You searched for blanks - Notary Blog - Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice - 123notary.com
123Notary

Notary Blog – Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice – 123notary.com Control Panel

October 16, 2018

A guide to notarizing documents with blanks or multiple signatures

Filed under: Technical & Legal — admin @ 1:04 am

Don’t notarize documents with blanks!!!
That’s the end to the guide!

Dealing with Blanks
However, the main thing to understand is that as a Notary, you have many responsibilities. You have to identify people, keep a journal, staple things together, give Oaths, fill out certificates. You are so busy, that you might not have time to scan a document for blanks. But, you need to scan every single page.

If you spot a blank, you can put a diagonal or horizontal line through it. The main thing is to make sure that no new information is added to the document after the notarization.

You can also refuse to notarize and make the signer or document custodian complete the document before submitting it to the Notary.

Notarizing Individual Pages (or not)
Additionally you cannot notarize particular pages of a document separate from the document. Sometimes a particular page needs to be fixed or changed in a document and you might get a request to notarize just that page. You simply notarize the entire document as a whole.

Multiple Signatures
However, sometimes you get a document such as a health directive which has multiple notarizations within a very long document. I have seen health directives or living wills with fifty or more pages. Sometimes at a notarization you are notarizing signatures in the middle of the document as well as at the end of the document when the certificate is at the end of the document. I have also seen cases where there are multiple signatures in the middle of a document and a certificate in the middle of the document. This is confusing. Affidavit of Support forms have Jurats in the middle of the form too, and not enough room for your stamp (dumb government workers.)

The 1003 is a great example of a document with an entire page intentionally left blank. But, that is a signed document, not a notarized document.

The main point of this quick article is to remind you that you have to scan documents for blanks.

You might also like:

Cross out and initial, or use a fresh form?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19933

Affirmations – pleasing the politically correct while offending all others
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19606

Five things a Notary must do
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19583

Share
>

January 7, 2021

A step by step guide to RON

Filed under: Technical & Legal — admin @ 12:56 pm

I am watching more videos on RON to try to learn more.

There are different types of portals. Some portals farm out work to you and pay you once a day or so. One lady made $5 per notarization, but got a lot of quantity providing she was quick on the draw when jobs were dispatched or made available.

Other portals allow you to bring your own clients from wherever you found them, or clients your boss gave you. There are also portals where you can bring your own clients or notarize theirs for a cut of the total money. Here are some of the specifications and steps involved.

(1) You need an online commission (not all states allow this)

(2) You need an online seal

(3) IDENTIFICATION. The portals will verify the signer’s identity by seeing a photo of the front and back of their ID and also by asking them questions based on their credit information that supposedly only they (or a really good identity thief) would know.

(4) PAYMENT. The Portal will have a system to input the signer’s credit card information.

(5) THE DOCUMENT. The Notary can start the session after the ID and credit card have been inputted. The notary will see a video of themselves and the signer. The notary can enlarge or turn the ID using tools and compare it to the signer. The signer can also see the Notary’s information. Both parties can see the document on your computer.

(6) SIGNING. The signer can fill in the blanks and sign and date the document from here on. The signature can be drawn, typed or a scan can be used. The Notary can then fill in the venue, certificate wording, and then sign and seal the document.

(7) Last, you can click the complete the session button.

Some portals charge to get set up, while others like OneNotary do not charge up front for Notaries to get started with them.

Share
>

November 25, 2020

Comedic suggestions for slogans for particular names of notaries on our site

Filed under: Humorous Posts — Tags: — admin @ 8:05 am

Originally posted in 2018

Every time I look at a Notary’s name, I get ideas for slogans. Sometimes I tell Notaries these slogans. Look for your name here. I am only listing a small percentage of our Notaries, but you might be there.

Carmen Bland — “Call me if you want a truly tasteless Notary.”

Sally Cripps — “Call me for drive by signings.” (I changed the first name so as not to offend anyone.)

Robert Burger — “Over 1 billion signed.”

Sheila Mabry — “Yes, No or Mabry Notary Services.”

Charles Cook — “Kiss the Notary” or “Well-done notarizations with Charles Cook.”

Carmen Towles — “Throw in the Towles Notary Service.”

Terri Gillette — “For a closer Notarization — every time!”

Jenny Kong — “Queen Kong Notarizations.”

Mary Potter — “Get notarized by me and I’ll use my brother’s magic Notary seal.”

Shirley Silver — “Not quite gold standard mobile notary.”

Mary Jane Jock — “Tired of being notarized by nerds? Call me!”

Catherine Minor — “Have you ever wanted to be notarized by a minor? Now’s your chance!”

Vene Moses — “Let me lead you out from being lost in the Notarial desert.”

Ann Dye — “A Notary Service to Dye for.”

Donna Mooney — “Looney Mooney Notary Services.” or “Full Mooney Notary Services.”

Robert Crouch — “Crouch ain’t no slouch.”

Sharon Wolf — “A Notary service in sheep’s clothing.”

Christine Loya — “You don’t need an Attorney, you need a Loya… Loya Notary Services.”

Kathleen Spies — Shaken not Stirred Notary Services.” or “007 Notary Services.” or “Double Agent Notary Service.”

Paige Borel — “You can’t replace this Paige.” or “Call me and we’ll be on the same Paige.”

Yvonne Blankenship — “My ship might be blank, but I do not notarize documents with blanks.”

Jennifer Winkler — “Get Notarized by the Fonz’s sister and say — eyyyy…”

Leslie Worth — “When you’re tired of those other worthless Notaries, call me!” or “Looking for a Notary where you get value? Look no further.”

Eva Sommer — “All Season Notary.”

Kathryn Reynolds — “The Notary who wraps things up.”

Shelly Booth — “The Notary Booth Notary Service.”

Tresia Burrow — “Ground hog Notary services.” or “A Notary who digs deep into Notary issues?”

Debra Wise — “Wisdom Notary Services — we never wise off to our customers.”

Wendy Gray — “50 Shades of Gray Notary Service.”

Robert Hyatt — “We notarize even after check out time.”

Etta Bell — “A Notary with a nice ring to it.” or “The Notary whose name rings a bell.” or “Heard of Etta? No, but the name rings a bell.”

Pearl Champaign — “Bubbly Notarizations.”

Robert Pratt — “A notary who never falls or clowns around.”

Dorothy Holmes — :Holmes equity line of credit Notary Service.” or “Mortgage your home with Holmes!” or “Your Holmes or mine Notary Service.”

Barb West — :Your business will never go South with me.” or “Call me for a Notary who is the best in the West.”

Tammy Mello – “Call me for a relaxed signing.”

Lucille Frost — “Chill Out Notary Services.”

Brian Quick — “Quick Signings Notary Service.” or “Call me for a quick signing!” or “Call me for the fastest Notary anywhere!”

Denise Lytle — “A lot from a Lytle Notary Services.” or “Call me for a Notary who works a lot, but only charges a Lytle.”

April Risley — “Spring Notary Services, let us spring into action.”

David Love — “You’ll like my work but you’ll love my prices.” or “You’ll love my work. or “For a Notary you’ll love.” or “I love you, man – Notary Services.” or “All is fair in love and Notary work.”

Sandy Moose — “Antlers in the head lights Notary Service.” or “Call me for a Notary who spends three hours parked in the middle of the road blocking traffic for no apparent reason.”

Julie Key — “Let me be your key to a successful notarization.”

Elizabeth Lock — “Lock & Key Notary Services.” (Maybe she should do a merger with Julie Key…)

Amanda Deel — “Deel me in Notary Services.” or “Great Deel Notary Services.”

Cheryl Bass — “There’s nothing fishy about this Notary.” or “For a Notary who is low key.”

Kelly Ruble — “Dollar for Dollar Notary Services.” or “You’ll never get a bad exchange rate with us.”

Heather Day — “Day or Night Notary Services.” or “24 hour notary services.”

Brittni Couch — “Coach Potato Notary Service.”

Gina Sas — “The Notary Service That Never Talks Back.”

Amber Dates — “Amber Alert Notary Service.” or “Blind Date Notary Service” or “Dates & Times Notary Services.” or “Medjool Notary Service.” or “Get notarized by pitted Dates with us.”

Pamela Knight — “Day or Knight 24 Hour Notary Services.”

Karla Hand — “Lend me a Hand Notary Service.” or “Hands on Notary Service.” or “Witness my Hand and official seal Notary Service.”

Angela Ma — “Not just another Ma & Pa Notary Service.”

Judy Weddle — “Don’t Meddle with Weddle.”

Verna Wright — “Get the Wright Notary at the Wright Price.”

Stephanie Story — “Chapter and verse Notary Service.” or “Once upon a time Notary Service.”

Coleen Ho — “Who you callin’ a Ho Notary Services.” or “Call me for a Notary who is gung ho.” (we changed the first name so as not to offend anyone too badly.)

Karen Wynn — “Wynn Wynn Notary Services.”

La Donna Penny — “Pennies on the Dollar Notary Service.”

Edwin Forte — “Notarizing is my Forte!”

Julia Hill — “Up Hill Notary Services.” or “Over the Hill Notary Services.” or “It’s all down hill from here Notary services.”

Robert Getter — “Getter is Better and will notarize your document or Letter!”

Ricky Salmon — “Wild Alaskan Notary Service.” or “Omega 3 Notary Service.”

Frank Tabacca — “Pipe Dream Notary Service”

Liz Demera — “I’m Liz Demera of Madera County.”

Stoney Wright — “Looking for Mr. Wright? Look no further.” or “Mr. Wright Notary Services.” or “Wrights and Responsibilities Notary Services.”

Julie Sleep — “I’m so experienced I can sign in my sleep.”

.

You might also like:

The Noterator
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19116

Names for Notary businesses that can get you trouble
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19064

Geographic Notary Business Names
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19060

Share
>

November 22, 2020

How long does it take to get through a signing?

Filed under: Best Practices — Tags: , — admin @ 11:52 pm

Most Notaries allow around an hour for a signing. But, for a HELOC, Reverse Mortgage, or other longer packages, the timing can be unpredictable.

I did a huge construction loan for someone. I was in and out in 20 minutes with a 180 page package. He was a business professional and knew the drill. He didn’t read. He just signed. There are others who read all day at your expense.

One Notary claimed her average signing is 45 minutes. But, it depends on the lender and the type of package, type of borrower, number of pages, etc. Another Notary on Linked In claimed 45 minutes to an hour. A third Notary claimed 45 minutes as well. A forth Notary kept track of her signings over the course of a year and came up with the figure or 45-75 minutes unless there are multiple signers in which case it might take 15 or more minutes longer.

Older clients (the kind that leave their left blinker on for half an hour in Florida) might need 90 minutes for a signing. They can barely see their pen, so how can they possibly know what they are signing?

Summary
The considerations for how long a package will take to complete should be thought about in this order.

Age
Age determines how long a package will take to complete more than any other factor. Elderly people cannot see well, can’t hold a pen well sometimes, and get very tired. Allow a lot of extra time for Reverse Mortgages, Hospital signings, etc.

Experience
Professional businessmen can get in and out of a signing quickly, unless they make you wait for their busy partner to arrive which might take an additional ninety minutes without waiting time unless you negotiate well.

# of Signers
If you have five signers, you might be there for a while. They will have more bathroom breaks, more showing up late, and if even one doesn’t have proper ID, that throws the whole game off.

# of Pages
A fast signer can get through a long package quickly. But, a “reader” will take forever. The type of sign(er) is more important than the type of sign(ing) as a professional signer can whip through a 300 page loan faster than a nit-picky suspicious “reader” can get through an 80 page signing, especially if they have to call their lender.

Prepared Lender
If the Lender on the loan prepares his borrowers well, the signing will go fast. But, what if you get a Lender who waits until the last minute to fill in the blanks. You will be at the signing over an hour with a Lender like that. I had a best client who never prepared his borrowers well. The money was not bad, but they really took advantage of my time. Most Lenders have a few screws loose, and the Notary is the one who pays for that.

# of Notarizations
I was a fast Notary and could do 11 notarizations for two people = 22 notarizations in less than half an hour. But, it is a lot faster to do one notarization especially if the signer whips out their ID quickly (use a stopwatch for measuring that.)

Ending Joke
Here is a Maine joke for you guys.

TEXAS NOTARY: I once had a signing so big it took me three hours to complete

MAINE NOTARY: A-yup, I once had a printer like that

.

You might also like:

Following directions is more important than you think
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19608

The grace period after your signing
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19465

10 ways female notaries can protect themselves
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19196

Share
>

November 3, 2020

What does it mean to be Fidelity Approved?

Filed under: Marketing Articles — admin @ 9:42 am

Originally published June 30, 2018

I talked to a bunch of Notaries who were Fidelity Approved. Most of them were a lot better than average in terms of knowledge, but not all. Apparently, Fidelity scrutinizes them in particular ways, and asks a few questions, but not that many of the questions are Notary questions. I would like to know what their screening system is.

Fidelity approved Notaries do a little bit better on 123notary quizzes, but rarely score high grades because their notary and document technical knowledge is rarely proficient. In my opinion, a certification or approval means very little unless it is specified what qualifications or knowledge it is verifying.

My recommendations are that if they have any individual company type of requirements, that makes sense. But, there should also be requirements based on general notary and document knowledge, otherwise that is a risk to all parties involved. Can someone fill in the blanks for me about what their requirements are?

You might also like:

Studying to be Elite Certified is worth $533 per minute
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20774

I heard that someone lost their Fidelity approval because…
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20061

Excerpts from great notes sections
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1043

Share
>

July 8, 2019

Looking Beyond the Notary Section – A case Example

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — Tags: , — admin @ 3:01 am

The classic examples
We are often told not to notarize a document that contains blank areas. Of course in reality we do exactly that in every loan package. Take a look at the 1003 (the computer version of the loan application). Lots of blank areas there and nary a single N/A. Once I was put on standby for many hours; to notarize the sale of a super tanker. The neatly bound document was thicker than the Manhattan phone book (alas no longer issued). It was about 1500 pages. I did not turn each page in a desperate attempt to find a wayward and un-entered fill in. After about 6 hours of waiting time, I notarized the (approx from recollection) two dozen affiants at the end.

What happened today
The document was an amendment to an incorporation agreement. There were to be eight affiants; even with the nicely preprinted notary sections it totaled four pages. Simple? Well there was an issue. Just prior to naming the trustees, there was the statement that the names and addresses of the trustees would follow. The names were there but not the addresses. I normally don’t read the documents, but wanted to be sure the list of names matched the notary sections. I mentioned the discrepancy to the person managing the signing. I was asked how this should be handled. I covered the I’m not a lawyer issue. They came up with three possible courses of action.

The first would be to simply write in the addresses. Second, would be to redact “and addresses”. The last was to simply ignore the matter. They choose option 2. So, when the “and addresses” had a line drawn thru (not at my suggestion), I felt compelled to raise the issue of the requirement to initial hand written changes.

The first two affiants had left the session after being properly notarized and were not present to initial the change. The other 5 initialed. Hmmmm, 8-2=5? Sorry, but one of the planned 8 could not attend and would be notarized at a later date, and also initial that redaction.

In all probability the infamous “fix it fairy” would provide initials for the two who left early; of course I did not suggest that. But, as unfair as it sounds to me; some were unhappy that I mentioned the discrepancy between the stated text and the data entered. In other words; it seemed to some that I “created a problem” – just by stating the obvious (to me) flaw.

In all probability I goofed In hindsight, as I peck away at the keyboard; away from the seven affiants who want me to resolve the “issue I created” – I shudda kept my big mouth shut. My biggest blunder was to agree on the 3 possible solutions. Perhaps the address is an absolute requirement for acceptance of the document. I truly don’t know. And, the only reason that I sailed into that blunder was by mentioning the issue.

Resolved: At least for me – if it’s not in the notary section, don’t read it, don’t comment on it. And absolutely say nothing about how they should proceed. It’s OK to mention initialing changes, but take no “legal opinion” about “course of action” when modifications are being considered.

You might also like:

Index of posts about Notary certificates
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20268

A guide to notarizing documents with blanks or multiple signatures
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20252

Share
>

December 7, 2018

Stormy Daniels accuses Notary of having intercourse with her

Filed under: Humorous Posts — admin @ 5:18 am

After the whole Trump fiasco, now Stormy Daniels is accusing a California Notary by the name of John Q. Public of giving her hush money not to talk about the secret affair they had twenty years earlier.

STORMY: You know I’m gonna let society know what you did, you little rascal.

JOHN: Have I been a very very bad boy?

STORMY: I have a little dirt on you that I’m going to hold against you.

JOHN: Just like you held me against you?

STORMY: Not exactly the same way. But, you forgot to put a state in your venue, and that is an omission.

JOHN: Are you saying that I didn’t have any ink in my seal, are you saying that I’m shooting blanks? Because I assure you that I’m fully loaded.

STORMY: Well that’s the problem. You were so loaded you couldn’t do your notarization correctly without drifting off in the middle. You also forgot to administer an Oath on my Jurat. That’s fraud baby, and I’m going to report you.

JOHN: How much more hush money do you want? Actually, my commission’s over, so it doesn’t matter anymore.

STORMY: It does on a felony conviction.

JOHN: That was twenty years ago, so the statute of limitations is over. Actually, I need to see my Attorney to verify. I owe her hush money too, so I’ll multi-task.

ATTORNEY: Hey Stormy, you should be embarrassed to have done it with a Notary. You should be paying him hush money.

STORMY: Hmm, I never thought of it that way. Especially since I was thinking about running for office. Maybe you’re right. Let’s just call it even, and make a toast with my brother Jack.

ATTORNEY: Deal. But, calling it even, there are still Attorney fees. Okay. Two bottles of Jack will do it.

STORMY: That’s money down the storm drain — pity, but makes a great pun on my name.

You might also like:

Texas suspends Notary who handled Stormy’s hush money
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22331

Perhaps Trump will take notary competency more seriously now that he is affected
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22335

Share
>

March 21, 2017

When to refuse a notarization: a comprehensive guide

Most clients you have will have legal requests, but from time to time, there will be someone who wants you to bend the law, or someone who doesn’t understand proper protocol. Here is how to handle the difficult requests.

Situations where a signer is not appropriate to notarize
(1) If you cannot prove the signer’s identity with satisfactory evidence. Some states allow personal knowledge of the signer, so please study your state rules. Satisfactory evidence normally involves current, or near current driver’s licenses, passports, or other government issued ID. Each state has different variations on what is acceptable, so know your state rules!

(2) If the signer doesn’t appear before you.
This means that they should be a few feet from you and fully visible.

(3) If you cannot communicate directly with the signer.
This means that the signer needs to speak the same language that you speak. If you speak the signer’s language as a second language, but don’t know it well enough to understand all of the communication necessary to give instructions and answer questions regarding the notarization, then you should decline.

(4) If the signer refuses to swear under Oath if an Oath is required as part of the notarization.

(5) If the signer is being coerced to sign or pressured to sign.

(6) If the signer is drugged (perhaps in a nursing home or hospital,) confused, or disoriented. If they can’t answer basic questions about the document, they are not in a clear enough mental state to sign.

(7) If the journal entry requires a thumbprint by law and the signer refuses to furnish you with one.

(8) If the signer refuses to pay the Notary fee

(9) If the signer is so incapacitated that they cannot sign their own signature.

.

Situations where the document is not satisfactory

(1) If there are blanks, or omitted pages in the document.

(2) The document lacks a notary certificate and the signer refuses to tell you which type of notary act they need done.

(3) The document is a vital record, or a type of document that may not be notarized or be copy certified.

.

Situations where the Notary cannot notarize due to conflict of interest

(1) If the signer is your parent, spouse, child, or other close family member. It might be okay to notarize for cousins and more distant relatives although it is generally better to avoid notarizing anything important for a family member due to conflict of interest.

(2) If you are named as a beneficiary in a document or have any type of financial interest in the document being signed.

(3) If you are the signer of the document, you may not notarize your own signature (contradictory to popular belief.)

.

I created this blog because of a discussion I had with a Notary who went to another Notary at a UPS store to get notarized. The Notary refuseed to notarize because the signer (also a Notary) refused to be thumbprinted. I had to look this up. California state law did not discuss the issue, but did say it was illegal for a Notary to refuse service. I researched what NNA had to say about this issue and they concured with California in an article about when to say no. In any case, I hope this article was helpful.

.

You might also like:

The whole purpose of being a No-tary is to say No!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19180

Are you a Yes-tary or a No-tary?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16626

Just say no #3
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=376

Share
>

April 19, 2015

Point (25-27) Jails; Venues; Fraud; Marcy Notarizes a Felon!

Filed under: (2) Technical and Legal — Tags: , , , — admin @ 10:27 am

Marcy was being very careful now. She had heard horror stories about Notaries getting sued, and landing in huge trouble. Of course in real life, very few notaries get in trouble. But, they could, and Marcy didn’t want anything in her life to go wrong. She got a call from a guy name Sam. Sam seemed very normal at first. Marcy drove out to the job. She recorded Sam’s ID in her journal. Then, she asked Sam for a thumbprint. Sam seemed reluctant. That was a warning sign if Marcy had ever seen one. Sam said, “You don’t need a thumbprint.” Marcy said, “It is safer for me if I have one.” Marcy didn’t know that Sam’s ID was forged. It looked legitimate. But, she had no way to detect the difference as it was forged by someone very professional. Finally, the guy got desperate as he really needed to get notarized. He gave her the thumbprint. A month later, Marcy got a call from a fraud investigator. Apparently Sam was in a lot of trouble. The Feds were catching up with him. Sam was doing fake transactions in false names for huge dollar amounts and cheating people. Marcy asked if they would like a copy of the journal entry that had a thumbprint. The Feds were very happy that she had taken that thumbprint. Without that one piece of evidence they would be virtually unarmed against this felon! A few weeks later Marcy got a call from the Feds. They caught Sam, whose real name was Charles. They were going to put him away for a long time, and they wouldn’t have been able to convict him without Marcy’s help!

Then, a week later, a Lender had a job for Marcy. It would pay extra. The Lender asked Marcy to save a few extra spaces in her journal. Marcy asked why. The Lender said, “Just do it.” Marcy had never been a fan of corrupt Lenders or Nike commercials. So, she just didn’t do it as she knew that was illegal, although she didn’t know what the Lender had in mind. At the signing, the Lender asked Marcy to put yesterday’s date on the transaction. Marcy declined. Then, the Lender asked if she wanted to get paid. Marcy replied that whatever he was paying wouldn’t do her much good if she was at “county.” And that whatever he was paying her (or not paying her) wouldn’t be a huge loss to him if he were locked up at “county”. A day after the signing, the Lender wanted another favor from Marcy. He wanted her to send a loose Jurat with her stamp on it because the certificate section on the Deed had gotten torn by one of their secretaries. Marcy told him that she would send him a certificate, but not a loose one. She said, “Just send the Deed back to me, and I’ll shred the old certificate and add the new one — that way it is legal.” The Lender didn’t like that and said, “Just send it.” Marcy was fed up by now. She told the Lender she was reporting him to the Secretary of State and for him to never contact her again. Just some advice for Notaries: If you want to stay out of trouble, you should consider declining work from anyone who makes even a suggestion of doing anything illegal!

.

Point (25) Identification & Jail Issues
Notaries who visit jails may be very aware that inmates never have an identification document which is suitable for notarization on their person. As a result, they might have their mother, girlfriend, or Attorney come and meet the Notary at the time of the notarization and bring the ID which is hopefully current. Jail wristbands do not constitute acceptable identification. However, many states allow the use of one or two Credible Witnesses. Please consult your state Notary handbook for specific laws relevant to your state.

Many States Allow Credible Witnesses
In California, Florida, and many other states, you can use two Credible Witnesses who know the signer, but who do not know the notary to identify the signer. If you visit jails, you might have to use this method of identification to legally notarize someone who doesn’t have an ID. Make sure these witnesses produce their own ID and sign your journal.

Personal Appearance
Many people do not understand the important concept of personal appearance. To be legally notarized, the signer must personally appear before the Notary. That means they need to be in the same room a few feet away, or on the other side of a glass in a jail. Once I was asked to notarize someone 50 feet away barely visible from a jail window. I couldn’t clearly see the person and I declined to notarize as that person was not personally appearing before me.

.

Point (26) Wrong Venue
What if the wrong venue is inscribed within the Notary certificate? What do you do? There are several things you can legally do. You can take a loose certificate, staple it to the document, inscribe the correct venue, and then complete the rest of the form. Or, you can cross-out the incorrect county, initial, and write in the correct county name on the original certificate. The third solution is to notarize the document twice: once with the existing certificate and then a second time with new certificate (two journal entrees necessary in this case) in hopes that one of the two will be accepted by the document custodian. It’s complicated. But, what the law says is acceptable and what the document custodian will accept are often based on two entirely different standards.

.

Point (27) Deterring Fraud
Notary Fraud is a serious issue. Fortunately, it doesn’t happen very often. But, it did happen to me. Luckily, due to my prudent practices, I was able to use three pieces of evidence to prove that a particular notarization was indeed done fraudulently. After investigation, we learned that the fraudulent notarization happened to have been done by a crooked Title Officer’s secretary!

.

What Constitutes Notary fraud?
There are many types of Notary fraud. Here are a few.

(1) If a signer falsifies an identification document, that would be fraudulent.

(2) If a Notary puts an incorrect date on a notarization on purpose, that would be fraudulent.

(3) If someone uses a Notary’s seal who is not the rightful owner of that seal, that is fraud.

(4) If a signer signs someone else’s name and has that signature notarized, that would be fraud.

(5) If a Notary or anyone else purposely attaches a Notary certificate to a document it is not associated with, that is fraud.

(6) Swapping pages on a document after it has been notarized is fraudulent.

(7) Using an expired Notary Seal is fraud.

.

Here are Some Ways to Deter Fraud:

(1) Use an embosser as a secondary seal for all pages of all documents notarized.

(2) Avoid leaving any blanks in notarized documents as those could be filled in after the fact.

(3) Staple Notary certificates to the documents they are associated with.

(4) Take thumbprints in your journal for all notarizations just in case the signer’s ID is forged.

(5) Be thorough when you fill out the additional information sections in an Acknowledgment certificate.

(6) Be sure to indicate how many pages are in the document.

(7) Be sure to indicate the name of the signer, and their capacity if applicable.

(8) Be sure to indicate the document date to better identify it.

(9) Be sure to indicate the name of the document.

.

Additional Optional Information for Acknowledgments?
Acknowledgment certificates have room for the document name, document date, and number of pages among other information. This information helps to identify which document it is associated with. Since Title likes to dismantle stapled documents which is a very questionable practice, you need to make sure they know which Acknowledgment goes with which document.

.

There are Three Reasons why this Additional Optional Information Should be Required.

(a) If the certificate is accidentally removed from the document, it will be clear which document it is associated with. That would help someone who made an honest mistake.

(b) If a fraudulent person wants to re-attach the certificate to another document, he would be deterred by the fact that there will be evidence to show that he fraudulently attached the certificate to the wrong document.

(c) If a fraudulent person re-attaches the certificate to another document, they can easily be caught after the fact if investigated.

.

These reasons are all related, yet all different. You assist the honest re-attaching, you deter fraud, and you catch bad guys when you investigate. Got it?

.

You might also like:

30 Point Course Table of Contents
http://blog.123notary.com/?cat=3442

30 Point Course (28-30) Beneficial Interest, Negligence, E&O
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14532

Seal Forgery, it happened to me
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=724

Fraud & forgery in the Notary profession
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2294

What is a venue in a notary certificate?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8454

.

Share
>

February 15, 2013

Signing agent best practices: 63 points

Here are a few tips about best practices. Maybe none of your clients will care, or maybe they will even adamantly dislike your best practices. But, if you have any self-respect, you will engage in best practices.

LEGAL & TECHNICAL BEST PRACTICES

(1) Hand written documents.
As a notary, it is not illegal to notarize a hand written document. The issue is if there are cross-outs, or blanks. Blanks make it illegal to notarize, but cross outs are a question mark. Personally, if you care about best practices, and not ending up in court for some stupidity that the signer did, then require typed documents with no cross-outs or blanks.

(2) Don’t pick the type of notarization for your signer
That is their job. Legally, you can not choose for them.

(3) Blanks in documents
Put a line through the blanks or refuse the notarize. (that was quick)

(4) Cross-outs
I would avoid notarizing anything with a cross-out. If you can do a cross out, you don’t know if it was there before the notarization or not. If there is one before, what prevents there from being more after. You can forge an initial without being detected, so cross outs are an indication that you need a redraw.

(5) Affixing your seal over wording
This is illegal in many states. The notary seal should be placed in an area of the paper where there is no wording, and do not sign or write over the stamp impression or you void it. If there is no space, then attach a loose notary certificate and make sure you document all pertinent facts on it.

(6) Loose certificates
NEVER send a loose certificate in the mail or hand it to a client. Always attach the loose certificate to the document, preferably before affixing your notary seal. Always document the name of the document, document date (if any), number of pages in the document, document description on the certificate in addition to filling in the standardized state wording, signing and sealing the form.

(7) Journals
Keep thumbprints in your journal. If your state doesn’t require journals, write them a letter about how poor their standards are and then go and buy a journal from the NNA. Also, there is a section called, “additional notes” in your journal (hopefully). Please use this to write down anything unusual about the signer during the signing, or anything unusual about the circumstances. Write it so thoroughly, that when you are in court five years later about that signing which could have involved fraud on the part of the signer, that you will have your evidence handy! Impressive!

(8) Oaths
If you do sworn Oaths, make sure to have the affiant (know this term) raise their right hand. Make sure to study up on formal Oath wording. Oaths are serious, and you are a state appointed official, so keep it official, okay?

(9) Embossers
If you don’t have a 2nd notary seal, get one. Embossers create a RAISED inkless impression. Use it as your secondary seal, and you can affix it to all pages of all documents you notarize for security. There are many frauds out there who do page swapping after the fact. To avoid page swapping (which could lend you in court for something they did after the fact) use an embosser. That way when you get a phone call 2 months later to notarize that separate page they are adding, tell them that you have to do the whole thing all over again. Sorry Charlie, that is a best practice!

(10) Learn the correct verbiage for power of attorney signings
But, there are four accepted verbiage variations. My favorite is Joe Doe, as attorney in fact for Mary Doe. Always call the lender to find out what type of verbiage they want at a signing. Remember, it is their loan, and just as long as you are not breaking the law — do it their way!

(11) Overseas documents
People overseas have bizarre standards. Some require the stamp to be on the document itself no matter what, but they didn’t put the verbiage in for your state. There is nothing LESS legal about attaching an acknowledgment form, but it is not about the law at this point. It is about whether or not THEY like it! So, find a legal way to handle their overseas the way they like. Once I manually wrote in the California Acknowledgment verbiage by hand and then sealed it. It was legal. Not exactly a best practice, but if they won’t accept best practices, then settle for “best practices under the circumstances”. Chinese are a tough crowd — you will find out!

(12) Initialing
Many Title companies don’t like suffixes such as Junior, or IV at the ends of names. But, if you are Louis Remy Martin IV, then the IV is part of your name, the 4th part of your name to be precise. Ronald R Rubin initials RRR. Get the initials to be correct and thorough. And if a lender doesn’t like it, should you break a best practice for their happiness? I don’t know of any laws about initialing, but making an initial of each part of the name is only logical, right?

(13) Signing for confused elderly people
If you sign for a person in a hospital, or someone who is just elderly. Make sure you have whomever calls you READ the identification over the phone to you including the expiration date. Have them read the name on the document too. Elderly people can never find their ID’s, and if they assure you that they have it, don’t believe it, they are lying. Trust me. I know! I am experienced and you are not! Otherwise you would be writing this blog. Do not notarize an elderly person if they can not move their arm on their own. Do not let their daughter drag their arm across a page that they are signing. You can use the daughter’s arm as a brace, but not a movement device. If the elderly person can not paraphrase what the document says, DO NOT NOTARIZE. And, by the way, the night daughter might be a con-artist who is pretending to help the elderly woman, only to be trying to cheat the old lady out of her money. Notaries beware!

(14) When in doubt, call your state notary division
Sometimes the handbook is just not enough. It doesn’t include all situations, and it is not written in English either. Legalese is not my mother tongue, what about you? Call them and bug them. Do it right or not at all. The NNA offers a good notary law hotline too, but get your information from the SOURCE and call your state notary division as your first choice!

(15) Safeguarding your seal and journal
Keeping it under lock & key is the rule of many states. A locking bag, a locking file cabinet. Keeping it in your car, etc. But, honestly, property DOES get stolen, and you need to protect yourself the best way. If your goodies are in your car, keep in in a place where it won’t get taken in a break-in. Keep it under the seat, or behind some large container in the trunk. I kept it in my trunk, but where the robbers could see it. Everything was in a little bag, and they probably thought it was a lap top and valuable. They were in a rush and didn’t inspect it before they took it. If it is at home, keep it in a locked file cabinet instead of hanging around in your locked bag. Go above and beyond the law for best practices. Keep your seal in a place where it is least likely to be “robbable”.

(16) Be an expert at your state notary laws.
Look them up in your state notary handbook. Keep this book with you. It is your bible when you are at work.

(17) Be an expert at credible witness procedure, and signing by X procedure in your state.

(18) Be an expert at all notary and signing related knowledge.
Don’t half know it or kind of know it. Be an expert, and it will show. You will be higher on people’s list if you are.

(19) Keep four phone numbers with you at signings.
In jail you get one phone call. But, as a notary you get many, and should have three phone numbers. The number of the signing company, the lender, the borrower, and the lenders’s wife. Just kidding about the last one. You need to call the lender half the time at a signing because they are such a careless bunch, that they will not have thoroughly prepped the borrower for the signing, plus there might be unexpected surprises on the documents as well. Be prepared!

(20) Using your seal on a blank piece of paper.
ILLEGAL. However, if you go to a jail, they require this for security. So, affix your seal, and then cross it out and write the words void. It is no longer illegal. It is the BEST way to clean up a WORST practice that the jail makes you do. I joked with them and told them that I thought it was funny that I was being forced to break the law by a guard at a jail. What is the world coming to?

(21) Check the signature on the identification
Does the signature on the identification match the one on the document? Did you check? Start checking.

(22) Bad identification?
Is the identification peeling? Is the signature above the lamination? Does it look like a fake identification document? Do you even have a reference guide to know if it is fake? It is your business to know. Get the NNA book on identification and drivers licenses. Also, take thumbprints. Standards for identification should be a government issued photo ID with a physical description, serial number, signature, and expiration date. Nothing else will do. Whether or not the government issuing the document need to be in the USA or not depends on what your state laws are!

(23) Thumbprints
Take thumbprints for all Deeds, recorded documents, power of attorney — as a minimum. Do this regardless of what your state requires. It could keep you out of court, and time is money. Get an inkless thumbprint pad from the NNA. Get this today. You should not be without it for one nanosecond. They can fake an ID, and fake a signature, but you can not fake a thumbprint.

(24) Don’t notarize for people who ask you to break the rules or who look suspicious.
Are you notarizing a kidnapper, or is the signer under duress? Stay away! It is not worth the money and you could get involved in a nightmare that just doesn’t end. What if someone asks you to notarize them under a different name variation than is what their identification says, and you tell them it is not legal. What if they say, “Oh, come on!!!”. What if they threaten to not pay your travel fee if you don’t? First of all your travel fee should be paid in cash at the door, or just leave. Avoid this type of people. They will make your life twisted.

(25) Don’t backdate
Signing companies will put you under pressure to do this if a borrower will lose their lock. Just say no. Tell them that their lock is their business and that your business is obeying the laws of your state which say, “No backdating“. Tell them that the security of your commission is not worth their convenience. Just leave. Don’t deal with these frauds.

(26) Don’t use white out
White out is a worst practice and will get you fired. Cross outs are a bad practice as well.

(27) Name changes the kosher way
A processor I used to work with instructed me not to cross anything out. Just have the borrower initial under the last several letters of their last name and then sign the way the new name will be typed in the document. After the fact, the processor can type in the new name. The cross-out simply doesn’t help. They just need the initial. The processor can cross it out in a way that they think is professional.

(28) Don’t explain the specifics of the loan or when the loan will fund
Just explain the basic definitions of loan terms such as APR, or rate if your state allows that. Specific information particular to their loan is for their lender to discuss with them. You can get in trouble if you make any explanations or commentary about information specific about their loan. On the other hand, you should be an expert at looking up specific pieces of information. APR is on the TIL and perhaps the Settlement Statement, so tell them that and show them where it is. The interpretation of what the information on the Settlement Statement is up to them and their lender, not you!

(29) Don’t notarize for someone who you can not communicate directly with
Some states allow the use of interpreters. I say you should not as a best practice. The interpreter could be lousy, and misinterpret something that you said. You are leaving yourself open to communication gaps. If you speak a little Spanish and can get by, and the signer understands you and vice versa, that works. Don’t create opportunities for communication gaps. I have traveled to enough foreign countries to know that people in different cultures communicate differently, they say yes when they mean no, they lie, they misrepresent, they save face, and fail to explain things thoroughly (especially asians who do the quickie explanations that leave out 95% of the meaning). I am not knocking foreigners — I just don’t believe half of what they say — and I don’t believe half of what Americans say either since Americans are a bunch of liars too! Speak directly to your signers! Learn oath verbiage in Spanish, or whatever your rusty foreign language is. Learn how to ask if you understand the document.

(30) Have a registered business name
We have notaries on the site who change their business name on our site every month. Each month it is the name of the month. This is illegal. If you have a registered business name that is registered with your county, then that is your business name, and you should have a bank account that takes checks paid to that name.

(31) Don’t draft documents
Unless you are an attorney, or authorized to draft documents, don’t get involved. You can get into bad trouble.

(32) Don’t give legal advice
If you are not an attorney, do not give legal advice. Interpreting laws, or suggesting that a person take a particular legal action might be construed as legal advice or the unauthorized practice of law.

(33) Consult an attorney before doing modifications
Although modifications could be legal in some states under some circumstances, they are often done in an illegal way, and YOU are not knowledgeable to know the difference, or to know what you can or can not do. Consult an attorney or stay away!

PRACTICAL BEST PRACTICES

(34) If you don’t get paid on time, contact the Title company.
They might fire or discipline the signing company in that case.

(35) Charging travel fee in cash upon arrival
It is ILLEGAL for a notary to have beneficial interest in the signing. However, many clients including Title companies will simply not pay the notary if the documents or loan packages don’t get signed, notarized, and funded properly. Unfortunately, that is illegal to put the notary in the position where they will only get paid if they notarize. It is actually a MISDEMEANOR in many states to ask the notary to do something illegal which could include having beneficial interest. If you don’t get your cash up front BEFORE you see the signers, documents or identification, you will be sorry. Get your cash, and THEN see the document. If it is incomplete, that is their problem. No identification, or the names don’t match? Their problem. Signer is in a coma and can not talk — their problem. Some situations will merit waiting time, and you will have no way to enforce your WAITING FEE if you don’t have your travel fee. You will not be in a bargaining situation as they will have the upper hand. If you have your $40 cash travel fee, you can say that you want waiting time when the clock strikes 20 minutes otherwise you are leaving. You have the power that way, and you DON’T have beneficial interest anymore (learn to define this term to be professional).

(36) Contracts with signing companies
Have your own contract that you make companies sign to get a better price with you. Make sure you indicate that if there is any ISSUE with the signing such as a last minute cancellation, no-sign, redraw, or anything unusual, that you get paid quickly. These are exactly the types of situations whre notaries typically get stiffed. So make them pay you faster in these situations so you don’t get stiffed. Even if you charge them a discounted fee. Make them pay within 10 days for these types of signings or charge them a penalty. No contract on your terms, then no discounts for you! Take the upper hand. You are a business person!

(37) Background check all companies who want to hire you
Check them on NR and the 123notary forum — OR ELSE… You will live to regret it if you don’t.

(38) Don’t put the Fedex in the drop box
Fedex is a great company, but they do hire human beings which is their downfall. Not recommended. If a driver changes routes, the new driver might goof (once in a long while) and that drop box in a remote area might not get picked up on time — or at all. Drop your Fedex at a staffed location. The deadlines are later, and it will be in the right hands 100%. Be safe.

(39) Printing on the road
This is a business best practice. If you can print on the road, you will be on time to more appointments, and can print last minute documents in a flash. You will be popular with lenders, plus gain people’s respect for being a prepared trooper. It is very expensive to have a comprehensive mobile office, so be ready to pay through the nose.

(40) Don’t go to houses that smell bad
You can end up in a hospital with a serious bacterial infection. If it is really filthy or smelly, tell them you will do the signing at Starbucks and that you have to leave at 5pm. Risking your lungs is not a best practice.

COMMUNICATION & ETIQUETTE BEST PRACTICES

(41) Don’t talk about the wrong things at signings
Don’t talk about politics or religion. Stick to the weather and traffic, but not in the context of complaining!

(42) Call back etiquette
Announce who you are when you call back. Don’t demand to know who they are until you are politely introduced yourself and explained that you received a missed call from that number. Also, don’t call people back only to tell them that you can’t talk. That is plain stupid and is a worst practice.

(43) Announce who you are when you answer the phone
Do you say, “This is Linda”, when you answer the phone? Or do you say, “Hullo?”. Be professional.

(44) When you confirm the signing, make sure all signers are there
If you do a signing where the wife is not on the loan, she might be on a few of the documents such as the Deed of Trust, Right to Cancel, and one or two others depending on what state you are in and who the lender is. Make sure you know where the wife will be during the signing, otherwise it might be a short signing. Remember, that you don’t know what is on the documents until you get the e-documents which is within minutes of the signing. Plan ahead and confirm the signing.

(45) Make sure your answering machine states your name!
Don’t make people guess if they dialed the correct number.

(46) Don’t ramble, make long pauses, or give opinions
Nobody wants to hear your life story, especially not me or my staff. Nobody wants long answers to quick questions. Nobody likes it when you ask them a question and you pause for 45 seconds to think. Don’t criticize others or give opinions either. Your job is to be a notary. Notaries don’t have opinions — or at least shouldn’t.

(47) Leave enough time between appointments
There is no point being late because you were delayed at your last appointment

(48) Determine how long your signing session will be.
Charge based on time. When you go to a massage therapist, you pay for a 60 minute session. If you go over 60 minutes, the next victim is waiting and they have to stop. Notary signings should be no different. Agree ahead of time how much time they want, and make them commit to that, or don’t work with them. If they want 90 minutes or 120 minutes, that is fine. Have them agree to that up front, and pay accordingly. Your job is not to be delayed endlessly. After all, your next appointment has the right to see your face showing up on time, right?

(49) Don’t have noise in the background when you talk on the phone
If someone calls you and there is noise. Apologize for the noise, and then walk to a quieter location. Don’t let the background noise continue otherwise you are unprofessional in my book.

(50) Don’t park in the driveway.
Your job is not to notarize, don’t put the Fedex in the drop box, and don’t park in the driveway. These are my three golden rules for notaries. Notarize only if it is legal to do so. Bring Fedexes to staffed locations, and park on the street unless there is a good reason why you should call the borrowers and ask if you can park on their driveway.

(51) Know your hours of operation
Never say that you are flexible. Tell people when you are available. I am available from 11am to 2am seven days a week unless I am already engaged, on vacation, or dead. That is a quick and professional answer. Don’t say that it depends. Don’t say that you sign anytime. People who say anytime have such restrictive schedules that they won’t sign any time other than 9-6. Flexible means 9-5:30. These terms mean absolutely nothing. Act like a professional and give people hard numbers when they ask a question — and don’t keep them waiting.

(52) Use your notes section to describe your service thoroughly
Don’t use empty adjectives like thorough and professional. Describe what YOU are like at a signing which is unique to you, so people can get to know you through your notes rather than reading something that looks like you copied it from 3000 other boring notaries who use exactly the same adjectives in exactly the same order. Talk about how fast your laser printer is. Talk about your exact counties or cities that you cover. Give people real information in your notes section, not some empty sounding sales literature that tells them nothing.

MARKETING BEST PRACTICES

(53) Get certified by ALL listing agencies who you advertise with.
If you advertise with ten companies, do all of the certifications. You look like an idiot if you can’t even be a professional at your profession!

(54) Having reviews on your profile from esteemed Title Companies looks great.
It is not a crime to have reviews from “nobodies”, but it is a best practice to have the people who review you be as reputable as possible. Their reputation is your reputation when they write a review about you.

(55) E&O insurance looks professional
E&O insurance looks professional, but is it? It makes it attractive for a company to hire you. E&O doesn’t protect you that much though. You can still get sued if the lender makes a mistake and the borrowers sue all parties involved. This happened before. You will not be covered. It actually encourages lenders to make claims rather than reducing your liability! E&O insurance makes you look good, so get some! But, is it a best practice? Being covered is better than being not covered, so I will call it a “better than nothing practice”. Or, I can call it something that looks like a best practice to the uninformed.

(56) Background screening
If your state doesn’t screen notaries as well as California does with the FBI, DOJ and KGB, then there might be some merit in a background screening.

(57) Advertise on all major directories
Have a well filled out profile, amazing notes, and reviews if possible.

(58) Call all local title companies
Call them up and announce yourself. Call them every month to remind them that you are good, and that you want to work.

(59) Get on the list of all nationwide signing companies.
Fill out the paperwork each signing company requires ahead of time. Make it a best practice to be on as many company’s lists as possible.

(60) Read notary blogs
The more you know, the more impressive and knowledgeable you will be. Know as much as possible to be the best that you can be. 123notary has an interesting Facebook, Linked in and Twitter profile as well. The more you read, the more you know!

(61) Don’t lie about your number of signings
Keep a count. Look them up in your journal. When someone asks you how many signings you have done, don’t ramble about how many years you have been in business. Nobody wants to hear that. Tell them how many you did. 1012 signings, plus there will be another one tonight! Don’t tell them you did two yesterday and three the day before. Nobody has patience to hear you count. Don’t think — KNOW!

(62) Guarantee your work
If you goof, go back and do it again for free. Make this a policy.

(63) Send complete bills regularly.
You need to know exactly what information goes on the invoices you send out. Name of borrower, loan number, address, date of signing, name of lender, etc. Bill regularly and keep good records, including the CHECK # of incoming checks. Otherwise you won’t get paid.

Tweets:
(1) Is it legal to notarize a hand-written document? What if there are cross outs?
(2) Blanks in documents? Put a line through it buddy!
(3) It is illegal to use your seal on a blank piece of paper. Yet jails usually require this! (cross it out)
(4) Notary topics: Hand-written docs, Blanks in docs, seal over wording, loose certificates, overseas docs.
(5) Don’t go to houses that smell bad #mobilenotary
(6) Notary contracts, fees at the door, background screening signing co’s, call Title if not paid on time.

.

You might also like:

Notary Public 101 – a free notary course
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19493

The 30 Point Courses – a free loan signing course
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14233

Notary Marketing 102 – a free marketing course for Notaries
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19774

Share
>
Older Posts »