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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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November 11, 2013

Affidavits — What do you need to know?

BLOG: Affidavits

What is an Affidavit?
An Affidavit is generally a document that has an accompanying Sworn Oath. The person who swears under Oath is the Affiant or Deponent. The person giving the Oath could be a Notary Public, Justice of the Peace, Court Recorder, Commissioner of Oaths, Judge, or other type of official who has the authorization and capacity to give Sworn Oaths.

What types of Affidavits are there?
There are many types of Affidavits. Many are for business. There are various types of Affidavits used in loan signings such as Signature Affidavits, and Occupancy Affidavits. A Financial Status Affidavit is also common in loan signings. For people who want to be able to come to the United States, sometimes it is necessary for a relative or loved one to sign an Affidavit of Support. Many people who lost their passports and can’t find their Birth Certificates sign and swear to an Affidavit of Citizenship.

There are many other types of Affidavits as well!
Jurats commonly have an attestation clause at the end certifying the fact that the affiant made an Oath and the date and signatures.

Other common types of Affidavits:
Affidavit of Heirship, Affidavit of Residence, Affidavit of Name Change, Affidavit of Service, Financial Affidavit, Affidavfit of Domicile, Affidavit of Death, ID Theft Affidavit.

What types of wording can you use in an Affidavit?
You can word an Affidavit any way you like, but if it is to be used as a legal document, please consult an Attorney. Additionally, please do not ask a notary public to draft documents, because many states have restrictions as to what a notary public is allowed to do, especially if it borders on what Attorneys typically do.

How do I get an Affidavit notarized?
Please find a notary on 123notary.com! We have 7000 mobile notaries throughout the nation waiting to help you. Just visit our find a notary page in the navigation bar above!

You might also like:

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

Notarizing a Name Affidavit
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4711

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April 11, 2012

New Hampshire Commissioner of Deeds Information

New Hampshire Commissioner of Deeds Information

The State of New Hampshire, a congenial state, still appoints Commissioners of Deeds for a fee of $75 for a 5-year commission.  The application can be done online and is submitted to the Governor and Executive Council.  In 4-6 weeks, you will receive your appointment and will need to sign and take your oath before a judge, who will then sign your commission.  When your oath of office is returned and filed, you will be able to act as a Commissioner of Deeds.  In other words, you will have the right to:

It is recommended that you use an official seal, even though New Hampshire state law does not require it.   The Commisioner of Deeds may charge a fee of $10 for each witness, oath, or certifications, and may charge between $5 and $50 for depositions.  The general requirement is that you be a resident of the State of New Hampshire; no minimum age is given, but it is assumed to be at least 18, as for a notary.  The Secretary of State website information is clear and simple, and also includes an online handbook–at least for Notaries.

Please visit our New Hampshire Notary Public Search Results!

You might also like:

What is a Magistrate?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1887

What is a Justice of the Peace?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=103

New Hampshire Notary eccentric rules
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=103

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April 4, 2012

How much should a notary charge for swearing in a…

How much should a notary charge for swearing in a … 

Please keep in mind that notary rules, and notary prices vary from state to state.  Also, notaries engage in various types of notary acts involving Acknowledgments, Jurats (which include Oaths), Oaths, Affirmations, Protests, and more depending on what state is in question.
 
How much should a notary charge for swearing in a witness?
Notaries can swear in witnesses, and so can a judge, as well as other types of state appointed officers such as a justice of the peace, etc.  When you are swearing someone in, you are administering an Oath to them.  You might have the affiant raise their right hand and ask them, “Do you swear or affirm to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?”.  They might say, “Yes”, or “I do”.  
 
An Arizona Notary can charge $2 for administering an Oath
A California Notary can charge $10 for administering an Oath.
A Florida Notary Public can charge $10 for administering an Oath
An Illinois Notary may charge $1 for administering an Oath
A Maryland Notary may charge $2 for administering an Oath
A Michigan Notary can charge $10.00 for administering an Oath
A Notary in New York can only charge $2 for administering an Oath
A Notary in New Jersey can charge $2.50 for administering an Oath
An Ohio Notary can charge $1 for administering an Oath
A Pennsylvania Notary can charge $5 for administering an Oath
A Texas Notary can charge $6 for administering an Oath
A Virginia Notary can charge $5 for administering an Oath
A Washington State Notary can charge $10.00 for administering an Oath
A Washington DC Notary can charge $2 for administering an Oath
 
Note:  The price for Oaths and Affirmations in the mentioned states are identical.  We are only showing rates for highly populated states, and the rest of the state notary prices and notary rules and be queried by visiting our find a notary page.
 
Swearing in a Credible Witness?
If you need to use a Credible Witness as part of a signing, please consult your state notary manual to see if you can charge extra for each Oath you administer to them.
 
How much should  a notary charge for swearing in an affiant who is signing an affidavit?
Any time a person signs an Affidavit, or other document which requires a sworn Oath, the Notary (if they are using a notary) needs to have them raise their right hand and swear under oath.  The notary generally has to choose the verbiage for the oath which requires a small amount of skill and extemporaneous “improv” talent.   The notary should charge whatever their state allows as a fee for an Oath.
 
How much should a notary charge for swearing in someone who is not signing anything?
Sometimes the Oath accompanies a document that is going to be notarized, and other times it is an Oath of Office, an Oath for getting a commission, an Oath swearing them into court, or for a variety of other purposes.  The notary price for this type of Oath should be whatever the local state you are in allows a notary to charge for an Oath.
 
How do you document an Oath without a signature as a notary public?
Not all states require a notary to have a journal, but without a journal, you can not document any of your transactions, many of which might be very sensitive such as notarizations of Deeds, Powers of Attorney and other important documents that  could have high stakes involved.  If someone is taking a purely oral Oath with no paperwork involved, you should document this in your journal, and have the affiant sign your journal. You should document in the notes section of the journal that you administered an Oath, and write a few words describing what the oath was about.  The exact wording of the oath is not critical for the journal entry.  The notary price or notary fee for this type of act should be whatever the state in question allows a notary to charge for an Oath.

 Travel fees and waiting time?
Many years ago, I went to a lady’s house in Los Angeles.  She was having a court case by phone, and I was there to swear her in before the judge on the other end of the line.  I had to wait for 45 minutes, and had to drive twenty minutes as well. So, I charged a travel and a waiting fee.  I was a very reliable notary and got to this very critical appointment early, so I feel entitled to my fee!  Not all states allow travel fees or waiting time fees, so you need to know the notary prices and acceptable charges in your state of commission.

Tweets:
(1) How much can a notary charge for swearing in a Witness. A state by state fee chart!
(2) Notary Fees for swearing in witnesses range from $1 to $10 in the states we compared.
(3) How do you document an Oath that has no accompanying documentation? #Notary #Journal

You might also like:

10 rules for negotiating Notary fees
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19620

FAQ: How much do notaries charge?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=5317

Identification requirements for being notarized
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4299

Pricing formulas for mobile notary work that include time spent
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=588

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November 29, 2011

What is a Magistrate?

Filed under: Legal Issues — Tags: , — admin @ 6:32 am

What is a Magistrate?
 
A Magistrate is an officer of the state that has similar powers to a Judge, Justice of the Peace, or Prosecutor.  Since this blog is written from the perspective of the notary public industry, a Magistrate can often perform the same types of acts that a Notary Public can such as Acknowledgments, Jurats, Oaths, Affirmations, etc.
 
Origins of the term Magistrate
The office of Magistrate originates from ancient Rome, where a Magistrate was one of the highest offices, by definition. These Roman Magistratus were so high in office, that they were only subordinate to the legislature, and they were normally members of that group as well.   These Roman Magistrates had Judicial and Executive powers.
 
Magistrates in the US
In the United States a Magistrate is generally a type of independent judge who is capable of issuing warrants, reviewing arrests, who can do a hearing and make decisions based on a particular matter.  Magistrates on the state level usually handle cases not exceeding a particular dollar amount — hence handling smaller matters.
 
Where can I learn more about Magistrates?
Please contact your Secretary of State in your particular state, or visit your state’s notary division website, as they sometimes have information about this profession.

You might also like:

Read about the office of Justice of the Peace
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=103

Information about various notary procedures
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2268

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January 14, 2011

Seinfeld — George Needs a Notary

George is visiting his folks.

ESTELLE: Georgie, your father and I have a surprise for you.

GEORGE: Oh God.

FRANK: Your mother and I are gonna renew our vows.

GEORGE: Renew your vows? The vows you recited at your wedding? I’ve got news for you. Whatever they were, they didn’t take.

ESTELLE: Don’t get smart with us, Georgie! Your father and I want to renew the love we have for each other! And you’re giving me away.

George reacts.

Then at the coffee shop with Jerry:

JERRY: Giving her away? You should be thrilled. Just as long as you don’t have to take her back.

GEORGE: They’re throwing a ceremony. The whole kit and caboodle.

JERRY: Notice it’s never half a kit and caboodle?

GEORGE: (annoyed) Yeah. I’ve noticed. Oh and get this – Kramer’s my father’s Best Man.

JERRY: He’s never been the best anything.

GEORGE: My folks are renewing their vows. And Ellen, who is again dumping me, keeps renewing her vow never to see me again.

Kramer enters and joins them.

GEORGE: How come you’re the Best Man?

KRAMER: I think that goes without saying.

GEORGE: This whole thing’s a joke. They’ve been at each other’s throats for forty years. How can renewing their vows change anything?

KRAMER: I’ll tell you what you should do. Bring a notary to the ceremony and have him certify the vows. That way, they’ll have to abide by them or they can be locked up for perjury.

GEORGE: (a beat) Kramer, that’s a brilliant idea.

JERRY: Careful. You could be locked up for perjury.

GEORGE: No, don’t you see? Either they’ll have to love and obey each other, and stop their incessant yelling, or they’ll be thrown in jail. Either way – I win!

Later at the renewal ceremony…

KRAMER: (to Estelle) Just look at you. You’re the picture of relative youth!

ESTELLE: Relative?

KRAMER: No, I’m just the best man, but I feel like family.

GEORGE: Where’s the notary? This has disaster written all over it, I just know it.

JERRY: Relax. You’re not losing a mother, you’re losing your mind.

NOTARY: Sorry I’m late. Half-way here, I remembered I forgot my seal.

GEORGE: You remembered you forgot your seal?

JERRY: He remembered. And he forgot. He’s Even-Steven.

NOTARY: (to Frank) Before you recite your vows, I’ll need you to sign them.

FRANK: What are you talking about? Who the hell are you?

NOTARY: Your vows. I’m the notary.

Justice of the Peace hands vows to notary.

FRANK: I didn’t order any notary.

GEORGE: I did. It’s my little gift to you. To make sure that this time… they’re official.

FRANK: What are you talking about?

GEORGE: Your vows! The love you two express for each other has to be given… the gravitas and respect it deserves. If you abide by your vows… everything will be hunky-dory.

FRANK: And what if I don’t?

GEORGE: … I’m sure they’ll let you two have conjugal visits.

FRANK: Here, give me the damn paper.

Frank signs it.

GEORGE: (to Jerry) Now I know how Carter felt when he pulled off that peace treaty.

ELAINE: Can we get this show on the road? I need to get back to de-linting sweaters for Mr. Pitt.

JERRY: He’s got you de-linting sweaters now?

ELAINE: Hey, it’s a step up from un-salting his pretzels.

JUSTICE OF THE PEACE: We’re gathered here today to witness the re-joining of Frank and Estelle Costanza. May I have the vows please?

Notary hands him the freshly sealed and document to refer to.

JUSTICE OF THE PEACE: (reading) “I, Frank Costanza, take again as my wife, Estelle Costanza…”

KRAMER: (teary-eyed) This part always gets me.

JUSTICE OF THE PEACE: “ … as a continual thorn in my backside…”

GEORGE: Continual thorn? Stop! Let me see that. (Grabs vows, starts reading) “…to aggravate me for the rest of my life. I, Estelle Costanza, take again as my husband, Frank Costanza, the cheapest man who doesn’t clip his ear hair I’ve ever known…” Are you nuts? You can’t recite these vows!

FRANK: Why not? They come from our hearts.

ESTELLE: Your father’s right. For a change.

NOTARY: Their new vows are on an affidavit on which they’ve already affirmed under penalty of perjury that the information is the truth. Your father signed it in my presence. Notice my seal.

GEORGE: I see your seal! Well that’s just great. Now they’re legally obligated to drive each other bonkers, along with me!

JERRY: (to notary) Question: The next time my friend here gets a Dear John letter, if your seal isn’t on it, does that mean he didn’t officially get dumped?

NOTARY: No, he’d still be dumped.

JERRY: (to George) Hey, I tried.

.

You might also like:

Seinfeld: George’s parents get a vow renewal
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15132

The Seinfeld episode about a Notary
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=10208

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December 5, 2010

Arizona Notary Laws vs. Other States

Arizona notary law and laws that vary from state to state. 
It’s difficult to post about notary procedure on Twitter and Facebook.  No matter how universal a notary law seems, it can differ across state boundaries and the interpretation can differ among individuals too.
 
Credible witnesses
Arizona notary law specifies the term, “Credible person” , which is a way of saying credible identifying witness.  In Arizona, one credible witness who knows the notary as well as knowing the signer may be used to identify the signer.  Different states have different rules for credible witnesses. 90% of states allow them, but some states allow two witnesses who the notary doesn’t know, while others allow only one. California allows one CW if the notary knows them OR two if the notary doesn’t know them.
 
Foreign language signers
An Arizona notary must be able to communicate directly with the signer. Many other states have this same rule.  But, there are a few states where an interpreter may be used between the notary and the signer. 
 
Marriages?
There are a few states where notaries can get a special credential such as Justice of the Peace and perform marriages.  An Arizona notary public unfortunately can not perform a marriage — at least not one that would be legally binding. So, forever hold your peace!
 
Appear before?
In Arizona’s electronic notary rules for electric notaries (which is a separate office from a regular Arizona notary), there USED TO BE conditions where the  signer can be notarized without appearing before the notary for that particular signature.  Read our blog about Arizona electronic signatures for details.  This rule has been changed and signers must appear before the notary according to

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Arizona Notary Bond?
Arizona notary bonds must only be for $5000.  Most other states require a larger bond than that.  In California, the bond must be $15,000 for example.
 
Seals and journals
An Arizona notary must use a seal and journal.  This seems fairly elementary, but many states do not require the use of both a seal and a journal. 
 
Marriage or adoption?
Arizona notary law prohibits notarizing for anyone who you are married to or related to by adoption.
 
Legal advice?
An Arizona notary public should not give legal advice and not prepare documents for clients.  Some states prohibit the preparation of legal documents only, while AZ prohibits the preparation of any document. The prohibition of notaries from giving legal advice is standard across the board though.
 
Term
An Arizona notary commission’s term is four years.   A four year term is very common, although the number of years can really vary from state to state.

Please visit our Arizona Notary page!

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October 14, 2010

New Hampshire notary public eccentric rules

New Hampshire Notary Public eccentric laws.

Introduction
A notary public in New Hampshire has different possibilities than a notary in most other states. The rules for a New Hampshire notary are different and its interesting to learn about. New Hampshire notaries can become a justice of the peace, or commissioner of deeds in addition to having normal notary capabilities.

Justice of the peace
Anybody who wishes to apply to become a Justice of the peace must be a resident of New Hampshire and have been a registered voter in New Hampshire for at least 3 years before the date of the application. The applicant must sign a written statement with an accompaning oath as to whether or not they have ever been convicted by a crime that has not been annulled by a court, other than a minor traffic violation. Two justices of the peace and one registered voter of New Hampshire must endorse the application for appointment. The applicant also needs to complete a State Police records check form. There is a $75 fee for a five-year commission.

Become a notary, justice, or commissioner in NH
To become a New Hampshire notary public or New Hampshire justice of the peace or New Hampshire commissioner of deeds, you apply to the Secretary of state’s office — state house, room 204, Concord, NH 03301 or email to elections@sos.state.nh.us

The term of a New Hampshire justice of the peace is five years from the date that the Governer and Council confirms your appointment. The new New Hampshire justice of the peace must sign and take their oath of office in the presence of two Notaries public or justices of the peace, or one notary public and one justice of the peace. Then, the oath must be returned to the secretary of state’s office as soon as possible. The recently appointed New Hampshire justice of the peace should keep their commission in their records. Additionally, an index card must be signed and returned to the superior court of the county in which the person resides.

Justice of the peace – capacities
A New Hampshire Justice of the Peace has some capacities similar to a New Hampshire notary. Both designations allow the officer to do acknowledgments, but do not require an official seal when doing so. However, the state recommends using an official seal when performing duties specific to a New Hampshire Justice of the Peace.

In addition to acknowledgments, a New Hampshire justice of the peace can do all the same acts as a regular New Hampshire notary public such as Oaths, Affirmations, Jurats, Depositions, Copy certifications, and Protests.

The two special acts that a justice of the peace can do that notaries in most states can not do are: officially witnessing signatures and performing marriages. Florida notaries can also perform marriages with a special designation.

New Hampshire Commissioner of deeds
The powers of a New Hampshire commissioner of deeds are actually less than those of a New Hampshire notary or justice of the peace. The commissioner of deeds can administer oaths BOTH IN AND OUT OF New Hampshire, for documents that will be used in New Hampshire. They can take depositiosn and affidavits, plus acknowledgments. However, the NH Secretary of State’s website gives no accounting of whether they can do Jurats, Protests, Copy certifications, or other typical New Hampshire notary acts.

New Hampshire notary public application
If you are at least 18, and a resident of NH, you can apply to the secretary of state in NH to become a New Hampshire notary public. There is a $75 fee, and the commission is good for five years. Please visit http://www.sos.nh.gov/notary.html for more details.

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