You searched for document - Notary Blog - Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice -

Notary Blog – Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice – Control Panel

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.

You might also like:

Your number of loans signed just went down?

The evolution of American commerce and Snapdocs


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?

Affidavit of support and direct communication with the signer


May 7, 2019

Can an individual mail a document to an Attorney to get notarized?

Filed under: Technical & Legal — admin @ 12:00 pm

This question came from a blog comment.
The answer is that yes, you can mail a document to an Attorney to get notarized. However, the signer might need to be mailed as well, because you can’t notarize a signature on a document if there is no signer. The signer can sign in front of the Attorney if you like as well. What is more important is that the Attorney draft, recommend or review the document before it is signed.


April 26, 2019

5 Benefits Of Notarizing Your Business Documents

Filed under: Other Guest Bloggers — admin @ 4:25 am

The government does trust the notary public, so their signature or seal is a valid sign of document reliability. Below are a few reasons why you need to have a notary public present when you are signing your essential business documents:

Your contracts become ‘self-authenticating.’
Under the Federal Rules of Evidence, a contract with a notary public’s seal is considered to be self-authenticated; meaning that in the case of a case, the witnesses who signed the documents need not appear in court to verify their signatures. This saves plenty of time, money and acts as a huge convenience in the witnesses favor.

They ensure that your documents are signed under the right circumstances
Technically, the notary public notarizes your signature, not the documents themselves. They are reliable witnesses to the fact that the person whose signature is on the document in question is indeed the one who signed it. They also ensure that the person who signed it was of sound mind and not under any duress. Again, the notary public has to ensure that the witnesses who sign your documents are within the legal right to do so.

Notarization provides clarity
There are many legal documents now that stipulate the way people go about their lives. A Power of attorney is required by a grandchild to make significant, life-altering decisions for their ailing grandparent, or title deeds to transfer ownership of land. With a notary public’s signature, these documents’ validity can be ascertained to avoid grey areas that cause conflicts.

Notaries ensure that the documents in question are adequately executed
All legally binding documents hold the signer to a commitment, and one of the notary public’s duties is to ensure that the signer fully acknowledges the agreements and obligations. For instance, for a will to be valid, it needs to include the signature of the testator, and those of two witnesses, plus a QLD probate process to facilitate execution. Yet, some states will require that a will be notarized for it to be valid. Again, if disputes are litigated, it is crucial to have a notary present. A court considers sworn affidavits as valid if they are notarized.

Protects you from fraud, identity theft, and other kinds of crimes
Having a notary public present during the signing of your documents provides you with the safest possible fallback plan, if not a prevention plan in the case of forgery and other serious white collar crimes. In this age of technology and sophisticated forgery schemes, you cannot go wrong by having your documents notarized. Notarization is now a major risk management tool for all kinds of businesses.

Many people avoid notarization services because they are an added expense and may take time. However, with e-notarization, you get quick and more convenient services to keep your business documents risk-free.


February 20, 2019

Notarizing Multi-Page Documents

Should a Notary notarize every page of a document? How can a Notary or signer safeguard themselves from someone swapping pages in a document after the notarization has taken place? You need answers! Here they are!

1. A Notary Public notarizes signatures on documents, not pages on documents. A particular page or pages might have notary certificates within a document. Or, a certificate could be stapled to the back of a document. Ideally that certificate should identify the corresponding document. If you have a ten page document, there will most likely only be one, and possibly two pages with notary wording.

2. A prudent Notary Public carries what is called an inkless embosser that leaves a raised seal impression. This is in ADDITION to having the legally required inked seal that is used with blank ink. The embosser can be used to emboss every single page in a notarized document. I did exactly that on everything I notarized even if there were 100 pages. I did this for safety reasons. I did not want people to get away with switching pages after the fact and dragging me into court as a result of someone else not liking the idea that a page was swapped.

3. If a signer swaps a page from a notarized document, and that page was embossed, they can still swap the page. However, it will not be legal, and it will be very obvious to the Notary Public if investigated that the new page was not part of the original notarization as the notary embosses all pages — if the notary indeed was the type of notary who embossed all pages — like me!

4. Some people initial all pages. Initialing is a type of precaution. But, initials can be forged easily, and it is sometimes not easy to tell if they were forged.

5. If a document had a page swapped, the staple and staple area in the pages might show evidence of tampering. The degree of evidence depends on how skillful the fraud was at swapping pages. Luckly in my career of 6000 Notary appointments I did not have this issue.

6. If you need to add a page to an already notarized document. What can you do? You have to notarize the entire document all over again. I had that happen. What a pain. The signer wasn’t happy. Sorry — just following the law!


You might also like:

Notarizing Multi-Page Documents 2011 edition

Sending loose certificates is illegal

Penalties for misconduct, fraud and failure of duty

How often do Notaries end up in court?


February 16, 2019

What is a document date?

Filed under: Technical & Legal — Tags: , , — admin @ 10:42 am

What is a document date on a document? Is the document date an important fact for Notaries to know? There is a great bit of confusion about this topic.

A document date is an arbitrary date that the document drafter adds or inscribes within the document. Although the document date is arbitrary, certain customs apply.

The document date is usually based on the date the document is either written, becomes effective, or is intended to be signed.

In real life, sometimes signings are postponed by a day or two because something came up. The main point to remember here is that there is no hard and fast rule as to what a document date is, can be or should be. To further research this point, I read through the first several dozen posts on Google about this topic and none of them address is clearly.

You might also like:

Document dates, signature dates, and rescission dates

Backdating from A to Z


December 11, 2018

What if the signature or notarization is in the middle of the document?

Most times you go to a Notary job, the certificate wording is at the end of the document. But, sometimes one document might have two certificates. There might be a signature in the middle of the document, or perhaps multiple signatures in the document. It might be confusing to know which one you are notarizing. You really need to document this in your journal and on the Acknowledgment form so there is no doubt after the fact as to what you notarized and which signature you notarized.

Just remember that you notarize signatures. You do not notarize people or documents although in spoken language we speak as if we are notarizing people and documents.


You might also like:

Notary Public 101 – Journals

A coerced signature

Get the special jobs


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?

Affirmations – pleasing the politically correct while offending all others

Five things a Notary must do


August 3, 2018

Notary Public 101 — Scenarios: How do you notarize a document with no signature line?

If you have been instructed to notarize a document that doesn’t have a signature line, that is a cross between a quandary and a conundrum.

You cannot notarize a document without a signature. Notaries notarize signatures on documents, not documents, and especially not documents without signatures. And you cannot have a signature without a signature line. But, it could be construed as UPL for a Notary to add a signature line to a document. So, now your ability to get the job done is really on the line — which unfortunately doesn’t exist in this case, until someone writes one in.

So, what do you do to get the document notarized? If the signer draws a signature line, then they are the one engaging in UPL, not you, especially if you do not advise them to do so. The bottom line (no pun intended), which is the signature line, is that without a signature, there can be no Acknowledgment or Jurat on a particular document. An Oath or Affirmation are the only Notary Acts you can do without a signature.

So, once a signature line has been added, the affiant can sign, and then you can notarize the signature on the document.

But, what if you have a signature without a document — that is an entirely different question.


June 22, 2018

How do you get a Power of Attorney Document?

I run a Notary directory, and people who hire Notaries often have Power of Attorney documents of various descriptions. It is important to understand that not all Power of Attorney documents were created equal and there are legal standards as well as preferences of the document custodians that need to be taken into consideration.

Legal Considerations
Legally, you probably need to consult an Attorney to figure out what rights to grant to another person (grantee) and under what circumstances and what legal language to grant such powers. I cannot assist with this because I am not an Attorney, and even if I were, I would probably not be practicing in your state.

Document Custodian Considerations
Document custodians are another party that you have to please with Powers of Attorney. A document custodian is the party that accepts your document. For example, if you get a POA for a particular bank, they will want a Banking Power of Attorney done their way which often means using their forms and not some form you got at a stationary store that looks equally good to you. The custodian has the right to choose what type of form they want in many instances.

Recording Documents
I am not an Attorney and do not know if/when/how/why Power of Attorney forms are recorded at your county’s county recorder. But, find out if you need to record it in their files ahead of time. There is normally a fee for this and it involves a visit to a government office, standing in line, not knowing what room to go to, etc.

Types of Powers of Attorney.
There are Medical Powers of Attorney, Durable Powers of Attorney where you can switch powers on an off sometimes, Banking Power of Attorney documents, and Limited Powers of Attorney as well. Living Wills are yet another specialized type of Medical Power of Attorney that deal specifically with what happens if the Grantor becomes incapacitated or is unable to make their own decisions while bedridden, etc.

Drafting of Documents
Normally, it is a good idea to consult with an Attorney before creating a Power of Attorney. Since it is a legal document, you cannot have any old person draft it for you. It should be an Attorney, or someone legally authorized to draft documents which rules out most Notary Public practitioners. Banks normally use their own forms, so ask the bank what form they require. Additionally, there are legal support firms who employ Legal Assistants, Paralegals, and a few who outsource low paying legal work to New Delhi where they do a very good job at a third of the cost. You can ask these types of agencies what they recommend and who is authorized to draft your document. Your best bet however, is an Attorney if you can afford it. Even if the Attorney doesn’t draft the document him/herself, at least he/she is supervising and taking responsibility for it which makes it potentially a lot safer for you to get a quality output.

Notarizing Documents
Any commissioned Notary Public can notarize your document in their state of commission. Please do not expect or ask the Notary to explain or understand any legal document. Non-Attorney Notaries may not give specific interpretations or explanations of documents other than general statements (in certain states) about what the document is generally about with no specifics mentioned. The Notary’s job is simply to check your ID, make sure you signed the document, the journal (required in most states, recommended by us in any state as that is your only written evidence of the notarial transaction), and fill out certificate forms that correspond to your document.

Legal Technical Terms
If you are creating a Power of Attorney, there is a lot of legalese which an Attorney can help you understand. The main terms are:

Grantor — the person giving power to another
Grantee — the person receiving special powers from the document
Agent — another name for the person who receives power and can complete tasks for the Grantor.
Principal — the main person signing the document who is the Grantor by definition.
Attorney in Fact — the most commonly used term for the agent / person receiving power of attorney.
Capacity — If you have special powers or a special position in a company, that can be described as a capacity. Being an Attorney in Fact or AIF is considered a capacity that can be indicated on certain Notary forms.

Signing in your capacity as Attorney in Fact.
There are eight ways that I have seen to sign as an Attorney in Fact. Please be advised that the particular verbiage is very particular and can be decided by an Attorney or document custodian. If they want it one way, and you sign with even one comma out of place, the entire document might be rejected and need to be resigned. Here are some common ways to sign, but ask your contact person before you sign anything, as the verbiage does matter.

John Smith, as Attorney in Fact for Sally Smith
Sally Smith, by John Smith, her Attorney in Fact
John Smith, POA for Sally Smith
John Smith, AIF for Sally Smith

In some of these variations, the signer signs the name of the other person (which I am not comfortable with) and then describes their capacity. In other variations, you sign your own name, and then indicate your capacity after a comma after your name. As always, I cannot and will not give legal advice, so, ask an Attorney before you have a Power of Attorney drafted, and before you sign the document and before you sign in your capacity as Attorney in Fact.

If you need a Mobile Notary Public, visit the advanced search page of and lookup by zip, city or county and find about 7000 Notaries Public nationwide, many of whom are very knowledgeable and experienced.

Good luck!


You might also like:

Index of posts about Power of Attorney

Power of Attorney of the Future

Logic errors can cost you as a notary

Older Posts »