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November 17, 2020

“Oh, just shut up and do you job!”

Filed under: Carmen Towles — admin @ 8:37 am

Originally published in 2019

As a notary public myself, I can not tell you how many times I have heard, “Just shut up and do your job”. Other notaries over the years have expressed hearing the same. Usually, this will come form an uninformed loan officer or realtor. Or just someone that wants you to break the rules for them with little regard of the consequences for the notary. But what is more disheartening is when one notary says it to another.

I recently got a call from a notary friend who had such an experience. This notary was asked by a lender to notarize a document in a spousal state that the other spouse was instructed by the lender that they didn’t need to sign. My notary friend knew this was not legal and since she was aware of the law she refused to complete the assignment. The notary then reached out to one of her other notary friends, who told her to just ‘shut up’ and notarize the documents and also added for good measure; “Who do you think you are?”, ‘“You are just a notary?”. This upset my friend greatly, hence the call to me. I let her know immediately IMHO as far as I am concerned she had done the right thing.

Listen, we are government officials and IMHO, if we know something to be illegal (or unethical) you cannot in good conscience continue with the process of notarizing. We are supposed to be protecting the public. Not aiding and abedding folks trying to pull a fast one. And sadly, we eventually all come to realize, the mortgage industry is riddled with deceit and fraud. So, my rule of thumb is to think about how would I answer and defend my actions, if I were ever called to court and had to get on the stand and a judge asked me, if i knew something to be illegal, or unethical, how would I defend my actions?

And for another notary to insult another because they did what she/he thought or felt was right IMO was not fair. We are all responsible for our own actions. We all have to do what we feel is right and must be able to defend our actions if comes down to that. And for me the bottom line will be if I can live with what I have done and can I sleep at night.

I would love to hear with some of the rest of you feel about this.

You might also like:

Carmen’s guide to the Signature Name Affidavit

Show me the money



  1. I would do just that. I’d “shut up” and walk out of the home/office and knowing I did the right thing move on to the next assignment. No biggie.

    As soon as there’s battling or disrespect or anything that even comes close I’d just remove myself. The person who needs the notary completed will be the one stuck with DOCS in their hand incomplete. I could care less.

    Comment by Norman Kantrowitz — February 12, 2020 @ 1:28 am

  2. Firstly, if I had any question or felt uncomfortable doing something I felt might be wrong…I would contact the NNA hotline for information….However, if it was to do with a loan that I was notarizing…I would contact the company that hired me for instructions….as to any insults from people at the table…I would advise them IF I do something wrong…it could also affect them…so let’s get this right…and leave it at that.

    Comment by A.C. Dye — February 12, 2020 @ 2:01 am

  3. You are asked to notarize the person who is present. Other things , such as spouse required, or not, it considered practice of law and notary is NOT supposed to have opinion on it or refuse notarization. As a public official, you are supposed to notarize all documents required , verify the ID ( NOT EVER REQUIRED TO VERIFY IF ID IS GENUINE OR NOT ). Refusing notarization of a valid person present with a ‘verifiable id” is a notary misconduct and one could get into trouble with the state licensing authorities.

    SO as long as you did a plain and simple notarization of person/persons present, you did your job perfectly. Whether the loan officer / and others are intentionally omitting a spouse, is NOT by business. I would point it out, and say so. That’s where it ends.

    Comment by NotaryKnew — February 12, 2020 @ 2:12 am

  4. Hi
    I did a closing yesterday where the couple were from Georgia and the signing took place in Florida.
    This was a HELOC and I had to get the Attorney from Georgia on the line. He said, any questions and then he said call me if you need anything.
    At the end of the package it had a Attorney Acknowledgment, I did not do anything with that document. I Faxed back the documents and them I got a message saying that I did not notarize the Attorney page. I e-mailed her back and said , he was not present and I can’t notarize it. I have not heard back from her

    Comment by Thomas Gorman — February 12, 2020 @ 11:06 am

  5. I have passed on several signings/ notarizations due to being asked to do unethical or illegal things. The mortgage industry is full of this stuff. Working for an appraiser, a long time ago, we were always asked to “hit a number” to get the loan done. This is no different.

    Comment by Peggy George — January 31, 2021 @ 6:43 pm

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