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June 24, 2011

Boiler plate wording – he/she/they

Filling in he/she/they

In the old days when I was doing a lot of notary work, I noticed that when I saw notary work done by some of those “other” notaries, the paperwork would sometimes be vacuous. I have long forgotten about this issue, and it didn’t come to mind, until I talked to a notary who recently signed up with us in Sacramento, California. He said, that most notaries don’t know how to fill in the notary boiler plate verbiage (boiler plate notary verbiage or notary language) on notary certificates. It’s actually a serious issue.

his & hers?
If you are notarizing the signature of a single man, then when you see a he/she/they in the notary verbiage, you simply put a line though the she and they, and the her & their in his/her/their get crossed out as well. It’s not rocket science, but many notaries were sleeping through their course. If a single person signed a document only once, then cross out the (s) in signature(s) in the notary verbiage — again it’s not nuclear physics here.

Sealing the deal?
Don’t forget to sign where it says “seal” at the bottom of the notary certificate below the notary verbiage. But, your stamp is another type of seal, and that must be used in most states. Make sure you leave a clear stamp impression. Many notaries don’t understand that county recorders record deeds and other official documents. They can reject a document if your seal is not clear enough. If that happens, you have to do the notary certificate form all over again without being paid, and might get fired by your client.

To staple or not to staple
I got tons of complaints from Title companies because I used an industrial stapler to staple multi-page documents together. I did this for legal reasons. Regular staples are not reliable. They make deformed staples, and break a lot of the time. If you are doing this for a living, you need a tool that doesn’t break. I had two industrial staples — one for home and one for my car. Neither ever broke or got jammed. But, you could not remove the staples without compromising the beauty of the document. This was part of the point. In California, notary certificate forms must be ATTACHED to the document. A staple is a real attachment and much better than a paper clip, don’t you think? Plus, to deter people from switching page three in someone’s Deed of Trust, the industrial staple makes it very obvious if someone had been tampering with the document. To my dismay, most of my Title agent clients tampered with every document I gave them and complained that I made it so difficult for them to do their tampering. What is a simple notary to do? Obey the law, or or please some crazy ladies in Title?

Send me a loose Jurat please
Have you ever gotten this request. In California, and perhaps other states, you can not just mail a sealed notary certificate (loose notary certificate) such as a jurat certificate. It has to be attached to the document, and there can only be ONE per document please. If they sent the old one back with the document, you could destroy the original and staple another in its place and it would be legal, since you already had the journal signatures. But, to just mail a loose one can get you locked up, or lose your notary commission. What are these Title companies thinking? Now I’m beginning to see why someone forged my seal. I made fraudulent activity too inconvenient for these folks, and made it impossible for them to involve me or my work in their fraud.

Question for the notaries about notarizing:  Should one please the client or please the law? You are welcome to respond to this blog entry!

You might also like:

Distinguish Acknowledgments from Jurats

Notary Certificates, Notary Wording & Notary Verbiage

Common notary acts from A to Z

Must a thumbprint accompany a notarized document?


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