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October 3, 2019

Help!…getting a divorced but husband has my stamp!

Filed under: Carmen Towles — admin @ 11:19 pm

Got a call form a frantic notary that is in the mist of a seemingly nasty divorce. She has a question and it is obvious right away that she is clueless as to what her notary laws are. She states that she may be calling the wrong place but her husband has her seal. She also wants to know if she is still an active notary? I’m thinking; “Oh boy”. I told her first off lets address the fact that you should know that your seal an journali (if required or not to keep one) is to remain with YOU at ALL TIMES in a secure locked location and secondly, you should be fully aware whether your commission is active or not. I mean if she doesn’t know (besides the SOS who would know) And, I am sure they will think it odd of her to be asking. I can’t for the life of me understand why folks are so lax and nonchalant with their seals. The power of the seal is enormous. It can create havoc on peoples lives and cause many financial problems.

In my humble opinion, it seems to me that if you are going to take on such a responsibility being a notary public that you would try at the very least to learn everything you can about being a notary public for your state. There are what I call the ‘rules of engagement’ and one should do their best to know them. Once you become a notary public you are considered a government official and you need to know what you ‘can and cannot do’. There are rules to be followed and you should know them.

It really terrifies me that we have thousands of notaries throughout the county that have no clue of what they are doing. They just tell me that they want to make a quick buck, or its just a side hustle or I just what to do loans. There is way more to being a notary then making a fast buck, etc. There can be financial devastation to you and/or others if you don’t know what you are doing. If you mess up someones paperwork it will be on you. And if you leave your stamp just laying around ‘willy nilly and it is used for fraud god forbid that to, will be on you. So for her to leave her stamp with her soon to be ex-husband was IMO gross negligence and I told her so. I recommended that she contact her husband immediately and secure her seal and journal (if he had that as well).

Please folks read your handbooks and learn all you can. It’s WAY more to being a notary than making a fast buck or side money….

You might also like:

My stolen identity and fraudulent notary seal
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20753

Notary Public Seal
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21411

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September 28, 2019

For God’s sake take a notary class. (if you can find one)

Filed under: Carmen Towles — admin @ 11:15 pm

Got a call today from a new notary in Texas with a question. The first thing I ask her was how long she had been a notary. She is brand new-only a couple of months. I let her know (just like everyone else) that she needs to know her notary laws. She was not aware that this was of the utmost importance but then none of the new notaries do. They are foccused on loan signing. Never realizing that without basic knowledge of their notary laws they will fail and make countless errors. Definitely not a good way to start a business. So while we were talking, another notary called in. I ask her to hold and answered the call. Ironically, it just so happened to be another notary also from Texas that had a question on how to fill out a notary acknowledgment. She tells me that she pulled an acknowledgment off the internet and was perplexed as to how to fill it out.

I let her know, I just so happened to have another notary from Texas on the phone and it might be a teaching moment for the both of them and would she mind if I merged her into our conversation since they both were new ( I assumed this based on the question she was asking) and from Texas. She readily agreed and I merged the calls. I introduced them to one another and then asked the notary who had the acknowledgment question to to proceed with her question.

The notary had received an assignment to print a 3-4 page document, travel to the signer, have him sign, notarize and scan back to the attorney for a fee of 80.00. (decent fee btw.) She completed the assignment but for some reason (it is not clear why) she gave the notarized page to the signer. When she returned home from the job she realized her error and proceeded to find an acknowledgment certificate online and was trying to fill it out. I asked he how long she had been a notary and she stated that she had been a notary sine 1988. No disrespect to her but I find that to be a little disingenuous and very hard to believe considering the circumstances. To be a notary that long you would know what to do.

First off why she gave the notary acknowledgement to the client speaks volumes on its own. This is a rookie move; a person who has no clue as to what they are doing. Secondly, to not know how to fill out the notarial section is another rookie move. I told her that she should really consult her handbook as to what goes where. Hopefully, they address how to fill out a notarial certificate. I also let her know that she could take a picture of the acknowledgement and I would be more than happy to go through it with her. However, her best option would be to get off the phone with me and call the signer and go back and get the original acknowledgment certificate she had left with him. As of this writing, I have not heard back from her. Hopefully, for her sake, she got it all figured out.

The other notary remained silent until I let the other notary go. And she too now understood that she was also in the same position. She knows nothing about where to put what on a notarial certificate or just being a notary in general. I told her to also try and find a notary class and read her handbook cover to cover. Learn it-know it. If you are good notary you will be a great signing agent. After all the whole reason you would be called on to do closing/signings in the first place starts with you being a commissioned notary for your state. And guess what, they expect you to know your job. PERIOD. If you don’t know what you are doing you are just asking for trouble. So read and learn up like your life depended on it. Because guess what- it does.

You might also like:

Notary Public Education
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21413

Notary Public 101 from 123notary!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19493

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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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February 25, 2019

Notary Public Education

Filed under: Public Interest — Tags: — admin @ 9:28 am

How do I get Notary Public education?

As a Notary Public, the agency that commissions you is your state notary division which is normally controlled by your Secretary of State, Department of State or some other important state office. There are many things you need to learn as a Notary. The first resource you should consult is your state’s notary handbook. This is generally available online. The next resource you might consider would be a Notary Public Handbook published by a private agency such as the NNA or some other Notary agency or Notary organization. State issued handbooks are normally free and private organizations sell handbooks for around $20.

The benefit to a handbook from the NNA is that the standards, rules and practices are explained in a way that is easier for the newer Notary to understand. I remember when I got my first Notary commission, I really did not understand the various notary acts and language. After reading NNA materials my grasp of the various concepts was a lot more clear.

123notary now has a free online course called Notary Public 101 which goes over basic notary vocabulary, practices, situations, and more. It is NOT state specific, and there might be explanations that contradict what your state says you should do. Your primary responsibility is to your state and our course is meant to give you a basic understanding of how Notary practices USUALLY are, which as I said before might differ with your state.

There are private agencies that also offer Notary classes such as notaryclasses.com. As a general rule, I have found that Notaries who study Notary work from a formal course tend to have a decent grasp on the profession while those who just wing it tend to boast about how many years they have been a Notary when in reality they have a very foggy idea of what they are doing.

NNA has a course called Notary Essentials. I have heard good things about this course.

Recommended LInks:

Notary Classes.com
https://www.notaryclasses.com/Classes/ClassSchedule.aspx?ClassType=N&gclid=CjwKCAjw2rjcBRBuEiwAheKeL-2KhY-hqnsZAVOGC0mOF-KCwGccH2Ny6Bm1WXXgZYT0bhz8X6smixoCK7kQAvD_BwE

Notary Learning Center
https://www.notarylearningcenter.com/edu.html

Notary Essentials
https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-essentials

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

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February 15, 2019

Notaries who fail the California Notary exam

Failing the California Notary Exam
Did you fail your California Notary Exam? I passed it many years ago. I studied about 30 hours to make sure I passed the first time. I was nervous and so afraid that I would forget something. We were instructed to bring a see through plastic bag and put particular objects in that bag such as a pencil and a few other things.

The California notary exam is a a lot harder now than in 1997 and 2001 when I took it. The questions are harder, and the multiple choice questions are close variations of each other making it hard to spot the correct answer unless you know your stuff intimately. So study hard. You need to study from the California Notary Handbook but also there are updates on the newsletter from the California Notary Division.

The state carefully hides their questions so you won’t know what is coming unless you know someone who wants to share answers with you. You need to know your notary acts, fees, procedures and application process inside out or you will fail. I believe they allow seven wrong out of thirty, but the questions are so hard that is still not easy.

There are a lot of notaries failing the test and there are fewer Notaries in the state of California as a result. On a more pleasant note, the quality of Notaries in California is far superior to all other states. I know because I test people by phone on notary procedure since I run a notary directory.

You might also like:

Has anyone failed the notary exam?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1999

NNA certified signers who failed our test
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=892

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February 3, 2019

Credible Witness Notary — information & resources

Here are some links that explain the credible witness process in the Notary profession. Please keep in mind that each state has a different procedure and rules for credible witnesses and a few states don’t allow this practice at all. Please also keep in mind that a Credible Witness for Notary work is also called a Credible identifying witness as their function is to identify signers who lack proper identification.

California Credible Witness Information
There is a long list of things a California Credible Witness must swear to that go above and beyond the identity of the signer. The credible witness must also swear that the signer cannot easily obtain identification. Here are what the CW must swear to:

1. The individual appearing before the notary public as the signer of the document is the person named in the document;

2. The credible witness personally knows the signer;

3. The credible witness reasonably believes that the circumstances of the signer are such that it would be very difficult or impossible for the signer to obtain another form of identification;

4. The signer does not possess any of the identification documents authorized by law to establish the signer’s identity; and general information

5. The credible witness does not have a financial interest and is not named in the document signed.

Please note that the credible witness does not have to swear that the signer has a particular legal name. Shouldn’t that be the whole point of the Oath?

Please refer to page eight and nine of the 2018 California Notary Public Handbook for details.
http://notary.cdn.sos.ca.gov/forms/notary-handbook-2018.pdf

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Information & Resources

Credible witnesses from A to Z
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=452

Glossary Entry — Credible Witness
http://www.123notary.com/glossary/?credible-witness

Which states allow credible witnesses?
http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=4047

Credible Witnesses — the process explained
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16695

NNA’s guide to credible witnesses
https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2015/10/notary-challenge-how-handle-credible-witness

NotaryClasses.com guide to credible witnesses
https://www.notaryclasses.com/tutorials/homestudy/56.aspx

Can a notary act as a witness?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21359

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Keywords:
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Credible witness affidavit for California
2 Credible Witnesses
Affidavit of identity by credible witness
CA credible witness requirements
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California notary how to acknowledge two credible witnesses
California swearing in a witness
California Notary credible witness form
California Notary Oath of credible witness

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January 24, 2019

California Acknowledgment

The 2018 California Acknowledgment is a little different than before. Please reference this link:
http://notary.cdn.sos.ca.gov/forms/notary-ack.pdf

Above the venue (county & state), there is a box that says, “A Notary Public or other officer completing this certificate verifies only the identity of the individual who signed the document to which this certificate is attached, and not the truthfulness, accuracy or validity of that document.”

Note:
The meaning of this statement is that the Notary’s job is to identify the signer properly. Additionally, the Notary certifies that the signer appeared before the Notary on a particular date. It is not the Notary’s right, responsibility or job to verify, ascertain or know if the corresponding document is true or not. However, if the Notary knows the document is false, then he/she should contact the state notary division and check the handbook to see if you are allowed to notarize documents that you know are fake. Last I heard, a California Notary should not notarize documents that are not truthful, but that information could be outdated.

State of California
County of _________________

On (date) before me, (name of notary or officer) personally appeared (name(s) of signer(s)) who proved to me on the
basis of satisfactory evidence to be the person(s) whose name(s) is/are subscribed to the within instrument and acknowledged to me that he/she/they executed the same in his/her/their authorized capacity(ies), and that by his/her/their signature(s) on the instrument the person(s), or the entity upon behalf of which the person(s) acted, executed the instrument. I certify under PENALTY OF PERJURY under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing paragraph is true and correct.

WITNESS my hand and official seal.

Signature ______________________________ (Seal)

Note:
It is considered perjury if the Notary enters false information on a certificate. This applies more vigorously to Jurat certificates. It common for Notaries to claim in writing that they administered an Oath when they either did not administer an Oath, or did not administer a relevant Oath based on the signer swearing to the truthfulness of the document. A California Notary may charge $15 for executing an Acknowledgment.

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You might also like:

The name on the ID vs. the Acknowledgment, Document and Signature
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20186

What’s your sign? A guide to spotting fake ID’s.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19638

Credible Witnesses – the ins and outs
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19634

When do I need to use a California all purpose Acknowledgment?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20133

California Notary Acknowledgment and Jurat Information
http://www.123notary.com/California/acknowledgment_jurat.asp

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January 23, 2019

What are Mobile Notary Fees?

The states decide what a Notary can charge for Notary services, but few states have rules for what a Mobile Notary or Traveling Notary can charge for mobile services and waiting time.

Notaries in most states (NV & MD have restrictions I’ve heard) can charge whatever they want for Mobile Notary Fees. There are many factors that determine a Notary’s fees. I will list these factors below. Rates generally range from $20 to $50 for mobile fees plus notary fees which differ by the state.

Experience
Notaries with experience typically set their rates higher. The fee depends on how desperate or arrogant they are. Rates can really vary, so shop around. But, realize that getting the best rate is not always the best idea because knowledge and experience count. Also note, that years of experience rarely translate into knowledge. Most Notaries are show offs and typically brag about how many years they have been doing this job. But, when you drill them on knowledge, you might find out they have about the same knowledge as someone doing this for two years who reads Notary tutorials and handbooks regularly. A word to the wise!

Distance
Notaries charge for distance. Some calculate distance based on miles, while others focus more on how long it will take. Others charge by what county you are in or what particular area you are in. It will save you money if you find someone close.

Time of Day
If you hire a Notary during the day, there are more Notaries operating, and the price is lower. If you want a Notary to go to a hospital at 3am, you might be looking at paying double or triple the normal fee. Sometimes the Notaries who offer 24 hour service will yell at you and ask, “Why are you calling me so late? Do you have any idea what time it is?”

Type of Job
If the job is a document signing or loan signing the price will be more of a standard price. Most Notaries do loan signings for $70 to $110 unless they consider themselves to be fancy in which case the price would be $125 to $175. Hospital and Jail jobs cost more because there is more involved, more legal risk, more waiting time, and the clients are normally more difficult. Additionally, since fewer Notaries will do hospital and jail signings, the price by default goes up.

Printing
If the Notary needs to print or fax anything the price goes up.

Waiting Time
If you keep an experienced Notary waiting, they will normally want to get some sort of compensation for their time. Some have a set rate while others have a very foggy idea of what to do if you keep them waiting. Try to be prepared so you don’t keep anyone waiting.

Legal Advice
Please do not ask a Notary for legal advice. They are not authorized to give any, and you will not get good information from a notary about legal matters anyway unless they are an Attorney Notary. Ask an Attorney who is competent and specializes in whatever your question is.

Document Drafting
Ask an Attorney where to get your document drafted and what terms to put in it. Notaries should not help in drafting documents unless they are legally authorized to do so which is rare.

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You might also like:

A comprehensive guide to Notary pricing
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16504

How much does a Notary charge in 2019?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21308

Best humorous Notary Posts
http://blog.123notary.com/?cat=3241

If you overcharge — notary fines and penalties
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=6903

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December 30, 2018

When are you required by law to do Oaths?

As we all know, state notary laws differ from state to state. Since I live in California, it is difficult for me to know what all the Notary laws are in other states. Sometimes I create a chart as a cheat sheet to know which states require certain things and which ones don’t. However, every state I have read about (I read handbooks for all states so you will have a problem fooling me — they are all online except for NC if I remember correctly) requires Oaths and has Oaths in the handbook as an official duty of a Notary Public. So, I am going to write some quiz pointers about Oaths below.

1. Oaths are an official Notary act in all states.
If I am wrong, show me your state notary handbook and show me the omission of Oaths.

2. Affirmations are an official Notary act in almost all states…
Or perhaps, now they are in all states. Not sure…

3. If you see the words — SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN (or affirmed) TO BEFORE ME BY…
This is Oath documentation verbiage. It is NOT the Oath itself, but the documentation that you administered an Oath or perhaps Affirmation. If you sign a form stating the above verbiage and do not administer an Oath, you have just committed fraud on a Notarial certificate which is a crime. I am not sure what type of crime it is, but it might be fraud, or even perjury which is a Federal crime punishable by up to five years in jail per infraction. Gulp. Please consult an Attorney to see what type of crime he/she thinks it is as my opinion is a layperson opinion and not legal advice.

4. My state doesn’t require Oaths.
I hear this every day. Your state DOES require Oaths, however your state doesn’t require you to read the handbook that says you have Oaths as an official duty. Moreover, your state doesn’t explain how to administer an Oath or WHEN to administer an Oath. I can blame your state, but this is also your fault if you go through life engaging in criminal negligence because you did not bother to learn when and how to administer Oaths.

5. We don’t do Oaths in my state.
Some people claim that Oaths might be an official Notary act in their state, but that it is never done. This is also not true. Carmen (who does sales for 123notary) does loan signings for out of state documents all the time and every single package has at least one Oath that is part of a JURAT.

6. If you see the word AFFIDAVIT in the title of a document.
The word Affidavit customarily means that the document is to be sworn to before a state official commissioned with the capacity to administer Oaths such as a Judge, Notary Public, Justice of the Peace, etc. If you see the word Affidavit, it is possible, although unlikely that you will execute an Acknowledged signature on that form. 99% or more of the time you will execute a Jurat, and Jurats by definition require the signer to sign (subscribe) in front of you and swear under Oath as to the truthfulness of the document.

7. Are you swearing to the identity of the signer, the signature or the truthfulness of the document.
Many Notaries administer Oaths to me over the phone on quizzes and make me repeat my name several times. However, the Oath for a document is regarding whether or not the document is true or not, and NOT to my identity. However, if the document makes me specifically swear to my name or name variations then I would have to swear to my identity. Additionally, an Oath on a document does not require the Affiant (signer) to swear to whether or not they signed it or whether or not they signed it on their own free will unless their state specifically requires it or unless the cheat sheet for the Oath requires it. As a general rule, an Oath on a document must be regarding the truthfulness of the document as the primary focus. Any other considerations are secondary or perhaps not necessary or perhaps should be left out.

8. Why Oath cheat sheets are dangerous
If you do not know the legal requirements of an Oath on a document in your state, you might not administer a passable Oath if you read off the cheat sheet. In my opinion which is based on logic, but not on law, an Oath on a document must be about the truthfulness of the document. If your cheat sheet for an Oath says, “Do you solemnly swear you signed this document.” — that would lead to an incomplete notarization because you never swore to the truthfulness of the document.

9. I don’t do Oaths, I only do Refinances.
Newsflash — Every refinance I have ever seen has at least one Oath. If there is an Affidavit such as a signature affidavit, identity affidavit, or occupancy affidavit, customarily there will be an Oath. If you do Refinances, you are required to do Oaths as part of fulfilling the statements on the Jurat certificate(s).

10. Oaths on oral statements or without Jurats
You might be asked to give an Oath on an oral statement. There might not be any paperwork involved other than your journal. You need to read up on how to do this. You might also be asked to give an Oath on a document that does not have a Jurat. You would have to ad-lib to come up with verbiage so practice on random documents to get the feel of it.

11. Remote court attendance.
Florida state allows certain witnesses to appear in court by phone. A Notary must swear them in from their remote location. This type of Oath requires the Notary to look at their ID, read it to the judge and do the TV court Oath of how you swear to tell the truth, whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God.

12. Penalties for wrong or omitted Oaths.
Notaries rarely get in trouble for omitting a required Oath or refusing to administer an Oath. But, there are times when they do. Here are the things that could happen to you. Why take chances? It is like leaving your door unlocked.

(a.) REVOKED COMMISSION — Your commission could be revoked. I heard of several Notaries in Oklahoma who did not administer Oaths on loan documents.

(b.) OVERTURNED LOANS — The loan that had documents with required Oaths could be overturned by a Judge if they find out that the Notary did not administer an Oath.

(c.) GETTING SUED — The Notary could get sued by the Lender because there will be serious financial damages for the Lender because the Notary omitted a legally required Oath. Damages might be $20,000 or more if you get caught. People don’t get caught often — but when they do…

(d.) FINES — Certain states fine Notaries for misconduct and omissions. Failing to administer a required Oath in California used to have a $750 fine per incident. Now, it might be $1500. I am not sure of the exact fine, but it should be in that neighborhood.

(e.) JAIL — I have heard, and this may or may not be true, that making a false statement about an Oath on a certificate is perjury. The penalty for perjury is a jail sentence of up to five years per incident. So, you could end up in jail if the Feds or your state start checking up on Notaries to see if they are administering Oaths. They are not checking up now, but they could start any time.

(f.) LOSE LISTING — 123notary sometimes removes people for disciplinary reasons. If we find out that you do not obey Notary laws, we normally steer you to some educational materials. But, if you have a complete disregard for law, order, and common decency, you could lose your listing. We normally as a handful of Notary questions and will accept a very low average since most Notaries do not know their stuff. However, if you score under 50% on our quiz whether oral or written, you will most likely be in trouble with us. Although we are not commissioned to enforce laws, I do enforce who I list and that is my right and authority as owner of this site.

SUMMARY
Although Notaries only get in trouble for not administering an Oath once in a blue moon, it is illegal not to fulfill your duties as a Notary Public, and it only takes minutes to read up on when and how to administer Oaths. There is no reason for this type of blatant negligence and criminal behavior. So, please become an expert at administering Oaths. Your first step should be to read your state handbook and see what they say about Oaths. They probably do not do a complete job of teaching it which is part of the problem. The NNA and 123notary have materials as well, and you could consult an Attorney. Although Oath procedure is not taught properly by the states (not even California) you are still legally required to give Oaths and give logical and correct sounding Oaths.

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You might also like:

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

Airline meals verses Notary Oaths & Affirmations
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19549

Oaths – How Notaries completely screw them up!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19369

Oaths and the art if improvisation
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19367

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

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December 24, 2018

Acknowledgment FAQ

Filed under: Notary Acts & Certificates — admin @ 9:39 am

What is an Acknowledgment? Or, should I say, what is a Notary Acknowledgment or Notarized Acknowledgment? Why is it missing the “e” after “g”? Is that a typo, and should it be spelled Acknowledgement? No, it is not a typo.

Notaries commissioned in the various fifty states have a variety of Notary acts that they may perform. Some are common ones that are practices in virtually every state, although they sometimes have name variations and sometimes the rules for these acts can change slightly from state to state as well.

Common Notary acts that are almost completely universal include:

Acknowledgments — an act where the signer acknowledges having sign a document and acknowledges in the physical presence of the notary public, but does not have to sign in front of the Notary except in a handful of states (it’s complicated).

Jurats — an act where the signer or “affiant” must sign the document in the physical presence of the Notary Public as well as swear or affirm under the penalty of perjury to the truthfulness of the content of the document.

Oaths — a purely verbal act where the affiant must swear under Oath under God to the truthfulness of an oral or written statement.

Affirmations — a purely verbal act where the affiant must affirm under Oath on their honor to the truthfulness of an oral or written statement. Please note that Oaths and Affirmations are not the same act, but can be used interchangeably and carry the same legal weight and significance.

How does a signer Acknowledge their signature?
Does the signer say, “I hereby proclaim that I, the party of the first part, the signing party withstanding , have signed the foregoing instrument herein, and thereto, and therefor acknowledge the same in my capacity as an individual so-on and so forth.” The truth of the matter is that you can simply place the signed document in front of the Notary Public (in most states, exceptions apply) and ask him if he/she can notarized it with an Acknowledgment, or you can just say, “I signed this, please notarize it.”

What are the requirements for Acknowledgment wording or Acknowledgment verbiage?
All states require some sort of Acknowledgment verbiage. The requirements differ from state to state. Many states require certain components or facts to be covered in the wording while others might require exact state specific wording. It is best to ask an Attorney what wording is necessary in your case. Many Notaries do not carry pads of Acknowledgments with them (although they should) and it is up to you to make sure that notarial wording is either embedded in the document or attached on a loose certificate that is stapled to the document.

Who can perform a Notary Acknowledgment?
As a general rule, a Judge, Notary, Justice of the Peace, and perhaps a few other legal professions may execute Acknowledgments. When in doubt, ask an Attorney for a state specific answer.

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
When I studied to be a Notary Public, my teacher said you Acknowledge a signature, Execute a Jurat and Administer an Oath. This is not true. The Notary is not the one who acknowledges signatures. The SIGNER acknowledges the signature and then the Notary CERTIFIES that the signer acknowledged the signature by virtue of filling out an Acknowledgment Certificate. Here are some basics on Acknowledgments.

1. The signer acknowledges having signed the particular document.

2. The signer must physically personally appear before the Notary for such an act.

3. The signer does NOT have to sign before the Notary according to most if not all states such as AK, IA, SC, SD, VT, and WV. Lenders might require the borrower to sign in the presence of the Notary, but that is a particular Lender’s standard and not necessarily a state standard or even a best practice.

4. The Notary must positively identify the signer using identification documents acceptable to their state which normally include Drivers Licenses, State issued identification photo ID’s, Passports, and Military ID’s. Other ID might be accepted on a state by state basis. You can look that up in your handbook. Also, see our section on identification.

5. The Notary should ideally keep a journal entry of all Notarial acts even if their state does not require this.

6. There should be Acknowledgment wording appropriate or acceptable to your state inscribed within the document, or you can attach a loose acknowledgment form with a staple.

7. After you fill out the certificate form, you sign and stamp the page (some states allow you to write in your seal information without a stamp.) Make sure your stamp is clear and not smudgy otherwise the county recorder has the right to reject the Notarization.

8. Note — some states require the Notary to ask the signer to attest to the fact that they signed the document in their own free will. Please be aware if your state has any unusual requirements or special wording on forms.

9. A California Notary faces many restrictions as to what type of out of state forms they can use. Please check the California Notary Handbook to see what you can accept and what you can’t otherwise you could get in trouble particularly if it is a recorded document.

10. There is an optional and additional information section in Acknowledgments which helps identify the document that the certificate corresponds to. This includes the document name, document date, number of pages, and other pertinent information.

Resources

Basic Notary Acts — Acknowledgments
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19500

Acknowledgment vs. Acknowledgement
http://grammarist.com/spelling/acknowledgment-acknowledgement/

Legal definition of Acknowledgment (does not necessarily apply to notary profession)
https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/acknowledgment

Can you send a loose Acknowledgment?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16168

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