am

Dear NNA,
It has come to my attention that the focus that both of our organizations have put on loan document knowledge seems to be a somewhat wasted focus for two reasons. First, the people we both have certified don’t know their loan documents that well. Second, Notaries tend to know their loan documents better than they know their Notary procedures.

When we get complaints about our Notaries, the complaints are normally that a Notary was rude, left someone high and dry after a botched signing not returning emails or calls, or that the notary made a Notary mistake (more common with beginners) or did not follow directions.

To certify someone as a loan signer who cannot function as a Notary is a mistake we have both made. I can show you many examples of individuals who have an intimate and flawless understanding of loan documents who cannot answer basic Notary questions.

For example, if you called your members up one by one and asked them the difference between an Acknowledgment and a Jurat two things would happen. First, they would be offended that you called them and second, 90% would not give a thorough or correct answer according to my findings.

Notary knowledge trumps loan signing knowledge as the most common errors that happen at a loan signing are notary errors. Notaries commonly stamp where they see the word “seal” whether there is notarial wording or not. Notaries stamp over wording. Many Notaries decline legal requests for foreign language notarizations in California. The most common misunderstanding is that in 44 states, an Acknowledged signature can be signed prior to appearing before the Notary Public. There are many other issues as well.

The main point of this letter is to let you know that we are testing people on the wrong things. We need to know if someone is a good Notary and if they have a good attitude first. If they don’t know the difference between an Occupancy Affidavit and a Compliance Agreement, that will probably not come back to haunt anyone. But, if you identify someone incorrectly and notarize someone with an ID that says John Smith as John W Smith simply becuase you are “supposed to” have the person sign as their named is typed in the document, you could end up in court on an identity theft case for months without pay, and possibly be named as a defendent in addition to merely being a witness.

Last but not least, journal thumbprints are a hot topic of debate among myself and the Notaries. Many Notaries are being discouraged from taking thumbprints simply because it seems invasive or offensive to some Notary customers. However, the thumbprint has been the one piece of information that has helped the FBI nail some really scary ponzi schemers and identity thiefs. Not all states require journal thumbprints yet, but people who lead Notary organizations should do more to encourage people to take thumbprints as a measure to protect society from frauds.

Thumbprinting should be encouraged by scaring Notaries into realizing that without a thumbprint, they might be in court for a very long time, or named as a defendent and conspirator in an identity theft ring. Unlikely or not, the truth is that the FBI does treat Notaries like suspects as a matter of practice whenever anything goes wrong that requires their attention. Keeping good records is a way to wrap up situations quickly and without being blamed as a shoddy record keeper.

So, let’s both invest more in testing Notaries better on what really matters which is the fact that Notary knowledge takes precident over loan signing knowledge, and that following directions, getting back to people and being nice in the face of adversity are the most important things! Knowing the details of the Correction Agreement is actually the least important thing to know. According to lenders I know, the POA is the only document in a loan package which they stress that I test people on!

Thanks for your support, and I recommend your Notary educational products to all although I am out of touch with what the current names for your courses are as I studied from you in 1997. I think the Notary Essentials is what people have mentioned they were studying.

.

You might also like:

My bad karma from testing people by phone
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19447

But, I’m not comfortable answering questions over the phone
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19646

10 reasons why the State Notary divisions should be nationalized
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19487

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August 22, 2017

Oaths — how Notaries completely screw them up!

Oaths are an official Notarial act in all states if my memory serves correctly. Oaths unfortunately are very misunderstood and generally poorly administered if administered at all. So, let me straighten out some common problems that I have seen with Oaths.

By definition, all Jurat Notary Acts must include an Oath. A Jurat is a Notary Act with a written statement and an Oath. The documentation of the Oath has verbiage such as, “Subscribed and sworn to before me ______ on this ______ (date) by _____ (name of affiant).” There are various problems that occur here. Oaths also can occur as independent and purely oral acts.

1. Omission of Oath
Most Notaries omit the required Oath for a Jurat. In California, your commission can be suspended, revoked, or terminated by omitting an Oath and you can also be fined $750 per incident. Other states do not teach Oaths, not fine you if you forget to administer it which is exactly why most out of state Notaries simply don’t do the Oath. Nobody is putting a gun to their head, so why should they unless they have integrity which they usually don’t have according to my recent findings. Sad!

2. The word Swear omitted.
When administering an Oath, you must use the word swear, otherwise in my book it is not an Oath. A good Oath requires the signer to raise their right hand, the word solemnly should ideally be used before the word swear (for good form), the phrase, “under the penalty of perjury” could also be used, and the clause, “So help you God” should also be used. Although there is no prescribed Oath verbiage, if you don’t swear, it isn’t an Oath. Some Notaries prefer to affirm, state, acknowledge or attest rather than using the word swear since swearing offends the ultra-religious and ultra-athiest members of the public. So, for those who don’t want to swear, don’t use an Oath — use an affirmation instead which does not mention God or swearing.

3. What if people don’t want to use the word swear?
Some people find it offensive to use the word swear or God in an Oath. For them, you use the sister act which is an Affirmation which is allowed in most if not all states. But, don’t confuse the two acts even though they are interchangeable — they are not the same thing and you can not cross use the verbiage for one act on another. If you Oath you swear and if you do an Affirmation, you Affirm. You do not affirm with an Oath.

4. Using exchangeable verbiage.
Some states allow or prescribe verbiage such as, “Do you solemnly swear or affirm that the contents of this document are true and correct?” That is acceptable to me as an Oath because you used the word Swear even though you had alternate verbiage. But, you did not omit swear to only use the alternate verbiage which would disqualify the act as an Oath.

5. Court Oath vs. Jurat Oath.
There are many types of Oaths out there. You can swear people into court, solemnize a marriage, swear someone into office, or have them swear to a document. Notaries should PRACTICE the various types of Oaths so that they can master each type and not confuse them otherwise the Notary will look like an idiot (this happens a lot with our members.) It is common for me to ask for an Oath for a document and the Notary says, “Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?” I say, “I do, but can we now say an Oath for my document?” That is not a document Oath, that is a swearing you into court Oath.

6. Swearing that I voluntarily signed a document
Many Notaries will have me swear that I voluntarily signed a document. This is required in many instances in Massachusetts, however, swearing that I signed a document is not necessary in most states since the Notary watched the person sign, and making sure you signed voluntarily has never been an issue for anybody I know. If you were under duress, would you suddently tell the Notary simply because he asked or would you get nervous? Hmmm. There is no harm in asking if I signed a document on my own free will, so long as you don’t forget to give Oath verbiage about the document in Jurat Oath where the point of the Oath is to swear to facts contained in the document.

7. Swearing that I am the person in my ID
This is ridiculous. If I were an identity fraud, would I say that the ID was not mine? Many Notaries administer an Oath on my ID when I ask them to do an Oath on my document. The ID is not the document — get it straight.

8. Omitting the word document
If you are doing a Jurat Oath but give an Oath that “the information” is true and correct doesn’t cut it. If you are giving an Oath about a particular document, you must reference the document somehow. “Do you solemnly swear that the contents of the document before you are true and correct to the best of your knowledge, so help you God?” That would be an acceptable Oath because you are swearing, and swearing to a particular document rather than to thin air.

9. Relying on cheat sheets.
Many Notaries can only do an Oath when they have their recommended wording from their state with them. If for any reason they should lose the cheat sheet, they would not be able to lawfully conduct their duties as Notary Public. If you practice giving Oaths, you can give them by heard. Additionally, many Notaries give inapplicable Oaths as I mentioned above, so relying on reading text that you don’t understand the meaning of is useless. You need to understand the meaning and significance of the Oath you are giving otherwise it serves no intrinsic purpose.

10. Subscribed and Sworn.
Many Notaries say, “Subsribed and sworn to this ____ day of ___” when I ask them to deliver an Oath. That is the written documentation that an Oath took place. It is NOT the Oath itself. Oath wording typically starts with, “Do you solemnly swear…” and you should have the person raise their right hand.

11. A Jurat is not an Oath
Oath is to Jurat what Motor is to Automobile. A Jurat has an Oath, but a Jurat is not an Oath. An Oath can be an independent Notarial act which in most states has no written certificate. Florida has a useless certificate which says there was an Oath, but doesn’t give any indication of what was sworn to or the type of Oath. You might as well not have paperwork if it is that lame.

12. Notary Acts
When I ask people to name some Notary acts, most people claim not to know what I am talking about. They commonly mention Acknowledgments and Jurats. Few mention Oaths. Oaths and Affirmations are Official Notarial Acts in all or nearly all states. Notaries are required by law to administer Oaths if the public requests them from you. If you have never been asked to do one, that doesn’t preclude the possibility that you will be asked to do one. You are also not exempt from the responsibility of knowing how to administer one. If you are a commissioned Notary Public, you are responsible to administer Oaths, and correct sounding relevant Oaths, otherwise your state has the right to decommission you — and in my opinion they should.

MY RECOMMENDATIONS

Here is some standard Oath wording I like for documents.
“Do you solemnly swear under the penalty of perjury that the information in this document is true and correct to the best of your knowledge and that you agree to and will abide by the terms — if any in the document, so help you God?”
Please notice that I mentioned terms. What good is swearing to an agreement if you only agree that the agreement is true? The point of an agreement is that you agree to the agreement and will follow the terms of the agreement. Having a “useful” Oath rather than a correct but “useless” Oath makes a lot of sense. If your Oath serves no purpose, then why give one?

BAD OATHS
Here are some examples of wrong Oaths for Jurat documents for your reading pleasure.

“Do you acknowledge that this is correct?”
“Do you affirm that the document is correct?”
“Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you God?”
“Subscribed and Sworn to before me.”
“Do you solemnly swear that this is your true ID?”

OKAY OATHS
“Do you swear that the foregoing is correct?”
“Do you solemnly swear that the document in front of you is true and correct to the best of your knowledge?”

COMMENTARY
Most states do not teach the art of Oath giving, but they should. Notaries are required by law to administer Oaths, yet the majority of Notaries either give no Oath, inapplicable Oaths, or poorly worded Oaths while others rely on cheat sheets which is bad. Using cheat sheets is okay, but relying exclusively on some standardized wording for Jurat Oaths is not acceptable. There are situations where there is REQUIRED prescribed wording where you have to use that particular wording. In such a circumstance it is okay to rely on particular wording. However, for Jurat Oaths, you should be able to make up an Oath, otherwise I will fail you.

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You might also like:

Notary Public 101 guide to Oaths, Affirmations, Jurats & Acknowledgments
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Airline meals vs. Oaths & Affirmations
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19549

Affirmations – pleasing the politically correct while offending the traditional people.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19606

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August 16, 2017

Let’s stop undercutting each other….

Filed under: Carmen Towles,Popular on Linked In — admin @ 11:45 pm

I won’t name names. I don’t do that. You know who you are. But once again, it has come to my attention that someone in my area is undercutting our fees for general notary work. In our area (Los Angeles) most of us have fees that are pretty much unified. Fees generally will only vary by type of assignment (loan, general notary work, etc) and any special requests. But we have a defector, lol. Maybe they don’t know that they are selling themselves short. Maybe they don’t know that they can get and are worth more. But 25.00 travel fee is VERY low for the Los Angeles/Santa Monica area. Just think of the time, traffic and gas. Think of what it costs you just to be a notary and stay in business. You can’t make any money at that rate. Every state and county will be different. But, no matter your area if if you all stick together everyone wins.

I remember on 3 occasions in the late 90’s, I needed to have mobile/traveling notary services for my ailing mother. I was not a notary public at this time. All the notaries that we used (who didn’t even know each other btw) charged 50 travel fee. That was over 15 years ago. Currently, most of us are at 60.00 for travel.with a few others even higher at 75.00 just for travel. IMO, this is quite modest considering, time and gas, wear and tear on your vehicle. Remember people time is money. Ask yourself what is your time worth? If you need the service, the convenience of having a notary to come to you at your connivence is ‘priceless’. I know this to be true as my clients tell me this daily. They love and appreciate it. Know your worth and your value. I know mine.

Think about it…

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A compilation of posts about Notary pricing
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Comedic pricing from Apo-steal-of-a-deal to Zilch
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August 15, 2017

Which Dual Tray Printer do Notaries like? And what does 123notary say?

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 10:47 am

There was a conversation about Dual Tray Printers on the NNA Linked In page.

Nobody had a twin brother, but someone bought an older brother. That solves my problem of being an only child — buy a sibling. Available at Walmart and Amazon.

Recommendations by Notaries

Brother MFC-9970CDW. It’s a workhorse!

Brother MFC-8710DW. I’m happy with it.

Brother multifunction model is 8850

Brother 5200. and it’s AWESOME

Brother HL-L5200DW

Brother HL-L8350CDW and like it. It allows you to purchase the second tray separately (as an addition)

brother HL6180-dw I have tried many different ones this has been the best I ordered on Amazon

HP Laser Jet 4350 DUAL tray 10,000 per cartridge black only same as my Bank uses, it is a work Horse

Warning:
One Notary says that Brother printers aren’t easy to set up with a Mac.

123notary recommends
When starting out, a less expensive, but reliable printer might do the trick. But, if you get good business you should consider having two printers. A fast one for home and a small one with a good power source for your vehicle so you can print on the road which saves tons of time going home to print. Here is what we think you should look for:

1. A reliable brand.
Notaries in the business seem to like Brother best with HP as a second choice. Model numbers that experienced Notaries like are above.

2. Dual tray
means that the printer has two trays. You can use one tray for legal and the other for letter sized paper. Title companies prefer dual tray. It is more professional and means that you don’t need to use special software to sort out the different sizes of paper using a single tray.

3. Speed of printing.
You will be printing a lot if you do loan signing. If you do four packages a day that are 100 pages per package, and all need borrowers copies, that is 800 pages. If you have a printer that prints 45 pages per minute, your job will be done fast. Otherwise you will be sitting and watching for a very long time while your assignments print.

4. Replacement ink or toner
I do not use dual tray printers myself and have been out of the signing game for a long time. If you have a printer that uses ink, make sure you have a few good sources to get replacement ink, order in bulk, and have it in your pantry ready to go. Make sure it is affordable too, otherwise your yearly ink bill will be a tax deduction that is a little too good. If your printer has a toner cartridge, research replacement parts and their costs and how many pages it covers to estimate your costs over the life of the printer.

5. Repair
If you buy from a well-known brand, it will be easier to find places to repair your product. Hopefully, you will never need a repair. You might have a back up printer too just in case you have to leave your printer in the shop for a few days.

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Split PDFs into Letter & Legal separate PDFs

Split PDFs into Letter & Legal Separate PDFs

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August 13, 2017

The journals with check boxes? What does Jeremy say?

Filed under: Journals — admin @ 11:27 pm

Don’t use it!
Any time you check a box rather than writing something in by hand, you are risking making a mistake. You are dealing with legal documents here. Being a Notary is not the same as working for the circus. The consequences for a mistake could end you up in court.

Additionally, many document names have variations. If you check the box for an Errors and Omissions document where the real name is Errors and Omissions Compliance Agreement, you did not reference the correct document.

The more serious problem with check boxes is that many Notaries feel that the laws affecting proper journal filling procedure suddently change the minute you use the check box journal. Many Notaries feel you no longer have to obey the one document per entry law or principle. Not true! The principle is still the same. The signer or borrower has to sign for each journal entry and for each document in a separate journal entry — no exceptions and don’t cry about how much longer it will take you. You are Notaries, not clowns!

My suggestion is to use the regular NNA soft cover Official Journal of Notarial Acts. It is good for any type of Notary act, has room for a thumbprint, notes about the signer, room for credible witnesses, etc. It was all I ever needed and I went through about six dozen in my career.

I first saw a real journal with check boxes recently when Carmen showed me hers. She fills hers out by hand instead of checking boxes by the way (which is correct). However, the journal doesn’t mention that many choices of documents (only about 18) so if yours is a variation on a name of a document or not on the list you still need to write it by hand. The check boxes only encourage bad bookkeeping. So, no more check boxes. We don’t like it. It is not professional, safe or a good practice!

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You might also like:

Notary Public 101 – Journals
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19511

Do Notary Journals need to be kept under lock and key?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2461

What are Jeremy’s favorite blog entries?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18837

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August 12, 2017

Official New Standards at 123notary

Filed under: General Articles,Popular on Linked In,Popular Overall — Tags: , — admin @ 11:25 pm

After thinking long and hard, I have decided to have some notarial standards here at 123notary. As you know, we are a national organization based in California. We list Notaries throughout the nation. Since most of our Notaries are very weak on Notary knowledge and almost equally weak with loan signing knowledge, it behooves us to ask them questions from time to time to see if they know what they are doing. The more they assure me that they know what they are doing, the worse they do on my quiz. What a con job. But, I’ve heard it all a million times and don’t fall for it.

I have had it with Florida Notaries who shove it down my throat that their state doesn’t require journals and therefor it isn’t necessary. We have a handful of Notaries that are currently being investigated by the FBI, court system or criminal justice system and their journal was their only piece of evidence to defend them. Your change of ever showing up in court is probably only one in a thousand or perhaps 1% for a very busy Notary. But, why take chances. Do your homework and keep your records straight. We don’t want to list a bunch of unprofessional idiots. We want professional Notaries here, not stamperizers. A three year old can stamp documents, but does that make him a Notary? Many of the Notaries we list are not much more advanced than a three year old. And that is why I am requiring these new standards.

1. Identification — Proof of identity required for quizzing purposes.
Not all states require the Notary to prove a signer’s exact identity. Many states allow missing middle initials or don’t spell out exact identification requirements. 123notary requires Notaries to know how to PROVE an identity. If the identification card does not prove the name you are notarizing, then you do not have proof. i.e. if the name on the document is John W. Smith, but the ID says John Smith, then you cannot notarize him according to best practices under the name on the document as you cannot prove the person is John W. Smith. In real life, our Notaries can do whatever their states require, but for quizzes, they must answer according to our standards which match the NNA for identification standards.

All Notaries listed on 123notary must know how to adequately prove a signer’s identity using identification documents. We also strongly suggest journal thumbprints as that is the only way the FBI can catch someone with a fake ID. You must know the more than but not less than rule correctly. Most Notaries scramble the rule and it does more harm than good.

2. Journals — Required
Not all states require journals, but 123notary requires you to know how to fill out out correctly. Our standard is one journal entry per person per document. So two people signing three documents each would be six journal entries. We also do not accept journals with check boxes for loan document names. So, don’t use one as they create more room for errors.

3. Oaths
All states require Notaries to administer Oaths for Jurats, and do purely verbal Oaths and Affirmations as well. However, most Notaries we talk to get very confused when we ask them to do an Oath. If they did their Oaths daily as required, the Oath verbiage would flow off their tongue. Most either don’t do Oaths or have to look up the suggested verbiage. There is nothing wrong with reading from a script, but you are required to improvise from time to time, so if you don’t know how — you are in trouble.

4. Acknowledgments & Jurats
You have to know the rules for both Notary acts.

5. Certificates
You need to understand the parts and compontents of Notary certificates, as well as the rules for filling them out.

6. General Notary rules and knowledge.
Yes, there are rules that change across state lines, but you need to know the powers of a Notary and general rules.

I am sick and tired of how hard it is to just get a Notary to know their job and do their job. Carmen doesn’t like this either. If you can’t function as a Notary, you cannot be a loan signer.

123notary reserves the right to quiz you on Notary knowledge. If you don’t comply with our questions or get the answers wrong, you will lose points in our point system. If you get less than an acceptable percentage, we reserve the right to suspend you until you study for at least ten hours and learn to do a better job as a Notary.

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Industry standards according to Ken
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15166

Industry standards in the Notary business
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August 8, 2017

What is someone signs in the wrong line in my Notary book?

Filed under: Technical & Legal — admin @ 9:57 am

We recently got a bunch of questions from newer Notaries about journals which were interesting. Here are the questions and my commentary.

1. What if someone signs in the wrong line in my Notary book?
If someone signs in the wrong line in your Notary journal, this poses a problem. If they signed above the journal entry in someone else’s entry, if it covers the other signature, that is a problem. Just cross out the wrong signature without defacing the signature that belongs there. On the other hand, if someone signs below in a blank journal entry, just cross the entire line of journal entry out and have them sign in the correct place. If you are doing a husband and wife notarization and you fill out your journal for all of the loan documents for each signer — and the husband signs where the wife is supposed to sign (but hasn’t yet) just cross out the entire entry, make a note of what happened in the journal and make a new entry for the one that got botched.

It is better to watch signers and use your finger to point to where they are supposed to sign as they will likely sign in the wrong place.

2. What if someone forgets to sign my Notary Journal?
If you are doing a notarization, you need to fill out your Notary journal BEFORE you stamp anything. Yes, you can fill out the Acknowledgment and Jurat forms before the notarization or before the person signs or swears under Oath. But, you cannot complete the notarization by signing your signature to the certificate or stamping until the person has signed your journal and the corresponding document.

If you make a mistake and forget to have someone sign your journal — call them up and go back. Get them to sign after the fact. That is better than not getting a signature at all. Tell them that their notarization could get “nullified” or not recognized if there is no signature in your book. In real life, a Notarization can only be “disqualified” after the fact if there is a formal investigation by an Attorney, investigator, Secretary of State, etc., who determines that the Notarization was done fraudulently or incompletely. So, you can scare them with this information and they will most likely be willing to sign your journal. However, don’t scare them unless they refuse to cooperate just to be polite!

3. What if I am signing two documents for two signers — how many journal entries?
Two documents that two signers will sign both of? That’s easy. That is two entries per person = FOUR journal entries. Just prepare all four journal entries with the name of each document and signer, plus all other pertinent and required information in each journal entry. Each person’s name will appear in two entries — one for each document.

Jan 1, 10am John Doe Ack Power of Attorney Address CA Dr. Lic 5553334 Exp.10-01-21 Fee… Signature Thumbprint
Jan 1, 10am John Doe Jurat Affidavit Ditto Ditto Fee… Signature. Thumbprint
Jan 1, 10am Sally Doe Ack Power of Attorney Address CA Dr. lic 1234566 Exp. 10-09-19 Fee. Signature. Thumbprint
Jan 1, 10am Sally Doe Jurat Affidavit Ditto Ditto Fee Signature … Thumbprint

You can NOT say ditto for the other signatures. Signatures must be signed. If your state law requires thumbprints on Powers of Attorney or Deeds, then do so for all entries for a Power of Attorney documents and Deeds. There is no penalty for always taking a thumbprint as it is prudent.

There is MORE… to be indicated in the journal entry than I indicated. Document Date, Notes about the signing that might help jog your memory after the fact.

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