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November 1, 2017

Notary Public 101 — Real Life Notary Scenarios

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Knowing how to be a good notary is all fine and good. But, if you don’t know how to handle scenarios, you might get into some sticky situations.

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1. Confirming the signing
When you call the borrowers, go over the:
Date, Time, People Signing, Location, if there is a check or wired funds, if they have 90 minutes to complete a signing, and any fees that seem critical in the CD or HUD. Additionally, you should have them read the names in their ID to make sure they match, …read more…

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2. The name on the ID says John Smith
Q. The name on the ID is shorter or not matching the name on the document? What do you do?
A. Ask for other ID. If they don’t have it, if your state allows credible witnesses, use them to identify the signer. You can always… read more

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3. Rectify errors on Notary certificates
Most Notaries like to cross out and initial changes in certificates. Keep in mind that these are legal documents affecting million dollar properties. Cross-outs look like tampering. It is CLEANER to take a fresh acknowledgment form from your Notary bag … read more…

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4. The signer would not sign the flood disclosure.
If you go to a signing at 11am and the signer signs everything except the flood disclosure, what do you do? You call the contact person or people in title or lending. If they do not call you back, you cannot stay at the borrower’s house all day long. Let’s say you leave …read more…

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5. The green pen scenario
You go to a signing, open the package and the instructions read:
Sign in GREEN, don’t call unless it is an emergency, get it to Fedex on time or you are fired.
It is 5:30, last pick up is at 6:00pm. Nobody has a green pen. There is a stationery store in the same complex …read more…

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6. Ten grant deeds.
If you have one signer signing ten grant deeds, you need to do the following:
Create ten journal entries, one per person per document. Put thorough information about who the grantor and grantee is, a thumbprint, and …read more…

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7. The FBI is at your door.
What piece of information will they want from you if someone gave you a fake ID?
A journal thumbprint. If you don’t keep one, start now… read more…

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8. What types of pads of forms should a Notary keep in his/her bag?
Acknowledgments, Jurats, Copy Certifications. Skip the POA forms. Have them consult an Attorney. I carried permission for minors to travel. I created my own very thorough form with room for thumbprints. The Mexican authorities loved my form!… read more…

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9. Chad assigns a job to you. He says if there is a problem, call him and only him. If you can’t reach him, then email him. You get to the signing, the signer signs half the documents and then has a question. What do you do? Call Chad and if he doesn’t answer then email him. Many Notaries just don’t follow directions… read more…

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10. Frank does a loan signing on Monday and drops the package in the drop box at 3pm, calls in the tracking number and then wants to go camping. How many days should Frank wait before embarking on his camping trip and why? I think that Frank should wait until he confirms with the Lender that the package has been looked over in its entirety or… read more…

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11. What entities might want to see your Notary journal?
I have gotten in hundreds of arguments with notaries from states all over the county. Those who live in states where journals are not legally required think they will not get into trouble if they don’t have one. If you end up in court, your journal is your only evidence of what happened. You might become a witness for a long case or a defendant if … read more

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12. Hospital signing issues
Have you ever done a signing in a hospital? You should be prepared, because one day you might do it. There are many issues that come up in hospital signings. First of all, it is common to have to decline service because the signer has been medicated, or has lost their mind. As a Notary, you should be aware that you can easily be subpoenaed for hospital signings as it is common … read more

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13. How do you notarize a document with no signature line?
If you have been instructed to notarize a document that doesn’t have a signature line, that is a cross between a quandary and a conundrum. You cannot notarize a document without a signature. Notaries notarize signatures on documents, not documents, and especially … read more

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14. Sixteen year old Samantha calls a Notary to notarize an Affidavit for her mom who does not speak English. The Notary arrives only to find out that he/she cannot communicate directly with the signing who is the mother. Samantha offers to translate as she does that on a daily basis for her mom. What do you tell Samantha? In 49 states, direct ORAL communication with the client is required REGARDLESS of whether the document is in English, has been translated, or whether the Notary understands the document. You cannot use an oral translator except perhaps in Arizona (check AZ handbook for an accurate answer). Refer Samantha to find a Notary who speaks their language.

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15. John appears before you to sign a loan as an Attorney-in-Fact. He knows two verbiage variations for signing as an Attorney-in-Fact and wants to know which one to use. There are no written instructions. What do you do next? In this situation you have to call for instructions because POA verbiage is a matter of preference as there are eight legal verbiage variations for signing as an AIF. So, call the Lender or Title company in this case as the loan will not close if you did not use the verbiage of their choice!

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16. Credible Witnesses.
Jim appears before you to sign an Affidavit. But, he has no ID. What do you do? Many states allow for credible witnesses. Some states require two CW’s who must both know the signer while others allow for one that must know the notary and the signer. You can read up on your state specific rule on this convoluted subject of credible witnesses.

Also read – http://blog.123notary.com/?s=credible+witness

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17. Name two situations where you might need subscribing witnesses. Subscribing witnesses are witnesses that watch someone sign their name on a document. They are used for Proofs of Execution (look this one up in our Notary Acts section) and for Signatures by Mark or Signatures by X which is allowed in certain states (look up in our glossary.)

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18. The document is written in a language that the Notary does not understand. All states except for AZ require direct oral communication with the signer. However, written comprehension is a different ballgame and is very state specific. California only cares that the Notary notarizes the signature and doesn’t care if the Notary understands the document although the signer must understand what they are signing. However, other states can vary. Does your state require you to be able to read the language the document was written in? Look this one up in your handbook as we cannot help you in this matter because we don’t know!

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19. You have been instructed to notarize a form that does not have a certificate.
You are at a notarization and the instructions say, “Notarize this page.” However, there is no certificate wording on the page. What do you do now?

The Notary may not choose the Notary act as that might be construed as UPL. So, just ask the client or signer what act they want and then attach the corresponding certificate to the document. That’s all.

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20. Deeds of Reconveyence.
You go to a signing and one of the documents is a Deed of Reconveyance. Under the signature line has the word Trustee. Who is the Trustee, and do you notarize this document?

The Trustee is normally the Lender, but could also be the borrower if he has a company and is lending money to himself in another capacity. The Trustee could be anyone, so without specific instructions you should probably not have this form signed or notarized.

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1 Comment »

  1. wow a lot to remember!

    Comment by Frederick Kanakry — March 18, 2018 @ 9:37 pm

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