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December 5, 2017

If you’re named as an identity theft conspirator, it could cost you $20,000 in legal fees

If you are named as a conspirator in an identity theft ring or identity theft case, you might be looking at some serious legal costs. Being a Notary is not safe, especially when you refuse to keep your books correctly (oh, but my state doesn’t require me to.) Excuses will not get you off the hook when you are a suspect in an identity theft case and when your journal doesn’t has a fake ID documents and no thumbprint (oh, but my state doesn’t require me to). Your state’s shoddy lack of requirements could cost you $20,000, but only if you choose not to keep proper records. Your state is not forbidding you from keeping good records. They just don’t require good records. It might be fun to just stamp things without keeping a record of what you did. But, the fun will go away when you are named in a law suit.

Legal costs might only be a few thousand, but could be as high as $20,000 in a worst case scenario.

Keeping a journal properly with:
1. One entry per person per document… i.e. if two signers each sign five documents that is ten journal entries.
2. Keep journal thumbprints as that is the only way the FBI can catch frauds if a fake ID is used (in many cases.)
3. Keeping additional notes about the signers might help in court such as mentioning tattoos, a nervous twitch, or anything else noteworthy.

Keeping good records is your responsibility as a good Notary whether required by law or not. Your refusal is pure obstinate and I won’t tolerate it for a minute. If you don’t understand good record keeping, the NNA teaches journal filling procedure quite well. So, consult them or risk possible legal consequences! Keeping your journal correctly doesn’t keep you out of court — it just normally shortens your time dealing with investigators and the court system to a few minutes instead of a few months. Take your pick!

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You might also like:

What’s your sign? Tricks to uncover fake identification.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19638

Notary Public 101 – Identification
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19507

Do you keep a journal to please your state, a judge, the FBI or 123notary?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19483

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November 13, 2017

Notary loses $4000 in legal fees because fraud adds name to Acknowledgment certificate.

When I was a Notary and was handed some other Notary’s work, I normally saw that the he/she/they and capacity(ies) that needed cross outs did not have cross outs. By omitting the cross outs you cannot know if the signer is a single man, woman, or multiple people. California no longer allows Notaries to verify capacity which leaves one less thing to cross out.

If you as a Notary omit to cross out the she/they on an Acknowledgment for a single man, someone could add another name to the certificate and get away with it undetected. Notaries can be extremely negligent and don’t get caught — usually. But, I catch them by the dozen every day and penalize them on my site. I throw hundreds of Notaries off my site for failing my over the phone Notary quizzes. And others stay on the site but I deduct points from their point algorithm results which makes it very hard for them to upgrade. You might not take doing your job correctly seriously, but I do.

And then the Notaries who take their job seriously, but have been doing it wrong for 20 years and think that their work is flawless. I will catch you. I will expose many things you are not doing or are doing incorrectly. Better that I catch you rather than ending up in court with legal fees for not filling out forms correctly. Being a Notary is not rocket science. There is no reason for such negligence!

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You might also like:

Penalties for Notary misdeeds and misconduct
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2067

13 ways to get sued as a Notary
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19614

10 risks to being a Mobile Notary Public
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19459

The FBI is at your door and names you as a suspect!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20013

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July 30, 2019

Legality without Integrity

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 2:26 am

Most of my readers are probably notaries, but not attorneys. We have been hammered many times to not practice law. Not so fast, there are many exceptions to that edict. Ken’s nuts, you think; give me a chance to change your mind. To me the illegal practice of law is directing a specific course of action for a specific person or situation. It does not prohibit sharing what is commonly available information. Sometimes, you should share your advanced knowledge.

Eschew doing that POA.

The caller wants me at a hospital to do a POA. I cover the requirements that you already well know. The legality is there. But how about the Integrity? I ask how is the POA to be used? It is to access a bank account and to transfer funds from a brokerage account. So, I ask the caller where they obtained the POA forms, from LegalCrawl on line is the answer. Well, I know that most banks and other financial institutions require their own Power of Attorney form and will accept no other. It would be a fee in my pocket to proceed, but integrity requires explaining that they will need to find specifically which institutions they will go to, and to get their POA forms first. That’s not playing lawyer, that is sharing notary knowledge about how financial institutions work. Don’t print borrower copy, we will send the borrower a copy.

We are not required to read all the forms the borrower will sign. However I know that many forms contain the statement that the borrower received a copy of that document. Worse yet, in some of the requests the borrower would receive their right to cancel way after the passing of the rescission date. I would be following instructions to the letter by not giving a borrower copy. This often happens with buyout of pension and similar situations. Clearly the high ground is to always provide a full copy to the affiant. Sometimes a subset – the borrower copy – is provided that you are told will save you paper! Integrity requires a full set of all papers processed. When you are told it would soon be illegal don’t proceed.

Another POA situation. They were unable to get the Will signed due to witness unavailability. They mention that fact and want POAs to access the very soon to be deceased person’s assets to pay for a decent funeral. Whoa. A POA has no validity when the Principal is dead. They stress that the Principal will be dying tonight, but can sign the Power of Attorney. Thus, the POA would be valid only for a few hours at most. Telling them the POA limitation is what should be done. As they told me the POA would be used after the death of the Principal I decline to proceed. It’s all about sharing knowledge

Obtaining birth, death and marriage certs is time-consuming in New York. Long lines and multiple forms are involved. Sure I process them for a worthwhile fee. But, when the client has a lengthy time window – they are not in a hurry; I provide the cost effective option. An option that cuts me out of earning a fee. I tell them about vitalcheck.com – and that they can order via the internet – if they can wait a few weeks. Tell your clients what you know, get the integrity star next to your name in their file. You might lose the current job, but will be called for the next.

You might also like:

Parties involved in a Power of Attorney
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21439

Compilation of posts about lawsuits and legal risks
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20478

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December 3, 2018

Compilation of posts about lawsuits & legal risks

Here are some posts about Notaries getting in legal trouble.

Notary loses $4000 in legal fees because fraud adds name to Acknolwedgment
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19477

If you’re named as an identity theft conspirator, it could cost $20,000 in legal fees.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19481

13 ways to get sued as a Notary
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19614

10 risks to being a Mobile Notary Public
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19459

A Notary gets sued because of a scrambled ID
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19443

You could get sued if you don’t have a business license
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=7100

Help, I’m being sued and E&O won’t help!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3570

The FBI is at your door and names you as a suspect!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20013

Do you keep a journal to please your state, a judge, the FBI or 123notary?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19483

What’s your sign? Tricks to uncover fake identification.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19638

Who is the authority at a notary signing?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20175

Don’t have unprotected notarizations!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19467

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September 12, 2018

Redaction – the legal Eraser

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 11:39 am

Redaction – the legal Eraser

When something needs to be changed, typically the spelling of a name; there are many wrong ways. There is only one right way.

Wrong Redactions

If you wish to destroy, as in making it generally unacceptable for most filing and legal purposes, the surest way is to plaster on the White Out. Equally bad is to simply erase the error (not so easy with LaserJet printouts) but it still can be done with a white ink eraser. There is also the time honored method of obliteration via multiple cross outs. Neater, but equally inappropriate to simply overwrite one letter with a different one. The classic example is adding a second loop to the bottom of a capital P to make it a capital B. Less neat, but still wrong is to simply write a new letter on top of the old one. There are probably other wrong ways, I have not seen them all.

Proper Redactions

Simply draw a THIN line (a Pilot Precise V5 RT pen does this well) thru the middle of the WORD (not a single letter) or phrase that is in error. Thus, “Kenneth A Ebelstein” becomes “Kenneth A Ebelstein”. Note that the thin line allows the underlying text to remain fully readable. Few can draw a thin straight line, use a credit card as a line guide. Initials (more on whose are used later) go at either end of the strikethru line or in the margin at either side of the text. Lastly write the correct value “Edelstein” as nearby as possible. It WILL look bad, you will think a discreet “overwrite” looks better. Perhaps, but that overwrite is never acceptable.

The Two Parts of a Notarized Document

Documents to be Notarized consist of only two parts. There is the document itself, almost always first. The document is followed by the Notary section. One tiny exception is the possibility of the Venue (State of xxx, County of xxx) residing at the top of the document. Even though it is “first” the Venue is always considered as part of the Notary section.

Who makes Changes Where

This is simple. Only the notary can make changes to the Notary Section (including a top most Venue). Affiants make changes as needed outside of the Notary Section. I have been told to “correct the name spelling everywhere it appears” and refuse to do so. I do not make any writing of any type outside of “my” area. Nor, do I permit others to make changes in “my” area. Any change to the body of the document should be made by someone who will be signing THAT document, and by nobody else. Thus, you MUST teach them proper redaction procedures.

Who Initials in the Notary Section

I’m sure you guessed this one. ONLY the notary. Correcting a misspelled name in the Notary Section is NOT initialed by anyone else. I have had “low IQ” persons tell me that the named person should initial a name correction in the Notary Section; sometimes they want me to ALSO initial the fix, I do not allow anyone other than me to write anything, including initials in my area.

Who Initials in the Body of the document

ONLY persons whose signature appears at the end of the document, never the Notary. Take care to check who will be signing. Often one spouse is on some documents, but not all; and that is the one needing name correction. If they are NOT signing – even though their name is in the body of the document they do NOT initial the correction.

This can lead to strange looking corrections with a split signing. The prior affiants will not be initialing changes made during the “second session” – that’s one for the attorneys to argue.

Some Parting Thoughts

Get the initials right. When I change a Venue it’s KAE as my middle initial is on my stamp. The same applies to affiants. If the signature line of the document has Jr. Sr. III or similar, those attributes follow the regular initials EG: KAE Jr. or KAE II. As the name attributes are part of the legal name, they follow into the legal initials.

You might also like:

Are you practicing law by drawing a signature line?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21033

Notary, what would you do?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21037

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April 27, 2018

Miami Vice — a shipment of illegal notary seals

Filed under: Best Humorous Posts,Sit-Coms — admin @ 10:37 am

CHIEF: Sonny, you need to take care of this. There’s a shipment of illegal Notary seals coming in, but we have no intel on it. Can you handle it?

SONNY: I’m on it. But, I don’t have any reliable sources.

RICO: We’ll use any sources we can get. But, we do have something. Remember Nuggie?

SONNY: Oh God, him again? I’m on it.

(Rico and Sonny travel downtown)

RICO: Let’s get a Cuban cafe first and then find out guy.

SONNY: Deal. I just hope our Ferrari is safe. We’ll keep it in eye distance. Besides it has an alarm.

RICO: Dos cafes cubanos por favor. Y rapido tambien. (Two Cuban coffes, and make it fast!)

(gunshots ring out)

SONNY: Get down….. (pause) I think our plan has a hole in it. Make that a coffee cup with a hole in it. I’ll call it in. (ring ring) Hey, there were gun shots on Sunset BLVD. We have no idea what it was about, but the car sped off and they’re gone now.

GINA: Okay. You can finish your coffee now.

SONNY: How did you know we were having coffee?

GINA: Oh, just a hunch. Call it women’s intuition.

NUGGIE: Hey man, how are my boys doing. The Nug-man has arrived, and arrived in style. Check out my new shades. My new wife bought me these. Ha ha!!! Don’t keep me long because the Nuggie has to Boogie, you dig?

SONNY: We dig. Listen. Do you know anything about a shipment of illegal Notary seals coming into Miami harbor on a freighter in the next few days.

NUGGIE: That all depends on who and how much is asking.

SONNY: Rico, do you have a hundred?

RICO: Here’s two Ben Franklins. This one’s important.

NUGGIE: Oh, allright. Benjamin is doing the asking in repetition. All I know if that a guy named Sanchez is moving some heavy cargo from the Dominican Republic. Word on the street is that they have a seal forging plant over there and the action is hot and humid. You dig?

RICO: Do you know anything about where and when? Or a last name?

NUGGIE: He’s in his late 40’s, Cuban and had a mustache last time I checked. His organization prefers to use fishing boats, but they switch things up quite a bit to keep the authorities guessing.

RICO: Thanks Nuggie, you’ve been a huge help.

SONNY: (ring ring) Gina, do you have any intel on a guy named Sanchez who smuggles using fishing boats?

GINA: Last I heard, he was smuggling fishing boats. What a great cover.

SONNY: Very funny. Do you have anything?

GINA: We have a profile on the guy I think you are talking about. We have names, addresses, and rap sheets.

SONNY: Great, we’ll get the bug van and see if we can pick up some knowledge tapping some phones.

(3 hours later)

VAN GUY: We got the van set up. Sanchez’s crew are in the address we are in front of. They are talking about all types of things. But, they have only mentioned stampers once. I guess by that they mean Notary Seal.

SONNY: Anything about a time or place?

VAN GUY: Nothing yet.

(six hours later)

VAN GUY: (ring ring) We got a time. Noon tomorrow, there’s going to be a transfer from one fishing boat to several inflatable motor boats. Real little ones. They will be carrying the merchandise underwater in bags. If there is any trouble, the seals will sink to the bottom and there will be no evidence unless you have frog guys.

RICO: I know how to dive. I’ll handle this.

VAN GUY: They put a big rock in the bag, so we will have to bring a decompression suit just in case you dive too deep.

TRUDY: Don’t we need a Navy Seal for this, instead of a Notary Seal. It sounds too dangerous for Rico. And where will he hang his suit when he’s diving?

RICO: I’m not worried about that because my wet suit comes with a wet tie, and matching spear gun just in case I need it.

GINA: Hey Sonny, remember that shooting when you were having Cuban coffee? I just found out that was not just a random shooting. That was a competitor of the guy you are chasing named Rubio. They have their own channels for selling fake Notary seals, and are moving in on the supplier.

SONNY: Change of plans guys. We are going to set up a rendevous between Rubio and Sanchez. Either they kill each other, or we can arrest all of them all in one meet. Rico, you pretend to be one of Rubio’s guys and set up the meet. In the ocean. The dress code is wet suits.

RICO: I’m on it.

(nine hours later — at the meet in the ocean. Rubio’s guys try to hijack the merchandise. There is a shoot out. Half of Rubio’s guys are killed and retreat at high speed far away. Sanchez’s guys do not follow. After Rubio’s guys move out, Miami Vice moves in.)

RICO: Freeze, Miami Vice!

(Sanchez’s guys drop the Notary seals into the water. Rico jumps into the water with his spear gun)

VICTOR: Bubble bubble bubble

RICO: You don’t really bubble bubble mean that bubble?

(A secret deal was going on under water. There were five guys in wet suits with underwater guns. But, the Notary seals they were selling were underwater notary seals used by Jacque Cousteau.)

RICO: I’m going to need bubble up, I mean back bubble up. There are fbub-bub-bub-ive of them and only one of me.

SONNY: Damn it. I never thought of that. Ugh!!!!

RICO: But, I brought an underwater charge. I come prepared for this kind of thing mon.

(boom… meanwhile Sanchez’s guys bubble to the surface all disoriented after the underwater blast. Miami Vice has them at gun point. Sanchez puts a gun to his own head because he doesn’t want to go back to jail.

SONNY: Don’t do it. Just put the gun down.

SANCHEZ: I am never going back to jail again. I have had enough. (bang)

SONNY: No!!!!!!!!

After that, the seals were returned to the Florida Notary commission who did not want the seals because they said, “State of Florida, County of Underwater.”

(meanwhile back on Sonny’s boat)

RICO: That was quite a bust. I’ve never seen anything like it. Not in New York, not here. What’s up with your alligator, he is trying to eat his chain.

SONNY: I call it a classic case of “areptile disfunction.”

RICO: Ha ha ha ha ha. Good one.

.

You might also like:

A Notary travels from Florida to India.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19636

Psych Notary Episode. Did the body die of food poisoning or was he murdered?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19397

Notaries in cars getting coffee.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18945

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April 5, 2018

The name on the ID vs. the Acknowledgment, Document, and Signature

Filed under: Technical & Legal — admin @ 11:08 pm

As a Notary, you will be confronted by a myriad of inconsistencies. Names on identifications don’t always match names on documents. We have discussed this multiple times in our John Smith examples where the name on the ID is shorter than the name on the document which in my examples is normally John W. Smith. However, I want to introduce the complexities of name variations in an organized way.

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RULE #1: The name on the ID must prove the name on the Acknowledgment
The name on the ID is not always identical or “matching” the name on the document. I do not like the term “matching” because it has multiple connotations and therefor is not clear. The name on the identification must PROVE the name on the Acknowledgment as a minimum.

Example
The name on the ID says John Smith.
The typed name on the document says John William Smith
The signature on document says John William Charles Smith
The name on the Acknowledgment cannot say more than John Smith otherwise you are notarizing someone whose name you cannot prove.

Whether or not your state approves you notarizing a signature that is longer or not matching the name on the identification is between you and your state. But, according to sensible practices, the main thing is what name you are Acknowledging the person as, because that is your job as a Notary. As a Notary, you have to prove the identity of the signer and certify that information in the form of a Notary certificate. What goes on the certificate must be true under the penalty of perjury in California and must be true in other states otherwise it could be considered fraudulent. In this example, you can prove the signer is John Smith, he over signed the document which the Lenders don’t usually mind, and you notarized him once again as John Smith — nothing more, nothing less.
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RULE #2: The typed name on the document ideally exactly matches the signature, but, if the Lender says it’s okay, an over signed version of the same name would suffice.

i.e. If the typed name says John William Smith, then the signature could be John William Charles Smith.
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RULE #3: The name on the Acknowledgment can be an exact match of the signature if provable by ID, or a partial match of the signature that is proven by the identification.

i.e. If the signature says John William Charles Smith, you can notarize the signature as that name if it that name variation is entirely provable based on the ID, or you can notarize him as John Smith as the ID proves that name.
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RULE #4: The typed name on the document is supposed to match the name on Title.

The recording agency has a particular name on title, and loan documents are supposed to match the name on title. Sometimes people change their name on title using Grant Deeds and Quit Claim Deeds and which form you use to change a name on title depends on what state you live and your individual situation, and I am not trained in these matters, (sorry.)
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Rule #5: Just because you are obeying sensible practices and the law doesn’t mean the Lender won’t get mad and fire you.

The Lender wants the name notarized based on how the name reads on the documents as a general rule. Usually times you can get away with notarizing a shorter version of the name for legal reasons. If you have a situation where you have a choice between breaking the law and pleasing the Lender, choose obeying the law. If you have a choice between pleasing the Lender and taking liberties identifying someone which is a wishy-washy point in the legal code in many states (look up your state’s requirements for proving someone’s name — many states only say that you have to check their ID, but not see if the names exactly match) then you have a judgement call.

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Summary of rules using fortune cookie English

1. Name on ACKNOWLEDGMENT must be proven by name on IDENTIFICATION

2. Name on ACKNOWLEDGMENT must be part or whole of name on SIGNATURE

3. Name on SIGNATURE can match exactly or be a longer variation of TYPED NAME on document.

4. TYPED NAME on document should MATCH name on TITLE

5. LENDERS want name on the Acknowledgment to match TYPED NAME on document, but this is not always legally possible.

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You might also like:

The ID says John Smith
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19953

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

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

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October 29, 2016

How can I find a Vietnamese speaking Notary?

Where can I find a Vietnamese speaking Notary?
Aside from booking a flight to Saigon — there’s always 123notary.com! We have many Vietnamese speaking Notaries in California, Texas, Virginia, and many other states. Just do a Notary search by zip code.

How do I get a Vietnamese document notarized?
In California, the Notary is not required to be able to read the document so long as the signer is named in the document (for an Acknowledged signature.) However, in California, direct communication is required between signer and the Notary Public. However, in other states, the Notary might be required to understand the document. The actual notarization proceedings go on in written English. The Acknowledgment or Jurat wording must be in English and ideally using the official wording of the state where the notarization is taking place.

Oaths in Vietnamese?
You can give an Oath in whatever language you like including Vietnamese for Notarial purposes. You might need to administer an Oath as a separate Notary act, or accompanying a Jurat, Acknowledgment or for credible witnesses.

Notaries are not Attorneys
Notaries in the United States are not normally Attorneys unless officially designated. So, please direct all legal questions to a licensed Attorney and not to a non-Attorney Notary.

Immigration questions
If you have immigration questions, please do not burden the Notary Public with these as they are not likely to be authorized to help you with these matters. Please contact immigration or an authorized advisor for immigration questions.

Vietnamese Speaking Notaries are expensive
Many Notaries who speak Vietnamese charge up to double for loan signings. So, if you can function in English at all, you might save a lot of cash by hiring a good old fashioned American Notary! (I’m sure Trump would prefer that in any case.)

You might also like:

What is a Notary Public
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=6498

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

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April 26, 2016

The Signature Name Affidavit

The Signature/Name Affidavit
It is most likely that you are not processing this simple form properly. First, the good news; of all the forms in various loan packages this one is probably one of the most uniform. There really is little variation in how this form is structured. I will get to where most “go wrong”; but first a bit about the purpose and structure of the SNA.

The package comes from many sources. There are bank docs, title docs, escrow docs and perhaps some from other sources. It’s a virtual certainty that the borrower name will have some slight variation on documents. Of course the key name is the one on the ID and that is the name that you will notarize; we all know that. But, how about the name variations present in the package? This form is used to state, under oath, that the affiant is “also” known as. It’s a one way form. It can only be used to add variations to the notarized name as proven. It cannot be used to “prove”, for notarization purposes a name that does not match the ID presented.

The first entry is the legal name, which I define as what is on the ID. Thus, if the middle name is on that line it must be on the ID. If, for example the middle name is NOT on the ID, it should be redacted from the top line (proven name only) and that name “demoted” to an “also known as” line in the second area. Yes, the 3 part name is their legal name, BUT – as it was not proven to me I cannot notarize it. If the ID has only the middle initial, that is the “first line” entry. They can “acquire” the middle name in full as an “also known as” in a subsequent entry.

All subsequent entries (AKAs) should include variations, including but not limited to maiden names. The most common variations are the inclusion and omission of middle initials. One approach to completing the form is to keep it on the table while processing other documents. Add to the AKA section each name variation as noticed. Ask the borrower to print and sign the AKA in parallel to processing the bulk of the package. The printed name on the left will have the variation; usually the “matching” signature on the right will be the same for each entry.

The SNA can be used in court, along with a handwriting expert; to determine a signature is authentic on a document. As the signatures were witnessed by a notary, they can be accepted as valid when comparing to a different document. For this reason it’s a good practice to N/A any unused AKA lines; so subsequent names / signatures cannot be added; do you do that?

At the start of this entry I said you probably are not processing this properly, now to prove that statement. After the AKAs there is usually a statement “and that (usually filled in with the preprinted AKA(s)) are one and the same person”. However, you probably added one or more names to the AKA entries, and had the borrower sign on the right. What you might be overlooking is the need to ALSO put the added AKAs to the statement at the bottom! Take a look at an AKA form; there is a reason that they left plenty of room. That section is often overlooked!

It’s a signing, not a closing for most of us. We are there to collect signatures and initials. It’s rare for ALL the docs to have precisely the same name; rarer still for that name to be exactly what is on the presented ID. Proper completion of the SNA is mandatory, and avoiding a redraw will mark you as both a hero and a skilled professional. But don’t go overboard; adding your own SNA is probably not a good idea. If you need one and it was not supplied, call for “what to do”!

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You might also like:

Ken’s tips for the Closing Disclosure
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=17116

A comprehensive guide to Deeds
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16285

The Signature Affidavit – what it is and its purpose!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22541

What defines what a signature is?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22173

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

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January 20, 2015

The Signature Name Affidavit

The Signature Name Affidavit
An extension of the simple signature affidavit (this is my signature), is the signature / name / AKA affidavit. Here it becomes a little bit more complex for both the notary, and the affiant. Understanding what are probably the two most frequent uses for the form helps to jog my memory as to their importance, and how they should be processed.

Both the single name format and the multiple name formats generally use Jurat wording. As, when you think about it; an acknowledgement kinda violates the basic purpose. It would be useless. That routine notary statement “Subscribed and sworn (affirmed) before me…..” is the key. This document contains, under oath, a notary witnessed (after checking ID) signature sample. Experts can compare the “known to be authentic” sample against the signatures on the questionable documents. Both formats, if ever used, will probably see a courtroom. Always use your embosser on these.

The multiple name section has the affiant making an additional statement “I am also known as”. Generally this provides a means of processing slight variations in signatures. For example, they may miss a middle initial on one of their signatures. But only if it’s completed correctly. I am looking at a signature name affidavit that has first middle and last at the top. In the “also known” there is one entry preprinted, that one uses the first and last name. But, what if they sign first, init, last? That very likely situation is not covered by preprinting. However, there are a few blank lines for the astute notary to use. Printing (generally on the left), first, init, last; and having them sign on the right using those name components. Now if they sign first init last; on **ANY** document, that document (per their own sworn statement) has their legal signature. This catch might make the closing go smoothly. And, let us not forget; eliminate the need for a free correction trip!

Now for the hard part. The above paragraph was just a warm-up; prepare for some grief. There are AKA entries that raise the eyebrows of the affiant. Very few of them will object to adding or subtracting variations possible of the middle name; they will sign off on that. However, when there are one or more entries that are vastly different from the legal name there is a problem. The root of the problem will never become known to you. They want “confirmation” of the extreme variation to deal with a situation that might have started as a clerical error. This blog entry makes no attempt to deal with the issue of fraud issues related to AKA entries.

I have had affiants, often in their attorney’s office; hand add the term “have never been known as” to a line item, adding proper initialing. They then proceed to sign the rejected name. It’s their sworn statement, and their lawyer wisely wants their statement completely truthful. It is possible that the processor of the signature name affidavit just glances to see that “the boxes are full”. I don’t know the odds, but the few modified ones I notarized did not bounce back. How could they? The affiant modified the form to reflect the truth, sworn under oath.

You can’t suggest the “never been known”, unless you are an attorney. So, lacking a parachute; the affiant will sometimes refuse to sign. If possible call “upstream”, and let them work it out. When nobody was reachable, I accepted them signing only at the top. It’s a fine line between making something available to sign; and exerting influence to sway their sign, no sign decision.

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You might also like:

The Signature Name Affidavit (2016 version)
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16298

Ken’s tips for the Closing Disclosure
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=17116

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