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July 26, 2015

10 tight points on Loose certificates

I have not written about this topic for a long time because I take for granted that Notaries are experts on the topic. In real life, it is possible that many Notaries do not know how what to do with a loose certificate. So, here are the correct steps to take.

(1) Purchase Certificate Pads from the NNA
Why the NNA? In my experience, they are the best source of 1-stop shopping for Notary supplies. They have great journals and pads. You cannot attach a loose certificate if you don’t have one, so keep them in stock and guard them with your life. Your career as a Notary rests on having the correct forms. You need Acknowledgment Forms, Jurat forms, and perhaps Copy Certificate by Document Custodian forms. Make sure the wording is acceptable according to the current laws of your state!

(2) Keep the Pads in your Notary Bag
Having the right forms is no good if you don’t keep them with you. Clients don’t want to hear the old, “I left it at home” routine. It sounds like your dog ate it. We are not in junior high anymore! Keep your law primers, journal, pads, seal, and anything else you need on you at all times and remember to keep your journal and seal under lock and key when not in use!

(3) When to use Loose Acknowledgments
If you need to notarize a document and the document doesn’t have notorial wording, it is time to use a loose certificate! If a document has incorrect notary wording for your state, you need to consult your state laws to see if they will allow out of state wording. Most states will allow out of state wording providing that the wording isn’t substantially different. If the venue or the name of the signer(s) is wrong or has an extra signer, or leaves the name of a signer out — you might want to attach a loose form.

Also See: Do you Notarize loose certificates as a Notary?

(4) Fill Out the Form
Filling out forms is not rocket science, but more than 50% of notaries omit crossing out the he/she/they and the capacity(ies), etc. If Joe signed the document, then cross out the she/they unless you know more about Joe than we do. You might cross ou the (ies) too. Don’t forget to fill out the venue, stamp, and sign the form. If your state doesn’t require a stamp, consider moving to a better state!

(5) If the Glove Don’t Match, you Must Attach!
Certificate forms must be attached to corresponding documents by law in many states. This means by staple, otherwise it will most likely be detached which could lead to a lot of confusion and potentially to law suits. You should also indicate the document name, date and length on the certificate as well as any other pertinent and identifying information about the document just in case the certificate gets separated. Many Title companies detach certificates which is completely illegal, but they don’t care because they are above the law — or think they are — or never got caught — yet…

(6) NEVER Send a Loose Jurat in the Mail
You can go to jail and lose your commission if you send a loose certificate in the mail. Lenders often ask you to just send a loose “Jurat” in the mail if the one you sent is not acceptable for one reason or another. You can request that the original document is sent back to you. That way you can destroy the original Acknowledgment or Jurat and add another one and staple it to the document. If you send a loose one, it could be attached to a different document and used for fraud, and you might end up in court.

(7) Some People Create Their Own
Some notaries who are penny foolish create their own Acknowledgment pads. You could put company branding on it to gain attention for your company. Just make sure you don’t goof as this is a legal document.

(8) Thumbprints?
Most Notaries only put thumbprints in their journals if they thumbprint at all. But, the NNA’s certificates have, or used to have (I’ve been out of the loop for a while) room for thumbprints. It looks more official for really critical documents if you get that extra thumbprint. For documents going overseas, I recommend this as foreigners think you are the best Notary in town if you give thumbprints — and embossing looks really official too!

(9) Two Certificates?
Sometimes you might need to attach multiple certificates for a single document. This is fine. One for his, and one for hers. They might even be notarized at different times. The custodian or recipient of the document might or might not like that, but it is all perfectly legal! You might have a lot of staples if you attach them at different times, but that is how the Notary business works.

(10) Jurats with Oaths
Sometimes if you are administering an Oath on a short statement, you can write the statement right on the Jurat form. In this case, you don’t need to staple the form to a document as the form includes the contents of the document as well as the Notarization. Don’t forget to have them raise their right hands and swear under Oath!

You might also like:

2014 excerpts from great notes sections
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=13613

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

What goes where in your notes section?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1076

What is so critical about crossing out he/she/they?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22223

Can a notary sign on a different day?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22084

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December 23, 2014

Do you notarize loose certificates as a notary?

… Are we both on the same page here?

Staple it please…
I was reading a discussion on one of the notary forums. They were talking about whether or not you can notarize loose certificates as a notary. The answer is that a notary certificate needs to be either embedded in a document (meaning that the wording is typed in a document below the body of the document,) or attached to the document with a staple.

What is a certificate?
Just to clarify, a notary certificate is a piece of paper with notarial wording on it. It might be an Acknowledgment Certificate or a Jurat. There are other types too such as Copy Certification by Document Custodian in California and other particular states. These certificates are commonly referred to as Jurats, although they are technically not necessarily Jurats as most of them are Acknowledgments.

What can happen if you don’t?
A loose certificate can easily be attached to a different document by accident or on purpose. Imagine that you notarize a Power of Attorney for someone who had several powers of attorney notaries. The wrong certificate could be added to a different Power of Attorney. In a more serious case, they might be attached to a document signed by a completely different person. Such a mistake can be easily caught, but imagine the trouble that might ensue if nobody saw the mistake!

Additional notes & thumbprints are prudent
Just to be on the safe side, it is prudent to put additional information in the certificate such as how many pages the document has, the document name and document date (if any; and which might differ from the signature date,) the capacity of the signer (not allowed to be verified by the notary in particular states,) and more! Some certificate forms even allow a designated spot for a thumbprint which I always used for international documents just to keep people out of trouble — and the foreign government workers told my clients that they appreciated the extra effort!

“…. see attached”

Illegal requests
Many companies in the loan signing business will be in a hurry to get a new “Jurat” for a notarized document if the seal was smudgy, or if they needed to have a new version of the document drafted and signed. They will commonly ask you to mail it to them which is completely illegal. You will be pressured to do so or the loan might not fund. Don’t cave into the pressure. It is your job to uphold the law no matter what horrible consequences come to your clients. Ask for the original document back, and then staple the new certificate form to the document and send it back after destroying the original certificate form. There is nothing illegal about doing a second certificate for a legitimately notarized document providing that the initial one isn’t left hanging around! Additionally, you might inform these Title company workers that their request was illegal and if they make any other illegal requests, you will report them to their state’s secretary of state! Maybe better wait until the second offense so you don’t lose the client. But, if you tolerate illegal requests, you will be encouraging the perpetrators to do it to other unsuspecting notaries who might cave in and get themselves in hot water with the state! (gulp)

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You might also like:
10 tight points on loose certificates
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15449

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

Signing agent best practices: 63 points
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4315

Notary certificates, notary wording & notary verbiage
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1834

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April 23, 2012

Sending loose certificates is illegal

Sending loose certificates is illegal! 

People who work at Title companies are notorious for breaking the law in so many ways.  Here are some common types of fraud that happen at Title companies daily:
(1) Many will deliberately and shamelessly forge initials when the borrower forgets to initial.  I’m not sure how bad of a crime this is, but I recommend against any type of forgery — no matter what! 
(2) Most will unstaple documents that have been stapled which makes the completed certificate which is attached (a legal requirement), no longer attached (illegal) and hence a loose certificate (gulp). I have had multiple Title companies complain to me that they didn’t like the industrial staples I used since they were so hard to unstaple.  They don’t have a legal right to unstaple those notarized documents because the certificate must stay attached.  Part of the problem with unattaching certificates, is that they could get reattached to some OTHER document creating confusion, havoc, and hence having a document notarized without having it presented to a notary public and going through the procedure and journal entry.
(3) Many will ask a notary to send them a loose certificate if a document needs to be notarized again for some reason. Sometimes the seal was smudgy, or perhaps they needed to replace the document and get a new certificate for the new document with a new date.  If you are a “loose notary” who has a loose interpretation of notary law in your state, you might be breaking the law!
 
It all starts out with a pad of loose certificates!
You start out with our pad of loose acknowledgment certificates and jurat certificates.  Any serious notary will have this type of pad on hand as if their life depends on it.  Sure, the certificates are loose now, but that is okay, since they haven’t been filled out or stamped yet!  When you notarize a signature(s) on a document(s), you have the signer(s) signer the instrument, and then you have them sign your official journal of notarial acts.  Then, you fill out the certificate wording embedded in the document, or if that boiler plate wording isn’t there, you can add a certificate form which has the identical, or hopefully very similar boiler plate wording.  You fill out the form, cross you s’s, and dot your t’s, etc.  The minute you sign the certificate, and affix your official notary seal, then you may NOT let that certificate out of your site until it is ATTACHED to the corresponding document. It is illegal to unattach a certificate from a document, and very unkosher to unattach the staple for a notarized multipage document. What are your intentions?  Are you going to swap pages after the fact?  I can smell fraud a mile away!
 
What should you the notary do when asked to send a loose certificate?
It’s easy.  Someone at a Title company says they need a new Jurat certificate for the Affidavit of Domicile you notarized for them a week ago otherwise their loan won’t go through (pressure technique).  They want you to mail the loose certificate to them!  Tell them:
 
“No problem, just send me the document and the original certificate — I’ll shred the old certificate and add a new one… You can not have two certificates for the same document. The signer already signed the journal for this particular transaction and doesn’t need to sign it again for a certificate which is to be dated the same date they signed the journal.”
 
And they will say:

“Oh, come on, why does this have to be so difficult. That takes extra time and money.  Why can’t you just (break the law) and send us what we want (and risk your commission and risk being sent to jail or being fined perhaps more than $1000) for our convenience?”
 
And then you should say:

“If you need notaries to routinely break the law for your pleasure, you should ask your notaries some pre-screening questions.  Ask them if they are willing to break the law on a whim (your whim) and risk their commission and perhaps some jail time for your convenience. Ask them if they mind risking going to jail to save you from having to wait an additional 24 hours for a loose certificate… if they say ‘sure’, then they are the notary for you!”
 
My concluding advice
Don’t break the law for these rascals. They are not worth it.  You probably won’t get in trouble, but as a notary public, your position in society is to preserve integrity, and to safeguard transactions by making sure that the signer really signed the corresponding document in question.  If certificates get switched on documents due to fraud, or because you didn’t identify the document carefully enough on the certificate, then you are a liability to society and shouldn’t be a notary public. 
 
As a notary, you should be very sensitive to the fact that if you are notarizing multiple documents for a particular signer, those documents could get mixed up, and the signer could pull a fast one and reattach notary certificates from a document you really did notarize, to another similarly named document that you did not notarize. 
 
Multi-page documents can be taken apart and pages switched.  Title companies ROUTINELY take apart documents as a matter of standard procedure, and if you don’t emboss every page of everything you notarize, it would be easy for someone to replace page 5 with another similar looking page 5.  Assume that people are dishonest and shady, so that you can protect the virtue and integrity of your work. Document everything to a tee, and don’t give in to pressure to do illegal notary acts even if it means losing a client. You don’t want that client anyway in the long run — trust me!

You might also like:

10 tight points on loose certificates
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15449

Signing agent best practices
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4315

Notary Certificates, Notary Wording & Notary Verbiage
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1834

Make your own certificate forms
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1759

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September 9, 2018

Index of posts about Notary Certificates

Here is a quick index of our posts about notary certificates. I hope it is useful. They are in order of how useful the posts are rather than chronological order.

Notary Public 101 — certificates
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19502

10 tight points on loose certificates
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15449

Do you notarize loose certificates as a Notary?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=10372

What is a venue in a Notary certificate?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8454

What forms should a Notary keep in his/her bag?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20011

Optional information in acknowledgment certificates
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4407

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

Notary Certificate Wording section by section
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18915

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

Notary Certificates, Wording & Notary Verbiage
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1834

Make your own Notary certificate forms.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1759

Notary Acknowledgment Wording
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18858

Can you send a loose acknowledgment, you should hear the answers
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16168

Marcy Attaches a certificate (educational comedy)
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14447

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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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October 17, 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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March 16, 2016

Can you send a loose acknowledgment? You should hear the answers

I asked a Notary the following questions.

Can you send a loose Acknowledgement if the Grant Deed you already Notarized and send it had a smudgy seal?

The Notary said, that yes you could. You just attach it to the Grant Deed.
I replied back that if you attach the certificate to the Grant Deed, that it would no longer be loose. It is kind of like asking if a virgin can be sent in the mail and you say — yes, she just has relations with Tim and then you can send her. If the virgin had relations with Tim she would no longer be a virgin just like the Acknowledgment Certificate on the Grant Deed would no longer be loose if it were attached to the Grant Deed. On a brighter note, if Tim were the only lady that the “virgin” had relations with, at least she would not be considered to be “loose” like the acknowledgment whose final words were, “Baby, I’ll attach myself to any document… anywhere… any time…”

Legal or not?
Many Notaries feel that it is fine to send a loose Acknowledgment in the mail. This is actually not legal in most states. Acknowledgments should be attached by a stable to the document they are associated with. If the stamp was smudgy on the initial acknowledgment, some states might allow you to destroy the original acknowledgment and add another non-smudgy one in its place. But, no state will allow there to be two acknowledgments for one Notarization floating around. That is just plain crazy.

California?
California wants Notaries to completely re-do smudgy signings. You would have to go back and visit the signer all over again, get a new signed journal entry, and do the Notarization as if you were doing it for the first time if God forbid — there was a smudge.

Summary
The way to handle Acknowledgments with smudges varies from place to place. But, you need to know what the law says so you don’t do something stupid. Most Notaries that I talked to do not have a thorough understanding of the law about this topic.

You might also like:

10 tight points on loose certificates
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15449

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

Notary Certificates, Notary Wording & Notary Verbiage
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1834

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April 5, 2015

Point (15) Technical Points; Marcy Attaches a Certificate

Filed under: (2) Technical and Legal — Tags: — admin @ 10:57 am

By now, Marcy had decided to really study her text book well. In this last signing, she narrowly avoided two disasters.

MARCY: Hi, I’m Marcy and I’ll be your signing agent this evening.

RUTH: Thanks for coming Marcy. I’m all ready.

MARCY: The Lender asked me to make sure we include a cashier’s check for $2500 in the package. Do you have the check?

RUTH: Oh, he didn’t remind me. But, I have it somewhere.

MARCY: Let’s take care of the check first, otherwise we’ll forget all about it and you’ll lose your lock.

RUTH: That bad?

MARCY: It’s happened before. I read about it in my course and I’m not making any careless mistakes.

RUTH: Here it is.

MARCY: Okay, the course says to staple it to an eight and a half by eleven paper and put it on the top of the stack of documents in the FedEx so the first person to open the package will immediately see it and hand it over to the correct person… Done! I’m putting it in the package, but at a 90 degree angle so I’ll see it. That way I won’t forget to make sure it’s first in line after we add all of the other documents we’re signing tonight.

RUTH: Boy, aren’t you careful?

MARCY: Well, you’d understand if you knew how many mistakes notaries often make in this industry.

(10 minutes later)

RUTH: Okay, I’ve initialed all of the pages of this Deed of Trust. Now, you need to notarize it, right?

MARCY: Correct… (stamps the document) Oooh! That came out smudgy. I better do it again.

RUTH: It looks fine. I wouldn’t worry about it.

MARCY: The Deed of Trust is a recorded document, and that means that it goes to the county clerk’s office. Some of the clerks are picky, and they have the right to reject a smudgy seal which might cause the loan to not go through on time. So, I need to attach a loose certificate and make sure my stamp comes out clearly… Perfect.

RUTH: You certainly dot your i’s and cross your t’s!

MARCY: If I didn’t, you would lose your loan.

(a day later)

LENDER: Marcy, I noticed you crossed out your Notary seal on the Deed of Trust. Why did you do that? That looks very sloppy.

MARCY: Quite to the contrary, the seal was smudged, and the county recorder would be unlikely to record such a document which is why I attached a lose certificate.

LENDER: But, did you have to staple it on? It is very difficult to disconnect — and messy.

MARCY: Legally I am required to attach the certificate. Completing loose certificates that are stamped is illegal because they can easily be used for fraud by being attached to a different document; So by un-stapling my work, you are leaving yourself open to looking very questionable.

LENDER: But, we always do that.

MARCY: Well, you are at liberty to do what you like, but I am not at liberty to break my state Notary laws! If the Lender had the certificate wording on a separate piece of paper without a page number, it would be removable so that nobody would have to see the cross out should there be an error, and once in a while there are stamping errors. Notary seals are not always clear the first time.

LENDER: Isn’t there a better way to do this?

MARCY: If you want your loan to go through, and for it to go through legally, then no — there is no other way to do this.

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Point (15) A handful of technical points
These technical points fall into the category of signing agent knowledge and are generally above and beyond purely Notary knowledge. Being an expert at these points will make you a much more impressive signer.

Checks in Packages
If you are sending a cashier’s check in a package, please note that these get lost much more frequently than you might think and the borrower’s loan will be delayed if this happens. These checks are for high dollar values, so make sure they don’t get lost between all of the many hands that will touch this loan package.

Staple the check to a 8.5 x 11 piece of paper, and put this paper at the front of the loan package so that whomever opens it (generally a secretary) will see it immediately and notify the person in charge of the loan. If you put the check in the middle of the documents, the check will not get seen right away, and there could be a delay. If you don’t staple the check, it will likely get lost in the shuffle.

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County Recorder Rejections
If you make a mistake on a recorded document, the county recorder can reject the document which could slow down the loan processing time. The borrower might even lose their lock which would be very costly. Take extra care when notarizing recorded documents. Which documents are recorded?

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Dates
What is the difference between a Document Date, Signature Date, Transaction Date, Rescission Date and a Notarization Date?
The document date is a random arbitrarily picked date that is often subscribed in the document. It is often the same date the document is signed, or perhaps drafted. The signature date is the date a document is signed. Of course, if there is more than one signer, there would be more than one signature dates. A Notarization date is the date a document was notarized. Legally, a document can be Acknolwedged more than once though! A transaction date is the date that a document is signed. A Rescission date is the last day to rescind. There, you have five dates to remember!

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eDocuments, eSignings, and eNotarizations
eDocuments are documents sent by email to the Notary to be printed out. eSignings are signings done on a laptop with the borrower doing digital signatures on a signature pad — but, with hardcopy regular notarizations using a paper journal. eNotarization are Notarizations where the notarization uses a digital seal and digital journal.

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The Prepayment Penalty
The Prepayment Penalty could be mentioned in any of these four documents, or perhaps even more. The Truth in Lending says you will, won’t or may have a prepayment penalty. The HUD may reference the prepayment penalty as well. But, the two documents that offer the most thorough information on the prepayment penalty are The Note (which every loan has) and the Prepayment Rider which is only included in a handful of loans that have complicated prepenalty agreements.

Most Notaries we talk to do not know the best place to look for thorough information on the prepayment penalty. They usually want to source the TIL, but this is wrong. Try to be a little more familiar with these very basic loan concepts as your borrowers will be more impressed with you if you do.

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Recorded Documents
Here are various types of recorded documents sorted into categories.

Deeds: Deed of Trust, Riders to Deed, Quit Claim Deed, Grant Deed, Inter-spousal Grant Deed, Warrantee Deed

Title Docs: Subordination Agreement, Mortgage

Legal Docs: Affidavit of Trustee, Power of Attorney (sometimes recorded), some states record the Note although most don’t.

Lien Docs:Judgment Liens, Unsecured Tax Liens, Revenue & Recovery Liens

Other:Addendum, Condo Homeowners Approval, Tax Certificate, Affidavit of Continuous Marriage (state specific)

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Commonly Notarized Documents in Loan Packages
Most packages will have certain documents to be notarized such as a Deed of Trust or Mortgage in all loans. It is also common to notarize other documents such as a Signature Affidavit, Occupancy Affidavit, Correction Agreement Limited Power of Attorney, Subordination Agreements, Grant, Warranty or Quitclaim Deeds, certain Riders, Identity Affidavit, and more.

Spousal Signatures
If a spouse is not on the loan, the documents they sign might vary from state to state and lender to lender, but these documents are typical documents that they need to sign:.
(a) The Deed of Trust and accompanying Riders if any.
(b) Grant Deeds and/or Quit Claim Deeds if someone’s name is being removed from Title.
(c) The Right to Cancel if the spouse is residing in the property.

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Trusts
Notarizing Trusts is not brain surgery. However, when people sign with a capacity, it is common to sign their name, a comma, and then their capacity. Al Smith, as Attorney in Fact for Joe the Plumber. You are only notarizing Al Smith, but the additional information is sometimes helpful or critical. As a general rule, unless the document custodian wishes otherwise, You should have trustees sign as trustees: John Doe, as Trustee.

Then, there are Living Trusts which are instructions for what to do if a signer is incapacitated. These are usually long documents drafted by an Attorney that can be more than forty pages long in many cases. Living Trusts are quite different than regular Trust Documents and Wills.

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You might also like:

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

30 Point Course (16) Initialing
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14463

Don’t put the FedEx in the drop box if there is a check in the package
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2831

Spousal Signature Requirements
http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=244

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June 20, 2013

Optional info on Acknowledgment Certificate

So, you are a notary? But:

(1) Do you fill out your certificates thoroughly?

(2) Do you know what the optional or additional information section of the acknowledgment certificate is?

(3) Do you know what a certificate is?

(4) Do you know what the Acknowledgment wording is in your state?

(5) Do you cross out the his/her/their or (s) in capacity(s)?

Most notaries don’t do their cross outs which is illegal to skip. And the Secretary of State is too busy to catch up with all of the notaries in their respective state.

What is in the optional information section, and should it be optional?
(1) Number of pages in the document

(2) Document name

(3) Document date

(4) Capacity of signer

(5) Other signers who signed the document but, were not notarized on that notarization

(6) Right thumbprint of signer

Why is this important?
There are a lot of frauds out there. California law requires notaries to STAPLE (legally, the word used is attach) the notary certificate to the corresponding document. But, do you know how many people detach the staple? Title companies complained about my staples because they detached everything I stapled. They are inviting fraud if you ask me. It looks tampered with if they detach documents. Very sketchy. If I were the Secretary of State, I would investigate anyone who unstapled a notary document and might have them arrested for suspected fraud!

If a fraud wants to take an Acknowledgment OFF one document and attach it to another, it will be hard work if the optional information is all filled out. The number of pages would have to measure up. The document date would need to correspond. The Document name would have to be consistent as well. Most frauds would have not go that far, and might make a mistake matching all of the statistics since they were not trained well (probably). But, imagine if you submit an Acknowledgment certificate that has none of this information? You could conceivably reattach it to ANY document that the signer signed — an invitation for others to commit fraud.

Therefor, I believe that it should be required by law in all states to fill in the optional information section — hence renaming it the required additional information section. Be square and deter fraud today!

You might also like:

10 tight points on loose certificates
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15449

Acknowledgment FAQ
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21331

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

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November 26, 2011

Notary Certificates, Notary Wording & Notary Verbiage

Notary Certificates,  Notary Verbiage & Notary Wording

Notary terminology is sometimes confusing, so there are a few things to remember.  There are different types of common notarizations.  Acknowledgments and Jurats require certificate wording (notary wording), and Oaths and Affirmations could be purely verbal.  A Jurat requires that an Oath or Affirmation accompany the signing and certificate wording (notary wording, notary verbiage).  An Acknowledgment is purely paperwork in most cases, however, I have seen even an Acknowledged signature have an accompanying Oath.  80% of notarizations are Acknowledged signatures, while roughly 19% are Jurats, and the remaining 1% would be a mixture of other types of less common notary acts.
 
Acknowledged Signatures
The 2011 & 2012 notary certificate for an acknowledged signature includes a venue (documentation of county & state), the name of the notary, the name of the signer, the fact that the signer appeared before the notary and acknowledged signing a particular document.  The current notary verbiage on this form should include the date of the signing, and the signature and official seal of the notary as well.  The actual notary verbiage differs from state to state.  California notary verbiage is a bit different than Ohio notary verbiage.  Also, Ohio has different types of acknowledgments such as corporate acknowledgments and an attorney in fact acknowledgment.  You should ideally research your state’s notary verbiage to see what it is.  If you visit our find a notary page, there are links to states, and on the state pages, you can find a lot of information about acknowledgments and jurats in those states.  We have detailed information for Florida, Illinois, Michigan, California, Arizona, Ohio, and a few other states as well.
 
Jurat Signatures
The notary certificate for a jurat signature / oath has changed in many states. It is/was normal to have a venue, and then say, “Subscribed and sworn to before me (name of notary) by (name of signer) on (date).”  Then there would be a signature of the notary, and a place for the official notary seal.  Jurat verbiage also can differ from state to state so please look it up on google. 
 
Certificate forms.
Notary certificates can be notary wording / notary verbiage that is embedded on the last page of a document, or sometimes within a document if there are intermediary signatures.  If the notarial wording is NOT included, you must add a loose certificate and attach it to the document (by stapling). 
 
Filling out the forms.
Many notaries don’t understand how to fill out notary wording on certificate forms.  Let’s say a guy named Paul Solomon is the signer.  If the form says,
 
(note: this is not real Florida notary wording — I am making it up for educational purposes)
In real life, the Florida notary certificate is much simpler than this, but in other states there are cross outs that the notary needs to make. 
 
State of Florida
County of Brevard
On 8-11-2010 before me John Doe, notary public, the foregoing document was acknowledged before me by Paul Solomon, who acknowledges signing the document in his/her/their capacity(ies).
 
(notary seal)
 
In this example, it is the notary’s job to cross out the “her” and “their”, and the “ies” in capacities.  More than half of notarizations that I have seen were done by notaries who omitted to do the cross-outs.

You might also like:

Notary boiler plate wording
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2432

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

Notary Verbiage & Notary Wording
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18854

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