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February 27, 2016

The Compliance Agreement

The Compliance Agreement
This document is often part of a loan package. While not notarized, “The undersigned hereby agrees to cooperate”. This cooperation includes working with both the lender and the Escrow or “Closing Agent” to facilitate “reasonable requests”. This cooperation is subsequent to the closing, on an “if necessary” basis. Said cooperation includes providing any and all documentation “deemed necessary or desirable”. It is very open ended with an enforcement clause, to be discussed later in this installment.

The affiants to this agreement, often both the buyer and the seller, are obligated to assist, as “necessary”, to complete the transaction. This completion can include verbiage to include the marketability of the loan and/or securing title insurance. They may be requested (really required) to re-execute documents or sign additional documents. They may also be asked to provide previously “not relevant or considered” documents, to facilitate the closing.

Score one for stating the obvious. While researching this blog, one of the compliance agreement documents specifically stated: The sellers are not required to perform duties and responsibilities of the buyer, and the reverse is also understood. As mentioned the responsibilities of the affiants is a bit open ended. They are both required to not only facilitate requests “deemed necessary” but also those “desirable”. An up to date appraisal would certainly be desirable, but it’s not clearly spelled out who would be required to pay if this was requested. Similarly, it’s not clear who would be responsible for expenses to make the loan “insurable”.

While this document is usually a single page; the issues are rather complex. There are four parties involved: The Lender, the Title Co., the Borrower, and the Seller. It’s easy to visualize conflicts developing. The “enforcement arm” is frequently in the last paragraph. This section includes for recovery of all expenses, and lawyer fees, by the winning party if it is adjudicated.

Thus failure to comply with an “it’s desirable” request (demand?) from Title, might result in Title obtaining the item and billing the, for example; seller. Additionally the seller would, if they contest the cost, and lose; have to pay the attorney fees of the Title Company. Quite a lot of responsibility is included on that one little page. Few bother to read it. It’s generally explained (not by the Notary!) as agreeing to resign a lost document; but it really comprises much more.

I often wondered why such a “strong” document is rarely if ever notarized. Perhaps the public perception of notarized documents being “binding” and others “contestable” is in play. Whatever the reason, all affiants should be aware of the broad scope of the Compliance Agreement. It’s more than just allowing clerical errors to be corrected, much more. I have heard it explained away as only allowing for the correction of typographical errors. “If we put the comma in the wrong place and say you only pay fifty cents a month, not five hundred a month; we are allowed to correct that typo”. Yes, it’s that; but also much more.

How does this apply to the notary? From my prospective the issues are so broad, vague and potentially of great economic effect – I would not attempt to “explain” it; not a bit. If asked a question related to the Compliance Agreement, for me it’s an immediate call to the Loan Officer.

You might also like:

The 30 point course lesson on the Compliance Agreement
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14335

A comprehensive guide to Deeds
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16285

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March 1, 2015

Point (8) 1003 (9) Compliance Agreement; Marcy’s Problem w/the 1003

Marcy was on her way to another Notary assignment. She had been studying a little harder now, and knew her materials a little better. But, she got stuck on the signing with the Jennings. The loan signing went well, but there was a snag.

MARCY: Hi, I’m Marcy and I’ll be your Notary Signing Agent today.

Mr. JENNINGS: Is that like being a Private Notary, like the Tina Turner song?

MARCY: I’m your private Notary, Notary for money, do what you want me to do (within reason)
I’m your private Notary, Notary for money, any old loan docs will do…

Mrs. JENNINGS: How did we get on this topic? Aren’t you supposed to be a Public Notary?

MARCY: Well, yes, but for the purposes of the song, and the appointment, I’m temporarily private — at least during the signing.

Mr. JENNINGS: And this is the most fun you’ll have with your stamps on. (laughs) Oh, love that one.

Mrs. JENNINGS: What’s love got to do, got to do with it?

MARCY: It’s okay. There is nothing wrong with a little humor, so long as the wife is around. Just make sure he doesn’t make these jokes when you disappear to the kitchen to get coffee.

Mr. JENNINGS: Yeah, otherwise you’ll have to wear that T-shirt that says, “I’m not your husband’s mistress, I’m the Notary!”

MARCY: There he goes again! I actually saw 80 year old Mrs. Appleby wearing that T-shirt with her walker. I almost died laughing.

(20 minutes later)

Mr. JENNINGS: In any case, we seem to have gotten through most of the loan. But, let’s take a look at this 1003 Universal Residential Loan Application. Didn’t we already apply? Oh my God. It has my college wrong, and my age too. I want to talk to my Lender right away!

MARCY: Oh no. I just called him, but he won’t answer. I’ll leave him a message. Any chance we’ll get this loan signed in the meantime?

Mr. Jennings: Not on your life! I’m not signing anything until I hear from my Lender.

Poor Marcy ruined yet another loan through lack of training. Little did she know that the 1003 is notoriously riddled with errors, and that the information in that document is not binding for the loan. It is just backup misinformation as the case may be. It is so common and inconsequential for the 1003 to have endless information that is just wrong that you don’t even need to talk to the Lender about it most of the time. SPOILER ALERT: The question of whether or not you should cross out wrong information in this particular document will be addressed in a later chapter.

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Point (8) The 1003 Uniform Residential Loan Application

This form can be irritating because it often contains incorrect information about how old people are, where they work, how much they are borrowing, etc. Some borrowers insist on making changes to the 1003 because they are offended that the lender, for example, believes that they were born on 1-01-95 and have 3 months experience at their job when they are sixty years old and have 20 years experience. However: the information on the 1003 is not final.

Please note that often times this document must be initialed, but the location of the required initials can vary depending on the format. Additionally, there is often a blank page in this document which some people like to cross out.

For final numbers, see the Note, Deed of Trust, Truth in Lending (TIL) and Settlement Statement. Loan amounts are often misquoted by several thousand dollars in the 1003. Refer them to one of the “Final” documents like the note if they are concerned. . If the borrower remains upset, just have them write down each mistake on a piece of paper and have them talk to the lender on the following day.

Backdating. Sometimes the 1003 is backdated or the lender will leave instructions not to date it at all. Why? Because the borrower, most likely, has submitted a more user-friendly form to the borrower, which contains the same information that the 1003 does. At a closing you are often pretending that you are signing the 1003 when the borrower filled out the user-friendly application several weeks prior to the signing. As a Notary, just don’t backdate Notary documents. But don’t worry, this one is not a Notary document, and you aren’t backdating, the borrower is.

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Point (9) Compliance Agreement Errors and Omissions

There are various names for variations on this document which include:

Compliance Agreements, Errors & Omissions, and the Correction Agreement Limited Power of Attorney.
These documents all deal with the same issue. Some loan packages will have a Compliance Agreement and a Correction Agreement. There are many variations to these documents, but they have universal purpose: Mistakes happen on documents all the time, and the lender needs to make sure that they get fixed faster than a celebrity’s nose. These documents allow them to make clerical corrections, basic changes, to the loan package. Please note that the difference between the various types of Compliance Agreement and the Correction Agreement Limited Power of Attorney is that the Compliance Agreement requires the borrower to “cooperate” when clerical changes need to be made while the Correction Agreement Power of Attorney allows the lender to make the changes on their own.

The Compliance Agreement
The Compliance Agreement states that the borrower will cooperate in the correcting of information if the situation arises. “The errors and omissions” is sometimes a phrase that comes in the beginning of the document like Errors and Omissions / Compliance Agreement. An omission is a piece of information that someone has left out of the document.

The Correction Agreement Limited Power of Attorney
This document makes some borrowers worry. This document transfers power to the lender to make changes to their loan documents. It is only to correct clerical and typographical errors, like misspellings and other simple errors. It doesn’t affect the numbers or terms in the loan at all. Make sure to comfort the borrowers with a similar explanation if they are alarmed. They are not really signing their life away.

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You might also like:

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

30 Point Course (10) The Signature Affidavit
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14356

Notarizing a compliance agreement (discussion)
http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=3913

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April 4, 2018

123notary 2018 Certification Standards

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills,Loan Signing 101 — admin @ 2:26 pm

Due to the fact that the Notary industry has changed, and the values of people hiring Notaries have changed, we have changed the requirements for being certified. In the past, people valued our certification and gave our certified members a lot more clicks as knowledge was a commodity with a price tag. These days, knowledge is less valued and the type of knowledge that is valued changed from being more document focused to be more about manners, following directions, being business-like, and being good at Notary work. Additionally, those hiring Notaries either want someone who is very knowledgeable or don’t care about knowledge at all. The Notaries who were simply mediocre with a certification or without a certification seem to get the same amount of business. However, those who do not know how to function at all as a notary get substantially less clicks on our site. By passing our online test you can get a temporary certification. However, the over the phone test gives a longer term result. We feel free to retest people as often as we find necessary. Below are our new elaborated requirements for regular 123notary certification.

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NOTARY KNOWLEDGE

Note — we require an 80% on general Notary knowledge. Topics included are listed below and are taught thoroughly in Notary Public 101.

Notary Acts
Intimate knowledge of Notary acts such as Acknolwedgments, Jurats, Oaths, Affirmations and Proofs is necessary to pass our test. You need to be able to distinguish between the details of the characteristics of each act and explain each act thoroughly and accurately which is harder than most Notaries realize.

Form & Journal Filling
Detailed knowledge of how to fill in a Notary journal and certificate forms based on good practices and NOT based on your state’s particular rules.

Oaths & Affirmations
Detailed knowledge of administering Oaths & Affirmations that are worded correctly for a variety of situations.

Identifying Signers
A basic knowledge of how to identify signers under varying circumstances.

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SITUATIONAL KNOWLEDGE

We require Notaries to know how to handle curve balls before, during and after signings. This information is taught in the scenarios section of Notary Public 101.

Common points include:

Confirming the signing
There are many things you need to go over with the borrower when you confirm a signing. Do you know them all?

Handling Power of Attorney Signings
There are many ways a signer could sign in a capacity of an Attorney in Fact, but do you know the right way you need to have them sign so as not to get in trouble?

Dating the Right to Rescind
Many Notaries on 123 Notary cannot count 1, 2, 3, which is why they need to review dating the Right to Cancel.

A list of other situations
A variety of other situations that could really vary and could be based on questions that stress following directions which cannot be taught. Read about these on our scenarios page in our Notary Public 101 course.

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DOCUMENT KNOWLEDGE

We require Notaries to know the basic characteristics of the following documents with an 80% accuracy under time pressure. We teach most of this knowledge in our 30 point course on our blog.

Deed of Trust / Mortgage
Note
Right to Cancel
Closing Disclosure & Closing Statement
Truth in Lending (semi-antiquated)
HUD-1 Settlement Statement
Compliance Agreement
Correction Agreement
Occupancy Affidavit
Signature Affidavit & AKA Statement
Owners Affidavit
Automatic Funds Transfer Disclosure
Various Riders
Subordination Agreement
Quit Claim & Grant Deeds
Understanding the APR (listed on the TIL or Closing Disclosure)
Initialing

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Also see — Elite Certification Study Guide

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March 26, 2018

Quick information about loan documents

Filed under: Loan Signing 101 — admin @ 10:52 am

On our certification quiz, we ask a few questions about loan documents. For more detailed information, query our courses, but these are going to be quick pointers that we often quiz about.

The Deed of Trust / Mortgage
The Deed of Trust is the security instrument. It also goes over prepayment penalties and late fees. It goes over the address of the Lender and the Borrower as well as a lot of other information which we do not quiz on.

The Note
The Note contains the general terms or general business terms of the loan. It is the best place to look for information about prepayment penalties, when the first payment is due, loan amount, and other general terms of the loan.

The Right to Cancel
As a Signing Agent, you must know how to date a Right to Rescind or Right to Cancel. For a home owner borrower, they are given three days not including Sundays and Federal holidays. Please do not say three business days as the days are calendar days not business days, but not including Sunday, Federal Holidays, or the date of the signing. The borrower can cancel up to midnight on the third day to rescind and can cancel in writing.

The CD
This document has a lot of quick information on certain information about the loan, fees and payoffs. Although it mentions that you will or will not have a prepayment penalty, it does not go over the terms of the prepayment penalty.

First Payment Letter
This document goes over information regarding the first payment due.

Owner’s Affidavit
This document goes over maintenance issues regarding the subject property as well as occupancy status and other information about the property.

Occupancy Affidavit
The Occupancy Affidavit states that the borrower will move into the subject property within sixty days and will stay there as a primary residence for a year, or possibly two years or six months in some cases depending on how the document was drafted. I have only seen this document state a one year occupancy requirement in my experience.

Compliance Agreement
The Compliance Agreement makes the borrower agree to furnish additional information to the lender if requested after the signing. It also makes the borrower agree to cooperate if the Lender needs changes to clerical errors signed off on by the borrower.

Correction Agreement LPOA
This document has the borrower give consent to let the Lender / Title make changes to clerical and typographical errors to the documents on their own after the signing

1003 Residential Loan Application
The 1003 document typically has lots of information about the borrower including how many years of school they had, and other personal information. It is typical for this document to have clerical errors, however, those errors do not affect the final status of the loan.

APR
The APR is typically higher than the rate as it includes some of the fees and closing costs and is compounded.

The information in this section have to do with frequently asked questions. This information in this section is brief, and does not constitute a thorough knowledge of loan documents, but this is typically what we ask about in our over the phone quiz, so please learn this material well.

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You might also like:

Index of information about documents
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20258

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

Documents you need to understand for Elite Certification
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20169

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January 29, 2018

Journal abbreviation keys

Filed under: Journals,Technical & Legal — admin @ 12:50 am

Many people take the easy way out with their journal. Journal keeping is seen as just an arduous task with no higher meaning. Many people feel that they can do a shoddy job doing their journal since it is not required in their state. However, if you are in front of a judge you need a clearly filled out journal whether your state requires it or not.

Many Notaries use the check box journal. I recommend against this. The check box journal says, “E&O” as one of the names of a document. If the real document says, “Errors and Omissions Compliance Agreement” that is a completely different document. E&O is an abbreviation for the first three words, but what about the last two words? Don’t take liberties.

Then there are other Notaries who just write, “10 Grant Deeds.” If you are ever in court, you need to know which Grant Deed is in question and if you really notarized it. Keeping escrow numbers, names of parties involved and addresses helps to narrow it down.

DOT could be a good abbreviation for Deed of Trust. However, if you are in court years later what will the judge say? What if you have bad handwriting and use abbreviations?

My philosophy is to keep an abbreviation key in the inner cover of each journal you use. I had 70 journals in my career so I could have a lot of keys. You can have a key that says:

DOT = Deed of Trust
AFF = Affidavit
E&O Comp Agree = Errors & Omissions Compliance Agreement.
Corr Agree = Correction Agreement.

This way you have a system that is documented just in case.
Or, just write the entire name of the document out. Or you could only abbreviate Deeds of Trust since they are so common and not abbreviate the others just to keep reading the journal more straight forward.

The worst thing you can do is to write, “Loan Docs.” When you put the names of documents in your journal, each document is legally separate, and the fact they are part of a package does not make them legally all have the title, “Loan Documents.” Each document has a name that must be entered in your journal if you notarize it.

You might also like:

Here’s why you should keep a journal
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22543

Detective seizes a journal and complains about a blurry thumbprint
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22237

Index of posts about journals
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20272

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December 3, 2017

Oath, what oath?

Filed under: Carmen Towles,Popular on Linked In — Tags: , , — admin @ 10:48 am

So it has come to my attention and honestly to my surprise that most notary signing agents don’t give oaths. And whats even worse they don’t seem to know that it is part of the job. (btw, I give them regularly) I asked those that don’t, “Why not?” Most replied that, ‘they aren’t required to give oaths in their state’ and others didn’t know anything about them at all. Really? Then I went on to ask, “Don’t you know that most sets of loan documents have a few documents in the loan package that require an oath be given?” Such as, for example; the signature name affidavit, correction agreement? And that all ‘jurats’ certificates require an oath. Most tell me that they were never trained that this was necessary. But, here and now I remind you that It is part of your job description. So it may be time to get those handbooks out for your state and take another look. Just remember that anytime you see the notarial wording that begin with, “Sworn or affirmed before me”, will always require an oath to be given. And it should go something like this: ‘Please raise your right hand. Do you solemnly swear or affirm to the truthfulness of the document that you are are about to sign?’ Feel free to make your own, this is mine.:). They undoubtedly will say yes and you can proceed with having them sign the document, Remember these documents typically require the signer to sign in front of you. (If they have signed the document already you can have them resign in front of you or use a fresh copy) State notary law regarding this may vary.

Now, I have never heard of anyone getting in trouble for not giving an oath. But it is part of your job. And it could have the potential to render your notarization void if a judge asked you if you gave the oath and you didn’t. So it is better to know what your duties are and do your job. It is better to be safe not sorry.

You might also like:
Oaths, how Notaries completely screw them up
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19369

Should you use book wording for Oaths or improvise?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19660

When are you required by law to give Oaths?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21017

Notary Public 101 – Oaths, Affirmations, Jurats & Acknowledgments
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19500

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August 23, 2017

Letter to the NNA about Notary Testing

Filed under: Popular on Linked In,Popular Overall,Social Media — admin @ 12:10 am

Dear NNA,
It has come to my attention that the focus that both of our organizations have put on loan document knowledge seems to be a somewhat wasted focus for two reasons. First, the people we both have certified don’t know their loan documents that well. Second, Notaries tend to know their loan documents better than they know their Notary procedures.

When we get complaints about our Notaries, the complaints are normally that a Notary was rude, left someone high and dry after a botched signing not returning emails or calls, or that the notary made a Notary mistake (more common with beginners) or did not follow directions.

To certify someone as a loan signer who cannot function as a Notary is a mistake we have both made. I can show you many examples of individuals who have an intimate and flawless understanding of loan documents who cannot answer basic Notary questions.

For example, if you called your members up one by one and asked them the difference between an Acknowledgment and a Jurat two things would happen. First, they would be offended that you called them and second, 90% would not give a thorough or correct answer according to my findings.

Notary knowledge trumps loan signing knowledge as the most common errors that happen at a loan signing are notary errors. Notaries commonly stamp where they see the word “seal” whether there is notarial wording or not. Notaries stamp over wording. Many Notaries decline legal requests for foreign language notarizations in California. The most common misunderstanding is that in 44 states, an Acknowledged signature can be signed prior to appearing before the Notary Public. There are many other issues as well.

The main point of this letter is to let you know that we are testing people on the wrong things. We need to know if someone is a good Notary and if they have a good attitude first. If they don’t know the difference between an Occupancy Affidavit and a Compliance Agreement, that will probably not come back to haunt anyone. But, if you identify someone incorrectly and notarize someone with an ID that says John Smith as John W Smith simply becuase you are “supposed to” have the person sign as their named is typed in the document, you could end up in court on an identity theft case for months without pay, and possibly be named as a defendent in addition to merely being a witness.

Last but not least, journal thumbprints are a hot topic of debate among myself and the Notaries. Many Notaries are being discouraged from taking thumbprints simply because it seems invasive or offensive to some Notary customers. However, the thumbprint has been the one piece of information that has helped the FBI nail some really scary ponzi schemers and identity thiefs. Not all states require journal thumbprints yet, but people who lead Notary organizations should do more to encourage people to take thumbprints as a measure to protect society from frauds.

Thumbprinting should be encouraged by scaring Notaries into realizing that without a thumbprint, they might be in court for a very long time, or named as a defendent and conspirator in an identity theft ring. Unlikely or not, the truth is that the FBI does treat Notaries like suspects as a matter of practice whenever anything goes wrong that requires their attention. Keeping good records is a way to wrap up situations quickly and without being blamed as a shoddy record keeper.

So, let’s both invest more in testing Notaries better on what really matters which is the fact that Notary knowledge takes precident over loan signing knowledge, and that following directions, getting back to people and being nice in the face of adversity are the most important things! Knowing the details of the Correction Agreement is actually the least important thing to know. According to lenders I know, the POA is the only document in a loan package which they stress that I test people on!

Thanks for your support, and I recommend your Notary educational products to all although I am out of touch with what the current names for your courses are as I studied from you in 1997. I think the Notary Essentials is what people have mentioned they were studying.

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You might also like:

My bad karma from testing people by phone
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19447

But, I’m not comfortable answering questions over the phone
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19646

10 reasons why the State Notary divisions should be nationalized
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19487

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April 5, 2015

Point (15) Technical Points; Marcy Attaches a Certificate

Filed under: (2) Technical and Legal — Tags: — admin @ 10:57 am

By now, Marcy had decided to really study her text book well. In this last signing, she narrowly avoided two disasters.

MARCY: Hi, I’m Marcy and I’ll be your signing agent this evening.

RUTH: Thanks for coming Marcy. I’m all ready.

MARCY: The Lender asked me to make sure we include a cashier’s check for $2500 in the package. Do you have the check?

RUTH: Oh, he didn’t remind me. But, I have it somewhere.

MARCY: Let’s take care of the check first, otherwise we’ll forget all about it and you’ll lose your lock.

RUTH: That bad?

MARCY: It’s happened before. I read about it in my course and I’m not making any careless mistakes.

RUTH: Here it is.

MARCY: Okay, the course says to staple it to an eight and a half by eleven paper and put it on the top of the stack of documents in the FedEx so the first person to open the package will immediately see it and hand it over to the correct person… Done! I’m putting it in the package, but at a 90 degree angle so I’ll see it. That way I won’t forget to make sure it’s first in line after we add all of the other documents we’re signing tonight.

RUTH: Boy, aren’t you careful?

MARCY: Well, you’d understand if you knew how many mistakes notaries often make in this industry.

(10 minutes later)

RUTH: Okay, I’ve initialed all of the pages of this Deed of Trust. Now, you need to notarize it, right?

MARCY: Correct… (stamps the document) Oooh! That came out smudgy. I better do it again.

RUTH: It looks fine. I wouldn’t worry about it.

MARCY: The Deed of Trust is a recorded document, and that means that it goes to the county clerk’s office. Some of the clerks are picky, and they have the right to reject a smudgy seal which might cause the loan to not go through on time. So, I need to attach a loose certificate and make sure my stamp comes out clearly… Perfect.

RUTH: You certainly dot your i’s and cross your t’s!

MARCY: If I didn’t, you would lose your loan.

(a day later)

LENDER: Marcy, I noticed you crossed out your Notary seal on the Deed of Trust. Why did you do that? That looks very sloppy.

MARCY: Quite to the contrary, the seal was smudged, and the county recorder would be unlikely to record such a document which is why I attached a lose certificate.

LENDER: But, did you have to staple it on? It is very difficult to disconnect — and messy.

MARCY: Legally I am required to attach the certificate. Completing loose certificates that are stamped is illegal because they can easily be used for fraud by being attached to a different document; So by un-stapling my work, you are leaving yourself open to looking very questionable.

LENDER: But, we always do that.

MARCY: Well, you are at liberty to do what you like, but I am not at liberty to break my state Notary laws! If the Lender had the certificate wording on a separate piece of paper without a page number, it would be removable so that nobody would have to see the cross out should there be an error, and once in a while there are stamping errors. Notary seals are not always clear the first time.

LENDER: Isn’t there a better way to do this?

MARCY: If you want your loan to go through, and for it to go through legally, then no — there is no other way to do this.

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Point (15) A handful of technical points
These technical points fall into the category of signing agent knowledge and are generally above and beyond purely Notary knowledge. Being an expert at these points will make you a much more impressive signer.

Checks in Packages
If you are sending a cashier’s check in a package, please note that these get lost much more frequently than you might think and the borrower’s loan will be delayed if this happens. These checks are for high dollar values, so make sure they don’t get lost between all of the many hands that will touch this loan package.

Staple the check to a 8.5 x 11 piece of paper, and put this paper at the front of the loan package so that whomever opens it (generally a secretary) will see it immediately and notify the person in charge of the loan. If you put the check in the middle of the documents, the check will not get seen right away, and there could be a delay. If you don’t staple the check, it will likely get lost in the shuffle.

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County Recorder Rejections
If you make a mistake on a recorded document, the county recorder can reject the document which could slow down the loan processing time. The borrower might even lose their lock which would be very costly. Take extra care when notarizing recorded documents. Which documents are recorded?

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Dates
What is the difference between a Document Date, Signature Date, Transaction Date, Rescission Date and a Notarization Date?
The document date is a random arbitrarily picked date that is often subscribed in the document. It is often the same date the document is signed, or perhaps drafted. The signature date is the date a document is signed. Of course, if there is more than one signer, there would be more than one signature dates. A Notarization date is the date a document was notarized. Legally, a document can be Acknolwedged more than once though! A transaction date is the date that a document is signed. A Rescission date is the last day to rescind. There, you have five dates to remember!

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eDocuments, eSignings, and eNotarizations
eDocuments are documents sent by email to the Notary to be printed out. eSignings are signings done on a laptop with the borrower doing digital signatures on a signature pad — but, with hardcopy regular notarizations using a paper journal. eNotarization are Notarizations where the notarization uses a digital seal and digital journal.

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The Prepayment Penalty
The Prepayment Penalty could be mentioned in any of these four documents, or perhaps even more. The Truth in Lending says you will, won’t or may have a prepayment penalty. The HUD may reference the prepayment penalty as well. But, the two documents that offer the most thorough information on the prepayment penalty are The Note (which every loan has) and the Prepayment Rider which is only included in a handful of loans that have complicated prepenalty agreements.

Most Notaries we talk to do not know the best place to look for thorough information on the prepayment penalty. They usually want to source the TIL, but this is wrong. Try to be a little more familiar with these very basic loan concepts as your borrowers will be more impressed with you if you do.

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Recorded Documents
Here are various types of recorded documents sorted into categories.

Deeds: Deed of Trust, Riders to Deed, Quit Claim Deed, Grant Deed, Inter-spousal Grant Deed, Warrantee Deed

Title Docs: Subordination Agreement, Mortgage

Legal Docs: Affidavit of Trustee, Power of Attorney (sometimes recorded), some states record the Note although most don’t.

Lien Docs:Judgment Liens, Unsecured Tax Liens, Revenue & Recovery Liens

Other:Addendum, Condo Homeowners Approval, Tax Certificate, Affidavit of Continuous Marriage (state specific)

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Commonly Notarized Documents in Loan Packages
Most packages will have certain documents to be notarized such as a Deed of Trust or Mortgage in all loans. It is also common to notarize other documents such as a Signature Affidavit, Occupancy Affidavit, Correction Agreement Limited Power of Attorney, Subordination Agreements, Grant, Warranty or Quitclaim Deeds, certain Riders, Identity Affidavit, and more.

Spousal Signatures
If a spouse is not on the loan, the documents they sign might vary from state to state and lender to lender, but these documents are typical documents that they need to sign:.
(a) The Deed of Trust and accompanying Riders if any.
(b) Grant Deeds and/or Quit Claim Deeds if someone’s name is being removed from Title.
(c) The Right to Cancel if the spouse is residing in the property.

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Trusts
Notarizing Trusts is not brain surgery. However, when people sign with a capacity, it is common to sign their name, a comma, and then their capacity. Al Smith, as Attorney in Fact for Joe the Plumber. You are only notarizing Al Smith, but the additional information is sometimes helpful or critical. As a general rule, unless the document custodian wishes otherwise, You should have trustees sign as trustees: John Doe, as Trustee.

Then, there are Living Trusts which are instructions for what to do if a signer is incapacitated. These are usually long documents drafted by an Attorney that can be more than forty pages long in many cases. Living Trusts are quite different than regular Trust Documents and Wills.

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You might also like:

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

30 Point Course (16) Initialing
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14463

Don’t put the FedEx in the drop box if there is a check in the package
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2831

Spousal Signature Requirements
http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=244

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July 9, 2013

The Power of Attorney was rejected by a bank

I was reminded of this situation as I looked through our retweets. Apparantly, our followers like tweets about Powers of Attorney. So, I decided to come up with some real stories about Power of Attorney signings that can inform and inspire notaries everywhere.

It happened many years ago. I remember many of the details. I went to someone’s home to notarize a Power of Attorney for banking. They had a fancy Attorney draw up the document and it looked very professional. Please note: non-Attorney notaries are probably NOT ALLOWED to draft up Power of Attorney documents or other legal documents in most if not all states. I had notarized many types of Power of Attorney documents in the past. Durable Powers of Attorney, Health Care Powers of Attorney, Living Wills, Limited Powers of Attorney, Correction Agreement Power of Attorney, and many others too. Yes, a Living Will is a form of Power of Attorney where it gives someone authority to make medical and other decisions for the principal should they become incapacitated.

In any case, I notarized this Power of Attorney, and the client took it to his bank, and it was rejected. But, why? Nothing was wrong with the document or the notarization. So, what was it? The bank had THEIR OWN form of Power of Attorney. We learned the hard way. After spending hundreds on an Attorney and $50 on me, he now knew what to do. So, I had to meet the client at the bank. I forget which bank it was. One of the big ones. Perhaps Bank of America, Chase, or some other big name. They had a form on card stock that had a carbon copy. There was no room to put my stamp. It was idiotic. They wanted the stamp on the form itself and no Acknowledgment Certificates stapled on. So, I filled out the Acknowledgment wording and notarized the form. Voila — acceptable.

So, the lesson for today is — what the law says is acceptable is very different than what the document custodian (the person receiving and keeping or holding onto the document) might see as acceptable. Sending notarized documents to China, the stamp has to be on the document, but try explaining to them that the California Notary Verbiage needs to be on the document too if they want their stamp. Good luck. Warn your clients of the fact that their bank might not accept the Power of Attorney. The moral of the story is to ask the document custodian what type of power of attorney THEY want.

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The Power of Attorney was rejected 2017
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Index of posts about Power of Attorney
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February 9, 2013

2013 Phoninar Quick Course

Filed under: Best Practices,Loan Signing 101,Posts With Many Comments — admin @ 11:26 pm

Here is the study guide for the phoninar!

The purpose of the phoninar is to help notaries learn some of the basics of signing without taking an actual course. Many notaries do not want to take a course, or they already took a course without mastering the material. My solution is to have a free quickie course to start them out with. If they can pass our over the phone test, we will keep them on the site. However, if they fail miserably, then we will most likely remove them from the site if they have a free listing.

Topic #1
The Right to Cancel
Most notaries have a rescission calendar that they refer to when calculating the last day to rescind. Few notaries know when all of the Federal holidays are. Many notaries also can not think clearly about how to calculate the last day to rescind mainly because they have never practiced calculating this date. If you want to come across as a professional, learn to give quick and accurate answers to simple everyday signing questions.

In a residential refinance, the borrower has (3) days to rescind not including Sundays and Federal Holidays. Be careful, Presidents day and Washington’s birthday are synonymous. Also, Flag day is not a Federal Holiday, but banks might be closed. Some lenders do not count SATURDAY as one of the (3) days to rescind, but formally, Saturday is considered a business day in terms of calculating rescission. Other lenders allow the Friday after Thanksgiving to be considered a holiday when legally it is not. Basically, each lender is different, but you have to know the basic laws effecting rescission instead of relying on what the handful of lenders you work with say.

Here is a list of Federal Holidays — memorize these for the test
(1) New Years Day, (2) Martin Luther King Day, (3) Washington’s Birthday, (4) Memorial Day, (5) Independence Day, (6) Labor Day, (7) Columbus Day, (8) Veteran’s Day, (9) Thanksgiving, (10) Christmas

Quick Facts
(a) There are two blanks for dates in the RTC which are generally filled in by the lender. Once in a while the notary needs to fill in these dates or correct them. The technical terms for these dates are the Transaction Date and the Rescission Date. Please memorize these terms for the test.
(b) The date of the signing is NOT included in the (3) days to cancel. If a loan is signed on Monday then Tuesday is day 1, Wednesday is day 2, and Thursday would be the 3rd or last day to cancel.
(c) Loans must be cancelled in writing by the deadline in writing by fax or mail, but not by email.

Pop Quiz
(1) Name all Federal holidays that come in January
(2) If a refinance is signed on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, when is the last day to rescind?
(3) If a refinance is signed on a Friday, when is the last day to rescind?

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Topic #2
The APR
Most notaries know a little something about the APR, but this topic is actually very critical for your success as a signing agent. Every borrower wants to know why their APR is higher than their Rate. How good is your explanation. Here is what we want you to know for the phone test. Sure, there is more to know than what we are telling you, so learn the basics from us, and learn more on your own.

Definition:The APR is the annual percentage relationship between the payments and the amount borrowed, minus the fees. This rate is often used to compare the different loans borrowers have to choose from. The APR is almost always higher than the rate. The rate, on the other hand, is a monthly percentage relationship between the payments and the total amount borrowed, including fees.

Quick Facts
(1) The APR is documented on the Truth in Lending Disclosure
(2) The APR is usually but not always higher than the Rate
(3) Your definition for the APR should include the fact that it could include loan origination fees, closing costs, appraisal fees, inspection fees, points, escrow fees, notary fees, and other costs of the loan — those are some of the big ones.
(4) If you mention that the APR is often used to compare loans, you get points on the phone test
(5) If you mention that the APR might be compounded, you get points.
(6) Several notaries have claimed that there is no government standard for computing the APR, it is up to each individual lender.
(7) You could also claim that the APR includes the interest rate, all fees and costs of the loan, and incorporates them all into a compounded Annual Percentage Rate.
(8) There are many ways to define the APR, the key is to mention all of the components in a clear and easy to understand way.

You might like:
Definitions of the APR
http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=5844

Pop Quiz
(1) Which document contains the APR?
(2) What are some fees that might be incorporated into the APR
(3) Please create and rehearse your definition of the APR so that you will sound professional before your borrowers

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The Rate
The Rate or Interest Rate is more of a topic of confusion with the notaries than the APR although it is much simpler to understand and actually easier to find. Traditionally, the Rate is always documented in the Note. The note by definition discusses the Interest Rate, monthly payments, and prepayment penalties (if any). Once in a while there will be a Rider associated with the Note that might discuss these issues as well.

Inexperienced notaries typically claim that the best place to look for the Rate is on the Truth in Lending. Half of them say this because they are so uneducated that they can not distinguish between the APR and the Rate. The other half choose the Truth in Lending Disclosure because the Rate is actually documented there in many cases. But, let me ask you — if you are in front of the borrower and want to make a good impression — would you look for the Rate in a document where it sometimes is, or in a document like the Note where by definition it ALWAYS is? I vote for always because you will look like a fool if you go fumbling through the documents trying to find the right information in the wrong place.

Quick Facts:
(1) The Rate is always located in the Note
(2) In loans over the last few years the Rate is also generally documented in the HUD-1 Settlement Statement which comes later in the documents than the note unless it was sent separately.
(3) Some lenders include the Rate in the Truth in Lending, although this should NOT be the place you look for it first since it is not always there.

Pop Quiz
If you want to show the borrower the rate, which three documents would be where you would look, and in which order would you source those three documents?

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Dealing with errors in signings

Errors on Notary Certificates
From time to time in a signing, there will be an error in the notary certificates. Please keep in mind that handling an error in a certificate might be handled very differently from an error in the actual documents, or in the body of the actual documents, so please make the distinction.

If there is an error in the notary certificate — such as an acknowledgment or jurat certificate to name examples, there are various ways to rectify the situations. The problem is that each method has an upside and a downside.

(1) Cross-out and initial
This is a messy way to solve a problem on a legally significant document such as an acknowledgment. If a person’s name is spelled incorrectly, crossing out an initialing could get the document rejected by a county recorder. One notary had to cross-out wording on an out of state certificate that claimed that she personally knew the signer when in fact she did not know the signer. She crossed that out, and the document custodian was very upset. I told her to consider adding a loose certificate.

REMEMBER, it is the notary who initials changes on notary certificates and NOT the signers.

(2) Add a loose certificate and start all over
Legally, you can always add a loose certificate. However, the person or entity to whom you are submitting the documents to might not like it. Please distinguish between what makes your work legally acceptable and popular as the standards often do not match. The loose certificate has the advantage of having whatever name and wording you want it to have so you don’t need to cross anything out.

(3) Notarize the document twice?
Not illegal. You can do two journal entries and notarize twice. Notarize the original acknowledgment embedded in the last page of the document with the cross outs, and add a fresh certificate as well assuming you have a 2nd journal entry to match that one. Document this well in your journal for your protection.

(4) Redraw?
Redrawing documents is time consuming and expensive. It involves making new appointments and risking not getting paid. But, for an out of state that needs to be worded in a particular way, you can have them word it however they want it to be worded, so that no cross outs or illegal claims or acts are necessary.

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Errors in the right to cancel
Notaries typically do not know how to fill in the dates of the right to cancel. From time to time a signing will be postponed a day, and you need to change the two dates in the right to cancel which are the transaction date (the date you sign), and the rescission date (the last day you can legally cancel). Please try to appear educated and don’t say the signing date, or the cancel date as these wordings are not educated sounding and are also not clear.

To fix the dates on the right to cancel you can:
(1) Cross out, right the correct dates and have both borrowers initial
(2) Pull a fresh copy from the borrowers copies and start all over. The borrower’s copies might or might not have the dates printed in the blanks. If you made a mistake correcting dates, then sourcing the borrower’s copies definately makes sense.

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Fees on the HUD-1 Settlement Statement
If someone wants to know where their fees and closing costs are, please direct them to the HUD-1 Settlement Statement. But, which fees are on the HUD. There is a huge conglomeration of information on the HUD. Too much to teach. But, to impress us, you should be able to rattle off a handful of fees on the HUD without batting an eyelash. Here are a few fees typically on the HUD.

Services: Abstract of Title Search & Title Charges, Appraisal Fee, Attorney fees, Document preparation, Notary Fees
Transaction Costs: Assumption fees, Broker fees, Credit reporting fee, Escrow account deposits, Escrow Fees, Loan Origination fees, Points or commissions, Settlement or closing fees
Inspection Fees: Lead based paint inspection fee, Termite inspection Fee, Other Inspection fees
Insurance: Flood insurance Fee, Hazard insurance, Mortgage insurance application fee, Title insurance
Payments: Interest, Cash payments

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Initialing
There are no legal standards for initialing. However, the purpose of an initial is to have an abbreviated way of writing your name in a document.

Andrew B Clay Sr.
His initials could be ABC, or ABC Sr. Which is better?

Some lenders don’t want a Jr., or Sr., on an initial.
However, if it is part of the signers name on Title, then it is part of their name.
The initials for Junior would be Jr. Therefor in my opinion, it should be part of the initial representing the forth word in the name.

What about Andrew Hooper III
I would have him initial AH III

There is no way to shorten the III part. But we don’t want to confuse him with his father and grandfather who might have been on title, so we will include the III unless asked by the lender not to. There are pros and cons in the different ways of initialing. Be thorough unless asked not to be by the lender.

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Parties involved in a loan
Many notaries don’t realize how involved the loan process is, and how many parties there are involved. So, if you make a mistake signing a loan, you might be inconveniencing more parties than you think. Here are a few:

Lender
Notary Public
Borrower
Relatives of the Borrower
Signing Company
Settlement Agent
Escrow Agent
Broker
Insurance Companies
Title
Loan Servicing Companies
Loan Holding Companies who purchase the loan from your lender (at great risk)
Attorneys
Inspectors
Appraisers
County Recorders
Oh… I almost forgot — the pets of the borrower
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If your stamp was smudgy
If your stamp (notary seal) isn’t clear on notary certificate forms, recorded documents might be rejected by the county recorder. If there are cross-outs, or anything that the recorder doesn’t like, they might reject the document as well which would mean that the notary would have to notarize the document all over again which is very time consuming and involves scheduling. Each county recorder is different and there are over 5000 different county recorders throughout the United States!

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Attorney in Fact wording
If Sam Smith is signing in his capacity of Attorney in Fact for Sharon Smedley, how would he sign? There are at least two ways: Here they are.

(1) Sam Smith, as attorney in fact for Sharon Smedley (I like this way best)
(2) Sharon Smedley by Sam Smith, her attorney in fact (ambiguous as to who you are in the signature)

Memorize the wording including the commas if you want to pass our phone test!

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Fraud & Journals
Not all states require you to keep a journal, but for your protection you need one regardless of what your state says. No state forbids you from having a journal. In your journal you record the date & time of notarization, type of notarization, document name, document date (if any), signers name and address, type of ID used, ADDITIONAL NOTES where you record anything unusual about the signing, or if you used credible witnesses, the signature of the signer, and a THUMBPRINT.

Quick Facts:
(1) If a signer is accused of committing fraud. OR, if a third party is accused of tricking a signer to sign something or of forging a signature, then the thumbprint in your journal could keep protect you.
(2) The thumbprint could stop an investigation in its tracks since you have evidence
(3) A thumbprint could drastically reduce the time involved in an investigation or court case. Imagine being stuck in court for 30 days with no income because you did a risky notarization for an elderly lady in the hospital who was on morphine and couldn’t think straight.
(4) Warning — beware of notarizing the elderly. Make sure they understand what they are signing and can paraphrase what is in the document for their protection and yours. You are not legally required to understand the contents of the document, but they can get into huge trouble, and drag you into the trouble if they are being tricked into signing something — especially a power of attorney or deed.

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Spouse not on loan?
This question is very state specific. New York deals with spousal issues differently.

As a general rule, if the spouse is not on the loan documents, they might need to sign any Deeds including the Deed of Trust, (Mortgage), Right to Cancel, Truth in Lending, Correction Agreement, HUD, and perhaps a few others.

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Define beneficial interest
If a party is a beneficiary to a document being signed, they would have beneficial interest. But, who else might have beneficial interest too? If you are a relative of the signer such as a spouse or child, you might benefit from the document being signed. If you are a notary who won’t get paid unless the document is signed, then you have beneficial interest in the document being signed which is illegal. To keep it legal, make sure you get paid regardless of if a document gets signed to keep yourself impartial and above board. A notary’s job is not to notarize, but to say NO when necessary. Stand in front of the mirror and practice saying NO!

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What is the difference between e-documents, e-signings, and e-notarizations

e-documents are documents that are sent to the notary electronically via the internet. A password and various types of downloading software would be necessary for e-documents as well as a high speed internet connection and a fast printer with good ppm.

e-signings are signings typically signed on a laptop with a wireless card. Some of the documents are still physical, and the journal used is physical.

e-notarizations require a special eNotary commission. Only about (9) states have such a commission. The signer is still required to appear before the notary in all, or almost all cases (varies over time and state by state — AZ at one point had some exceptions to the personal appearance law). ENJOA or an eJournal is used for e-notarizations. Unfortunately, county clerks offices are not always able to fulfill their legal obligation to be the custodian of eJournals after a notary’s commission is over. An interesting twist on some new technology that has many serious issues.

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Notary Public 101 from 123notary
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Beginner Notaries 103
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