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

Notary Public 101 — Review Quick Pointers

Filed under: Loan Signing 101 — Tags: — admin @ 4:34 am

Return to the table of contents page of Notary Public 101

Here are some review pointers. Rather than teaching in index format like I usually do, these are quick facts you need to know. Besides those other facts your embarrassed parents thought you didn’t need to know.

An Affiant is someone who signs an Affidavit and swears under Oath. A Harvey Weinstein is someone who signs a check to a woman to hush her up and swears under his breath.

An Attorney in Fact is another way of saying Agent or Grantee for a power of attorney. An Attorney in Fiction is another way of saying Perry Mason.

A certificate is a form a Notary uses for executing Acknowledgments, Jurats, and other Notary acts that require a certificate. Florida and Texas use certificates for Oaths while most other states do not. You can buy certificates in pad format from the NNA and other vendors. You should keep these in your notary bag at all times because you WILL be using them.

A Principal is the main person who signs an Power of Attorney or who is signing a document that is notarized using the Proof of Execution procedure. It just means the main person who signs a document. Consider it your Notary bag of tricks. The other kind of principal is the person you’re sent to when you’re caught chewing gum in class. Memories!

The Venue is the part of the certificate where you document the state and county where the notarization is taking place. It is also the physical location where you might be at any point in time, especially during a notarization. On the other hand, if you pick up a Notary in a bar, the venue could be your place or mine.

In an Acknowledgment, the signer must acknowledge having signed a document in the physical presence of the Notary Public, but does not need to sign in front of the Notary (although Lenders prefer that they do.) Some lenders I know also prefer that the well-known phrase, “Neither a borrower nor a lender be,” NOT be acknowledged, because it would mean they no longer be!

In a Jurat, the affiant or signer must sign and swear to the truthfulness of the written statement or document in the presence of the Notary which is evident based on the Jurat wording, “Subscribed and Sworn to BEFORE ME.” Note that acknowledgments do not include the before me part when referring to signing. They also don’t include any swear words, so the “sworn to me” part is confusing.

Your Seal must be clear, complete and not smudgy and not have light or missing corners or you will be hearing from the county recorder and might have to redo your work. Seals may look smudgy even if they aren’t, if you forgot to wear your contacts.

It is illegal to omit an Oath or Affirmation when executing a Jurat. Many Notaries say that they never have to administer Oaths in their state. I’m not sure whether or not to believe them. But, you need to know how to do an Oath if you see the words, “Subscribed and SWORN to before me.”

Oaths begin with the verbiage, “Do you solemnly swear…” If you omit the term swear, then the proceding is not an Oath. Oaths are made under God while Affirmations are made on your personal honor. If you’re Harvey Weinstein, the personal honor part doesn’t apply. I affirm that will be my last Harvey Weinstein joke.

Affirmations use the verb “affirm” or “state” but not swear. If you swear it is not an Affirmation and if you affirm it is not an Oath.

Oral statements do not get the same Oath as a written document or statement. Do you solemnly swear that the statement you are about to make is true and correct is a good Oath verbiage for an oral statement, but would be completely wrong for a document Oath for obvious reasons. Don’t let the fact that oral hygiene is good and documented hygiene is also good confuse you.

In your Notary Journal create one entry per person per document. If there are two signers each signing three notarized documents, then enter six entries. Each one signed by the corresponding signer. And keep journal thumbprints just in case someone gives you a fake ID. (If you’re a liquor store owner and someone gives you a fake ID, give them your thumbprint down!) Keep additional notes if there is more than one document with the same name such as escrow numbers, addresses, or anything to distinguish the documents.

The purpose in keeping a journal is not so much to please your state although many states require this, it is to please the FBI & Judges as they will be the ones inspecting your journal if something goes wrong. (However there’s no pleasing some people, like my old girlfriend who complained when I had the toilet paper roll under, not over, and also when I had it over, not under.) California audits journals from time to time too and they will suspend you if you keep a bad journal or no journal.

If the identification does not prove a person’s identity then that is a questionable and possibly illegal notarization. Think of all the trouble you could get yourself into taking liberties notarizing. You could end up in court as a defendant. The ID does not have to exactly match the signature, but the name in the signature must be provable based on the ID. i.e. the ID says John William Smith and the signature on the document says, John W Smith — then it is provable and you should be okay. If your ID says “John Doe” and you’re checking into a hotel with a harlot, it isn’t provable but you should be okay if you wear protection.

Identification for the purposes of notarization should be government issued photo ID’s and be current (some states have exceptions to the current part.) A Social Security card or AKA statement is NOT acceptable for a Notary to use to identify a signer or verify a middle initial. If Social Security runs out in 30 years, you can use that to identify millennials’ middle fingers.

A thumbprint is the most unique and reliable way of identifying someone as a supplemental form of identification. Use a photo ID as a primary ID and thumbprint in your journal. That way if you are ever investigated you will have hard bio-metric data to find dangerous criminals. If the criminal had his thumb blown off, you’re on your own.

When doing a POA signing with an Attorney in Fact, there are multiple ways an AIF can sign. John, as attorney in fact for Sue. Sue, by John her POA, etc. To choose the right variation is NOT YOUR JOB. There are perhaps eight legally acceptable ways of doing the verbiage. It is up to the LENDER to decide which variation they want. Rely exclusively on them for this as choosing a variation is a matter of preference, and the loan will not go through if you goof on this. If you goof on your younger siblings, it’s perfectly normal.

Do NOT send loose certificates in the mail. You could end up in jail as it could be attached to anything. Certificates must be stapled to the document they correspond to — period! Do not send loose women in the mail unless she’s going to Harvey Weinstein. Darn! Okay, I promise, that’s the last Weinstein joke!

Do not ask Lenders or title people for notary advice. They will tell you what they want you to do which is often illegal and for their short term benefit. Rely on your state government and NNA’s hotline for reliable Notary knowledge. Other people are NOT experts at Notary law and might lead you astray by accident or for their convenience. Don’t trust anybody except Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. They don’t exist? Okay, don’t even trust them!

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October 29, 2017

Multiple title companies told notaries NOT to thumbprint?

Filed under: Popular on Linked In,Technical & Legal — admin @ 1:00 am

When I ask Notaries to thumbprint, they tell me that title companies don’t want them to. I don’t want anyone to get fired. However, I don’t want the Notary to be named as a conspirator defendant in an identity theft case either. Most Notaries don’t want to do anything they are not forced to do, especially if the people who pay them do not want them to. The only solution is for 123notary to contact Title companies and explain why it is so critical to take thumbprints.

Thumbprints are the only way to catch identity thieves. And Lenders can lose thousands of dollars should an identity thief slip through the cracks and they do from time to time on loans. So, why would a title company want to prevent the FBI from catching the bad guys.

Should 123notary write to title companies and explain why this is so important? Maybe that is the only way they will listen. The Notary industry is screwed up, so it is up to us to turn it around, right?

You might also like:

Notice to title companies about thumbprinting
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19453

Must a thumbprint accompany a notarized document?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2289

Notary Public 101’s guide to Notary Journals
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19511

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October 26, 2017

My bad karma from testing people by phone

Ever since I have been bothering hundreds and thousands of Notaries by testing them by phone, I have had bad karmic consequences. All I want is quality control, and all I get is flack. I called more than 1000 Notaries to ask basic notary questions and document questions to see if they knew what they were doing. I got mostly complaining and wrong answers.

The results were that bad things kept happening to me.

The building maintenance guys came knocking on our door and insisted that the smoke detector was inspected. So, they decided to change it and now I am stuck with a much more attractive and shiny new smoke detector. What a bummer.

Next was that the building maintenance guys started knocking on our door again They claimed that our carpet was torn in the hall and that is was manditory that it was replaced. The next thing you know they put in this beautiful new carpet in our hall which doesn’t match the ugly beige carpet that has turned almost black from not being steam cleaned in a while. More bad luck.

Then, I went to New Mexico to receive the healing work of very benevolent shaman spirits who care for me. But, they did a little too much and now I wake up in the morning feeling ready to work for the first time in 33 years. No more sleeping late! I used to sleep until 1pm and could not fall asleep at night. That problem is over.

Next, a maintenance guy with a cocky attitude put new and beautiful caulk in my bathroom.

Then, another maintenance guy finally bolted my toilet down. It had been rocking for years.

And finally, maintenance finally fixed my squeeking door and greased the hinges.

Of all the bad luck. I guess that me fixing all of my Notaries (or kicking many of them off who are beyond help) is causing me to have the bad luck of other people fixing my broken things. But, what’s next? I can’t take this any more!

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You might also like:

The way you treat Jeremy might be the same way you treat Title
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19590

Why you don’t want to be a Notary in NW New Mexico
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18972

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October 25, 2017

Does 123notary have the authority to quiz people?

Filed under: Marketing Articles,Popular on Linked In — admin @ 1:05 am

In the old days, I had to quiz people by phone but got tired of it because people were so slow and didn’t know their stuff. Then, I invested in technology to test people, but so many people failed, or cheated on the test, that the results were not practical. Now, I am back to testing people by phone. Since most people won’t volunteer to be tested, I call them up and ask questions. Most people comply although the quality of their answers is horrible. But, people have questioned my authority. Here are some common complaints that I get normally from people who get 20% or less on my test and have anger issues.

1. Who do you think you are to ask me questions?
My response: If you are listed on my site I have the right to ask questions. If you don’t like it, ask me to remove your listing and I will.

2. Do you think you are the NNA?
My response: The NNA is a nationwide Notary organization. So are we. They do not call people and ask questions, but do remote testing for people who want to be tested as a Notary or Signing Agent. We at 123notary also have Signing Agent certifications, so we are similar to the NNA in many ways. We do many of the same things they do except that they sell supplies and we don’t.

3. You are not a state licensing agency.
My response: The states do such a bad job commissioning completely unqualified, incompetent people that I have to take over where the states left off which is educating people and testing them. I am not authorized by any state to teach Notary issues, however nobody who is qualified will lift a finger for me so I have to do the work myself and it is tedious. I am a web site licensing agency. I offer the license to be listed on my website and I will take it away from you if you can’t function as a Notary Public.

4. We are paying customers, therefor you don’t have the right to ask us anything.
My response: Your last payment was in 2014 which was three years ago. You now have a free listing. But, even if you were up to date in your payments, I have a reputation with the people who use our site. If everytime you went to 123notary you got horrible Notaries who ruined your loans and cost you thousands of dollars, you would avoid my site. If every time you used 123notary you got angry jerks who were rude to you, you would only use NotaryRotary or some other site. I have to have competent and polite Notaries on my site or people will stop coming. That means I have the necessity to ask you questions to verify your competence. And if I learn that you are not competent as a Notary Public, I should probably remove you although I remove very few people for incompetence.

However, I was auditing the people who passed my online test. Many cheated by memorizing the answers or having someone test for them. So, the only way to keep you certified is to ask a few questions by phone to make sure your phone score is consistent with your online score. If you got 90% online and a 60% phone score that is close enough, but what if you get a 20% phone score? If I give my certification to people who cheated, then the certification loses its meaning and becomes worthless. All I ask is that you passed legitimately and I do not want to test you every year like the NNA. They have their way and I have mine.

Just because you are paying me $99 per year doesn’t give you the right to ruin my reputation with users. And just as you pay to go to a restaurant you have to behave properly or they can throw you out. When you pay for an air ticket you sit down when the captain tells you to even though you are the one paying. When you pay to go to school you follow their rules. It is the same on 123notary. All we ask is that you maintain your listing and behave politely on the unusual occasion when I will ask you a few questions. I also request that you know how to be a competent Notary.

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You might also like:

Notary Public 101 Quiz Questions
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19520

Has anyone failed the notary exam?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1999

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October 24, 2017

More Notary Questions from Ken

Filed under: Ken Edelstein,Popular on Linked In — admin @ 12:36 am

You realize at the shipping depot that you forgot to double check the loan package. Upon inspection you notice that the borrower did not initial the signed signature page of the Note.

1. You make a copy of the page, email it to the borrower, requesting they initial it and FAX it to your employer, then you ship.
2. Knowing you will miss the drop off, you return to the borrower for the missing initials, and ship the next day, happy that the package is now complete.
3. Initials are not required on signed pages, so you ship with a post-it at the top of the package noting the missing initials.
4. You add the missing initials with a different color pen so they will know it was a notary correction then ship.

You are in Kansas and the property is in Montana. You have been directed to make no changes whatsoever to the docs. How do you notarize the Mortgage (State of Montana. County of Snow).

1. Leave the Venue as is, following directions to the letter, notarize directly on the Mortgage without any changes
2. Change the Venue to where the notarization takes place, crossing out the values and initialing the changes
3. Attach a new notarization to the Mortgage, ignoring the notary section that was preprinted.
4. Call the Title Company and do whatever they tell you to do.

The airbill appears fuzzy, you only have access to a dropbox, you were directed to make sure it is shipped same day.
1. It’s their airbill, use it and drop in the box.
2. Nobody answers (Signing Service, Title Co., etc.) so leave message and hold for instructions
3. Scan and email entire package to every email address involved and wait for instructions
4. Leave messages, scan & email & ship

Loan Officer sends you an email authorizing backdating the notarization to yesterday to preserve the borrower rate lock
1. Accommodate the request as you have proof that it was authorized
2. Ignore the backdate request and proceed using today’s date
3. Return (dump) the job
4. Let the borrower choose what date is to be used

Borrower signed in your place in the notary section
1. Start over using the appropriate page from the borrower copy
2. Strike and initial the error (notary & borrower initial) and sign nearby
3. Reversals are acceptable, you sign where the borrower normally signs
4. Strike and initial the error (only notary initials the strike) and sign nearby

You are 5 miles from borrower and freezing rain starts to accumulate; you gave your assurance this would be completed on time
1. You proceed to the borrower driving slowly and carefully
2. You call everyone to tell them you are dumping the job and heading home
3. Drive normally to borrower so you will not be late
4. You call borrower and tell them to meet by your house

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October 19, 2017

10 risks to being a Mobile Notary Public.

Filed under: Notary Mistakes — admin @ 12:59 am

Notarize at your own risk. Being a Notary is NOT safe!

Many of you think that being a Notary is an easy way to make a few extra bucks. Stamp a piece of paper, get $10, easy, right? Then you deal with nitpicky signing companies who make you fax things back and you get mad, right? That is an annoyance, but not the bigger problem. Being a Notary is dangerous, particular when you don’t do your job correctly. Most Notaries feel that you look at an ID and if it is close enough and the photo looks like the guy, that you are doing your job, right? Sort of. Here are some itemized risks to being a Notary Public.

1. Hoarders
If you go to someone’s house and they have things stacked to the ceiling, you might be in danger in their house. The signer doesn’t want to hurt you. It is just that they cannot control their psychological disease that causes them to engage in hoarding. My housemate is like this and she has stuff stacked to the ceiling which is dangerous and a fire hazard. Something could fall on you or you could get trapped in a fire.

2. Bio-hazards
Some homes that are not cleaned properly are dangerous. One house Carmen almost went into had some bacterial infection that would have gone straight to her lungs and caused her to go to the hospital. If a house smells funny, maybe you are not safe in there. If it is not ventillated properly, perhaps you should stay away. Poor hygene can be deadly, so be advised.

3. Dogs
Some neighborhoods have unsafe dogs around. Notaries could be harrassed or bitten by dogs. Carrying pepper spray or mace is not a bad idea.

4. Slummy neighbors
You might go to a signing in a bad area and people nearby might be hanging out who look unsavory. I am not sure if this is dangerous, but some people get upset.

5. Angry borrowers.
One Notary got pushed off a flight of stairs and broke her wrist. The borrower didn’t like his APR and I guess the Notary didn’t educate themself on how to give a professional explanation of the APR either. The borrower ended up in jail very quickly and the Notary healed in two months.

6. FBI and lawsuits
Roughly 2% of full-time Notaries will end up in court or with an FBI investigation for being involved with identity theft. If you do not keep a thorough journal with thumbprints and the right amount of journal entries, you are much more likely to be held in court as a witness, suspect, or cause yourself extended grief. Without a thumbprint, the investigators are often helpless to catch really really bad people. So, help them out and keep thumbprints. Do your part to safeguard mankind.

7. Getting sued by a borrower
One borrower got mad and sued the Lender, Title company and the Notary when the Notary had done nothing wrong. The Notary tried to use their E&O insurance, but the company wouldn’t pay out because the Notary had not made any error or omission. Of all the bad luck. So, the Notary lost $30,000 in legal fees. Talk about bad karma.

8. Getting sued by the bar association
If you life in an Attorney state and do loan signings without a law license, the bar association might come after you. Good grief.

9. Jeremy might phone quiz you.
Many Notaries who thought they had it together got a phone call from the infamous Jeremy (that’s me) and failed an over the phone quiz. They rationalized, “I’ve been doing this 30 years and therefore I know what I’m doing.” My rationalization is, “Not if you got 18% on my quiz which consists of very easy and every day notary questions.” You might not lose any money, but you could lose your dignity if you score less than 70%. So, study up!

10. Your seal could be stolen
It happened to me. I had to write to the Secretary of State. My car was broken into and I lost my seal, embosser and journal. What a tragedy. It took me two and a half weeks to be back in business. Think of all the money I lost not to mention the trauma of being robbed of my most prized possession — my inkless embosser that I used as a secondary seal to deter fraud! Boo-hoo.

There is also the risk of traffic accidents and having one of those talking GPS systems that talks back to you when you get in the wrong lane, but I won’t include details of those problems as they are common to all humans who drive and not just to Notaries. The end!

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You might also like:

13 ways to get sued as a Notary
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19614

Notary loses $4000 in legal fees because a fraud adds a name to a Notary Acknowledgment.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19477

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

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October 18, 2017

An identity fraud case in Florida with 13 defendants: 10 minutes w/a judge

Filed under: Popular on Linked In,Technical & Legal — admin @ 12:54 am

This case made the news and was going to be a Federal Case. There were 13 defendants named in this identity fraud case. The Notary had to spend a week filing out paperwork for court. Then she appeared before the judge in his private chamber. The judge spent ten minutes looking at the journal and filled out some forms and said, “Case dismissed.” The Notary did not have to go to court for a month or appear a second time. It was her journal that saved her butt.

The main defendant added a second name to a Deed and forged someone’s initial. An entire court battle just because of one forged signature. Don’t underestimate how dangerous notarizing Deeds can be, so take all the necessary precautions.

So, if you say, “But, my state doesn’t require me to keep a journal.” Ask yourself if you want to lose a month of your life trapped in court without pay.

Keeping a journal is not that hard, so don’t make a Federal case out of it otherwise you might be involved in a Federal case.

You might also like:

It could cost $20,000 in legal fees if you are named as an identity theft conspirator
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19481

$4000 in legal fees because fraud adds name to Acknowledgment certificate
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19477

10 risks to being a Mobile Notary Public
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19459

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October 17, 2017

Notary Public 101 — Quiz Questions

Return to Table of Contents for Notary Public 101.

QUIZ QUESTIONS

If you have studied our short but sweet Notary course, you might be ready for some sample questions. We alternate questions on our real test, but these questions will help you learn the knowledge concretely so you do well should we ever quiz you.

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1. What is/are the difference(s) between an Oath and an Affirmation?

2. What is the difference between an Acknowledgment and a Jurat?

3. Name all Notary acts allowed in your state.

4. Who has the final authority to decide what goes in the venue for an Acknowledgment certificate?

5. Can a borrower initial in an Acknowledgment if there is a change?

6. If you add a loose certificate, what precautions do you take to make sure it does not get added to a different document by accident or fraudulently?

7. If the FBI comes knocking on your door because you notarized someone with a fake ID, what piece of information will they want to see?

8. Which Notary act can the signer sign ten years before appearing before the Notary Public?

9. What is the difference between an Oath for a document (such as an Affidavit with a Jurat) and a purely oral statement?

10. If you are using a preprinted Acknowledgment filled out by the lender, after you inspect the boiler-plate wording with the he/she/they, the date, and the venue, what other things do you need to check on the acknowledgment form before signing and sealing?

11. What is wrong with the following Oath? “Do you affirm that the information you provided is true?”

12. Can you give an Oath that says, “Do you solemnly swear or affirm that your name is Mickey Mouse?”

13. Name two Notary acts that do not have a written document.

14. Name several Notary acts beginning with the letter A as their first letter.

15. What does, “Subscribed and sworn to before me” mean?

16. If you see the words, “Subscribed and sworn to before me BY,” then whose name goes after the by?

17. What is an affiant?

18. What is the technical term for state and county?

19. Name several situations where you might add a loose certificate.

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Notary Public 101 — POA, DOR, Dates, X

Return to the table of contents for Notary Public 101.

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ADDITIONAL TOPICS

These are really more loan signing topics, but I will include them in this basic Notary course since these are Notarized documents.

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POWER OF ATTORNEY

Notaries need to know the terms for the people involved in a Power of Attorney signing. The principal is the main person who signs the document who is the Grantor. This is the person who gives power of attorney to someone else to do tasks for him/her while he/she is incapacitated or out of the country. The Grantee is the same person as the Attorney in Fact or otherwise known as Agent. It is important to know these words and yes, we do test on them. However, at loan signings, people will do what is called a Power of Attorney signing. This happens when there is a completed Power of Attorney document and the Attorney in Fact will sign a loan on behalf of the principal. In these signings, they get rejected half the time for technicalities, so pay attention.

There are various ways for an Attorney in Fact to sign in their capacity.

John Smith as Attorney in Fact for Mary Smith
Mary Smith by John Smith, her Attorney in Fact.
John Smith POA for Mary Smith

There are more variations, but those are some common ones. The key thing to understand her is that:

The Lender decides the verbiage when you do a POA loan signing. The Notary might know the “correct” verbiage. However, legal information sites cite at least eight ways an AIF could sign in a POA signing that are all not BAD. The signing will be rejected if you do not sign exactly how the lender wants it. So, if there are no written instructions, ask the Lender.

How can I get a Power of Attorney Notarized?

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DEED OF RECONVEYANCE

The Deed of Reconveyance (DOR, not DOA by the way) is often signed by the Trustee and often has the term Trustee inscribed in the signature area instead of someone’s actual name which is very confusing and leads to trouble on a regular basis. Many Notaries have the borrower sign where it says trustee. Usually the trustee is a Lender, or might be the borrower in one of his capacities. If you are not sure who the Trustee is, then ask before you have someone sign there. It is safer to leave this form unsigned than guessing, otherwise you might cause a delay to the Lender and get fired. So, if you are not sure what to do, don’t have anyone sign where it says Trustee.

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DOCUMENT DATES

In the Notary world there are four types of dates. Transaction dates, rescission dates, document dates, and signature dates. The day you sign is the signature date and generally the transaction date. The rescission date is the last day to rescind. But, the document date is arbitrary and is created by the document drafter. It is normally either the day the document was drafted, the date it is intended to be signed, or an arbitrary date. There is no rule for what that date can be.

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SIGNATURE by X

If a signer is partially incapacitated and cannot sign their full name, many states will allow a Signature by X procedure. The procedure can vary state by state, but the way I was trained is as follows. The principal signs an X on the document and in your journal. There should be TWO SUBSCRIBING WITNESSES who witness the person sign. Witness #1 signs the person’s first name to the left of the X and witness #2 signs the person’s middle and last name to the right of the X. Do the same in the journal. Add a note to the document to let the readers and custodian know what happened as they might not be familiar with this procedure. Keep the phone numbers and ID info of the witnesses in your journal just in case.

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Notary Public 101 — Journals

Return to table of contents for Notary Public 101.

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NOTARY JOURNALS

Not all states require keeping an official journal of Notarial acts, but 123notary requires it as that is the only evidence you have should you go to court. There are identity thieves and cons all over the place. They might pretend to be a home owner to steal that person’s equity or con grandma into giving her fortune away to some crooks. If your notarization ever goes to court, your journal is the only record of what happened and who signed what, etc. Most Notaries think keeping a journal is an annoying task that they do because they have to. It is the same attitude that children have towards doing their homework at age seven. But, your journal can save your neck, and I know many whose hides have been saved who ended up in court.

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ONE JOURNAL ENTRY PER PERSON PER DOCUMENT

Most Notaries think that you create one entry for each signer and then cram in the names of all of the documents you are notarizing. This is very sloppy. If you pick up five packages from FedEx, do you sign once or do you sign five times, each for a particular tracking number? If you keep one journal entry per person per document, then you have a signature proving consent to be notarized for each document you notarize. Additionally, you must name the particular and complete name of each document, and not just say “loan docs.”

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INFORMATION

In your journal you write the date, time, type of notary act, name of document (the full name, no abbreviations or check boxes here please) and the document date. You need to record the name, address, and ID of the signer as well. Then the signature, thumbprint and notary fee. Let’s focus on the document information in this section though. You need to record the:

Full name of the document, not an abbreviation.

Document Date — many documents have a document date inscribed within that is an arbitrary date created by the document drafter. It could be the date the document was drafted, or the date it was intended to be signed, or a random arbitrary date.

Other distinguishing factors — if you are signing multiple documents with the same name such as Deeds of Trust, Grant Deeds, etc., you need to differentiate them somehow. Escrow numbers, names of grantors, grantees, APN numbers, property addresses, number of pages, or anything else can help identify a document after the fact in case you end up in court.

Signatures — each line of your journal needs to be signed by the corresponding person. If John and Sally are each signing three notarized documents, then John gets entry 1, 2, and 3 while sally gets 4, 5, and 6. Each signer must sign their three entries otherwise the entries are meaningless.

Thumbprints — I am skipping mentioning more about the other things that belong in a journal as most Notaries get it, however, few Notaries keep thumbprints. Your journal thumbprint is the one piece of evidence the FBI will ask for when they come knocking on your front door. Additionally, it discourages fraud as fraudulent people do not want to be thumbprinted.

Other Information — Although I am skipping elaborating about the other journal fields, I will make a quick note about the additional information section in a journal. That leaves space for information about credible witnesses, subscribing witnesses, unusual facts about the signers, the location, or the circumstances in which you are signing. If the signer claims that they are being kidnapped, write that down in the additional information section of your journal, then call the police. If the signer has a weird neck tattoo, you might need to remember that in court. Put it in your journal. The judge will think you are a very thorough Notary.

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FINAL NOTE

The purpose of journals is not only to please your state’s Secretary of State, but also to please judges and FBI agents. Keeping a clean, correct and thorough journal will make a positive impression on the authorities and could keep you from being named as a suspect if God forbid you ever unknowingly Notarize an identity thief, fraud, or otherwise bad person. Notaries don’t get in trouble that often, but for those who make a career out of being a Notary, eventually you will be investigated at least once and perhaps end up in court, so keep your paperwork in order so the investigation is fast and smooth. Otherwise you might end up in court for a very long time — no joke! Roughly 1/7 of the Notaries on our site have ended up in court due to something that they notarized.

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