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September 6, 2018

UPL — Unauthorized Practice of Law in the Notary Profession

Unauthorized practice of law… what does this phrase really mean? The sad truth is that this concept is widely misunderstood, and differs from state to state. The definition of UPL (not UPS) is generally arbitrary and is often set by bar associations set on protecting the financial interests of their Attorneys who don’t want any unnecessary competition in the legal services field. So, one could say that Attorneys as a group are engaged in a form of corruption and using the law to enforce standards that serve no purpose other than to eliminate competition (sounds like the mafia). Instead of burying you in cement, a bar association can investigate a person suspected of UPL, and sue them or perhaps fine them for huge mounts of money leaving the Notary essentially financially broken.

Case Study
One of the Notaries listed on our site lost or almost lost (forgot the story as it was from a decade or more ago) $40,000 for doing a loan signing in a state where Notaries are not allowed to do such things.

Attorney States
In certain states that we refer to as Attorney States, only Attorneys are allowed to do loan signings. The premise is that by engaging in the facilitation of a loan signing, that you are making an unstated assertion that you have the same knowledge as a Mortgage Broker, Lender or Attorney and that you can explain the documents. This is simply not true. When a Notary goes to a loan signing, some Notaries do not explain any terms or documents while some do. In my opinion you should catch a Notary in the act explaining a legal term and then bust them. But, merely by facilitating the signing a loan in an Attorney state, a Notary can get busted.

States where Notaries are not supposed to facilitate the signing of loans include Georgia, South Carolina, Massachusetts and perhaps others. This information could be outdated and the interpretation of the rules is far beyond my capacity. However, many Notaries in all of these states advertise on 123notary claiming that they do signings. However, I have heard that they typically don’t do signings for properties that are in their state, but only for out of state properties. I have heard that this is still illegal, but I guess people are not getting caught. My word of advice is to consult an Attorney before doing something that could get you in trouble.

Notary unauthorized practice of law
As a general rule, drafting a legal document, giving legal advice, giving advice about a court case, giving advice about how to draft a legal document, or helping to interpret a legal document might be construed as unauthorized practice of law. However, I am not an Attorney and cannot say with any certainty or authority what constitutes UPL in any state. I am just relaying to you what I have read over the years. Additionally, explaining the terms of a loan or what certain mortgage terms mean might be considered UPL as well – once again, I am not sure, but you can ask an Attorney if you really want a definitive answer.

Choosing the Notary Act
As a Notary Public, it is the choice of the client or signer which type of Notary act they want. The Notary has the right to explain the various Notary acts to them and the rules that apply, but the Notary cannot choose for them. Under many circumstances there might only be one particular Notary act that the Notary would legally be able to perform. In such a case, the Notary should explain the circumstances, how to change the circumstances and ask if the signer wants to proceed as is.

It is common for Notaries while administering Jurats to automatically perform an Affirmation because they are afraid to offend people by administering an Oath. First of all the Notary is required to give the signer a choice as to which Notary act they want to have performed. Second, many people might be offended by Affirmations more than by Oaths. However, I can state with definitiveness that dogs prefer Affirmations.

Drawing in a Signature Line
It used to be common in loan signings for a document to have no signature line, yet have an instruction that it must be notarized. You cannot notarize a document without a signature, and how can you sign without a signature line? If the borrower draws in the line, that is their business, but if the Notary does it, are they practicing law?

Oregon Standards
I have heard that in Oregon, a Notary may not cross anything out on a Notary certificate, nor may they attach a new Notary certificate. But actions would be considered practicing law there as far a I know in my layperson capacity.

Summary
Unauthorized Practice of Law is a crime and is a very wishy-washy state-specific convoluted subject. Please ask an Attorney for a professional opinion on this subject if you are at all concerned.

.

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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

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

5 books every notary should own and read
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3668

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December 12, 2017

The Notary Profession is a Profession — act like it is!

Filed under: Marketing Articles,Popular on Twitter — Tags: — admin @ 3:52 am

Carmen and I are tired of Notaries treating the Notary profession as if it is a quick way to make some cash on the side — Make a few extra bucks — five bucks here, ten bucks there. This is a very bad way to look at the profession. First of all, there is liability in this profession. You can get sued even if you don’t do anything wrong. People are doing big deals that are being Notarized. If something goes wrong, they can sue you for a few thousand dollars. If the Lender did something fraudulent, you might get wrongfully sued too. If you put your package in a drop box that doesn’t get picked up and the borrower loses their lock — guess what could happen? You get the idea.

The root of the problem lies with the states who mostly have low requirements or no requirements for being a Notary. If you are 18 or over, not a felon and are breathing, you can be a Notary. Being a notary is a profession that safeguards the transactions of multi-million dollar estates. Any lack of integrity or caution on the part of the Notary can lead to disaster.

Imagine that you Notarize John Hancock only to find out he was a different John Hancock and siphoned a million dollars of equity from someone’s estate. You might end up in court as a witness, accomplice, or get sued for negligence. You have no idea what you are playing with in this profession. You have to be careful what you put your stamp on. You might step on a mine.

Many Notaries also think that because their state has minimal requirements, that it is not necessary to go above and beyond your state minimum Notarial behavior — this is wrong. If you don’t keep a journal, don’t use an embosser and don’t thumbprint, you can get in huge trouble.

Think of state requirements like you think of speed limits. If the law says you can go 100 on the highway as was the case in Montana in the past and perhaps present, that doesn’t mean you are safe doing so. There could be deadly accidents. Just because you slow down to 95, you think you are being prudent, but are you really? You are still going faster than is safe. You can blame the state, but you are responsible for your own behavior.

Most professions have licensing tests that you have to take every year or two. Some professions make you take a test of 200 questions to make sure you understand all of the regulations and standards in your industry. The Notary profession has NNA tests that are taken every year or two. California has an exam you take every four years. But, people complain when I want to ask a few questions. People try to convince me that they know it all and don’t need to be tested because of all of the years they have been in business. These are the same people who score 20% on my quizzes.

Once again, the Notary profession is a profession — treat it like one. You should be quizzed every year on all the sites you are on. Since the states do not test your competency, I am forced to. It is a huge waste of my time and really frustrating dealing with all these resistant and incompetent people who think they are so smart.

If you really are so smart, just answer the questions, get an A, and then get on with your day. It would take two minutes to test people if they just knew the answers. The problem is that they resist, and then have to think about everything I ask, and then want to argue, and I need to teach them things and a simple quiz can take fifteen minutes that should take two minutes if I were dealing with professionals. How upsetting and what a waste ot my time.

To be a professional you need to do more than study. You need to master the art of being a Notary. You need to know everything and skip the snow job of trying to convince others you know everything when you don’t. The con jobs are getting very old. I have heard it all too many times. I really don’t even want to list such people. 123notary is a directory for professionals, not posers. At least that is the word young people use these days. When I was growing up we didn’t use that king of language, we said fakers.

You might also like:

Would you accept a signing without a confirmation?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22588

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http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22287

I’m a high end notary in a low-ball world
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22263

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October 14, 2012

Did you know? Random interesting notary facts…

Filed under: (5) State specific — Tags: , , — admin @ 6:43 am

Did you know?
 
Did you know that Louisiana Notaries are required by law to carry Errors and Omissions insurance?
 
Virginia and Kentucky notaries can notarize outside of their state providing the documents are to be recorded in state.
 
Commissioners in West Virginia can notarize in or outside of the state for documents to be recorded in the state.
 
In Washington DC, you can become a government notary if you work for the federal government, no matter what state you live in. You could live in Alaska and be a DC Government Notary!
 
Notaries in North Carolina are not permitted to charge ANY travel fee.  Notaries in roughly eight other states have severe restrictions on travel fees that would make it impossible to legally make a living as a mobile notary!  See details in the forum if you look up the term “travel fee”.
 
Notaries in Maine, South Carolina and Florida can solemnize marriages? Did you know that?  I do!
 
North Dakota allows out of state notaries to apply for a notary commission in their state if they live in a county that borders on North Dakota!

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Interesting and uncommon notary acts

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

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June 30, 2012

Can a notary public act as a witness?

Filed under: Witnessing — Tags: , , , — admin @ 12:13 pm

Can a notary public act as a witness? 

We already have a very thorough blog entry entitled:
 
Can a notary be a witness?
 
That contains all pertinent details regarding notary witness requirements and procedures.  To sum it up, a notary can act as a witness in any state in their capacity as an individual.   However, in Delaware, and Washington State, and perhaps a few other states, a notary can do witnessing as an official notary act, and charge an official fee set by the state for their services.
 
Is it better to hire a notary to be a witness?
Since notaries work exclusively with signers, signatures, documents, foms, certificates, etc., many people feel that notaries are better equipt to handle the (not so vigorous) responsibilities associated with being a witness.  Additionally, notaries have been screened by their state and are more likely to be honest upstanding citizens — or at least that is what many of us like to think.  The reality is that some notaries have no idea what they are doing, while others are very particular about witnessing, and documenting information in conjunction with witnessing. 
 
Why would it matter who you picked as a witness?
If someone witnesses a document signing or a Will signing, it doesn’t matter much who they are provided they are at least 18 years of age.  On the other hand, if the witness ever needs to be contacted after the fact, it is good if the witness has lived in the same place for a long time so you know where to reach them.  If your witness works for the circus or lives in a caravan and moves around a lot, you might never see them again. Having a witness who is a notary might help if they provide some extra documentation for you. Additionally, a mobile notary supposedly knows how to show up at the appointed place at the appointed time and might be more reliable with logistics.

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Types of witnesses in the Notary profession
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=5664

Credible Witnesses from A to Z
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=452

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December 2, 2011

Contact information for state notary divisions 2011 & 2012

Contact information for state notary divisions.
 
We already have a page on 123notary.com with contact information for all notary divisions in all states plus Washington DC. However, we noticed that the information keeps changing, and it is hard to keep up with my webmasters to keep the changes up to date.  So, the beauty of blogging is that I can edit information when I want, or create a new list altogether!  So, here is my late 2011 list of notary divisions with current web addresses, etc.
 
Alabama Secretary of State
http://www.sos.state.al.us/adminservices/notarypublic.aspx
334-242-7200
State Capitol Building – Suite S-105
600 Dexter Avenue
Montgomery, AL 36103

Alaska Lieutenant Governor
http://ltgov.alaska.gov/treadwell/notaries.html
907-465-3509
There is no training or testing at this time – however a training course is recommended.
notary@alaska.gov
 
Arizona Department of State – Office of the Secretary of State
http://azsos.gov/business_Services/notary/
(602) 542-4285
Capitol Executive Tower, 7th Floor
1700 West Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ 85007-2888
 
Arkansas Secretary of State Notary Public Division
http://www.sos.arkansas.gov/BCS/Pages/notaryPublic.aspx
501-682-1010
State Capitol, RM 256
Little Rock, AR 72201

California Secretary of State Notary Division
http://www.sos.ca.gov/business/notary/
(916) 653-3595
1500 11th Street, 2nd Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814

Colorado Secretary of State
http://www.sos.state.co.us/
303-894-2200 & press 2
Colorado Department of State
1700 Broadway
Denver, CO 80290
 
Connecticut Secretary of the State
http://www.ct.gov/sots/cwp/view.asp?a=3184&q=392266
860-509-6003
860-509-6002
30 Trinity Street, Hartford, CT 06106

Delaware – State of Delaware Notary Public
http://notary.delaware.gov/
302-739-4111
notary@delaware.gov
 
District of Columbia: Office of the Secretary
Washington DC Office of Notary Commissions and Authentications
http://os.dc.gov/os/cwp/view,a,1207,q,522462,osNav,%7C31374%7C.asp
(202) 727-3117
441 4th Street, NW
Room 810S
Washington, DC 20001
 
Florida Department of State Division of Corporations Apostille Certification
http://notaries.dos.state.fl.us/
(850) 488-7146
P.O. Box 6800
Tallahassee, FL 32314-6800
 
Georgia Secretary of State Notary Public & Document Certification
http://www.sos.ga.gov/administration/notary.htm
(404) 327-6023
1875 Century Boulevard
Suite 100
Atlanta, Georgia 30345

Hawaii Department of the Attorney General: Notaries Public
http://hawaii.gov/ag/notary/
(808) 586-1218
425 Queen Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
Hours of Operation: 7:45am to 12:00pm Monday to Friday
 
Idaho Secretary of State: Notaries, Apostilles and Authentications
http://www.sos.idaho.gov/notary/npindex.htm
(208) 332-2810
dfarnsworth@sos.idaho.gov
Secretary of State
PO Box 83720
450 N 4th Street
Boise ID 83720-0080
 
Illinois Secretary of State Notary Division
http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/index/notary/home.html
1-800 252-8980
213 State Capitol
Springfield, IL 62756
 
Indiana Secretary of State Business Services Division: Notary
http://www.in.gov/sos/business/2378.htm
317-232-6581
302 W. Washington Street Room E018
Indianapolis, IN 46204
 
Iowa Secretary of State
http://www.sos.state.ia.us/notaries/index.html
515-281-8993
sos@sos.state.ia.us
1007 East Grand Avenue
Room 105, State Capitol
Des Moines, IA 50319

Kansas: State of Kansas Office of the Secretary of State
http://www.kssos.org/business/business_notary.html
(785) 296-4564
Kansas Secretary of State
Memorial Hall, 1st Floor
120 SW 10th Avenue
Topeka, KS 66612-1594

Kentucky Secretary of State Administrative Services: Overview of Notaries
http://www.sos.ky.gov/adminservices/notaries/
(502) 564-3490
Office of the Secretary of State
Notary Branch
PO Box 821
700 Capital Avenue, Suite 158
Frankfort, KY  40601
 
Louisiana Secretary of State: Louisiana Notary Division
http://www.sos.la.gov/tabid/70/Default.aspx
225.922.0507
8585 Archives Ave.
Baton Rouge, LA 70809

Maine Department of the Secretary of State Bureau of Corporations, Elections & Commissions
http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/notary/
207-624-7736
cec.notaries@maine.gov
Burton Cross Building
111 Sewall St., 4th Floor
 
Maryland Office of the Secretary of State: Maryland Notary Division
http://www.sos.state.md.us/Notary/Notary.aspx
410-974-5521
16 Francis Street,
Annapolis, MD 21401
 
Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth Public Records Division: Notary Public Information
http://www.sec.state.ma.us/pre/prenot/notidx.htm
617-725-4016
617-727-2832
pre@sec.state.ma.usSecretary of the Commonwealth
Public Records Division
McCormack Building, Room 1719
One Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108

Michigan Department of State: Notary & Document Certification
http://www.michigan.gov/sos/0,4670,7-127-15049-25634–,00.html
(888) 767-6424
Michigan Department of State,
Lansing, MI 48918
 
Minnesota Secretary of State Notary Division
http://www.sos.state.mn.us/
651-296-2803
60 Empire Drive, Suite 100
St Paul, MN  55103
 
Mississippi Secretary of State Business Services: Notary Public
http://www.sos.state.ms.us/busserv/notaries/NotaryFAQs.asp
Sorry, but there was no contact information on their site!
 
Missouri Secretary of State Business Services: Notary Public
http://www.sos.mo.gov/business/commissions/pubs/notary/
(573) 751-4936
600 West Main Street
Jefferson City, MO 65101
 
Montana Notary Division
http://sos.mt.gov/notary/Become_Notary.asp
(406) 444-5379
sosnotary@mt.gov
1236 6th Avenue
Helena, MT 59601

Nebraska Secretary of State Business Services: Notary Public
http://www.sos.ne.gov/business/notary/index.html
(402) 471-2558
State Capitol, Room 1301,
Lincoln, NE 68509

New Hampshire Secretary of State Notary Public Division
http://www.sos.nh.gov/notary.html
603-271-3242
State House Room 204, 
Concord, NH 03301
 
New Jersey Secretary of the Treasury: Notary Public
http://www.nj.gov/treasury/revenue/dcr/programs/notary.shtml
Division of Revenue, Notary Public Unit ,
PO Box 452,
Trenton, NJ 08646
 
New Mexico Secretary of State Notary Division
http://www.sos.state.nm.us/sos-notary.html
505)-827-3600
Secretary of State,
State Capitol North, Suite 300,
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501

New York Department of State
http://www.dos.state.ny.us/licensing/
(518) 474-4429
Department of State, Albany Location:
One Commerce Plaza, 99 Washington Ave
Albany, NY 12231-0001
 
North Carolina Notary Division
http://www.secretary.state.nc.us/notary/
919-807-2219
North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State
P.O. Box 29626
Raleigh, North Carolina 27626-0626

North Dakota Notary Division
http://www.nd.gov/sos/notaryserv/
701-328-2900
Secretary of State
State of North Dakota
600 E Boulevard Ave Dept 108, 1st Floor
Bismarck ND 58505-0500
 
Ohio Notary Division
http://www.sos.state.oh.us/SOS/recordsIndexes/Notary.aspx
614-644-4559
Ohio Secretary of State
180 E. Broad St., Suite 103
Columbus, OH 43215

Oklahoma Notary Division
https://www.sos.ok.gov/notary/default.aspx
405-521-2516
Notary Public services
Secretary of State
2300 N. Lincoln Blvd, Room 101
Oklahoma City, OK 73105-4897
 
Oregon Notary Division
http://www.filinginoregon.com/pages/notary/
503-986-2200
Public Service Building 255 Capitol Street NE Suite 151
Salem, Oregon 
Pennsylvania
http://www.dgs.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/notaries/12609
717-787-5280
Bureau of Commissions, Elections and Legislation
Division of Legislation and Notaries
210 North Office Building
Harrisburg, PA 17120

 
Rhode Island Notary Division
http://sos.ri.gov/business/notary/
401-222-3040
148 West River Street
Providence, RI 02904-2615
 
South Carolina Notary Division
http://www.scsos.com/notaries
1205 Pendleton Street Suite 525
Columbia, SC 29201
 
South Dakota Notary Division
http://apps.sd.gov/applications/ST12ODRS/aspx/frmNotaryViewList.aspx
605-773-3537
 
Tennessee Notary Division
http://www.tn.gov/sos/bus_svc/notary.htm
615-741-3699
Division of Business Services
312 Rosa L. Parks Avenue, Snodgrass Tower, 6th Floor
Nashville, TN 37243

Texas Notary Division
http://www.sos.state.tx.us/statdoc/edinfo.shtml
512-463-5705
Secretary of State, Notary Public Unit, P.O. Box 13375,
Austin, Texas 78711-3375
 
Utah Notary Division
http://notary.utah.gov/
801-538-1041
Utah State Capitol, Notary Office, Suite 220,
Salt Lake City, UT 84114
 
Vermont Notary Division
http://vermont-archives.org/notary/
802-828-3287
Secretary’s Office
128 State Street
Montpelier, VT  05633-1101

Virginia Notary Division
http://www.commonwealth.virginia.gov/Notary/notary.cfm?CFID=10410718&CFTOKEN=e9bab8f65217a483-C5004CEA-B189-F028-4D9FC1D229C03EBD
804-692-2536
Jennifer Crown, Notary Director
Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth
P.O. Box 1795
Richmond, Virginia 23218-1795

Washington State Notary Division
http://www.dol.wa.gov/business/notary/nrequirements.html
360-664-1550
405 Black Lake Blvd SW
Olympia, WA 98502

West Virginia Notary Division
http://www.sos.wv.gov/business-licensing/notaries/Pages/default.aspx
 
Wisconsin Notary Division
http://www.sos.state.wi.us/
608-266-8888, then press 3
The Office of the Secretary of State
P.O. Box 7848
Madison, WI 53707 – 7848

Wyoming Notary Division
http://soswy.state.wy.us/AdminServices/NotariesDuties.aspx
307-777-5335
State Capitol Building
200 West 24th Street
Cheyenne, WY 82002-0020

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January 23, 2011

Flashpoint — Notary job for a hostage with a multimillion dollar contract

Dave had a multimillion dollar contract for a very rare biotech machine that was one of a kind. He was to meet the buyer in a high rise downtown. But, Dave was taken hostage in the lobby 10 minutes before the signing. The subject (Tom) needed the machine to save his brother who was dying of a rare disease.

TOM: (Pointing gun) Drop the briefcase and come with me.

DAVE: I can’t, this is a very important contract.

TOM: I’m afraid you don’t have a choice.

SECURITY: Help, 911, there’s a man with a gun. Send a strategic response team immediately!

TOM: Drop your cell phone and slide it over to me. Now, Dave, I need that machine you’re selling for my sick brother. I have no choice. I have to do this. Let’s go upstairs to where the buyer is waiting.

.

You might also like:

The Opposite: How George Costanza changed his Notary career
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=17017

Shark Tank: 123notary wants to sell 10% of its shares
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16021

Compilation of Notary sit-com episodes
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15949

.

(The two of them go upstairs)

NOTARY: Hi, I’m the Notary, and by the way, did you find me on 123notary.com?

TOM: I wasn’t the one who made the call.

DAVE: Yes you were.

NOTARY: Oh great, can you write a review for me on my listing.

TOM: This is not the time to be talking about reviews (waving gun around.)

NOTARY: Oh, did you want me to notarize your gun?

TOM: NO. I want the biotech machine to save my dying brother.

(ring ring)

TOM: Don’t answer that. I’ll get this.

GREG: Hi, this is Sargeant Greg Parker from the strategic response unit. I understand you have a hostage up there.

TOM: Yes Greg, we do.

GREG: That was a smart thing to do, taking a hostage. That really changes the game.

TOM: What are you, a professional negotiator?

GREG: Yes Tom, that is what I am. I’m here to try to work out your situation. Would you mind telling me your name?

TOM: Um, I can’t. I didn’t want to do this. I just need the machine to save my dying brother. I’ve never done anything like this (waving gun) Stand back!

GREG: Is the machine in the building where you are?

TOM: They won’t tell me where it is. And even if I have it, I don’t know how it works.

GREG: Sounds like one of the guns our team uses that’s in storage. I don’t know where it is, or how it works. If I press the wrong button, only God knows what will happen.

TOM: What?

(crash — Jules rams the door and barges into the room)

JULES: Put your weapons down!!!!

ED: Put your weapons down…

JULES: There’s only one weapon, so let’s use the singular.

ED: Copy that!!! Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to put your gun down.

NOTARY: I have a seal, should I drop my seal? I think of it as kind of a weapon.

ED: Yes, put the seal on the table.

GREG: Do you have the solution?

ED: I have the solution, and Jules has eyes on the subject although he’s nothing much to look at.

JULES: Hey, I like him. It’s just that I’m (oops) not allowed to talk about them… Sam… since that’s a conflict of interest.

GREG: I’ll pretend that I didn’t hear that so I don’t get fired. Now, put down the weapon so that we can talk this over.

TOM: I need that machine.

GREG: That’s not going to happen. We can’t give you that machine. But, if you don’t put your gun down, we’ll have to use lethal force against you. Do you understand that? They your brother will die and so will you.

TOM: No, I won’t!!!

GREG: Okay…. Scorpio

(blast)

GREG: What was that?

ED: It seems to be a gas explosion in another part of the building.

TOM: Okay, I’ll put my gun down. I don’t want to die.

JULES: You came inches from it.

DAVE: You know what, I can let your brother use my machine. But, only under my supervision.

TOM: You will? Gee thanks!

ED: And you can see the whole thing from a monitor — in jail. Put your hands in the air. You have the right to remain silent.

NOTARY: I can give him an Oath of silence. That’s one of my duties as a Notary Public.

Ed: That won’t be necessary.

NOTARY: I also do weddings and bar-mitzvahs.

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February 16, 2024

Notary Security: Tackling Cybersecurity Risks

Filed under: General Articles — Tags: — Tom Wilkins @ 4:56 pm

In an era where digital transactions are becoming the norm, the importance of notary services remains undiminished. However, as notaries increasingly adopt digital platforms to offer their services, they also become vulnerable to cybersecurity risks. This vulnerability threatens the integrity of their practice and the trust of their clients—homeowners and business owners alike. Understanding these cybersecurity risks for notaries and adopting strategies to mitigate them is essential for safeguarding notarial practices and maintaining client trust.

The Digital Transition and Its Risks

The transition to digital notarization processes offers convenience and efficiency but also opens Pandora’s box of cybersecurity risks. These risks include phishing attacks, malware, data breaches, and identity theft. For notaries, the stakes are particularly high as they deal with sensitive personal and business information. A breach can lead to legal liabilities, financial loss, and damage to reputation.

Mitigating Cybersecurity Risks

  1. Regular Training and Awareness: One of the first steps in mitigating cybersecurity risks for notaries is ensuring that they and their staff are aware of the potential threats and how they manifest. Regular training sessions on recognizing phishing emails, secure password practices, and the importance of regularly updating software can go a long way in preventing cyber-attacks.
  2. Secure Digital Platforms: Notaries must ensure that the digital platforms they use for their services are secure and compliant with industry standards. This includes using encrypted communication channels, secure document storage solutions, and robust authentication methods to protect the identity and data of their clients.
  3. Data Protection Policies: Implementing strict data protection policies is crucial. This includes controlling access to sensitive information, regularly backing up data, and having a clear protocol for responding to data breaches. These policies protect against cyber threats and build client trust by demonstrating a commitment to data security.
  4. Cybersecurity Insurance: Given the potential financial impact of a cyber-attack, investing in cybersecurity insurance can provide an additional layer of protection for notaries. This insurance can cover the costs associated with data breaches, including legal fees, notification expenses, and regulatory fines.
  5. Client Education: Educating clients about the importance of cybersecurity and how they can protect their information is also an important strategy. This can include advising clients on secure document transmission methods and alerting them to the potential signs of cyber fraud.

The Importance of Cybersecurity in Maintaining Trust

For homeowners and business owners, the assurance that their sensitive information is protected is paramount. Notaries play a critical role in various transactions, and a breach in cybersecurity can significantly undermine client trust. By adopting comprehensive cybersecurity measures, notaries can protect themselves from the financial and legal repercussions of cyber-attacks and strengthen clients’ trust in their services.

Strengthening Notary Security

The digital age brings numerous advantages but also new vulnerabilities, particularly in the field of notarization. Understanding and tackling cybersecurity risks for notaries is not just about protecting data; it’s about safeguarding the foundation of trust upon which their practice is built. By implementing rigorous cybersecurity measures and staying informed about the latest threats, notaries can protect themselves, their clients, and the integrity of their services. As we continue to navigate these digital waters, remember that the security of your practice is paramount. And just as a note of practicality, akin to how often are Fedex drop boxes checked, your cybersecurity measures should be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure the highest level of protection.

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February 9, 2024

Notary Efficiency 101: Organizational Tips for Success

Filed under: General Articles — Tags: — Tom Wilkins @ 5:12 pm

In our modern world, efficiency is crucial, particularly for notaries who have an essential role in verifying documents for individuals and businesses. Having a tidy workspace can significantly improve your accuracy and productivity when dealing with legal documents, real estate transactions, or business contracts. In this article, we will discuss effective organization tips for notary to declutter your workspace and notarize with unparalleled efficiency.

Declutter Your Workspace

A cluttered workspace can lead to mistakes, lost documents, and unnecessary stress. Begin by minimizing physical clutter. Keep only the essentials on your desk: your notary seal, stamp, journal, and current documents. Utilize filing systems for completed and pending documents to avoid mix-ups and ensure easy access. Digital clutter can be just as problematic, so organize your digital files with clear naming conventions and back them up regularly to prevent data loss.

Streamline Your Processes

To achieve efficiency in notarization, it is essential to have streamlined processes. One of the key organization tips for a notary is to create a checklist for each type of notarization service you offer. This ensures that no step is overlooked and can speed up the process for you and your clients. In addition to this, it would be helpful to consider using scheduling software to manage appointments. This reduces the risk of double bookings and helps allocate your time effectively.

Invest in the Right Tools

The right tools can make a world of difference in your notary practice. A high-quality scanner and printer are indispensable for creating clear copies of documents. Digital tools like electronic notary platforms can also streamline the notarization process, allowing for remote notarizations, which can expand your client base. Furthermore, ensure your mobile devices are equipped with secure, encrypted apps for managing emails and documents on the go.

Stay Informed and Educated

Staying up-to-date with the latest notary laws and best practices is crucial for efficient service. Regularly attend workshops, webinars, and training sessions. This enhances your knowledge and ensures compliance with state laws and regulations. Moreover, joining notary associations can provide valuable resources and a network of peers for advice and support.

Prioritize Security

Security is of utmost importance in notary work. Use special software to keep digital files safe and lock paper documents in a secure cabinet. When sending papers, it’s crucial to ensure their safety. Many people inquire about the safety of FedEx drop boxes, and it’s always advisable to use trusted ways to send important documents. To get useful tips on sending documents safely, you can read about whether FedEx drop boxes are safe.

Communication is Key

Effective communication with your clients can greatly enhance your efficiency. Set clear expectations regarding the notarization process, required documents, and fees. This reduces confusion and last-minute scrambles. Furthermore, be responsive to calls and emails, as timely communication can prevent delays and foster trust with your clients.

Unlocking Notary Efficiency

Adopting these organization tips for notary practices can significantly declutter your workspace and streamline your notarization processes. From decluttering and investing in the right tools to prioritizing security and maintaining effective communication, each strategy is pivotal in enhancing your efficiency and reliability as a notary. Remember, an organized notary is a successful notary, ensuring smooth transactions for homeowners and business owners alike. Embrace these tips, and watch your notary practice thrive in productivity and professionalism.

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February 2, 2024

Common Notary Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Filed under: Notary Mistakes — Tags: — Tom Wilkins @ 12:00 am

In the realm of legal transactions, the role of a notary is paramount. Whether you’re a homeowner finalizing the purchase of your dream home or a business owner executing critical contracts, the presence of a notary ensures the legality and integrity of these important moments. However, notaries are human and, like anyone, can make mistakes. Recognizing and avoiding common notary mistakes is key to ensuring that your transactions proceed without a hitch. Let’s dive into some of these pitfalls and how to avoid them.

1. Failing to Identify Signatories Properly

One of the most critical roles of a notary is to verify the parties’ identity in a transaction. Common mistakes include not checking identification thoroughly or accepting expired IDs. To avoid this, always insist on current, government-issued identification with a photo, signature, and physical description.

2. Neglecting to Record Entries in the Notary Journal

A notary’s journal is an official record of notarial acts and protects the notary and the signatories. Skipping entries or not detailing the transaction accurately is a mistake that can lead to legal complications. Ensure every act is recorded promptly and in detail.

3. Improper Use of Notary Seals

The misuse or improper storage of notary seals can lead to unauthorized use and fraud. Notaries must secure their seals and only use them when performing an official act. Remember, your seal is your responsibility.

4. Overstepping Notarial Boundaries

Notaries are not legal advisors. Offering legal advice or explaining the contents of a document oversteps the boundaries of the notary’s role and can lead to legal repercussions. If asked for advice, the best practice is to direct the individual to seek legal counsel.

5. Incomplete or Incorrect Notarization

Missing information, such as the date, location of notarization, or signatory details, can invalidate a document. Likewise, using the wrong notarial certificate or wording can lead to a document being challenged. Always double-check your work for completeness and accuracy.

6. Not Understanding State-Specific Laws

Notary laws vary from state to state, and not being up-to-date with your state’s requirements can lead to mistakes. Continuous education and reference to state notary manuals are essential to stay compliant.

7. Ignoring the Signer’s Willingness and Awareness

A notary must ensure that signers are willing and aware of what they are signing, free from coercion or impairment. Ignoring signs of reluctance or confusion can question the validity of the notarization.

How to Avoid These Mistakes

Avoiding these common notary mistakes starts with education and diligence. Stay informed about your state’s notary laws, attend refresher courses, and always adhere to the best practices of your profession. Furthermore, utilize resources like the FedEx drop-off service for secure document handling, ensuring that your notarial acts are completed with legal integrity and efficiency.

Ensuring Legal Integrity in Every Transaction

Elevating your notarial expertise involves being vigilant about common notary mistakes and taking proactive steps to avoid them. By thoroughly verifying identities, meticulously maintaining your notary journal, correctly using your notary seal, staying within your legal boundaries, ensuring the completeness and accuracy of every notarization, understanding state-specific laws, and respecting the signer’s willingness and awareness, you safeguard the legal integrity of every transaction. Homeowners and business owners alike depend on this diligence for the seamless execution of their most critical documents. Remember, knowledge and attentiveness are your best tools for avoiding these pitfalls and upholding the trust placed in you as a notary.

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January 19, 2024

Boost Your Notary Business With Social Media

Filed under: (6) Marketing,Social Media — Tags: — Tom Wilkins @ 12:00 am

In the digital age, notaries play a pivotal role in the seamless execution of documents for both homeowners and business owners. As a notary, staying ahead in this competitive field requires expertise in your craft and a strong online presence. This is where an effective social media calendar for notaries becomes essential.

Understanding the Power of Social Media for Notaries

Social media has transformed how businesses, including notary services, connect with their audience. It offers a platform to showcase your services, engage with clients, and build a trustworthy brand. As a homeowner or business owner, understanding the importance of a notary’s online presence can help you choose a service that is responsive, reliable, and in tune with modern digital practices.

Essential Tips for Notaries to Enhance Online Presence

  1. Consistent Branding: Your social media profiles should reflect your professionalism. Use consistent branding across all platforms to create a memorable and trustworthy image.
  2. Engaging Content: Share content that resonates with your audience. This can include informative articles, updates on notary laws, and answers to common questions.
  3. Interactive Platforms: Utilize platforms like Instagram and Facebook to engage with your audience through Q&A sessions, live videos, and timely updates.
  4. Customer Testimonials: Showcase your reliability and quality of service through customer testimonials and reviews.
  5. Educational Posts: Educate your audience about the importance of notarization and how it protects them from fraud.

The Role of a Social Media Calendar

A social media calendar for notaries is a strategic tool to plan and organize your online content. It ensures a consistent and timely presence, which is essential for building trust and recognition in your field. By scheduling posts in advance, you can maintain a regular online presence without it overwhelming your daily workload. This calendar should include:

  1. Regular Updates: Plan your posts to be regular but not overwhelming. Two to three posts a week can keep your audience engaged without flooding their feeds.
  2. Diverse Content: Mix educational posts, industry news, personal anecdotes, and client testimonials to keep your content dynamic and interesting.
  3. Strategic Timing: Post when your audience is most active. For notaries, business hours or early evenings might be the best times.
  4. Engagement Slots: Reserve time for interacting with comments and messages to build a community around your brand.

Boosting Your Notary Business With Social Media

An effective social media strategy is crucial for notaries to stay relevant and accessible. For more detailed strategies, consider exploring these social media tips for notaries. This resource offers comprehensive insights into leveraging social media for your notary business.

Streamline Your Notary Business Today

A well-crafted social media calendar for notaries can significantly boost your online presence and, in turn, your business. It allows you to connect with your audience, showcase your expertise, and stay ahead in the competitive notary market. Remember, the key to success in the digital era lies in the quality of your services and how effectively you communicate them to your potential clients. With these strategies in place, you can elevate your notary business to new heights, ensuring you are the go-to professional for homeowners and business owners.

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