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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.


You might also like:

The ultimate recipient

Power of Attorney of the Future

The war between men and women Notaries

Compilation of posts about Notary fraud



  1. Bravo, I would have done exactly the same. Perhaps with a bit of colorful language directed to the know nothing attorneys.

    Comment by Kenneth Edelstein — October 19, 2017 @ 10:14 pm

  2. I would have gone a step further and reported their firm to their Bar Association with a complaint that they were trying to make you break the law.

    Comment by Chris Baker — November 18, 2017 @ 6:32 pm

  3. I had a similar situation….whereby they pre-typed trustee….I advised we in California could not certify their capacity…just the person or persons….okay…then the documents came in and in the notarial wording, it showed husband and wife…..that we can do….all completed and then a few days later…got a request to notarize without ‘husband and wife’ ….I called NNA hotline to confirm that that is okay …got the name of who I talked with and provided it to the Lender…Voila….Sometimes something comes across our desk that makes us question ourselves….so the NNA Hotline is a good resource to use….I like what the notary in the above example did by going to the recorder’s office for confirmation….however, the NNA is there for all of us.

    Comment by A.C. Dye — May 12, 2018 @ 2:13 am

  4. I also lost a great account because I didn’t want to back date a document that was suppose to be notarized 3 days before we met HeI said it was going to have a problem if it’s notarized for day I was there, so I also stood my ground and left. Never heard from him again..

    Comment by G. Silva — May 12, 2018 @ 2:34 am

  5. Did they pay you in a timely manner after all of this? Just curious

    Comment by Dineen — May 12, 2018 @ 6:10 am

  6. WOW, Can I relate to this article! I was FIRED from one signing company because I wrote the bar association on his attitude towards me in front of his clients no less!!! He was telling me to shut up and sit back while he takes over the signing. I was so embarrassed and even his client said that she was so sorry for the way he was treating me. So then after all that, Fatima (owner) fired me because I was standing up for myself. I will not be treated that way EVER by a pompous lawyer.

    Comment by Renee Minneci — May 14, 2018 @ 4:47 pm

  7. Bravo Renee! I know have 19 years of experience and I will not tolerate this type of behavior from ANYONE!. Attorneys are the worst. They think we are ‘just notaries’ and that they know everything! Well, I’ve got news for them they DON”T.

    Comment by Carmen Towles — March 6, 2019 @ 10:57 pm

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