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April 29, 2020

Was the signer willing to sign the document?

Filed under: Technical & Legal — admin @ 9:35 am

Verifying willingness is a big deal in the notary world. But, how often do we bring this topic up in conversations, blogs, or tutorials. We take for granted that the signer is willing to sign. But, let’s think about some scenarios where they might not be willing and how to spot those situations.

1. The signer doesn’t speak English.
If a signer does not understand what is going on, they might also not be completely willing to sign. They might be confused, coerced, or desperate. The document might be in English or in their language. As a notary, you must have direct communication with the signer in all fifty states. So, ask them if they understand the document and are willing to sign. See how they react.

2. The signer is elderly
If the signer is in a nursing home, be careful. The loving family members might not be real family and they might be ripping off a senile person. Make sure the signer understands the documents and is willing to sign. Ask open ended questions about what they document means. Be prepared to walk away if you get a wishy washy answer otherwise you might end up in court for God knows how long without pay.

3. The signer is being forced by the mafia or their spouse.
There have been cases where a husband makes the wife sign something. This is more true with foreigners who haven’t been blessed with the feminist movement. Women in other countries actually obey their husbands from time to time. Women don’t obey much in the USA which is why most men no longer want to get married — but, that is a story for another blog entry.

4. The signer is insane
Sometimes insane people appear normal — I know, because I am one myself. Just kidding. And so am I. We both are kidding. You might not see the signs, so make sure all of your signers know what they are signing and are willing.

In my personal experience, the only time I have had issues with signers was in nursing homes, hospitals, and once with a case where someone said they were kidnapped, but were not running. I had to decline a notarization for a dying Chinese man who could not say yes or no, but could squeeze my hand once for yes and twice for no. I broke their heart and tole them to get an Attorney and that I could not help them. Don’t get in trouble. Say no if the request is questionable.

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April 4, 2020

What documents can I notarize?

Filed under: Other Guest Bloggers — admin @ 8:52 am

What documents can I notarize?

This is written about frequently but it does require repetition given the penalties associated with it and the # of requests received for unauthorized notarizations.

WILLS – Unless prepared or directed by an attorney, wills are generally witnessed by two disinterested independent third parties.

VITAL DOCUMENTS – Birth and Death Certificates and Marriage Certificates. The Secretary of State has specific laws preventing public Notaries from notarizing vital documents primarily because the Notary cannot verify the validity or authenticity of such a document. In cases such as this, the Notary needs to refer the client over to the agency who issued the document which in many cases is the County Recorder.

INCOMPLETE DOCUMENTS – A notary should not complete any documents that are fully completed at the time of notarization.

DOCUMENTS WHERE NOTARY IS AWARE THERE IS FALSE INFORMATION IN THE DOCUMENT – If you overhear conversation between people talking about the false information contained in the document they are signing, don’t notarize it. If you suspect that the person signing appears to be overly nervous or if it looks like someone else with a beneficial interest is forcing the person to sign the document, don’t notarize it. Always remember that the signer must sign the document willingly and present proper identification and must be able to communicate with the notary.

PERSON SIGNING CANNOT UNDERSTAND THE LANGUAGE IN WHICH THE NOTARY IS SPEAKING. You cannot use an interpreter because you don’t know what is being translated and if the translator has an interest in the transaction. Do not confuse this with notarizing a document in a Foreign Language. You can always notarize a foreign language document and don’t need to speak that language as long as the person signing can communicate with you in English or another common language in which both the notary and the signer can communicate.

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April 3, 2020

Can you Notarize a document that contains the following pre-printed language?

Filed under: Other Guest Bloggers — admin @ 8:51 am

Notary: Please complete the following. No other acknowledgement is acceptable (see instructions).
The person who signed is known to or was identified by me, and, before me, signed or acknowledged to have signed this form. In witness thereof, I have signed below on this _________ day of ___________, ______________.

My commission expires:________________Notary Public Signature: ______________

While this appears tricky and may leave you second guessing, the short answer is YES.
You can notarize the document even though it does not comply with the exact or substantially similar notary language for 2 reasons.

1. The document is not asking you notarize the capacity or title in which the signer is signing the document.
2. The document is not being filed in California.

This is true for all out of state documents that have preprinted notarial language on it that requires an acknowledgment. If the notarized document is being filed or recorded in California, you MUST complete the California All-Purpose Acknowledgment.

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March 29, 2020

Two notarizations same document..yes or no?

Filed under: Carmen Towles — admin @ 8:45 am

As I often do, I read the notary discussion boards. It’s often entertainenlightening and full of situations that we are faced with to deal with almost on a daily basis. Most of them you share personally with me but this was a new one. A few days ago, the topic was about a notary that had a document that had one signature but two notarizations on the same page; One, was an Acknowledgement and the other a Jurat. The notary choose to notarize only one (don’t know which one they choose and they shouldn’t have done this but that is another issue) and the underwriter rejected it and sent it back for completion of the other notarial certificate. It seems that they wanted BOTH the acknowledgement and the jurat completed. The notary said NO and stated that it was one signature per notarial certificate. And since they had only signed once she refused to notarize both. And, although it sounded about right because most of us feel that it is one signature per notarization. After all, that is how we charge clients. In this case the certificates are different. One requires a sworn oath to be given and the other is just an acknowledgment on the part of the signer. I still wondered about this. Where is written in anybodies handbook that states that you can’t do one signature and have two different type of notarial certificates?

In my opinion, It seems that the lender and/or title was covering there rear end. Perhaps they couldn’t choose so they just decided to put both.The problem would have been easy if they had the signer sign one for each certificate. What ever the case its a decision that you have to make. It seems the notaries are split on this. I personally have seen this a couple times and I just notarize both. And enter into my journal.The question is what would you do?

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January 15, 2020

Your experience matters, but you need to document it clearly

Filed under: Advertising — admin @ 9:29 am

Notaries brag all day long about how experienced they are. Nobody wants to hear your bragging. These same Notaries who verbally boost themselves up are the same Notaries who don’t always login to their listing to document their experience.

Remember – when you tell a caller how experienced you are, only one person hears you; When you indicate in your listing how many loans you have signed (in the # of loans signed box please) and indicate in your notes what types of loans and documents you’ve signed, thousands can read that information and hence hear you.

I have found that many Notaries, particularly the free listings do not login to their listing much. I remove many who don’t login and we hear from them years after the fact. When I put them back online, they rarely update their # of loans signed. Often when I confirm the information with them I inform them that their profile states they signed 50 loans. I get this loud reaction such as, “Oh, no it’s WAYYYYY more than that.” My attitude is – don’t tell me, tell your listing. Thousands read it, so why not maintain it?

A well maintained listing gets over 1000 views per year.

Many notaries are vague about the type of experience they have and spend more time discussing their Real Estate or teaching career in their notes section. Be specific about what types of loans you know how to sign. Go through them one by one. Discuss your professional background clearly too. Don’t just say that you were in the mortgage industry. Tell us what role you played in that industry. Specifics sell.

SUMMARY
When you brag to a caller – one person hears your information; When you fill in your # of loans signed & notes – 1000 people hear your information;

It takes a minute to fill in your # of loans signed and you should update that several times per year. Many people let it slide for many years. If 123notary feels that your # of loans signed indicates that you are doing almost nothing, not maintaining your listing, or making outrageous claims of having signed more loans that humanly possible – we notice. Try to just publish helpful and truthful information and keep it updated. Thanks!

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January 2, 2020

Recorded Documents at Loan Signings

Filed under: Technical & Legal — admin @ 7:21 am

As a notary, you will probably encounter numerous loan signings of various types. Any type of loan that uses real property as collateral will most likely have some sort of security instrument such as a Deed of Trust or Mortgage, perhaps other deeds, and other recorded documents.

Recorded documents get recorded normally at the county clerk’s office for a small fee. It is critical that your notary seal be very clear on a recorded document as the county clerk staff has the right to reject the notarization if there is any small problem with it. Below are a handful of recorded documents.

Recorded Documents:

Grant Deeds
Quit Claim Deeds
Warranty Deeds
Deed of Trust / Mortgage
Subordination Agreement
Riders to Deeds
Power of Attorney (commonly recorded)
Deed of Reconveyence
Tax Liens
Wills
Deed in Lieu
Assignments of a Deed of Trust
Declaration of Homestead
Rescission of Notice of Default.
Substitution of Trustee

On the 123notary Elite Certification test we normally test Notaries to see how fluent they are at naming recorded documents and explaining them. It is prudent to be aware of which documents are recorded so you can be more cautious when notarizing them. I also recommend thinking twice before having cross-outs on recorded Acknowledgment certificates as that looks very messy and perhaps questionable.

You might also like:

The 123notary elite certification study guide
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20118

What is the cleanest way to rectify an error on a certificate?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20018

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

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October 30, 2019

If you notarize a document, does that make it “legal”?

Filed under: Technical & Legal — admin @ 11:50 pm

If you notarize a document, does that make the document in question legal or official?

As far as I know in my layperson opinion, if a document will be used in a legal transaction or in court, it might be said to be a legal document.

Notarizing a will, or other document just makes it notarized. Being notarized it might be acceptable to a particular document custodian or might be more relevant in court. Deeds and Power of Attorney document by definition need to be notarized to be effective or be recorded.

Oh yes, and if a document hits its 18th birthday, then it is definitely legal and the document custodian should alert Quagmire from Family Guy of the event too, particularly if the document is female.

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October 29, 2019

Was the document lost by Pack N Ship or by Fedex?

Filed under: General Articles — admin @ 11:49 pm

Back in 2012, a package was lost. A notary delivered it to a Pack N Ship place. Personally, I had a box of checks missing from a mail box place. I went straight to the police who couldn’t help. Perhaps they got thrown out. Not sure.

But, I digress. So, the Notary could not figure out whose fault it was — was it Pack N Ship or Fedex who lost the package. Hmmm. If there was Fedex paperwork for the package then there would be more to go on. Tracking numbers can tell a story of how far the package went in many cases.

So, the poor Notary had to go to his 100 year old signer all over again and sign again. What a pain. I bet that took forever.

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October 2, 2019

SnapDocs – total number of signings vs. total documented

Filed under: Advertising — admin @ 11:18 pm

There is a common misunderstanding out there. I often ask notaries how many loans they have signed. I get mostly roundabout answers that just don’t give me anything to work with.

ME: How many loans have you signed?

NOTARY: You mean total? In my life?

ME: Yes, otherwise I would have specified a time period. Once again, how many loans have you signed?

NOTARY: Can’t you check on SnapDocs?

ME: I’m not on SnapDocs, I’m on the phone with you. Do you not know what your experience is?

NOTARY: I don’t keep track every day.

ME: Your # of loans signed on SnapDocs is not a total number but a number of loans you signed through their platform. Your total number might be far higher.

NOTARY: Oh, a few hundred.

ME: A few hundred could be anywhere from two hundred to nine hundred. Once again we are not getting any answer I can use to make an input on my form. Hmm.

NOTARY: Just say 250.

ME: Finally, after tugging on you 9x we get an answer. Thanks. Please fill in your notes too.

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Your number of loans signed just went down?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21236

The evolution of American commerce and Snapdocs
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22275

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August 10, 2019

Foreign language documents (California)

Filed under: Carmen Towles — admin @ 11:30 pm

I get calls weekly from the public about notaries in California giving them a hard time with documents in a foreign language. Many California notaries are turning folks away (most of the time in error) because they are under the impression that they can’t notarize a document in a foreign language. The notaries feel that if they can’t read it, they shouldn’t notarize it. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Please read your handbook. You can find this information in the 2019 California Notary Handbook, page 20.

California notaries you can and must notarize any document presented in a foreign language provided you can communicate with the signer. What this means is that if the document is in Spanish (and providing all other conditions are met; such as personal appearance, have current picture government issued ID, etc. are presented) and you CAN communicate in either English and/or Spanish you must notarize their document. You don’t need to be able to read the document. Notaries notarize signatures on documents not the contents of the document. Period.

However, if you are presented with a document in a foreign language and they ONLY speak that language and you don’t speak their language you CANNOT notarize the document. You would then need to refer them to a notary that speaks their language.

Remember, don’t analyze, notarize.

You might also like:

How do I get a foreign language document notarized?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18788

Affidavit of support and direct communication with the signer
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=7084

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