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April 5, 2015

Point (16) Initialing; Lost in a cornfield

Filed under: Loan Signing 101 — Tags: — admin @ 11:25 pm

Marcy had been to the county fair recently. She really got to thinking as she was lost in the corn maze. But, then it all started to pop. It took her ninety minutes to get out of that maze. All of the routes seemed the same, with twists and turns, but only one would get her out of that maze. It reminded her of her career. One thing that Marcy learned, is that the maze had several signs in various locations that showed the routes. She just wasn’t reading the signs carefully enough. There was one intersection with five paths, and she kept taking the wrong one since they all looked almost identical. Where’s your GPS when you need it? She took each path one by one until she got the right one. Corn mazes are confusing like that. As she munched on some grilled corn at the fair after her ordeal, she was even more determined than ever before to be the perfect Notary. And besides, she would have to face her neighbor Patricia who didn’t tolerate failure (or bad corn)!

At Marcy’s next signing, she noticed that the name of the signer was printed incorrectly on the signature line of one of the documents. Marcy had them initial next to their signature. The next day she got a call from the Processor. The Loan Processor was upset that the initials were to the right of the signature which got in their way of doing the changes. Never had Marcy heard of someone other than her cat being so picky. After all, she did her job correctly, she had the borrower initial and sign the correct way. What more can you ask for? Furthermore, they didn’t do any forbidden cross-outs. Marcy felt her work was perfect. The Processor wanted the initials below the typed name under the last several letters of the last name. This is how 123notary teaches initialing incorrectly printed names by the way. Marcy said that she would do it that way from then on. Marcy went on to tell Patricia what had happened and Patricia said, “If it isn’t one thing, it’s another — but, keep this up. You’re really getting somewhere now! And remember, a cornfield of 10,000 acres isn’t planted in a day.”

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Point 16 — Initialing
Most Notaries don’t understand initialing. At least they don’t initially. Although there are no formal rules, here are some guidelines.

The initials should cover all parts of the person’s name being signed.

Theodore T Tidmore would initial TTT
Nancy Nissenbaum would initial NN
Thomas T Carl Edison would initial TTCE

But, what if it gets complicated?

Thomas Smith, Sr. would initial TS Sr.
Thomas Jones, III would initial TJ III
Thomas DeLuna is a little more complicated. I choose TD since the last part of the name is connected.

But,

Thomas De La Cruz De Philippe Rodriguez Ramirez Gomez would initial TDLC DPRRG — oh my God.

Where do initials go?
Where do initials go, assuming they are not on a tree representing a relationship soon to be DOA? On loan document signings, it is common for borrowers to initial all pages of the Deed of Trust, sometimes the Note, often the Universal Residential Loan Application (The 1003), and sometimes other multi-page documents. There is normally a one centimeter line in the lower corner of the page where the initials are intended. But, keep your eyes open, because the special line for initials might not be where you expect it to be.

Initialing changes
Many notaries do not understand the name changing procedure. It is really up to the processor to do name changes. However, the notary must at a minimum have the borrower initial any changes. My best client during my loan signing days was a processor which is how I know the ideal procedure for name changing. It is easier than you might think.

Have the borrower initial to the right below the last several letters of the typed name.
Have the borrower sign the correct way where they are supposed to sign.
Inform the lender in writing and by phone that the name is changed to whatever it is changed to.
There is no need to cross-out. Cross-outs cause a mess. there is also no need to write in the correct name. The processor can do that.

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You might also like:

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

30 Point Course (17) The APR
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14483

Can you notarize initials?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8269

Read about initialing in our industry standards blog entry
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4370

Signing Agent Best Practices 63 Points
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4315

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July 22, 2021

How to find a Notary mentor

Filed under: General Stories — admin @ 3:59 am

Many Notaries ask me how to find a Notary mentor. I used to know people who did teaching and mentoring. But, they are all getting so old. I don’t know who to recommend. There are several issues here.

ISSUES WITH MENTORS

1. If you get a mentor who is near where you live, you represent competition for them. Even if they are the best in the world and you are brand new, you will eventually get better and take some market share from them.

2. If you get a mentor who is far, then how will you ever be able to meet with them?

3. Ideally, you want a mentor who is about an hour away so you are not in direct competition with them.

4. When I call people who are being mentored, whenever I ask about their skill set, they immediately tell me all about what their mentor knows and how great their mentor is. That is all very wonderful if I am going to hire their mentor, but not if I am going to hire the new Notary. Answer questions about you based on you. If you know nothing, be up front about that otherwise you would be a very slippery person who knows nothing vs. an honest straight forward person who knows nothing. People who hire notaries can see through all of this type of BS and none of us have patience for it or like it. Real answers to real questions please.

HOW TO FIND A MENTOR

NNA used to publish a list of mentors. I don’t know if they still know people who do this.

You can call the most experienced notaries on 123notary and see if any of them will help you. You could call local ones, or people far away with high placed listings.

The NNA claims that social media is a good place to find a Notary mentor. Facebook groups, forums, etc. I tend to agree with that idea. However, people who are busy and successful don’t always show their face on social media because they are too busy working so that they can keep being successful. Meanwhile, people who are not at all successful often spend all of their time on social media, sometimes bashing other people who spend their lives being productive (especially in the notary world.) Carmen and I are very familiar with that type of social media user.

Carol Ray knows many people in the business and might be able to help. She runs Notary2Pro which is an agency that trains Notaries.

Asking leaders of notary organizations (other than myself) might be a great idea. I know people who teach or used to teach, but I don’t know if they are mentors. I just emailed a few to ask if they do it or know anyone who does it. But, the various leaders of Notary organizations might know all sorts of people doing all sorts of things and there are many organizations out there.

HOW TO SCRUTINIZE A MENTOR

Not all people are experts at all things and not all experts are available or helpful. So, how do you find a good mentor? You could find someone 1000 miles away who is good at answering questions. But, that doesn’t help when you want to shadow someone. On a brighter note, if someone doesn’t want you shadowing them, they have to tell you to your face as you can’t “shadow ban” someone who is with you in person. You should ideally either have a company who can micromanage you and walk you through your first several signings, or find a local mentor you can tag along with for three to ten signings.

The mentor should know:
1. Local notary laws
2. Signing agent procedure
3. How to handle situations
4. How to explain the documents, initialing, the right to rescind, document recording, and basics about title, escrow, and lending.

Since you presumably don’t know anything about signing work or situations, you can see if that person knows how to be a good notary at a minimum. But, you won’t know if they are a good signing agent since you don’t know what to ask them to verify that information. You can ask questions about various notary signing topics and see how thorough or intelligent the answers are. However if you are at the stage where you are ready for a mentor, YOU need to be an expert at your state notary law yourself. If you are going to use your stamp even once, you could end up in big trouble if you do something wrong — so know your stuff!

It would be a little like me hiring someone to be a rocket scientist — I wouldn’t know what to ask them since I know nothing about rocket science.

IF YOU ARE A MENTOR
If you actually are a mentor and are willing to deal with new people and their insecurities, you can respond to this blog post! Additionally, if you know where to find a mentor, shares your comments as well.

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November 6, 2020

Notarizing Multi-Page Documents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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You might also like:

Notarizing Multi-Page Documents 2011 edition
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1706

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

Penalties for misconduct, fraud and failure of duty
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21315

How often do Notaries end up in court?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19914

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October 9, 2019

Maximum Notary fee $5, but the signing pays $200?

Filed under: Notary Fees & Pricing — admin @ 11:23 pm

Each state has a maximum notary fee per notary act or procedure. Some charge by the signature, Florida charges by the stamp if I’m not incorrect (better look that one up.)

But, if you are allowed $5 per signature, the signing has four signatures, but pays $200, then what? Are you breaking the law? Or are you being paid for mobile fees and supervising fees? The truth is that you are being paid for a bunch of responsibilities within your service:

Printing documents
Confirming an appointment
Supervising the signature and initialing of documents
Answering simple questions (perhaps)
Not answering questions you are not supposed to (unless you are a know-it-all who is looking for trouble)
Notarizing
Waiting while people read or have long conversations by phone with the Lender.
Getting the documents safely back where they belong
Availability for after service.

All of those combined definitely merit at least $125, don’t you think?

So, how do you document this in your journal? $5 per notary act. Two people x two notary acts per person is four lines in your journal each stating $5 for the notary fee. And then in the additional info section for the first notary act of the set, put down you got $180 travel / supervising fee for a loan signing. Then it is all documented just in case the IRS has any questions. Notary fees are not subject to self-employment tax but travel and supervising fees are. Look it up in the SE instructions.

But, what if you live in California and the Notary fee is $15, you have ten signatures, but the job only pays $100. You could charge $150 plus travel for that signing, but your Lender or signing company isn’t paying that. Just put whatever you want for the notary fee between zero and $15 per notarized signature in your journal. And do a reasonable estimate for what the travel and supervising fees should be — just estimate and try to be proportionate.

You might also like:

Travel fees vs. Notary fees in your journal
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22612

Travel fees if nothing gets signed
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22578

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July 8, 2019

Looking Beyond the Notary Section – A case Example

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — Tags: , — admin @ 3:01 am

The classic examples
We are often told not to notarize a document that contains blank areas. Of course in reality we do exactly that in every loan package. Take a look at the 1003 (the computer version of the loan application). Lots of blank areas there and nary a single N/A. Once I was put on standby for many hours; to notarize the sale of a super tanker. The neatly bound document was thicker than the Manhattan phone book (alas no longer issued). It was about 1500 pages. I did not turn each page in a desperate attempt to find a wayward and un-entered fill in. After about 6 hours of waiting time, I notarized the (approx from recollection) two dozen affiants at the end.

What happened today
The document was an amendment to an incorporation agreement. There were to be eight affiants; even with the nicely preprinted notary sections it totaled four pages. Simple? Well there was an issue. Just prior to naming the trustees, there was the statement that the names and addresses of the trustees would follow. The names were there but not the addresses. I normally don’t read the documents, but wanted to be sure the list of names matched the notary sections. I mentioned the discrepancy to the person managing the signing. I was asked how this should be handled. I covered the I’m not a lawyer issue. They came up with three possible courses of action.

The first would be to simply write in the addresses. Second, would be to redact “and addresses”. The last was to simply ignore the matter. They choose option 2. So, when the “and addresses” had a line drawn thru (not at my suggestion), I felt compelled to raise the issue of the requirement to initial hand written changes.

The first two affiants had left the session after being properly notarized and were not present to initial the change. The other 5 initialed. Hmmmm, 8-2=5? Sorry, but one of the planned 8 could not attend and would be notarized at a later date, and also initial that redaction.

In all probability the infamous “fix it fairy” would provide initials for the two who left early; of course I did not suggest that. But, as unfair as it sounds to me; some were unhappy that I mentioned the discrepancy between the stated text and the data entered. In other words; it seemed to some that I “created a problem” – just by stating the obvious (to me) flaw.

In all probability I goofed In hindsight, as I peck away at the keyboard; away from the seven affiants who want me to resolve the “issue I created” – I shudda kept my big mouth shut. My biggest blunder was to agree on the 3 possible solutions. Perhaps the address is an absolute requirement for acceptance of the document. I truly don’t know. And, the only reason that I sailed into that blunder was by mentioning the issue.

Resolved: At least for me – if it’s not in the notary section, don’t read it, don’t comment on it. And absolutely say nothing about how they should proceed. It’s OK to mention initialing changes, but take no “legal opinion” about “course of action” when modifications are being considered.

You might also like:

Index of posts about Notary certificates
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20268

A guide to notarizing documents with blanks or multiple signatures
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20252

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April 2, 2018

Cross out and initial, or use a fresh form?

Filed under: Technical & Legal — admin @ 6:41 pm

Most Notaries like to cross-out and initial changes in certificates. Keep in mind that these are legal documents affecting million dollar properties. Cross-outs look like tampering. It is CLEANER to take a fresh acknowledgment form from your Notary bag, fill it out thoroughly including the additional information section with the name of the document, number of pages, etc., And then staple it on to the document. On the other hand, using a new form could change the recording fees for the loan which would affect the truthfulness of the information on the Closing Statement.

If there is a cross-out for a name on a certificate that is a quite serious legal issue. It could lead to complications should you ever go to court. It is your right to decide to use a fresh acknowledgment form and staple it on the document even if the Lender doesn’t want it that way. Lenders sometimes prefer to use the original form because it is inscribed within the document. But, also because a new form will be charged extra money from the county recorder. Lenders sometimes lose loose acknowledgment forms which is yet another reason many Lenders prefer to fix the original.

As a Notary, you may be faced with the unpleasant reality that the Lender may have already filled out your Acknowledgment form, and with wrong information. If the form says you are in Orange County when you are in Seminole, you cannot notarize that form as is. So, what do you do and what are the consequences?

I cannot tell you what your state laws allow or require, I can only tell you how to handle forms in a prudent way.

Fix the Existing Form
If you are going to fix the existing Acknowledgment, just cross-out the wrong information with a single line, write in the correct county, and the Notary initials. The borrowers can initial changes to documents, but should not initial changes to certificates unless your state says so in writing. Fixing the existing form has the advantage that there will not be any changes to the recording fee for the loan. If you start adding additional pieces of paper, that will change the information on the HUD or CD and open a can of worms which some Lenders don’t like. On the other hand it is cleaner to replace the form rather than to fix it as fixing it looks like potential tampering.

Replace the Form
To replace an Acknowledgment, just staple on a new Acknowledgment, fill it out, sign and seal. Please also fill out what is called the optional and additional information which is normally about the document such as number of pages, document date, etc.

Communication Errors
When I ask Notaries how to fix a wrong county on an acknowledgment, some of them tell me how to replace it. Fix and replace are not the same word, so please do not answer a different question from what I asked. Please also be aware of the benefits and costs of replacing the form rather than fixing it.

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You might also like:

The 30 point course – initialing
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14463

The man who wouldn’t use his middle initial.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4040

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

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April 1, 2018

Scenarios: What is the cleanest way to rectify an error on a certificate?


Notary Certificates


In this article I will address multiple points affecting fixing errors on certificates.

WHAT IS THE CLEANEST WAY TO RECTIFY AN ERROR ON A NOTARY CERTIFICATE?

Most Notaries like to cross out and initial changes in certificates. Keep in mind that these are legal documents affecting million dollar properties. Cross-outs look like tampering and there is always a small chance that your cross-out will cause a long and drawn out delay in a court case if an Attorney suggests that perhaps there was tampering. It is CLEANER to take a fresh acknowledgment form from your Notary bag, fill it out thoroughly including the additional information section with the name of the document, number of pages, etc., And then staple it on to the document.

To be prepared for this type of situation, please do the following:

1. Keep Notary certificate pads on your person
Buy Acknowledgment, Jurat, and Copy Certification forms from the NNA. These forms come in pads and fit in your notary bag or at least in your trunk. A good Notary carries these and uses them regularly.

2. Ask for preferences, not for advice
Know when to ask the Lender or Title company for their preference. Please remember that as a Notary, it is your exclusive jurisdiction to be the expert and sole authority as to how Notarizations should get done and how Notarizations do get done. However, if there are two legal ways to handle a situation such as fixing an error on a certificate (does not apply to Maryland as I have heard that you may not add a loose certificate there — look it up in the MD Notary Manual to be sure) you can ask for a preference as to which legal way the Lender prefers. But, you must not ask a Lender if it is “okay” to do something in a Notary form, but only if they have an “issue” with it.

The way you think about asking Lenders questions matters as many Notaries think of Lenders as their authority and boss. As to completing the assignment, loan documents and shipping, they are your boss. For the actual Notary procedure, the Secretary of State Notary Division (or whatever they are called in your state) is your only authority and YOU are the authority over the Lender in this regard. You have the right to say no, and they do not have the right to boss you around about Notary issues, but only to voice preferences.

3. Recording fees & issues with adding forms
If you add a loose acknowledgment to a notarized document in a loan signing, that will change the recording fee which might be recorded on the CD, Closing Statement or HUD-1. You are opening a can of worms if you do that. However, in my opinion, the integrity of the notarization trumps any recording fee issues as you are not likely to end up in court because the recording fee went up by $10 or $50, but you might end up in court if someone thinks there is tampering due to initialing and changing information on a Notary certificate.

WHAT IF THE LENDER WANTS YOU TO USE THE ORIGINAL?

Lenders are particular to the fact that they might have trouble reselling their loan if there are too many abnormalities in the Notary section such as adding certificate forms. Additionally, recording fees can go up if you add a certificate to a recorded document, and that affects the information on the CD or HUD which opens up a can of worms. However, please consider that if there are any accusations of tampering, it is you who might spend a long time in court. Adding a fresh certificate that has its additional and optional information filled out, which identifies the document clearly, eliminates most possibility of suspicion.

YOU HAVE THE WRONG STATE IN THE ACKNOWLEDGMENT
Assuming the form is acceptable in all other ways other than the state, just cross out the state, write in the new state, initial, and you are done. Do NOT let the borrower initial Notary certificate forms — that is exclusively the jurisdiction of the Notary.

WRONG COUNTIES VS. WRONG DATES OR NAMES
Having a cross-out in the county of the venue would probably not affect the nature of the contact. Whereas changing a date would affect rescission which could nullify the effectiveness of a loan if challenged in court. Crossing out a name on a certificate can really change the contractual significance of a loan document. I cannot recommend how to handle situations with any authority. However, please realize that changing a county is a small issue while crossing out and initialing a date or name on an acknowledgment for a loan document could cause havoc down the line.

You might also like:

Cross out and initial or use a fresh form?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19933

Index of posts about Notary certificates
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20268

Fixing certificates is a state-specific nightmarish issue
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21083

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March 25, 2018

Notary Marketing 102 — Notary Education

Filed under: Loan Signing 101 — admin @ 8:12 am

Return to Notary Marketing 102 Contents

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Notary Education

Many Notaries want to get started in the loan signing industry. What they forget is that to become a successful loan signing agent, you first have to know how to be a good Notary Public. Being a good Notary is not rocket science, but there are a few things that could trip you up. Many states have insufficient requirements for Notaries. Some of the lacking requirements could present Notaries and their clients with legal dangers.

Being a good Notary means being knowledgeable and safe. Being knowledgeable means knowing your state notary laws inside out. But, being safe means limiting your exposure to liability. We cannot teach you your state notary laws here, but the handbooks for most states are online and easy to access by searching on Google.

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Notary Knowledge References:

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(1) Your state’s official notary handbook. Search for it on Google.

(2) The NNA has a Notary Essentials Course which many people like.

(3) 123notary has a much shorter brush up course called Notary Public 101 which is about best practices and does NOT cover state specific laws.

Please be advised that Notary safety is as important as making money because you want to stay out of court and not get in trouble. Safety precautions include:

(1) Keep an official journal of Notarial acts whether your state requires it or not. That is your only evidence in court of what you notarized and more important — what you did NOT notarize if impostered (yes, it happens.)

(2) Keep thumbprints in your journal to assist the FBI in catching identity thieves. You will probably never run into one in your career but many notaries do. The FBI might name you as a suspect if you do not provide an adequate paper trail, as a bad paper trail looks like a cover up.

(3) Be wary of elder notarizations. If someone is in a hospital, not fully with it, or on morphine, they are more likely to be cheated in a transaction which means that you will be likely to end up in court or investigated.

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Signing Agent Knowledge

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Once you are a commissioned notary as well as being a competent notary, it is time to study your signing agent knowledge. You will need to know most of the attributes of common loan documents, signing and initialing procedures, how to fix errors in notary forms, and how to date a Right to Rescind correctly. At 123notary, we only recognize our own certification as well as Notary2Pros. However, there are many places you can receive signing agent training. We recommend:

(1) 123notary’s loan signing combo course. This course goes over loan signing from A to Z as well as marketing help and how to run your operation and keep good records.

(2) Notary2Pro offers more personalized care and their graduates have a better knowledge of loan signing than other sources.

(3) NNA offers signing agent certification at many different levels. Theirs is the most recognized of the various courses, but the test results of people with the NNA basic signing agent certification when taking 123notary quizzes is not as high as the other contenders.

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Please also read:

Loan Signing Courses For All Budgets
http://www.123notary.com/loan_signing_courses.html

Notary Public 101 — Notary Procedure from A to Z
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19493

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October 12, 2017

Notary Public 101 — Certificates

Return to table of contents for Notary Public 101.

You might also like: 10 tight points on loose certificates.

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NOTARIAL CERTIFICATES

There are certificates for various types of Notary acts. Acknowledgments, Jurats, Proofs of Execution. Some states even have certificates for Oaths and Affirmations. Let’s focus on Acknowledgment Certificates for now.

There are various parts of an Acknowledgment form.

(1) The venue. The venue is normally on the upper part of a certificate. In California now there is some verbiage in a box that I am not trained in. But, above the boiler plate wording there is a venue which documents the county and state. Is a venue the county where you did a transaction or two lines of information in a form? Both! However, the documentation of the venue is the one in the certificate and it is informally called the venue and not the documentation of the venue.

(2) The date. The date is a field the Notary is often held responsible to fill in. The date falls into the area of the boiler-plate wording of the form which is standardized wording from your state or perhaps another state.

(3) The names of the signers. As a Notary, you need to input the names of the signers or affiants into the Notary certificate if required. Sometimes it doesn’t make it clear whose name goes in the form. If it says, “Subscribed and sworn to before me by,” then after the “by” put the name of the affiant or signer otherwise you will ruin the form.

(4) The name of the Notary. The name of the Notary once again is entered into the boiler-plate wording area.

(5) Pronouns, singulars and plurals. Each state has a different wording for Notary certificates for each act. However, it is common and typical to have some sort of Notary verbiage that includes he/she/they executed the instrument, his/her/their signature(s), or his/her/their authorized capacity(ies). The critical thing here is to cross out the incorrect words and leave the correct wording. If you do a notarization for John, then cross out the her and their and the (s) assuming John only signed once. If you do a signing for Bruce Jenner then use a special form called the T-acknowledgment which says he/she/it’s complicated/they

(6) Testimonium Clause. Where it says “witness my hand and official seal,” that is called the testimonium clause. Below the boiler plate wording is the signature area where you sign and then affix your notarial seal. And by the way, “Locus Sigilli” means the location of the seal.

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CHANGES TO CERTIFICATES

Making any change on a Notary certificate is messy in my opinion. You can consider crossing out and initialing wrong information. Remember that ONLY the Notary can initial or write on the certificate forms and the signer cannot touch it. However, it is cleaner to create a new certificate using an Acknowledgment that you get from a pad that you keep your Notary bag. That way you can start all over, fill the form out correctly and then staple it to the document in question.

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ADDING LOOSE CERTIFICATES

If you notarize a document that either does not have acceptable Notary wording or doesn’t have any Notary wording (or wrong information on the form) then you might want to add a loose certificate from your pad of certificates that you purchased from the NNA (recommended). Additionally, if there is no room for your seal in some pre-existing Notary verbiage, you might be forced to add a certificate for logistical reasons.

You might also like this blog article:
Sending loose certificates in the mail is generally illegal!

If you add a loose certificate, the certificate must be filled out thoroughly. This means that in addition to the legally required verbiage, you fill out the ADDITIONAL INFORMATION section. The additional information section includes:

Document name — if you don’t put the name of the document on your loose certificate, it might be unstapled and added to a wrong document by accident or on purposes.

Document date — if you don’t put the document date, your certificate might be added to a different document with the same name by accident or fraudulently.

Number of Pages — if you put nine pages, then it will be hard for a fraud to swap the certificate and put it on a similar document with eight pages.

Other Signers — You can name the other signers on the document.

Capacities — California no longer allows this, but you can mention if any of the signers are signing as Attorney in Fact or some other capacity.

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EMBOSSERS

Cautious Notaries often use an embosser when notarizing. You can use an inked seal and also a non-ink embosser that leaves a raised seal. If someone photo copies your certificates, the embossed impression will not show up in the photocopy. Additionally, you can emboss each page of a document to discourage page swapping.

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AUTHORITY

If there is a disagreement between a Title company involved in a transaction and a Notary regarding what venue or information goes in an Acknowledgment or Jurat certificate, the Notary has absolute authority. The Notary may ask for the Title company’s preference if there are two legal ways of doing something such as crossing out and initialing vs. adding on a loose certificate if there is an error. However, it is the Notary who is legally responsible for filling out the form and it is the Notary who will end up in court if there is a problem.

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WHO TO ASK FOR HELP WITH CERTIFICATES

If the Notary does not know what to do when filling in forms or notarizing, do NOT ask the Lender or Title companies as they have a beneficial interest in the transaction AND because they are not experts in the field. The tiel rep might be a Notary, but not necessarily in your state, and not necessarily an informed Notary. Title and Lenders will typically tell you whatever it takes to get the job done whether it is legal, recommendable, safe, or kosher, or not. They don’t care just as long as their loan goes through and YOU, the Notary are the one who gets locked up if you did something illegal just as long as it is your seal on the page.

If you need help with a Notary problem, consult your state’s Notary division as a first resource and the NNA hotline as your next resource. I would be very wary about trusting anyone else.

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December 20, 2016

The Universal Residential Loan Application — AKA, the 1003

The Universal Residential Loan Application is a common loan document. Also known as the 1003, this document is very disturbing to the borrowers as it contains routine errors in its personal information about the borrower. This document goes over where the borrower is from, their age, where they went to school, what their income is, and social security number. It is very common for the clerks who create this document to make a plethora of mistakes.

There is often a blank page on the 1003 that says, this page intentionally left blank. That bothers borrowers as well. Some like to put a diagonal line through that page.

Backdating. Sometimes the 1003 is backdated or the lender will leave instructions not to date it at all. Why? Because the borrower, most likely, has submitted a more user-friendly form to the borrower, of which contains the same information that the 1003 does. At a closing you are often pretending that you are signing the 1003 when the borrower filled out an earlier version of the application several weeks prior to the signing. As a Notary, just don’t backdate Notary documents. But don’t worry, this one is not a Notary document, and you aren’t backdating, the borrower is.

Signing and initialing. There are different formats for the 1003. Many of the pages have one-centimeter initial lines in the bottom right corner. Keep your eyes peeled, as the different formats of this document have different arrangements. On some variations of this document, one of the pages is blank for the most part. Sometimes, you will need to have the borrower initial and sign the same page (which seems strange). Sometimes the initial lines aren’t easy to see. Sometimes you initial on top. Just make sure to check the document through and through. If you are not sure if a particular document needs an initial, it is generally a good idea to have the borrowers initial it. When in doubt, initial.

The good news is that the information in the Universal Residential Loan Application is not binding. Just make sure that the information in your Closing Disclosure or HUD is correct because that is final and binding information.

To learn more about loan documents, you can visit our free online 30 point course which goes over all of the major loan documents in a loan signing.

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You might also like:

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

The 30 point course – a free loan signing course
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14233

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