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February 3, 2023

10 Mobile Notary Safety Tips for Beginners

Filed under: General Articles — Tags: , , , , — Tom Wilkins @ 8:00 am

Becoming a notary in your state can be a lucrative career path for entrepreneurs and those who want to help their communities. Mobile notary services have become quite popular in recent years. Experienced notaries know that mobile services expand business opportunities. Still, they also know that there are specific safety guidelines that mobile notaries need to pay attention to while on the go.

If you’re considering offering field service as a notary, below are ten mobile notary safety tips for beginners:

1. Always verify the identity of the signer before conducting any notarization

As a notary, it’s your responsibility to know who you’re dealing with, but this can be especially difficult when providing mobile notary services. You may be called to various locations with multiple people present, so verify the identification of all signers. You can do this by checking state-issued ID cards, driver’s licenses, military ID cards, or other forms of acceptable official identification.

2. Ensure the document being notarized is legitimate and that all information is filled out correctly

Documents you notarize need to be validated as legitimate before completing the notarization process. Different documents may require more intensive verification than others, so always ensure you know what documents you’ll be dealing with before heading to a notary job. This will allow you to be prepared if certain documents need additional verification to be performed beforehand.

3. Always use a tamper-evident seal or stamp on the document

The seal or stamp you use should include some tamper-evident features. Consider taking photos of any seal you place upon documents within the bounds of the laws that govern notary services in your state. This can be helpful if evidence needs to be provided later to verify the original marking.

4. Keep a detailed journal of all notarizations performed

It’s also a good idea to keep a detailed journal of each day’s service calls. Each entry should include the date, time, and location of services performed, and you should also consider including contact information for any parties with whom you have contact. Your journal entries can help if you need to verify information in the future, and it can also be helpful if you bill customers instead of collecting payment at the time of service.

5. Be aware of your surroundings and stay alert for any suspicious activity

Among other mobile notary safety tips for beginners, it’s vital to be aware of your surroundings when in the field. Pay attention to suspicious activity, and always put your safety and security first. No job is worth your life, so pay attention to potential threats in the area. You can also research locations online before arriving to get a better understanding of an area’s layout.

6. Use a GPS-enabled device to track your location

In keeping with the above, ensure GPS tracking is enabled on your smartphone or a dedicated GPS unit in your vehicle. These devices help you find locations faster, but they can also be used to provide important information to authorities if you can’t be contacted after responding to a service call. It’s also recommended to share your schedule with a trusted friend, family member, or colleague and check in with this person throughout your work day.

7. Do not carry large amounts of cash or valuables with you

You only carry small amounts if you accept cash payments as a mobile notary service provider. If you have a busy day, plan some time between service calls to deposit cash at your bank. In the unlikely event that you get robbed, or you lose the cash on your person, you’ll be thankful that you didn’t carry a large sum of money. You can also limit the amount of jewelry you wear to service calls to minimize your risk of being robbed.

8. Be familiar with the notary laws and regulations in your state and adhere to them at all times

As a mobile notary, you have unique obligations and responsibilities. Your role is recognized by authorities to serve the public with integrity; to do this, you need to know the laws that govern notary services in your state. These laws may include regulations about what documents you can notarize, where notarizations must occur, whether multiple witnesses must be present, and more.

9. Keep your notary commission and identification with you at all times

Mobile notary professionals must always keep their commissions and IDs on them. Having these documents with you is important if a customer asks to see them, but you may also be asked to provide them to authorities. In addition, providing mobile notary services often means going into unfamiliar areas, so it’s wise to have records available to show that you belong in places where you don’t live.

10. Use a secure method of payment and avoid accepting cash

Accepting cash is convenient and quick, but it can also be a liability for mobile notaries. Instead of accepting cash transactions, consider using a digital point-of-sale system. Today’s point-of-sale systems integrate with the web through smartphones, allowing you to accept cards and digital payments without having to handle paper money.

Mobile Notary Safety Tips to Protect You and Your Clients

Remember, as a mobile notary, you are responsible for the safety of yourself and others. By following these ten mobile notary safety tips for beginners, you can help ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone involved in the transaction.

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January 13, 2023

Top Mobile Notary Challenges in 2023

As mobile notaries, the world constantly changes and presents new challenges for our profession. Every year, new updates in law and regulations affect our practice. So it’s important to stay informed of what other professionals in the industry are experiencing so we can continue to do our jobs effectively and safely. In this blog post, we’ll be looking at some of the top mobile notary challenges that will likely arise during 2023 – from adapting to digital platforms amidst a global pandemic to keeping up with ever-evolving state laws – as well as how best to prepare for these hurdles ahead!

Increased Regulation and Compliance Requirements

Being a notary public is no small task! With an ever-increasing layer of regulations and compliance requirements to abide by, it’s important for notaries not only to stay up-to-date on laws governing notarial acts but to ensure that their notary service is top-notch. Mobile notaries, traveling notaries, and signing agents provide added convenience for clients seeking notarization services beyond the traditional brick-and-mortar approach. As such, notaries must recognize that increased regulation and compliance requirements come with the territory and be prepared to meet them in areas ranging from personal identification verification to data security protocols. After all, notaries are really providing an invaluable service – one that requires vigilance on their part in order to execute properly.

More States Legalizing Cannabis and Its Impact on Notarizations

With more states legalizing cannabis, notary services have never been in higher demand! From notarizing banking transactions to notarizing documents related to cannabis-related agreements, notaries are rapidly adapting their services to meet these growing demands. Mobile notary and traveling notary services like signing agents make this work possible with flexible scheduling, location options, and quick turnarounds. Today’s notaries are required to understand the effects of cannabis laws within the state they work in—and as more states legalize cannabis, notaries are rising to the challenge with an understanding of not only their state laws but regional ones too. The need for savvy notaries has never been greater!

Increased Use of AI and Other Technologies in the Notary Industry

The notary industry is no exception to the technological advancements in automation, with many notary services embracing advantages like AI and mobile notarization. Mobile notaries provide notarizing convenience to customers by visiting them directly at their homes or workplace instead of the other way around, and they can also perform notarial services remotely. Signing Agents present businesses with many opportunities, such as booking more notary assignments and being away from their office while doing it – improving efficiency while on the move! Automation allows notaries to increase access to and quality of notary services; plus, going digital has enabled notaries to work faster and become more organized. The combination of modern technology and a notary’s expertise creates an efficient yet secure process for all kinds of transactions, making it one of the top mobile notary challenges in 2023.

Continued Growth in Remote Working and Its Effects on Notaries

The notary profession has experienced a seismic shift since the introduction of remote working technology. While notaries have yet to experience the same growth across all sectors, those in the notary public, mobile notary, traveling notary, and signing agent spaces have seen particularly dramatic gains due to their ability to provide notarization services from any physical location. This means that as more companies turn towards remote approaches for workplace operations, notary service providers have seen benefits through increased business. This shift bodes well for notaries looking to expand their services online – something that would have seemed next to impossible for the average signing agent or mobile notary not long ago.

More States Legalizing Digital Notarization

Digital notarization is rapidly becoming the notary norm, quickly changing the traditional notarization landscape. As more states legalize digital notarization, mobile notaries and notary services must evolve to meet the increasingly strict criteria. This means notaries who act as traveling notaries or signing agents will become even more popular, as they are both cost-effective and able to meet the ever-hastening pace of new technology and ideas in the notarization process. Not only that but their expertise and presence in person can help make digital notarization a cinch for both notary and customer alike!

Changes in the Real Estate Market and How They Impact Notaries

When it comes to notary services, the real estate market is at the heart of it. From mobile notaries and signing agents that travel from place to place to notary publics who perform notarizations at their own location, notaries play a large part in helping facilitate transactions for buying and selling a home. So when the real estate market sees changes—be it an increase or decrease in residential sales or rising interest rates—notaries must be ready to adjust their services accordingly. Whether this means taking on more projects if there is an influx of business or partnering with other notaries for added flexibility and capacity, notaries must stay agile as changes come about to maintain their notary business and keep up with the ever-changing landscape of the real estate market.

Expectations as We Move Into 2023

In the past year, we’ve seen more changes in the notary industry than ever. From increased regulation to the legalization of cannabis, there’s been a lot to keep up with. Mobile notary challenges will persist as we move into 2023, and it doesn’t look like things are slowing down any time soon. You can expect continued growth in remote working and digital notarization, as well as changes in the real estate market that will impact notaries across the country. But no matter what challenges arise, one thing remains constant: the quality of the notaries like you who are dedicated to providing excellent service. Thank you for everything you do to ensure that our community thrives!

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January 25, 2022

Vampire Notaries: 24 hour service

This was originally published in 2013

It was a dark and rainy night.
A couple called a company called Vampire Notaries for a late night signing.

The company’s motto was:
“We are part vampire; We provide 24 hour service”

They were going to sign a simple affidavit. The couple thought the business name of the notary sounded romantic in an erie way. In any case, the vampire(s) showed up a the appointed time.

It was 2am on a rainy night. There was thunder; There was lightening. The couple was cozying up next to the fireplace sipping wine. Then, there was a slow, but emphatic knock on the door. Knock………… knock……….. knock………. Each knock was heavy and decisive, but not frighteningly loud. There was a four second pause between each knock.

Two seemingly normal men in their 30’s were at the door. They both had clean cut hair, and were clean shaven. Everything was normal about these two guys, or at least, so it seemed. The only distinguishing aspect of their appearance was their long black coats. But, it was raining, so perhaps they needed a long trenchcoat, right? Or, was this part of their usual attire?

The couple asked why there were two of them. The answer was, “We like to work in pairs”. The couple gave each other a weird look, and then they asked what was next. Vampire #1 asked to see their identification. The couple gladly handed their drivers licenses over. Vampire #1 stared at the picture of the lady, and said, “That’s a nice picture, you have nice rosy cheeks… you must have good circulation! Do you work out?” Next, Vampire #1 wanted to see the documents. The couple was instructed to sign the documents. Next, it was time for pawprints. Vampire #2 asked for a right thumbprint from the husband. At this point, the wife asked, “Aren’t you asking for a lot? The next thing you will ask for is a DNA sample, a retinal scan, or even a BLOOD SAMPLE.”.

At this point, Vampire #1 exclaimed,
“Funny you should mention that” — and gave a knowing glance to the the other vampire.

Then it was time for the wife’s thumbprint. The husband said to Vampire #2, “You really do spend a lot of time looking over my shoulders and breathing down my neck. Vampire #2 said, “They don’t call us Vampire Notaries for nothing!”. Finally, the wife noticed that Vampire #1 was doing 90% of the work. She asked why one Vampire did almost all of the work. Vampire #2 explained, “I prefer to watch!” — with a delighted look on his face.

After the notary work was all done, the couple paid the notaries. But, Vampire #2 said, “We are not done yet”. The wife asked, “What more could we possibly do?”. Vampire #2 walked over to his briefcase, and whipped out four dixie cups and announced, “It’s time for our midnight elixer!”. Vampire #1 brought a small bottle of sangria, he glanced at the couple’s Anderson Valley Syrah and said, “You are drinking the WRONG type of wine!”.

So, all four of them enjoyed a two ounce sip of Sangria (the Italian word for BLOOD) from their little chalices. After that, the vampires were about to part ways with this young couple. The lady said to the man, “They seemed nice, but that was a little strange”.

Right before the vampires walked out the front door, Vampire #1 whipped out a purple light. The couple saw what these guys looked like in the light, and their eyes turned a very disconcerting color, and their teeth turned color too, emphasizing their fangs.

“Oh my god”, screamed the wife.

“Fare well”, retorted the vampires… and left, with the door making a medium-loud clunk as it closed.

The next day, the couple woke up. Everything seemed normal. The husband brushed his teeth. The wife took her shower. They enjoyed a slow breakfast with all of the usual items. Then, it was time for a kiss before going to work. But, the wife noticed something.

“Fred, What are those strange marks on your neck?”

Tweets:
(1) The company’s motto was: “We are part vampire; We provide 24 hour service”
(2) 2 seemingly normal men in their 30’s were at the door. It was raining, so maybe they needed trenchcoats, right?
(3) Wife: “The next thing you will ask for is a blood sample.”
Vampire Notary: “Funny you should mention that.”
(4) Vampire Notary: “I like your ID picture. You have nice rosy cheeks, you must have good circulation, do you work out?”
(5) After the signing w/Vampire Notary, the 4 of them enjoyed a sip of Sangria (the Italian word for BLOOD)
(6) The day after the signing w/the Vampire Notaries the wife asked: “Fred, what are those strange marks on your neck?”
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January 16, 2022

Quiz: You know you’re a good Notary when you…

What type of Notary are you? A good one or a bad one? I’m not sure who created the questions for, “You know you’re a redneck if you…”
So, I’ll create my own version of this satirical banter, and come up with my own version for Notaries that will have some technical merit.

You know you’re a bad Notary when you…

(1) Do you fail to call the borrower to confirm the appointment that signing company set, and just show up?
If you don’t call and make sure that all parties involved (watch out for spousal signatures) will be there and on time, with a current ID with matching names — you might be in for some wasted time. If you don’t get the documents signed, you might not get paid. You might waste two hours for nothing because you don’t think you “need” to call the borrowers, or because you were asked not to. It is your appointment and your responsibility!

(2) Do you send loose certificates in the mail?
Lenders and Title companies are notorious for asking notaries to break the law and send loose certiifcates. In some states it is a Misdemeanor if you ask a Notary to do something illegal. Report all illegal requests to your State Notary Division immediately. No second chances!

(3) Do you fail to get certified by all agencies that you purchase “effective” advertising from? Or do you say, I don’t “need” your certification because I’m already “certified” without even disclosing the name of the organization who certified you? There is no such thing as just being “certified” as notary certification is not regulated by any government.

(4) Do you say, “I have my Notary” when you really mean you have your Notary Commission?

(5) Do you fail to use a Notary Journal or Seal simply because your state doesn’t require it? What happens if an investigator asks about a potentially fraudulent transaction you were involved in and you have no evidence for the court? The court case might be really long and you might get in really big trouble.

(6) Do you fail to keep thumbprints of signers in your journal because your state doesn’t require it?
Guess what? You might end up in court if you don’t take thumbprints, especially on transactions affecting high dollar figures such as properties.

(7) Do you fail to administer Oaths to credible witnesses or for Jurats because you are not well enough trained to know how, or even to know that you are required? Or, perhaps you don’t even know what a credible witness even is. Better look this up in your state Notary handbook.

You know you’re a good Notary when…

(1) The hair on your neck stand up straight when you see someone try to sign with a middle initial that doesn’t exist on their identification.

(2) You use an inked seal and an embosser with a raised non-inked seal to make it detectable if pages are swapped or photocopied.

(3) You take copious notes in your journal about the signers, what went on in the signing, and the building / neighborhood where the signing took place to job your memory should you ever be summoned into court.

(4) You sell your car, and buy a few top spots on 123notary.com!

There are many other technical points and best practices that we could address, but for this hopefully entertaining blog entry — that’s all folks!

.

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Notary aptitude test
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January 6, 2022

A tale of four notaries in hospitals

This was originally published many years ago.

 A tale of four notaries and their adventures at hospitals.
 
Hospital notarizations are very tricky and there is a lot that can go wrong. We have several resource pages regarding hospital notarizations to steer notaries away from pitfalls.  The characters in this story are NOT based on real characters, but each one of them has either a single attitude or attribute that is similar to a real person that I am acquainted with.  This silly story will show how each notary fared and how their way of thinking worked in the long run.  The various notaries include an Arkansas notary, an Illinois notary, a Florida notary, and a Pennsylvania notary public.
 
(1) Jeremy Blunt, a notary in Arkansas was called to do a hospital notarization in Little Rock on the following day.  Jeremy, with his blunt, but thorough manner told them, “Make sure to tell the nurses not to drug the patient within eight hours of the signing.”.  The caregiver, who was happy to have a thorough notary, overlooked Jeremy’s blunt manner and was very willing to coordinate a temporary lapse in morphine, so that the signer (an elderly relative) would be able to sign the papers.  Jeremy called an hour before the signing to have the caregiver read the ID information to him, and had the caregiver verify that the signer had not been drugged recently, was awake and able to conversate, and wouldn’t be drugged until after the notarization, and that the nurses had been informed.  The caregiver was standing next to the bedridden signer to MAKE SURE that no intravenus drugs were given.
 
Jeremy arrives at the signing with his notary bag, records the ID in his journal, gets a signature in his journal and the document(s), fills out the certificate form(s), stamps them, affixes his official Arkansas notary seal, staples the documents together, and is done.  Jeremy gets his fee, thanks everyone in a very blunt way, and leaves.  The signers say, “That Jeremy gets the job done — he’s a bit blunt, but polite, and he saved our rear ends big time!!!  That OTHER notary let us down.  Thank god for good notaries!”
 
(2) Linda Liberty, a notary in Illinois was called to do a hospital notarization in Chicago the following day.  Since she had a strict policy of not butting into anyone’s medical business, not asking questions, and minding her own business, she omitted to ask the caregiver if the signer was on medication.  After, all thats NONE OF MY BUSINESS!  The next day, she gets to the hospital, the caregiver says, “Thank you for coming”.  Linda politely says, “Its my pleasure to serve the public wholeheartedly”.  Linda goes to the hospital room where the patient / signer is.  The patient is high on morphine and in a stupor, barely able to keep his eyes open. Linda says, “Sorry, but according to Illinois notary laws, I am not authorized to notarize someone who is not capable of thinking or communicating coherently.  I can not notarize this person in this condition, ID or no ID.  The caregiver (the daughter of the signer) said, gee, thats too bad.  Linda says, my travel fee is $60 for hospitals please.  The daughter says, “BUT, YOU DIDN”T DO ANYTHING”.  Linda Liberty says, “Excuse me, but I drove an hour and a half here in traffic, paid a toll for the bridge, sat here talking to you for twenty minutes, paid $15 for gas, and have an hour drive home. I did quite a bit and I want to get paid!!!”  The daughter said, sorry, but we can not pay you.  We are very sorry.
 
(3) Ralph Machiavelli, a notary in Florida (no relation to Niccolo… at least not by blood), got a call to do a signing of a power of attorney in a hospital in Tampa.  The power of attorney would be for the signer’s son in law to take over all of his banking and real estate transactions. Ralph had lots of experience and thought ahead.  This Florida notary public had had his fingers burned a few times and knew the techniques for keeping out of trouble and getting paid.  Ralph told the client that he collects a $75 travel fee at the door BEFORE he sees the signer.  He, then charges $10 per for stamp for an acknowledged signature which is the maximum allowed fee in Florida.  The son in law of the signer agreed, and they set the appointment for the next day at 10am.
 
Ralph gets to the appointment.  Collects his travel fee in CASH, and says, “Thank you very much”.  Lets see the signer now.  The two of them proceed to walk down the long corridor, around some bends, up an elevator, down another corridor, past a nurse station, to the left, to the right, and then into a room.  They found the signer was drugged, sleeping, and in no condition to sign or even talk.  The son in law tried to wake the signer up.  The signer eventually woke up after twenty minutes of blinking and saying, “mmmmmmm?”.   Ralph said, can you ask dad to sign this form?  The son in law said, I’ll try.  After twenty additional minutes of wasting time (a result of the medication), the son in law said, its no use, they drugged him this morning.  Maybe I have my $75 back?  Ralph says, “I’m sorry, but in addition to traveling, I spent forty minutes here waiting for your signer to sign something.  This was a complete waste of time.  Next time please make sure your dad is ready to sign at the appointed time. That means…. NO DRUGS”.  Ralph returns home with his money.  He pleasures himself with a nice baby back rib dinner, and then returns home.
 
(4) Sharisse Washington, Pennsylvania Notary Public at large, doesn’t stand for this type of nonsense or bluntness that happened in the above three stories.  She has thirty years of experience, and carries a handheld database of how to handle each situation with all its variations and pitfalls.  Sharisse minds her p’s and q’s, dots her i’s and crosses her t’s.  She informs everybody in a polite way, and doesn’t put herself in a position that anything will go wrong either.   This notary in Pennsylvania gets a call to go to a Philadelphia hospital to do a notarization the next day.  She politely asks the client if they have an ID for the signer.  She asks if they could read the ID to her, so that she can verify that they have the ID, and that its current.  She asks if the patient EVER recieves medication or is likely to receive it during the day of the signing. She asks if its possible that they could provide a “WINDOW OF TIME”, where they could be sure that the signer wasn’t going to be drugged.  She asks what the name and type of the document is.  She asks if it is in their possession and if they can read the document to her (so, she can verify that they really have it).  After she asks all of the questions on her database’s check list, the cordially thanks the client for answering her questions and assures them that she will be at the hospital lobby at 10am the following day. 
 
This Pennsylvania Notary calls at 9am to verify that they have the identification handy and that the signer is not drugged. Sharisse shows up at the hospital at 9:55 just to be on the safe side.  The client is there, thanks her for being early.  They go up to the room.  The signer is awake, sober, and conversational.  The signer signs the document and journal. Its a bit if a struggle being old and being weak, but the signer does it… because she is sober and awake… and sober…not drugged.   Sharisse does all of the remaining necessary paperwork, thanks everybody, collects her fee, and is off to her next appointment which she allowed a sufficient amount of time to get to.
 
Now that you have read how each of these four notaries handled a hospital job, its up to you to decide how you want to handle this type of job. Remember, that hospital and jail notary jobs and many more potential pitfalls and things that can go wrong than a regular office or home notary job.  Do your homework, be polite and stay out of trouble, and that way, you will be able to make a living. Otherwise, it is you who will be sorry.

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June 22, 2021

A RON signing that took too long

Filed under: General Stories — admin @ 9:48 am

MARY’S RON SIGNING
We had a lady customer who did a RON signing. It took 45 minutes using Pavaso. Most of the time was used using the identification software.

The client found her through a builder that knew her as a Notary, and the customer was a client of the builder in Minnesota.

CAROLINE’S RON SIGNING
Another Notary I talked to does online notarizations and has customers around the world in places such as Dubai, Germany, etc. But, she had a lot of technical issues particularly with cameras and her signing took several hours.

SUMMARY
Some people who do RON signings who are familiar with the software and don’t have a problem with their computer or the app or platform get RON signings done quickly. But, for people who don’t do it regularly, it is easy to have trouble. My suggestion is don’t become a Remote Online Notary unless you really love technology and not seeing people face to face and intend to take the profession very seriously. It seems to not work out well for those who are just doing it on the side.

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June 4, 2021

RON — did you invest more than you made in revenue?

Filed under: General Articles — admin @ 10:44 am

The field of RON or Remote Online Notarizations is an unstable one. I have met many Notaries who do it, and a few who even like it. Some get tons of business, others get a job once in a blue moon, and many get nothing.

The costs of being a RON are hundreds and a lot of work. You need to get commissioned, perhaps get an online journal, and software, and approvals from the various platforms or agencies that deal with RON identification and other processes such as Pavaso and about six other popular options.

With Coronavirus abounding, people thought there would be more of a demand for RON. Many state governors made abrupt executive orders allowing it, and there were changes in legislation in various states (I don’t know the details) allowing more online notarizations.

Whether or not RON is secure, or whether you can identify people sufficiently was not much of a concern for the politicians. Their goal was to find yet another way to keep you at home. It’s like Yakov Smirnoff’s comedic commercial for Russian Express Card.

American Express Card — Don’t leave home without it
Russian Express Card — Don’t leave home…. ever…

How much work you get as a RON might depend on whether or not there is a virus. It also depends on how the culture adapts to new technology. People overseas who need an American Notary have to use it. Most of the clients for RON are in Dubai, London, Berlin, Israel, Italy, China, or some foreign place (that often has some sort of really long wall).

Worth it or not?
If you like dealing with all of the computer technology and think it’s cool, in the long run it might work for you if you can figure out how to market yourself. For others who are doing it just for the money, the money is not there yet, so don’t do it unless you can’t live without it.

People on 123notary who list that they are a RON get a lot more clicks. It is impressive and lets the world know you go above and beyond what the average Notary does.

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May 24, 2021

Notary Pit Stop

Filed under: Virtual Comedy Themes — admin @ 1:39 am

Let’s imagine that a very important person would need to get their Notary work done in a hurry. I have notarized for directors, company presidents and other busy people. They have time to come in the room, sign and leave. They normally don’t even give you time to look at the identification. So here is my idea.

Two Notaries work as a tag team notarization outfit. They visit the VIP’s office.

Notary #1 looks at the ID and inscribes the necessary information in the journal.
Notary #2 fills out the certificates, staples them to the forms. Then,
Notary #1 gets the VIP to sign the journal.
Notary #2 gets the VIP to sign the document.
Notary #1 hands the ID to
Notary #2 to verify that the signature on the ID matches the signature on the document. Notary #2 returns the ID to the signer and then
Notary #1 stamps the document’s certificate

Questions:
Q.Why doesn’t Notary #2 stamp the actual certificate?
A. Because they are using Notary #1’s journal

Q. Why doesn’t Notary #1 throw a chair at Notary #1?
A. Because they are on the same team

Q. Why doesn’t Notary #2 throw a chair at the signer?
A. Because the signer is paying them

Q. Do they have pit stop outfits or tag team wrestling outfits?
A. Probably not, but they could if that was their theme.

Q. Does the signer have to wear a helmet?
A. That’s probably a bad idea.

Q. Who collects the money?
A. Notary #2 because Notary #1 is too busy stamping

Q. Can you bring sound effects of a real Indy 500 race?
A. That would definitely add to the experience.

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April 13, 2021

The “It can be more but not less” rule

Filed under: Technical & Legal — Tags: — admin @ 6:26 am

Don’t learn this rule. It is interpreted backwards as often as it is interpreted correctly, or scrambled completely.

BAD RULE: “It can be more but not less” rule.
APPLICATION: You can SIGN more but not less…
QUESTION: More but not less than WHAT?
More but not less than what it says on the ID or the document?

This stupid quick rule does not elaborate what you can sign more than and also misses a very critical point. If you cannot prove the name on the document using a photo ID, then you are taking a huge risk as a Notary.

Different states have different standards for identification. Georgia requires you to look at the ID but doesn’t mention whether the ID should match (might be outdated information, but that was what I read a few years ago.) California requires the name on the document to be proven based on the ID and also requires thumbprints for powers of attorney and deeds affecting real property (smart move.) But, regardless of the state, taking precautions and keeping thorough records can keep you out of court and shorten the length of investigations.

BAD RULE: “You can always sign more.”
QUESTION: More than WHAT?
Don’t use rules that leave ambiguities otherwise you will miss critical points due to an omission in the logical process.

JEREMY’S RULE: “The ID must prove the name on the document.”
Interpretation: The name on the ID can be matching and identical or matching but longer than the name typed in the signature section of the document. Additionally, the name you put in the Acknowledgment section should be provable based on the ID. It is possible to put a shorter name on the Acknowledgement than the name signed or printed on the document.

Example.
If the ID says John Smith
But, the document printed name says John W Smith
You could notarize this person as John Smith even if the person signs John W Smith.
Would the title company get mad at you? Would the county recorder record the notarization? Not sure, but at least you would not be breaking notary law by notarizing this way!

JEREMY’S RULE #2: “You can sign more than how the name is printed in the signature section, but not less.”
COMMENT: This is a more elaborate and thorough version of the more but not less rule. If you memorize incomplete rules, you will make logic mistakes and could end up in court as a consequence. It doesn’t happen often, but it could eventually. Why take chances and why be a bad notary? Understand all of the aspects of notarization and yes — it is a lot more complicated than you thought and requires intricate thinking.

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April 12, 2021

10 things you need to know as a Signing Agent

Filed under: Best Practices — admin @ 7:28 am

Most people are confused when they begin their career as a Notary signing agent. They don’t know what they need to learn or do, or how to get clients. Those in the business for many years have the opposite problem. They think they know everything while they know very little — at least when I test them. Here is what I think Notaries should learn and how to learn it.

1. Be a good Notary. What does that entail?
You need to know the rules for each notary act and how to fill out forms. You also need to know how to administer Oaths correctly and few Notaries do this well or take it seriously. You can lose your commission if a judge finds out you didn’t give an Oath on any particular Affidavit, Jurat or sworn statement that you notarized. It is easy to learn how to do this, but few make it their business to know their job. Read your state’s notary manual regularly. You can also read blogs from NNA, 123notary or other Notary agencies. But, your state notary division is gospel, and the agencies are sometimes wrong — so treat their information as commentary. Keeping a journal is also imperative, because when you are in court, and 15% of serious Notaries end up before a judge sooner or later, your journal is your only evidence. The more thoroughly you keep your journal, the happier the judge will be with you. If you identify someone incorrectly or carelessly you might be empowering an imposter to steal a house from someone or commit fraud. We teach all of these points on our blog on Notary Public 101.

Summary of point 1.
Understanding All applicable Notary Acts, Identification procedures, Journal procedure, and Oaths are the bedrock of being a good Notary.

2. Understand The Right to Cancel
Residential owner occupied Refinances typically have a Right to Rescind document. Understanding how to date this document properly is not rocket science, but experienced Notaries flake and goof and get the dates wrong when I test them on a regular basis. It is not rocket sciencem, and no, the NASA website doesn’t cover this, it is a matter of counting to three and not counting Sundays or Federal Holidays.

3. Understand FAQ’s about loan signing.
When is my first payment due?
Where is my rate, APR?
Do I have a prepayment penalty and where is it?
Where are my closing costs and fees itemized?
Do I have to send a check or other documents not included in the package?
How long can I read my borrower’s copies before rescinding
How do I cancel my loan?

Many Notaries feel that they need to be experts at all of the documents. As a general rule, you should know the difference between the Correction Agreement LPOA and a Compliance Agreement, although there are so many variations in these documents that they are all different and you have to read each one — but, being familiar and knowledgeable about these document variations pays off as this is a FAQ that people are concerned about. Most loan signing courses go over this information and you should memorize this as people at signings will ask about it.

4. Understanding Reverse Mortgages, TRID, Helocs, Purchases, etc.
LSS’s course seems to do the best job teaching these types of loans (or documents) that are new in popularity over the last few years. Most signing courses were written ten or twenty years ago when Reverse Mortgages either didn’t exist or were not a popular item. Since as a Notary, you are not allowed to explain the terms of a person’s loan, but only allowed to help signers find information within the loan, it is NOT critical to understand these loans or documents, but make you look good if you did. So consider point four to be a plus, but not a necessity.

5. Explain or don’t explain
In our various blog courses we go over point by point what a Notary should explain or not explain. The 30 point course discusses this in detail. This is critical because otherwise you might get yourself in trouble talking about what you have no business of talking about. Or you might talk about something you know nothing about. Or, you might not answer a question which you should know the answer and express the answer about. Boy, this is complicated.

6. How to find new clients
There are many ways. We write about this in the marketing section of our blog, but you might have to scroll.

7. How to background screen clients
Not all clients are pleasant or pay on time. Use the 123notary or Notary Rotary forum to see which companies are worth working for. Please be informed that in the last two years there has been a drastic decline in forum commentary on our forum and on NotaryRotary’s, although theirs is much more well trafficked than ours. There is less quantity of reliable information about the various signing companies. But, still do your research.

8. How to collect from clients
Some people don’t pay on time, so you have to know how to keep records, how to bill people, and how to threaten them the right way if they keep you waiting for payment. We go over this in our courses.

9. Where to learn about general information
You should read the various blogs out there. NNA and 123notary have interesting blogs where you can learn and source information from antiquated entries on particular topics.

10. How to handle tricky situations
In Notary Public 101 we go over many sticky situations and explain how to think about them and how to handle them. Understanding this content makes you a more confident, trustworthy and safe Notary! It’s like a vaccine made out of knowledge!

Further Reading
As a general rule, I recommend getting certified by various entities, not just one. I recommend Notary Public 101 and the 30 Point Course in our blog as well as reading our blog articles about marketing and notarial issues in particular. LSS offers a very practical course that is more sensitive to what is going on in the industry now. Notary2Pro seems to churn out the best trained Notaries of any certification. 123notary has the hardest certification test and passing it will prove yourself better than the other certifications.

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