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April 5, 2017

Do you know your Federal holidays?

Filed under: Loan Signing 101 — admin @ 8:08 am

Many Notaries are a little rusty on Federal holidays. Plus, a few of the Federal holidays are a little bit complicated to understand. Here are the 2017 holiday schedules. There are ten Federal holidays in all.

Jan 1 — New Year’s Day
Jan 16 — Martin Luther King, Jr.
Feb 20 — Washington’s Birthday
May 29 — Memorial Day
July 4 — Independence Day

Sept 4 — Labor Day
Oct 9 — Columbus Day
Nov 10 — Veterans Day
Nov 23 — Thanksgiving Day
Dec 25 — Christmas Day

New Year’s Day When we ask people to name a holiday in January, most people omit to answer New Year’s Day as it feels like it is celebrated more in the end of December — but, that is New Year’s eve which is not a Federal holiday.

Martin Luther King Day Then we have MLK day. If we celebrated holidays in chronological order, Columbus Day would come before MLK day. We would have a day commemorating when slavory in the new world was originated, when it ended, and when civil rights began to be recognized. But, we have our holidays in inverse chronological order with MLK day, then Lincoln’s Birthday and then finally Columbus Day. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the most famous civil rights activist in America. He had a dream about people finally treating each other fairly for once. The Twitter MLK had a dream where people would be judged each other by the content of their 140 characters, and not the color of their link(s). I had a dream too, and then my alarm clock went off.

Washington’s Birthday is the most misunderstood of holidays. The reason being that it is also informally called President’s day. The holiday is based on a merging of Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays as celebrating both was just too much. Incidentally, Washington’s birthday is an optimal day to get a discount on a Sealy mattress. If your mattress is more than eight years old — it’s time to replace! Without George Washington or someone like him, we might still be a colony and have to pay a 3% tax to the British without having any representation.

Memorial Day: The holiday I always forget is Memorial Day. Perhaps, we should call it forgetial day. Independence Day is always fun, but it feels more like Afghanistan with all of the fireworks going off and car alarms. I guess that is what the revolution felt like — but, our flag (and my hubcaps) was still there, and that is the main thing.

Labor Day (pronounced “Lay-bDay” in Boston) must be popular with the union folks, but Notaries don’t get enough credit for their labor, especially with all of the micromanaging and fax backs. If Notaries were in charge, we would have Fax Back day, where we burn fax backs in a parade and then stomp on the embers. Sounds like something they would do in Iraq.

Columbus Day (not popular in the Lakota reservation) is the day we celebrate how — in 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue and Italians named our country! Vikings discovered America in the 1100’s, but didn’t get much if any credit in history books while Siberians “discovered” American accidentally while hunting caribou in 28,000 BC. and appropriately named it, “The sheet of ice to the East.”

Columbus committed acts of genocide on native peoples and forced many indiginous peple into slavery not to mention forced conversions to Christianity. Personally, I think that Columbus Day should more accurately be called, “The White Man Day.” Columbus had many goals such as the pursuit of gold, and geographical knowledge that would lead to the subjugation of the Americas for economic gain through colonialism, a trade route for African slaves, sugar, and tobacco. How progressive!

GINO: “Hey, we a named a your country — capiche?”

JOHN: “Oh, cool. What did you name it?”

GINO: “A- MER-ica!!!!!”

JOHN: “Oh, I didn’t know that.”

Veteran’s Day is a day we remember Veterans, but they very rarely have the opportunity to sign a VA loan on their own holiday.

Thanksgiving is a much nicer holiday. We gave thanks to the American Indians in Massachusetts for teaching us how to plant corn and survive in a cold and unfamiliar ecosystem. Subsequently, 96% of East Coast Native Americans died of diseases courtesy of European immigrants. What about the remaining 4%?

Black Friday is thought of by Notaries as a holiday because nobody works on Black Friday. However, it is officially a working day according to the government. HOWEVER, it is up to the Lender if they include Black Friday as a day to rescind or not. Half of Lenders do not county Black Friday in the three day period and treat it more like a Sunday.White Saturday is the day when people eat leftovers (generally white breast meat) and should be renamed, “Leftover day.”

Christmas, the most commercial holiday of the year is a day that hardly anyone works and is an official Federal Holiday. People normally take the 24th off as well, although it is technically a working day. If you call Notaries on the 24th, they will turn down work on account that they are baking cookies or spending time with the grandchildren.

If the Lakota Nation could name a holiday, they would call it “Broken Treaty Day” where broken treaties that the USA and native people’s made were systematically broken on a whim. What’s the point of having a treaty if you don’t abide by it?

Anyway, now we know our ABC’s, how America was discovered, the kinds of unfriendly behavior the early colonialists engaged in, how we thanked the Indians, how people got their civil rights, how we eat leftover turkey, and how we bake cookies in rememberance of our savior and lord from Nazereth while declining Notary calls. The end!

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October 29, 2018

Fix for – Your Phone Stopped Ringing

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 12:28 pm

Fix for – Your Phone Stopped Ringing
To understand why it’s not ringing you need to understand what makes it ring. Calls come from three basic origins. Repeats, Advertising, and “where you are known”. Repeats are great, and you will have them if you did a good job for a fair price. People like to deal with a known entity – especially when the prior work was great. Ads cost money, but wisely done have a good ROI
(Return On Investment). However “ads” can be free – the following link: http://kenneth-aedelstein.com

will be “picked up” by many internet “robots” – including Google. It costs noting to
post a blog, just some time to create content that is worth the readers’ time.

Now on to “where you are known”. I have often suggested the distribution of several hundred business cards. Sure, it’s work – but has the advantage of making a good face to face impression. Well, to be honest it can take a lot of low result legwork. But, it can also be done with a strategy for low effort and high return. One good potential future caller source is doctors. They often need their statement about a patient’s health notarized. You could plan a route to cover 50 doctors in one trip. It would be an inefficient plan. Sure you would leave a card (and perhaps a brief letter about your services) with the doctors; but the narrow focus would miss other potential clients – in the same building.

A better, perhaps more efficient approach would be to visit an area. Doctors might be prime candidates – but the hardware store adjacent to the doctor should also receive a visit. Think of everyone as a potential client – why not visit an many as possible, as efficiently as possible?

This is a very generalized approach. It works for notaries, realtors or plumbers. They might not need you now, but might require your type of service in the future. Can you picture them thinking “now where did I put that card” – I vaguely recall that person seemed competent.

Don’t feel like making a special card distribution trip? You don’t have to. Just be sure to carry about 50+ cards with you at all times and distribute them where you go, and to places nearby.

It’s a numbers game – the cost is very low, and to be frank – the response rate is also low; initially. But some will call, perhaps becoming repeat customers. Unlike the hated “spam” email, you are delivering your card personally; perhaps starting a relationship.

One final tip. Be sure to use the back of the card to make your card a “keeper”. I have a street guide to finding buildings in Manhattan. Some have conversion charts between English and Metric measurement, some Federal holidays. Whatever you choose make it a “long term” keep. Probably the worst is a calendar – into the trash you go on New Year’s Day.

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Notary – what would you do?
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Situations where you can ruin a loan out of stupidity
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A list of things Notaries goor (or might goof on).
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Life at the bottom of the food chain
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Get off your butt — and start marketing yourself
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April 10, 2018

Document dates, signature dates, rescission dates and transaction dates

As a Notary, you will undoubtedly be confronted with a variety of dates that all need to be clearly defined in conversation so as not to confuse yourself or the other party. Let me sum these up.

Document Dates
The document date is NOT necessarily the date the document is notarized. It is merely an arbitrary date normally created by the document drafter that might reflect the date the document was drafted, supposed to be signed, supposed to be notarized, or some other arbitrary date. There is no rule for when a document date can be.

Signature Dates
The signature date of a document is the date it was signed. If you have two signers signing on different dates, you might have what 123notary calls “a double date.” There are multiple questions involved in a double date. One is how do you date the rescission document if the date you signed a document is more than one date. The other far more important question is — who pays?

Rescission Dates
The rescission date is based on a date that comes CALENDAR three days after the transaction (= signature date) not including Sundays or Federal holidays. If you have two signature dates, you might have two rescission dates, one per person. But, if there is only one rescission date, it probably is based on the last signature (complicated.)

Transaction Dates
This is more of a glossary type term or test term. The transaction date is the date when the transaction happened which is based on the date of the signature. I ask people what the synonym is for a signature date to see how much they read.

Medjool Dates
If you go to a signing for health conscious people or Saudi’s, after the signing, you might get yet another type of a date — a Medjool date. These dates are typically grown in the Middle East, but also in parts of Arizona near Yuma

Hot Dates Q&A
If you steal a document, would the date on the document be correctly defined as being a “hot date” since it was technically stolen?

Dates and Journal Entries
A good Notary does more than his/her state’s minimum requirements for journal entries. There is a field in your journal for the name and/or description of the document. A good journal also has an optional field for the document date. I suggest you pay attention and write in the document date as it helps to identify a particular document and distinguish it from a different document with the same name signed by the same person. Sometimes the document date is the only way to tell them apart.

Dates and Notary Appointments
I once went to a Notary appointment with a date. I left the date in the car and came out $30 richer. She complained that I left her in the car too long, which is good, because that date would expire at midnight.

Please also read our previous article on the same topic. Read more…

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Backdating from A to Z
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5 books every notary should own and read
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April 4, 2018

123notary Elite Certification Study Guide

Filed under: Loan Signing 101 — Tags: , — admin @ 12:24 am

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ELITE CERTIFICATION

To get elite certification, you need to do well on the regular certification topics, and then know a lot more. Here are the items we quiz about for elite certification. We test by phone for the elite, and if you study hard and know your basic documents, scenarios, and Notary knowledge plus the content on this page, you could pass.

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Documents you have to understand intimately

Recorded Documents
Riders
Subordination Agreement
Residency Affidavit
Owners Affidavit
Deed of Reconveyance
Deed of Trust
CD & HUD-1
Please read the details of the required documents. Read more…

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Procedures or Acts to Understand

Signature by X or Mark — read more…
Apostilles and Authentications — read more…

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Other Terms or Information
Please click on the links below to get detailed information on the following points.

The term Elizor — read points 23 on this link. An Elizor is a court appointed official that can sign over property when the owner refuses to cooperate in court.

Explaining beneficial & financial interest. A Notary may not have beneficial interest or financial interest in anything he is notarizing. A beneficial interest could be construed as …

Federal Holidays in chronological order (memorize these). Let’s start with New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Independence Day …

Fraud Prevention & types of fraud that happen in the Notary world. Falsified identification, incorrect dates on certificates, using someone else’s Notary seal …

Authority – Who has the highest level of authority if there is a question about a notary act or document at a signing? The Notary is the authority as to how a notary transaction happens, but…

Annual Percentage Rate — a detailed understanding is required. The APR is based on the amount borrower after certain (but not all) fees and closing costs have been deducted, and expressed as a …

Pros & Cons: — Adding an Acknowledgment rather than fixing the original. if there is a mistake on a preprinted form. It is cleaner to add a new form, but there can be recording fee issues involved…

What to do if John & Sally’s names are inscribed in an Acknowledgment by the Lender and Sally can’t make it. — Cross out or add a new form? This is similar to the last point, but there are some extra snags…

Handling name variations and discrepencies such as: ID Name, vs. Typed Name, Signature on Doc, and Name on Ack. Relationship between these names if they don’t exactly match. The main thing is to obey the law first…

Understanding dates such as: Transaction Dates, Signature Dates, Rescission Dates, and Document Dates… A transaction date is the same as a signature date, but a document date is arbitrarily chosen, but by whom?

Loan Signing FAQ’s that Borrowers ask. FAQ’s have been greatly reduced by Lenders being required to explain documents to the borrowers in advance. But, you still might be asked why the APR is …

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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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Index of information about documents
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Documents you need to understand for Elite Certification
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November 16, 2017

Goofing on the RTC

Filed under: Notary Mistakes,Technical & Legal — admin @ 3:58 am

To be Notary, you need to be a cautious and meticulous person. The problem is, that most Notaries are amazingly careless and go into this profession because anyone can get in. This is a problem. You would not believe how many people goof on the RTC when I ask over the phone.

If a Refinance is signed on a Friday, and Monday is a Federal Holiday, when is the last day to cancel?
The answer is Wednesday night at 11:59pm.

30% of people goof on this ridiculously easy question and say Tuesday and a few say Thursday. What is the problem here? Many Notaries have poor listening comprehension. They are not really paying attention or listening when they are supposed to be listening — even during a test that determines their future. Many others do not concentrate on what they are thinking about. Sometimes it is good to review the situation two or three times in your head before giving an answer.

The Notary profession involves a lot of phone conversation, a few emails and texts as well. If you cannot think and be cooperative over the phone, you will not make it in this profession. It is easy to date a right to cancel. That is kid stuff, yet many Notaries cannot do this.

You can get SUED if you date an RTC wrong.

I signed 4000 loans in my career and did not goof a RTC even once. I made about six technical errors in my career which is not bad. I made more than six social blunders, but as you know, I am not the most socially smooth person in the world.

So, practice the RTC. This is called studying. Remember the basic principles.

The day of the signing doesn’t count as a day to rescind.
Sundays and Federal holidays don’t count as days to rescind.
Friday after Thanksgiving does count unless the Lender says it doesn’t count.
Saturdays are business days or rescission days and do count.

A borrower in a Refinances has three calendar days to rescind not including the day of the signing, Sundays or Federal Holidays.

It’s not rocket science. Learn it correctly so you don’t get fired or sued.

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March 23, 2017

The 3 day right to rescind

Filed under: (4) Documents,Loan Signing 101 — admin @ 8:00 am

This article intends to clarify dating on the Notice of Right to Cancel or RTC.

A borrower went to confession

TOM: “Forgive me father for I have rescinded.”

PADRE: “Did you rescind in the 3 day period?”

TOM: “Yes, father.”

PADRE: “Then, it is okay in the eyes of the lord. 3 hail Mary’s.”

TOM: “It was in two days, so can you reduce my sentence to 2 hail Mary’s?”

When you get a non-commercial and non-investment personal refinance, traditionally you get three days to resind or cancel your loan. Counties these three days is a skill that Notaries need, but don’t always have. In the old days, and with certain lenders, the Notary is reponsible to write in the TRANSACTION DATE in a blank in the RTC.

The transaction date is the date when a notarization is done or when a loan is signed. Technically with Acknowledged signatures, the signature can be made previous to the Notarization. It might be five minutes previously or twenty years previous to the notarization. During loan signings, the documents are normally signed at the time of the loan signing and promptly notarized.

The signature date is normally the same as the transaction date, but not necessarily and is the date the person signed the document. Once again, in an Acknowledgment, that could come before the notarization if the borrower wishes to sign ahead of time, but at a loan signing is normally on the date of the loan signing.

The notarization date is the date when a document is notarized.

The recission date or deadline or last day to rescind is three days after the date of the signing not including Sundays or Federal hollidays or other days that the Lender allows.

Please note that business days only include Monday to Friday while days to rescind include Monday to Saturday not including Federal Holidays of which there are ten.

Let’s do some practice runs.

(1.) A loan is signed New Year’s eve on Friday the 31st. What is the last day to cancel your Refinance?
Sat would be New Year’s Day a Federal holiday. Sunday would be a Sunday and not counted. So, you would have… Mon, Tues, Wednesday would be the last day.

(2.) A loan is signed on Monday in April when there are no Federal holidays. The last day to cancel is… Tues, Weds, Thursday would be the last day.

(3.) A loan is signed on Sunday in April. The last day to cancel is… Mon, Tues, Wednesday would be the last day to cancel.

(4.) A loan is signed on Thursday in April. The last day to cancel is… Fri, Sat, skip Sunday and Monday would be the last day to cancel.

(5.) A loan is signed Wednesday before Thanksgiving. The last day to cancel would be… Fri, Sat, skip sunday and then Monday would be the last day to cancel UNLESS the Lender allows Friday as an arbitrary holiday (they can be generous if they like) in which case it would be… Sat, Mon, and Tuesday would be the last day to cancel. Whether Black Friday is considered a holiday or not is up to the Lender and they are 50/50 on this one. But, if they don’t specify, then it is considered a regular business day with exceptionally long lines!

Now boys and girls, we understand the RTC or Notice of Right to Cancel. We hope you are also aware of when the ten Federal holidays come. It is not a bad idea to have a Rescission Calendar. I heard that the NNA might have them, so get one that fits in your wallet.

What’s in YOUR wallet?

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April 12, 2015

Point (18-24) Notary Competence; Marcy’s Hospital Signing

Marcy had never done a hospital signing. But, she liked kids, and was thoughtful towards elderly people as well. She was called to go to St. Joseph’s to do a notarization for a bedridden old lady. When Marcy got to the hospital, she learned that the elderly lady could barely move her arms. Luckily, the lady was able to sign an X in chicken scratchy writing. Marcy was able to get together a few others in the hospital to act as subscribing witnesses. Marcy had studied this procedure since she knew that one day a notarization would be ruined and a client lost if she didn’t know it inside out. She got the subscribing witnesses to sign the first name and the last name next to the X in their own handwriting in the journal and in the document. Next, she asked the old lady to explain the document. Unfortunately, the old lady was so mentally impaired, that she could not get a single sentence out about anything. Marcy didn’t want to end up in court, so she played it safe. She declined to notarize after all of that work. Better safe than sorry, because in a fraud investigation, only God knows how long you would be in court!

The very next day, Marcy got a call from 123notary. They wanted to help her brush up on her knowledge. The girl at 123notary asked, “Name two Federal holidays in January.” Marcy said, “Oh, I know this… um…. Martin Luther King Day… and … I can’t think of the other one.” Marcy forgot about New Year’s Day. This may seem funny, but 9 out of 10 answer this question incorrectly. The answer is too obvious, or since it is celebrated in the last evening of December, it doesn’t seem like it happens in January.

The following day, Marcy got called in to notarize three Grant Deeds for a busy Realtor. They all had the same document date, the same signer, and would all be notarized on the same day. Marcy wanted to mark her journal and the additional information sections of the Acknowledgments with some distinguishing information to tell these documents apart. After all, they had the same name, date, signer, and everything! So, Marcy wrote the document date, the name of the document, # of pages, and some other information in the additional info section, but also wrote the property address as that was the only unique piece of information to separate the three Grant Deeds. Marcy was being smart now and staying out of trouble. After all, she didn’t want someone playing swap the Acknowledgment certificate after the fact. That would be a long court case. Smart — very smart!

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Point (18) Name Variations, Middle Initials & Identification
If the printed name on the signature section of the document says, Tom T Smith, then the signer has to sign that way. Once in a while there is a consistency error where the spelling of the name or the name variation might vary throughout the loan by accident. If the signer’s ID has a shorter version of the signer’s name, then it would be illegal to notarize them under a longer name. For example, the ID says “Tom Smith” and the loan documents say “Tom T Smith”, then you can’t notarize the person under the name “Tom T Smith”.

On the other hand, if the ID says, “Thomas Timothy Smith”, then you can notarize him as Thomas T Smith, or just Thomas Smith in addition to the full name stated on the ID.

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Point (19) Journals
Whatever name you choose to represent the signer that is legal according to your state’s Notary law gets recorded in your journal. Each journal entry must record:

The Date & Time of the notarization
The Type of notarization, i.e. Jurat, Acknowledgment, Oath
The name of the document & optional date of document
The name and address of the signer
The identification of the signer
The Notary fee you are charging
A signature of the signer
There should be space for the thumbprint of the signer to the right.

It is recommended that you take thumbprints for notarizations of any type of document affecting real property such as a Deed, or for Powers of Attorney. Additionally, if the method of identification was credible witnesses which is allowed in many states, you should take a thumbprint just to give extra proof of the person’s identity should it ever be questioned in court.

The most confusing part of a journal entry for Notaries is the additional notes section. What notes should you take? This is where you record information about credible witnesses and their signatures. The witnesses do NOT sign where the signer’s signature goes; otherwise where will the signer sign? You can take notes about the building, or neighborhood, or anything distinctive about the signers or your surroundings. This might jog your memory a few years after the fact should you ever be called into court about the notarization — and some type of investigation will likely happen at least once during your four year term. So, keep well documented evidence for all of your transactions.

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Point (20) Federal Holidays
Please memorize these holidays, and the days or months they fall upon. You will be tested on this.

New Years Day
Martin Luther King Day
Washington’s birthday AKA and observed on Presidents’ day
Memorial Day
Independence Day
Labor Day
Columbus Day
Veterans Day
Thanksgiving
Christmas

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Point (21) Notary Acts: Acknowledgments, Jurats, Oaths, Copy Certification by Document Custodian

(1) Acknowledgments
The signer doesn’t need to sign in front of you for an Acknowledgment. But, they need to appear before you and be positively identified. Do you keep a pad of Acknowledgment forms with your state’s wording? If there is a wording error on the acknowledgment provided to you, and you don’t have a replacement form, you will have to use cross-outs which is very unprofessional. Additionally, the notarization might get rejected if there are cross-outs. Keep a journal even if your state doesn’t require it. That is your evidence when you are investigated for someone’s fraud. You might have to lose a day or more in court if you don’t have your paperwork in order. Take journal thumbprints too, just to be thorough. Be professional, carry Acknowledgment and Jurat pads. Ninjas always carry what they need.

(2) Jurats
Jurats require identification in most states although they didn’t used to many years ago. The signer must sign before you for a Jurat. You must make them swear to the truthfulness of the statement or document as well. Affidavits typically use Jurats, although that is up to your client what type of notarization they want. Don’t forget to administer the Oath to the Affiant, or you are breaking the law! Know your notary procedures.

(3) Copies of a document?
Foreigners often need their transcripts notarized, or copies of their transcripts. The law forbids copies of vital records, but not on transcripts. You should ideally supervise the copying of the records to make sure the copy is real. That is a best practice that you can do as a notary. Some states allow a Copy Certification by Document Custodian form which is a Jurat with some extra wording on it and recognized as its own notary act. Clients were happy that I not only notarized the copy, but made a note on the certificate that I personally supervised the copying, and I signed my brief note as well. People were happy with the thoroughness of my work.

(4) Oaths
What is proper Oath wording? A lot is left to the notary who is generally untrained.
There is no official Oath wording for notaries. So, the Notary is left to improvise. Here is some wording we generally like:

Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?
Are the contents of this document complete, true, and correct to the best of your knowledge?

By the way, the name of the person who swears under Oath is the Affiant.

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Here are some other points about certificates

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Loose Certificates
Don’t send loose certificates in the mail. If the lender wants a new certificate, ask for the document and original certificate, destroy the original, and attach a new one. You do not legally need to see the signer again to do that. There should only be one certificate floating around with the document. Make sure to date the new certificate the date when the notarization was actually done and not today’s date! Important point.

Certificate Wording
Most notaries do not cross out the wording in Acknowledgment sections. Where it says “his/her/their” requires the notary to cross out two of the three. That way, upon reading the edited wording, you know if you are dealing with a single man, single woman, or a plural amount of people. Sometimes the gender of the signer is not obvious based on their name. Signature(s)? What if you have one signer who signed a document twice? Then don’t cross out the (s) buddy! This is not rocket science, but most notaries do not do their cross-outs. This is the one document where you not only get to cross words out, but you are legally required.

Backdating
The date you use for a notarization must be the date of the signing. If it is around midnight, then either the date before or after midnight will do. That is the only exception. If you ask me, I feel that the date on an Acknowledgment should correspond to the minute that the signer signed the notary journal since the document could have been signed before the notarization and the certificate could be filled out after. This is only important if you have a midnight signing, otherwise there is no question about the date.

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Point (22) Elderly Notarizations & Signature by X
If you are a Notary who visits hospitals, you will have to learn how to handle difficult elder signings. Many elders have trouble moving their arms. Additionally, if the nurses have given them drugs, then they might not even be able to stay awake or communicate. You need to make sure the elder is sober. It might be illegal in your state to notarize a signer under the influence of morphine or whatever drug they are on. You also need to make sure the elderly signer understands what they are signing so they don’t get scammed. You need to make sure they are the ones signing the document and not an overly zealous daughter who puts a pen in grandma’s hand, grabs the old lady’s arm and moves it around to make a signature.

Use due caution when notarizing the elderly
Please keep in mind that the well-meaning middle-aged people who call you to visit the hospital to notarize granny might not be the old lady’s children. They might be some strangers who just wanted to “help out” who might be trying to cheat granny out of every penny she owns through a Power of Attorney or some other legal documentation that a senile old person might not mentally grasp. Take precautions to make sure you are not facilitating a scam, and that the elderly signer can state in their own words what the document is about. It might be difficult to ascertain by looking at identification cards who is related to whom as relatives don’t always share the same surname. Just assume that people might not be related and might not have honorable intentions no matter how nice they seem. Otherwise you could end up in court for a very long time!

What is Signature by X?
Signature by X is where the signer being notarized signs an X instead of a regular signature.
Many Notaries go through their entire career without understanding the necessity and importance of the Signature by X / Signature by Mark procedure (Notarizing an X). If you have ever done a hospital signing, or signing for elderly, you might be acutely aware of the physical and mental limitations that a signer has in tasks we take for granted. This often necessitates Signature by X procedures.

What steps are necessary for a Signature by Mark or X?

(1) You need two Subscribing Witnesses who witness the Signature by X.
(2) The signer signs an X in your journal and on the document.
(3) Witness one signs the person’s first name in the document and journal.
(4) Witness two signs the persons middle and last names in the document and journal.
(5) Document the ID’s and signatures of the witnesses in the document and journal.
(6) Keep in mind that this is a very unusual notary procedure and is tricky.

Subscribing Witnesses?
What is a Subscribing Witness? Anyone who witnesses someone signing by X as an official act is a Subscribing Witness. Subscribing Witnesses sign the document and the journal. In California, one witness signs the signer’s first name and the other signer signs the signer’s last and middle name (if there is one). It’s good to create documentation to accompany the document as to what this odd procedure is, since it is uncommon and looks strange. It’s also prudent to indicate the Subscribing Witnesses’ names on the actual document and that they witnessed the Signature by X.

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Point (23) Elizors
I am adding this topic just so notaries can appear intelligent if the subject ever comes up. In my career I have never heard this term, but maybe you will. An Elizor is a court appointed official that can sign over property when the owner refuses to cooperate with the court.

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Point (24) Embossers
An embosser may be used in many states as a supplemental Notary seal. As a secondary seal, the embosser should not use ink. Embossers leave a raised three dimensional impression in paper. If a Notary is prudent and embosses every page of every document they ever notarized, then it will become obvious if pages are swapped after the fact as they would not be embossed. Additionally, in a rare case where a Notary’s seal is forged, the forger will not be likely to be smart enough to also forge the secondary embosser which will make their forgery very obviously detectable. Embossers help to deter and identify fraud. They are highly recommended as a result.

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You might also like:

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

30 Point Courses (25-27) Identification, Wrong Venues, Fraud
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14514

Sending loose certificates is illegal
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2470

The Signature Affidavit
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=13190

Notary Journals from A to Z
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8348

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February 22, 2015

Point (3) RTC (4) Closing Disclosure; Story: The Starbucks Signing

The Starbucks Signing
Marcy hadn’t completed her certification test yet. After all, why should she. A little test couldn’t be that important, right? But, she was anxious to get started. She completed her notes section on her 123notary profile. She wrote:

I am reliable, prompt, punctual and professional. Call me for any mobile notary job!

She got her first call a few days after signing up. She answered the phone as her infant was screaming. The screaming was so loud that the person on the other end of the line couldn’t hear what she was talking about. The client decided that Marcy wasn’t very professional.

Then, another call came in. She answered it and got the job. She was to notarize a Grant Deed. She had never seen a Grant Deed, but how hard could it be to notarize. She knew how to fill in an Acknowledgment form. Her baby started screaming right when she was leaving. She left the baby with her husband and went out to do her job. She arrived 20 minutes late as a result of her baby having a fit. The customer said, “Your profile claims that you are punctual, but you are 20 minutes late!” Marcy said, “But, I am punctual, it was just this one time!”

Then a third call came in. They needed a loan signing done. Their house was under repair, so they agreed to meet at a local Starbucks. Marcy’s husband wasn’t around, so she decided to take her baby with her. Luckily for her, the signers loved children, particularly infants. The signing started off okay. Marcy had received a FedEx package of the documents. Everything was in order. She put the documents on the table, and kept the borrower copies in the FedEx. She didn’t know how to introduce the documents because she had never studied loan signing. Her course book was sitting on her desk collecting dust. She would soon learn that book knowledge would help her out of a very serious bind that was about to happen. Ooops!

The couple was signing away, when the toddler spilled Marcy’s mocha all over the Right to Cancel. All Marcy could say was, “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry.” Marcy decided she had the Right to Cancel and obligation to cancel the appointment and have them start all over another day with another notary. She went home feeling mortified and devastated. But, she didn’t have to. Marcy made several simple mistakes. What were they?

(1) No drinks on the table. Drinks spill all the time. If you have drinks on the same table as documents, you are going to have a problem, it is just a matter of time. Drinks go on a separate table or a chair as a matter of policy. If Marcy had obeyed this signing policy, she would not have gotten in trouble.

(2) Don’t bring your three year old to a signing no matter what. It is not reliable or professional to do so, not to mention the trouble they could cause.

(3) The Right to Cancel was damaged, but there was a borrower’s copy of that document in the FedEx which Marcy could have used to substitute for the damaged one. An easy fix to a common problem. It is also common that borrowers sign in the wrong place on the Right to Cancel. You need to swap that document out if that happens as well.

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Point (3) The Right to Cancel

The Right to Cancel (Right to Rescission) gives the borrower in a non-commercial / non-investment refinance three calendar days not including Sundays or Federal holidays to read over the documents and consider their options. If borrowers want to spend three hours reading every page of the document, the Notary is encouraged to inform them that this is a signing appointment, and that they can review their borrower copies over the next three days and cancel within that time period if they have any dissatisfaction with the documents.

Dating: (Chaperone Not Included)
In addition to having the borrowers sign this document, it is often the Notary’s responsibility to make sure it is dated correctly. On the top of the document there should be a section that reads: “The date of the transaction, which is ____________________”. This is where the Signing Agent places the current date; this is known as the “transaction date”. Towards the bottom of the document it states: “no later than midnight of________.” This date is called the “rescission date”, and it states when the Right to Cancel period is finished. In this blank you would write the last day for the borrower to cancel, which is three days past the current date (excluding Sunday and major holidays). If it is Saturday the 20th, and Monday is a holiday, the last day to cancel would be Thursday the 25th.

What if the lender dated the document incorrectly? Cross out the incorrect date, write the new date, and have the borrower(s) initial the change. Never use white-out.

What if the transaction date is correct, but the lender is giving them too many days to cancel? Sometimes lenders are generous and give one or two extra days. Don’t correct that because it’s not an error; it is an act of generosity.

If the borrower carelessly signs where it says, “I wish to cancel”, the best way to remedy this situation is by using the borrower’s copy of the document (by the way, this question is on the exam); doing this will save everyone a great deal of trouble. If that is not possible, cross out the signature and have the borrower initial it. Then have them sign in the correct location.

Cancellation by Fax. The borrower always may cancel their loan by fax with all lenders by law within the (3) day right to cancel period.

Here is a list of all Federal holidays:

New Year’s Day
Martin Luther King Day
Washington’s birthday AKA and observed on Presidents day
Memorial Day
Independence Day
Labor Day
Columbus Day
Veteran’s Day
Thanksgiving Day ( the Friday after is a regular day unless the lender states otherwise )
Christmas Day

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Point (4) The Closing Disclosure (formerly The Truth in Lending)

The Truth in Lending is now antiquated.

Notaries have become moderately familiar with the new Closing Disclosure. I want to stress some important points about this document that you should memorize.

1. The Closing Estimate
Previously there was a document called the Good Faith Estimate whose current replacement would be the Closing Estimate. Although these two documents are not even close to being identical, they go over the estimated costs of the loan among other information.

2. The Truth in Lending
This is now an antiquated document. The Truth in Lending had some bizarre and unhelpful verbiage about the prepayment penalty. It said you, “will, won’t or may” have a prepayment penalty. The Closing Disclosure states if you will or won’t but omits the ambiguous word, “may” from the document.

3. The APR
In addition to going over the APR, there will be a new figure discussed on the Closing disclosure called the TIP which is the total interest percentage.

4. Taxes, Insurance, Escrow Fees
Estimated escrow costs, insurance, taxes, servicing, assumption, and appraisal costs will also be covered in this new and exciting document.

5. The property address
Many loan signing courses claim you should look for the property address on the Deed of Trust or Mortgage. You can, but it is also on the Closing Disclosure on the upper left corner.

6. The Loan Amount & Rate
This is also covered on the upper half of page one.

7. Fees associated with the loan
The Closing Disclosure replaces the TIL and the HUD-1 Settlement Statement. So, items from the Settlement Statement such as fees or costs associated with the loan will be covered on this document.

8. Calculating Cash to Close
This is a very practical section that covers total closing costs, closing costs financeed, down payment, deposit, funds for borrower, seller credits, and adjustments. The bottom line in this section is the cash to close total amount.

9. Summary of Transactions
The sale price of the property, closing costs, HOA dues, deposits, loan amount, sellers credit, rebates, and local taxes are all part of the accounting spreadsheet in this section.

10. The additional information section about the loan
This section covers other specifications about the loan such as whether or not assumption is allowed, if there is a demand feature, negative amortization, late payments, partial payments, escrow accounts, and more…

11. Next, there is a basic loan calculation similar to what the TIL had with the total payments, finance charge, amount financed, APR, and the new figure which is the TIP.

12. There is a section listing other disclosures which will list the appraisal, contract details, liability after foreclosure (keeping it positive), refinance, and tax deductions.

13. And last there is contact information of the Lender, the Real Estate Brokers, and the Settlement Agents.

Sign below.

——————————————— ———-
Applicant Signature Date

Eventually I will create some test questions out of this material. I already have one, but I will derive some others as well.

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You might also like:

30 Point Course Table of Contents
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14233

30 Point Course (5-7) HUD, Occupancy Affidavit & Deeds
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14546

The Right to Cancel done Wrong!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=10001

Notary information for beginners: Best Posts
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=10472

How do you explain the APR to a non-borrowing spouse?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4455

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November 15, 2013

Common Mistakes with: 1003, Crossing out, RTC, TIL & APR

The problem with the signing agent industry is that education is simply not taken seriously. Newer signing agents will take a certification course somewhere, pass by the skin of their teeth, and then say, “I’m done learning”. The effect is that their brain turns off, and there is no more curiousity to learn or thirst for knowledge.

123notary offers a lot of information in the blog which is free, not to mention a plethora of signing courses and new testing systems that are currently being experimented with. Please take advantage of the information that is out there for best results.

Here are some common mistakes that are really dumb that newer signing agents do.

(1) Call the lender about the 1003
The 1003 is always wrong. It is not a final document by the way. The natural order of documents in terms of the finality of information starts with the 1003 which is an application. This application is typed up by minimum wage workers who systematically make mistakes, and the lenders as a group seem to think it is okay to make mistakes on loan documents for loans of half a million dollars. First of all it is NOT okay, secondly it upsets borrowers, and thirdly, it leaves signing agents in a perceived quandary. They think they need to call the lender if information in this document is wrong. This is the one document you can do cross outs on. It doesn’t matter. The next version of information about names and numbers would be the Good Faith Estimate. It is once again a preliminary document and just an estimate. The final document with numbers is the HUD-1 Settlement Statement. If there is an error here — then it is time to call the lender and perhaps even redraw the documents or just cancel the entire loan process

(2) Just cross out and initial
Many lenders have low standards. We live in a world where standards are pathetically low. Just because a handful, or more than a handful of the lenders you work with have low standards doesn’t mean that you should. There exists a concept called “Best Practices”, and that concept involves not making a mess unless you really are compelled to. If names are wrong on documents AND THE LENDER IS NOT AVAILABLE (which is the norm), you can initial under the last few letters of the last name. This is clean, and the processor can cross-out after the fact or do whatever they like. YOU are not compelled to cross out. Just leave a voice mail for the lender to let them know what you did and why. If there are errors on the notary certificates, once again crossing things out is unprofessional and messy. Keep in mind these are LEGAL documents and making a mess on a legally binding document seems very questionable at best. It is cleaner to get a loose acknowledgment, staple it and start fresh without the cross outs. So, when do you need to cross things out? On the right to cancel if you need to change dates, and there is no borrower copy with the dates left blank — THEN, and only then in my experience are you compelled to cross out the old date and write in a new date and have the borrowers initial

(3) RTC
Guess what. The day of the signing is NOT included in the (3) days to rescind. Many newer notaries don’t know this. The reach for their rescission calendar because they can not think on their own. Learn to calculate, learn to count, and learn to think. Learn when the Federal holidays happen and learn to calculate rescission dates when a signing happens right before a Federal holiday.

(4) TIL
Many signers think that there is detailed information about the prepayment penalty on the TIL. Wrong. The TIL states that you will, won’t, or might have a prepayment penalty. That is not what I consider detailed, that is merely a tidbit of information.

(5) APR
Few if any newer signing agents, or even experienced signing agents can discuss the APR and sound professional doing so. Learn and memorize a professional sounding definition of this figure so that when asked, you will be able to answer FLUENTLY, even in your sleep.

You might also like:

How do you explain the APR to a non-borrowing spouse?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4455

Minimum competency guide discusses RTC, APR, Journals & more
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4337

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