You searched for passport - Notary Blog - Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice - 123notary.com
123Notary

Notary Blog – Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice – 123notary.com Control Panel

October 26, 2013

How to Notarize a Copy of a Passport

Notarize a copy of a passport

There is always some confusion about the legality of copying and notarizing official documents. You cannot notarize a birth certificate, marriage or death certificate. There is no official certification procedure for getting a certified copy of a passport. California notaries can make a certified copy of a power of attorney, but that is the only type of document that you can get a certified copy of. So, what type of notary act can you do to notarize that copy of your passport?

There is a notary act called a copy certfication by document custodian. This is basically a Jurat with some unique wording. It makes the sign swear under oath to the accuracy and completeness of the copy. It is common for students to have copies of transcripts notarized using this procedure. I used the copy certification by document custodian form regularly when I was a notary since it was the only way to accommodate requests for copies.

Many notaries do not carry the form for the certification by document custodian Jurat procedure, so if you need this done, figure out ahead of time whether or not the Notary has the forms that are acceptable to whomever you are submitting your document to as they are the boss in a sense.

You might also like:

Notarize copies of passports (Forum)
http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=1904

Can a resident alien card be used for a notarization?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8282

A California Notary Acknowledgment goes to Taiwan
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=6981

Share
>

September 17, 2019

How a video game reminded me what a noble profession we have

Filed under: Other Guest Bloggers — admin @ 9:57 pm

So, you’re probably wondering why I’m even talking about a video game. After all, working as a notary is serious business and you wouldn’t be wrong in saying that it is a profession where errors are seriously frowned upon. Our experience in the profession varies, but the one thing that’s constant among all notaries is that there are professional standards that need to be met.

Some tasks are straightforward and simple, while others are more complex. Yet, no matter how simple the task may be, the smallest error can put others at risk. The game I’m referring to, called Papers, Please, offers is a similar — albeit virtual — experience.

First Off, What Exactly Is Papers, Please?

A recently released point and click game game, Papers, Please places the player in the shoes of a border inspector of a country called Arstotska. The player’s task is to screen each person who wants to enter the country and to try to adhere to standards set by the government. There are many other aspects of the game, but this is the aspect that I want to put a heavy emphasis on. In the game, making an error gets you a citation, and in the later stages an error means letting dangerous people through the border, which puts lives at risk. You essentially handle sensitive data, check it for accuracy and truthfulness, and decide whether you’d allow the person into the country or not.

It’s quite similar to how we check statements and decide if the facts hold up. In fact, most, if not all court proceedings rely heavily on notarized documents, especially during personal injury cases, according to the lawyers at tariolaw.com.

Why Should We Care About This Game?

Well, that’s where the error is. You assume that this is about the game. It’s not. What really struck me was how the tasks got more and more complicated as the game progressed. You have to assess various pieces of information and decide whether to stamp a traveller’s passport, allowing them access through the border.

This puts an air of risk in the game, even when all the player does is to look through papers and counter-check facts presented by a traveller. And the way that the travelers interact with the player in an attempt to appeal to the player’s kinder nature forces you to make hard decisions.

How Is It Related To The Profession?

It reminded me a lot of how we, as public notaries, are the front line of defense against any attempts to commit fraud. In the same way that the inspector in Papers, Please is the first line of defense against people who would do the country harm, we are the first line of defense against people who want to put falsehoods onto paper or when they try to twist the truth in their favor.

And it’s rather funny that I was unexpectedly reminded of this duty by a video game that I happened to stumble across whilst browsing my YouTube feed in my free time!

I mean, whether you’ve had 30 years of experience in the profession or you’re a rookie who’s learning the ropes, it can be draining to do the same thing over and over if you forget your purpose. I’ll say it again, ours is a profession that can’t have any mistakes, whether they’re big mistakes or common mistakes — we are all about accuracy and precision. And sometimes it can be quite draining, but always remember that the seal that we stamp has power and authority. People are depending on us to verify facts and to educate them on what they’re getting into by signing a document.

Share
>

March 6, 2019

How do you get something notarized if you don’t have ID?

Filed under: Technical & Legal — Tags: , , — admin @ 9:28 am

How to get something notarized if you don’t have ID?

Credible Witnesses
The answer is that it’s not so simple. Most states have rigid rules for who can be notarized and what type of identification is necessary. However, many states allow you to be notarized if two individuals called “credible witnesses” swear to your identity. They can generally be anyone who knows you. But, how can you know if you are in a state that allows credible witnesses? Ask a local notary and find out. The sad thing is that many of them do not know how to use credible witnesses to identify a signer. So, do your homework and find a Notary who is in the know, so to speak.

The Process of Obtaining an ID
In the long run all people should have an ID, and there is a typical way to get this. You need to get your birth certificate from the city you were born in — and hopefully you know where that is. From there, you can get a state ID card and then you can get a passport.

How it Used to Be
Many years ago, you could get a Jurat done (which is a notary act.) Jurats require a sworn Oath but did not used to require identification on the part of the signer. I believe that they do now in all states, but I could be wrong.

Typical ID’s that are acceptable for a notary would be:
State issued ID cards
Drivers licenses
Passports
Military ID cards
Green cards did not used to be acceptable in California but might be now and you can ask a local notary.
Credit cards with photos are NOT acceptable.
Social Security cards are also not acceptable.

As a general rule a government issued photo ID with a signature, serial number, physical description and expiration date would be acceptable.

.

You might also like:

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

Identification for Prison Notarizations
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22139

Expired Identification
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8294

Share
>

September 4, 2018

Find a Notary who can notarize an inmate at Men’s Central, Twin Towers, Century Regional. Pitches Detention Center

Do you need a Notary who can do prison notarizations? 123notary has many Notaries who offer mobile service to jails, prisons, correctional facilities, penitentiaries, and detention centers. Here are some issues involved:

1. Someone needs to meet the Notary at the jail. That person can be an Attorney, family member, friend, or paid assistant.

2. The inmate must have identification that is satisfactory to the state where the notarization takes place. It is ideal if the person meeting the Notary has a current ID for the inmate such as a valid and current driver license, ID card, passport, etc. However, if the inmate has a wristband or jail ID card that is acceptable to the state where the notarization is taking place.

3. A California Notary may accept an inmate identification card issues by the state Department of Correction and Rehabilitation.

4. Florida allows Notaries to accept inmate ID cards issued by the U.S. Department of Justice or Bureau of Federal Prisons.

5. Credible witnesses are allowed in most states. A credible witness is a person who can vouch for the identity of a signer who does not have ID. Typically the credible witness must swear under Oath as to the identity of the signer (exact procedure depends on state laws) and must be identified by the notary and sign the journal in the additional information section. Some states allow one credible witness who knows both the Notary and inmate while others allow two who both know the signer, but don’t necessarily know the Notary. Other states allow one or two, while some states do not allow identification via credible identifying witnesses.

6. In states that require a journal, you must find a way to get the journal to the other side of the glass. Normally a warden will be happy to assist you with this task, however wardens might keep you waiting for five or ten minutes in my experience.

7. Lock downs happen in jails. If a lock down happens, you might be asked to leave, or might be taken virtually hostage until the lock down is over.

8. The Notary must have full vision of the signer and the signer must appear before the Notary. It is okay if the signer is on the other side of a glass provided that direct communication is possible. In my opinion, the signers should be within about five feet of the Notary otherwise you cannot fulfill the “personal appearance” requirement of most Notary acts.

9. Power of Attorney documents are common documents to be notarize in a correctional facility. That document normally requires an Acknowledgment which is a common Notary act which just requires the signer to sign the document, and then sign a Notary journal (most states but not all states). The Notary would need to check whatever ID the inmate has available and enter that information into the journal.

10. You can find a Notary on 123notary.com to do your jail signing. It is best to bring cash, and pay the travel fee up front. Then pay waiting time and whatever fee there is per signature after the work is done. Each Notary has their own fee and method of collecting their fee. Paying in two stages makes it easier for the Notary as some people try to get out of paying the Notary at all if there is any type of problem getting the inmate to come to the visiting room or sign, or be identified.

You might also like:

See our Jail Notary string
http://blog.123notary.com/?tag=jail-notary

A guide to notarizing for prison inmates
https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2016/07/guide-notarizing-for-prison-inmates

Jail notarizations forum string
http://www.notaryrotary.com/archive/forum/2009/March/Jail_Notarizations.html

Jail signing information
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/notary-jail-signing-information-susana-landa

.

An inmate needs to be notarized
An inmate needs a notary
An inmate needs a notarized document
An inmate needs a notarized power of attorney
An incarcerated person needs to be notarized
An incarcerated person needs a notary
An incarcerated person needs a power of attorney notarized
Find a Notary who can notarize an inmate
Find a Notary who can travel to a jail.
Find a Notary who can notarize at a jail.
Find a Notary who can travel to a prison.
Find a Notary who can notarize at a prison.
Find a Notary who can notarize at a detention center.
Find a Notary who can travel to a detention center.
Find a Notary who can travel to a penitentiary
Find a Notary who can notarize at a penitentiary
Find a Notary who can travel to a correctional facility
Find a Notary who can notarize at a correctional facility

Find a Notary who can travel to a Los Angeles County prison facility
Find a Notary who can notarize at a Los Angeles County prison facility
Find a notary who can travel to Twin Towers Los Angeles
Find a Notary who can travel to Men’s Central Los Angeles
Find a Notary who can travel to Century Regional Los Angeles
Find a Notary who can travel to Pitches Detention Center, Valencia, CA
Find a Notary who can travel to North County Correctional Facility
Prison power of attorney notary
Prison power of attorney notarized
Detention center power of attorney notary
Detention center power of attorney notarized
Correctional Facility power of attorney notary
Correctional Facility power of attorney notarized
Penitentiary power of attorney notary
Penitentiary power of attorney notarized
Jail power of attorney notary
Jail power of attorney notarized
Jail Notary
Jail Notarization
Prison Notary
Prison Notarization
Detention Center Notary
Detention Center Notarization
Correctional Facility Notary
Correctional Facility Notarization
Penitentiary notary
Penitentiary notarization

How can I obtain a valid government issued ID from prison?
Is a state prison ID government issued?
Notary goes to prison
Can a notary go to jail?
Do jails provide a notary?
Can you go to jail for notarizing a family member in Florida?

Share
>

April 3, 2018

Using the correct Notarial Certificate for an Apostille:

Filed under: Other Guest Bloggers — Tags: , , — admin @ 10:17 am

At our office in Downtown Los Angeles — A1 Live Scan & Notary Services – we get to correctly renotarize many notarized documents that the SOS rejects doing an Apostille because the wrong notarial certificate was used by a Notary.

Let’s first start with what is an Apostille?
An Apostille authenticates the Notary Public as a valid and licensed Notary to a foreign government or agency. The foreign entity relies on the SOS to make sure that the document being sent to them was in fact notarized by a currently licensed notary in good standing.

Next the question is what type of Notarial Certificate do you attach to a document being taken to the SOS for an Apostille?

First and foremost, ask the singer and explain the differences between the 3 commonly used certificates – All Purpose Acknowledgment, Jurat and Copy Certification by Document Custodian.

If the signer is not sure, go over the preprinted language on the document with the signer if there is notarial wording. In most cases even if there is notarial wording, it would not comply with California Notary Laws. So then look at the existing language and if it has “affirmations”, “oaths” or “swearing as to the truth of the contents”, use a Jurat.

If the language does not have an Oath but merely says the person appeared in front of you and acknowledged signing the document, then use a California All-Purpose Acknowledgment.

The third type of Notarization for an Apostille is when a signer brings a document such as College transcripts, Degree Certificates, Passport copy, letters from third parties. These documents are already signed by the issuer and there is no notarial wording. In this case, you use a certificate called, “Copy Certification by Document Custodian” to notarize the document by the person who brings it to you even if it is not that person’s document. Hence the name “…by Document Custodian”.

Hope this clarifies the confusion surrounding certificates used for an Apostille.

You might also like:

Apostille – general information
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21419

Index of posts about Notary acts
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20280

Share
>

April 2, 2018

The ID Says John Smith

Filed under: Technical & Legal — Tags: — admin @ 10:56 am

Q. The name on the ID says John Smith, but the typed name in the document says John W Smith… Can you notarize the signature under these circumstances?

A. You can have him sign John Smith and notarize him as John Smith. The might not wash with the Lender but looks legal. Or, have him sign John W Smith, but put only John Smith in the Acknowledgment. That way you are ONLY certifying the name he proved to you was really his.

Other things you could do…
Ask for other ID. If they don’t have it, if your state allows credible witnesses, use them to identify the signer. You can always notarize the signer based on his name on the ID regardless of the typed name on the document. The Lender might not like that, but your main job is to please the law.

For the most part, signers will have identifications that are thorough enough to use for purposes of notarization. However, it is possible that an ID will have a name that is either shorter, or that doesn’t match the name on the document. Notaries scramble the requirements for positive identification. There is the “you can have more than but not less than” rule. More than what? Less than what? This is a bad rule to learn because it gets scrambled more than not. Here are some basic principles:

1. You can always over sign (Lender principle)
This is a Lender or Title requirement, not a law. The law does not say anything about over signing in anything I have ever read. If the document says John Smith and the signer signs John W Smith, that might be okay with the Lender, but it might not be acceptable to notarize. Your job as a Notary is NOT to please Lenders, but to notarize people who you have positively identified. If the ID says John Smith then you can notarize the signer as John Smith prudently, but nothing longer than that.

2. The name on the document must be provable based on government issued photo identification.
I will not go over the particulars of an acceptable ID, and some of the particulars are state specific. As a general rule, a state issued photo ID card, driver license, passport or military ID are fine for a Notary to accept. If the ID says John William Smith and the document says John Smith, then you are fine, but if the ID name is shorter then you cannot prudently use it to identify the signer. If the ID says John Smith, but the signature on the document says John W Smith, you cannot prudently notarize that name even if the Lender says it’s okay. The Lender is not your boss, the laws of your state’s state notary division are, so obey the right entity, and stay out of jail.

3. You cannot use an AKA statement
A Signature Affidavit with AKA statement is not an acceptable primary or secondary ID. As a Notary you cannot use it to identify a signer ever. It is for the lender only.

If I ask you if it is prudent to notarize a signature that says John W Smith when the ID says John Smith, if you make me repeat myself, scramble the scenario, or quote some dumb rule that doesn’t apply in this situation such as point one in this article, you will not only get the question wrong, but get marked up for having poor communication skills. This is a yes or no question, please answer it accordingly.

.

You might also like:

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

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

Share
>

January 16, 2018

Credible Witnesses, the ins and the outs.

Not all states allow credible witnesses, and some states like California have odd rules for credible witnesses. I also have opinions about credible witnesses as I used them frequently.

Some states that allow credible witnesses require only one witness. One that knows both the signer and the Notary.

Some states don’t allow credible witnesses at all.

While other states allow the use of two credible witnesses who both know the signer but do not know the Notary. Or one credible witness who knows both.

The problem is how credible witnesses are used. Credible witnesses are normally used when the Notary gets to a Notary appointment and the signer has no ID. Or sometimes the ID has the wrong name. Hurry, get a credible witness or the notarization is over! So, you grab a neighbor, or coworker who swears they know you well.

The problem is that knowing you as a neighbor is very different than knowing you well enough to have your middle name(s) memorized.

You could test a credible witness out and ask, “What is this man’s middle name?” If they don’t know it, I would not think of them as a credible or reliable source of information. The law might allow you to use them but does it really make sense. They are just going along with whatever middle name the signer claims to be.

Or, you could use your judgement while picking credible witnesses. Personally, I feel that a family member or spouse is a quality choice for a credible witness as family members will know the other family members middle names. But, my friends who I’ve known for 30 years I do not know their middle names — sorry to say.

Additionally, in California, the credible witness has to swear that the signer cannot easily obtain an identification acceptable to the state of California such as a driver license, passport, etc. So, if the signer has an ID, but the names do not match, it would be bending the law to use a credible witness in that situation. If you don’t believe me, read page 12 of the 2017 California Notary Handbook.

All in all, I would say that using credible witnesses as a way to get out of a bind is something that should only be done if the credible witness really knows the person intimately and knows their middle names intimately off the top of their head. Otherwise you are just finding loopholes. And God forbid if you don’t take journal thumbprints you are asking for a court case and an FBI investigation! Be cautious as a Notary. It is easy to get in trouble and big trouble!

.

You might also like:

Credible witnesses – the process explained
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16695

Where do credible witnesses sign the notary journal book?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2508

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

Share
>

October 13, 2017

Notary Public 101 — Identification

Return to table of contents for Notary Public 101.

.

IDENTIFICATION

As a Notary Public, the most important thing you do is to identify a signer. Different states have different rules for what identification document you can use and how someone is to be identified. If a Notary fails to do a good job identifying a signer, that Notary can quickly end up in court as a witness or defendant. In my opinion if you don’t do a good job identifying signers, you might as well not be a Notary Public.

Identification Documents & Characteristics
Commonly accepted ID’s include passports, driver’s licenses, state issued ID cards, military ID’s. Green cards (permanent resident cards) are not necessarily allowed, so look that one up in your handbook. As a rule, an acceptable ID must be:

Current — (there are exceptions in California, Tennessee and perhaps other states that allow the ID to be issued within five years even if it is expired.)

Government Issued — Some Notaries think that a signature affidavit or gas bill is a good secondary form of ID, but those are not government issued and you don’t know what the source of the information for the names on them are.

Photo ID — An acceptable ID should have a photo. I do not think that many states allow social security cards as secondary identifications. However, you can look that up in your handbook.

Physical Description — the ID would say your height, eye color, etc.

Serial Number — the ID should have a number such as A58362D.

Expiration Date — the ID should have an expiration date somewhere. Normally there is an issue date as well somewhere.

Signature — the signature on the ID is important because you will need to compare that to the one in your journal and on the document made by the same person.

.

THE NAME ON THE ID

Different states have different rules for what the name on the ID should say relative to the name on the document. Some states do not require the names to match. Others require that the Notary be reasonably sure that the person in the ID and the person on the document are the same person. Reasonably sure is a wishy-washy term. You can never be 100% sure it is the same person because ID’s can be falsified and there could be multiple people with the same name as well as multiple people who look similar to each other. Identifying humans is easier than identifying squirrels, but there can still be confusion. The name on the document’s signature must be provable to the name on the ID, otherwise it would be questionable and risky to notarize that signature.

.

PROCEDURE

When you do a Notary act, you ask for the signer’s identification. You record that information in your journal and you keep a journal whether your state requires it or not as that is your only evidence in court. You compare the name on the ID to the name on the document. If the name on the document is not provable based on the ID then you are advised to decline the notarization, especially if it is for a Deed. Here is a summary of the ID and acknowledgment notarization process.

(1) Ask for ID.
(2) Record ID information in journal
(3) Have signer(s) sign your journal and the document(s)
(4) Compare the name in the document to the name on the ID. Make sure the name on the document is provable based on the ID.
(5) Make sure the signature in the journal, document and ID all match.
(6) Fill out the certificate, sign and seal.

Examples of provability in ID
ID says John Smith — document says John W Smith…. name is NOT provable.
ID says John W Smith — document says John W Smith… name is provable
ID says John William Smith — document says John W Smith… name is provable based on the ID.

.

FAKE ID

Keep an eye out for fake ID’s. There are guide books that can yelp you identify a false identification. If there is peeling lamination or the signature is above the lamination then it is fake. You can ask the signer what his sign is or what his birthday or height is. If he does not know his sign or birthday based on the ID, then his ID is fake. If he does know his sign that is great, but does not prove the ID is real.

.

THUMBPRINTS

If you value your life, ask for journal thumbprints. They can keep you out of court. People might complain about being asked to be thumbprinted as it can seem like an invasion of privacy and a hassle — but a thumbprint is the only way an investigative agency can have a paper trail leading to an arrest of an identity thief. Thumbprints are the only unique form of identification a Notary can use at this point in time. No two thumbprints are alike, and they cannot be forged at a Notary appointment unless they wear a latex thumbprint on their thumb which would be easily detectable.

.

You might also like:
Is it legal to photo copy a military ID?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22120

Share
>

October 11, 2017

Notary Public 101 — Basic Notary Acts

Return to table of contents for Notary Public 101.

BASIC NOTARY ACTS

Each state has a different list of official Notary acts. Some state handbooks don’t make it clear if certain actions are considered “official” notary acts or not. However, all states or the vast majority have Acknowledgments, Jurats, Oaths, and Affirmations. Many also have Protests and Proofs of Execution, while only a few have Witnessing, Attesting, immigration form filling, and depositions as acts. There are a few more acts I will not mention as they are obscure and very state specific. Let’s focus on the main acts that we will hold you responsible for knowing.

.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

When I studied to be a Notary, my teacher said you Acknowledge a signature, Execute a Jurat and Administer an Oath. This is not true. The Notary is not the one who acknowledges a signature. The SIGNER acknowledges the signature and then the Notary CERTIFIES that the signer acknowledged the signature by virtue of filling out the Acknowledgment Certificate. Here are some basics on Acknowledgments.

1. The signer acknowledges having signed the document.

2. The signer must physically personally appear before the Notary for such an act.

3. The signer does NOT have to sign before the Notary according to most if not all states such as AK, IA, SC, SD, VT, and WV. Lenders might require the borrower to sign in the presence of the Notary, but that is a particular Lender’s standard and not necessarily a state standard or even a best practice.

4. The Notary must positively identify the signer using identification documents acceptable to their state which normally include Drivers Licenses, State issued identification photo ID’s, Passports, and Military ID’s. Other ID might be accepted on a state by state basis and you can look that up in your handbook. Also, see our section on identification.

5. The Notary should ideally keep a journal entry of all Notarial acts even if their state does not require this.

6. There should be Acknowledgment wording appropriate or acceptable to your state inscribed within the document, or you can attach a loose acknowledgment form with a staple.

7. After you fill out the certificate form, you sign and stamp the page (some states allow you to write in your seal information without a stamp.) Make sure your stamp is clear and not smudgy otherwise the county recorder has the right to reject the Notarization.

8. Note — some states require the Notary to ask the signer to attest to the fact that they signed in their own free will. Please be aware if your state has any unusual requirements or special wording on forms.

9. A California Notary faces many restrictions as to what type of out of state forms they can use. Please check the California Notary Handbook to see what you can accept and what you can’t otherwise you could get in trouble particularly if it is a recorded document.

.

JURATS

Jurats are a Notary act where the signer or affiant by definition signs and swears (and/or sometimes affirms) before the Notary. Jurat wording differs from state to state. However, some basic verbiage includes the phrase, “Subscribed and sworn to before me.” What does this mean? This means that the document was signed in the physical presence of the Notary Public as well as sworn to before the Notary Public at the signing. In an Acknowledged signature you can sign prior to seeing the Notary, but you acknowledge before the Notary. A Jurat is completely different. Modern verbiage for Jurats sometimes says, “Subscribed and sworn or affirmed to before me.” This does not mean that you can administer an Oathfirmation and mix the Affirmation and Oath verbiage. This means that you can have the client choose if they want an Oath or Affirmation and do one or the other. Don’t mix these Notary acts unless your state specifically says you can.

Many Notaries are unaware that when executing a Jurat, you do need to administer an Oath particular to the document being signed. Please see our commentary on Oaths below. Failing to administer an Oath on a Jurat is illegal and could void the legal completeness of the document. Some states additionally will reserve the right to suspend your commission if you omit a legally required Oath.

“Subscribed and sworn to before me” is NOT Oath verbiage! That is the written documentation that you gave an Oath. When you ask the affiant to raise their right hand, do NOT utter the words, “subscribed and sworn to before me.” otherwise they will think you are an idiot and there will be no way for them to respond unless they repeat. Start an Oath with, “do you solemnly swear” after they have raised their right hand.

A good Oath for a document could be, “Do you solemnly swear under the penalty of perjury that the information in this document is true and correct to the best of your knowledge, so help you God?” Then the other person says, “I do.” Then you pronounce them “man and document” by the powers vested in you.

.

OATHS

Not all Notarial acts include a written document or written certificate. Some are purely oral. Oaths and Affirmations are oral acts where most states do not have a certificate for the Oath. You should write in your journal if you administered an Oath and where it says, “Name of document” you should write that you gave an Oath about a particular topic. You do not write the actual verbiage of the Oath in your journal. You might write, “Oath regarding military duty” or “Oath of citizenship,” etc.

Oath verbiage is generally up to the Notary and few states have any actual requirements for what you should say. However, common sense and tradition dictate certain things about Oath verbiage.

Raise Your Right Hand — you traditionally have the signer raise their right hand before swearing under Oath.

Solemnly – it is traditional to ask the signer if they solemnly swear. An Oath is a solemn occassion and swearing to a Notary is as official as swearing to a judge in a court of law.

Swear — you must use the word “swear” in an Oath otherwise it is no longer an Oath.

Document or Statement — in an Oath you should make a reference to the content you are swearing to. It might be a document, or a statement you are about to me. Just make sure you reference the content in a way that makes sense. Asking someone to swear to “the information” is not as precise as asking them to swear to the truthfulness of “this document” while pointing to the document.

God — Oaths traditionally refer to God. If someone doesn’t like God, rather than remove God from the Oath, do an Affirmation INSTEAD of an Oath.

.

Correct Oath wording for a Notary to make for a Document
“Please raise your right hand. Do you solemnly swear that the document you signed is true and correct to the best of your knowledge, so help you God?” — The answer would be, “I do.”

Wrong Oaths for a Document
“Do you solemnly swear that the statement you are about to make is true?”
“Do you solmenly swear that the information you provided is true?”

Commentary
If you are swearing to a document there is no statement you are about to make. There is a document you already signed that you swear to. You cannot swear to a statement you are not going to make — that is nonsense. The information in the document might have been provided by a Lender or Attorney, so don’t make them swear to WHO provided the information. Just have them swear that it is true.

Administering an Oath
When you are a Notary and you give or supervise an Oath to someone, you are administering an Oath. When you administer an Oath there are two ways to do it. You either ask an Oath question such as the ones mentioned above, or you say, “Repeat after me.” Repeating after me is really tenous as every three words the affiant has to repeat those words and it is like being six years old doing the pledge of allegience. How annoying!

.

AFFIRMATIONS

An Affirmation is similar to an Oath. The are equal in their significance and used during the same situations. Affirmations are legal in most states. Check your state’s handbook to see if they are used in yours and if there is any state specific wording that you must use. However, you cannot mix and match the wording in an Affirmation. If your client wants to do an Affirmation, you use the word Affirm or State rather than swear, and you do not mention God. Leave God out of it! Other than that, the verbiage is the same as an Oath, so help you nobody!

To better understand choosing Oaths vs. Affirmations or mixing them up together read this fun article about Airline Meals versus Oaths and Affirmations.

To administer an Affirmation for a document just say, “Do you solemnly affirm or state that the information in this document is correct?” or for a purely oral statement just say, “Do you solemnly affirm or state that the statement you are about to give is true and correct?”

.

PROOF OF EXECUTION

Not all states allow proofs of execution, but it is a traditional Notary act that I would like you to know about. In a proof of execution, the principal who is the one who signs the document signs when a subscribing witness is witnessing his signature. The definition of a subscribing witness is one who watches someone else sign. Then the subscribing witness appears before a Notary and swears under Oath that he/she witnessed so and so signing the document. I have never heard of this act being done, but for less formal documents, it is often allowed and it is interesting to read about as it is so unusual.

.

PROTESTS

Not all states have protests. Protests are normally done by people working in banking to protest the non-payment of a bill or bounced check. We do not hold our Notaries responsible to understand this act although it is good to know what it is.

.

Share
>

August 24, 2017

Letter to Donald Trump about the sad condition of American Notaries

Filed under: General Articles — admin @ 12:56 am

Dear Donald Trump,
I run a nationwide Notary Public directory called 123notary.com and have some sad commentary about the general state of affiairs in the Notary industry. The most pressing is the dismal quality of the knowledge of general Notaries about their rights and responsibilities as well as the poor level of screening that the state notary divisions engage in.

Since you have entered office, my personality has changed. According to feng-shui principles the members of an organization tend to take after the leader of the organization in some subtle or not so subtle ways. Since April, I have been preverbially draining the swamp of “fake notaries.” Some people with absolutely no Notary knowledge whatsoever are commissioned by states run by idiots who will commission anyone — sad! What the states don’t realize is that bad Notaries are a danger to society by empowering and facilitating identity thieves. An improper notarization or improper bookkeeping at a notarization done by a shoddy Notary can make it easy for an identity thief to drain a person’s equity from their property, steal their property, or defraud people in other ways.

In a nutshell, the real problem is that the states do not screen their applicants, do not educate applicants in all aspects of Notary education and do not have sensible testing either. California’s screening is far better than any other state, but still falls short of the mark as our local California Notaries do not always know how to explain notary acts, keep proper records, or which acts are legal versus illegal to do.

My solution is to suggest some Federal guidelines with Federal enforcement. Since the states don’t enforce proper notary procedure with the exception of California who audits journals (but, not anything else), it is necessary for the Feds to step in and add another thin, but intelligent layer of regulation to the industry. Here are my ideas.

1. Standardized Notary Education and Enforcement.
Many states have differing Notary Acts, and that is not a bad thing. However, if there would be a core of universal Notary Acts used in all states, territories, and military bases, that would make education and enforcement easier on a national level. The most critical elements to teach would include:

(a) Proper identification of signers
(b) Proper journal record keeping
(c) Oath giving (Notaries are required to do this but more often then not don’t know how or don’t bother)
(d) General understanding of Notary law, acts and procedures.

2. Reduction in the quantity of Notaries, with an increase in quality.
Judging the quality of Notaries might be hard for you to do, but I do it daily and have the art refined in certain ways. I will vouch for what I condsider the characteristics of a good Notary verses a bad one.

(a) An IQ of 100-120.
Being a Notary requires a certain amount of intelligence as a rudimentary knowledge of law, and applying the laws relating to Notary Public are required to perform the duties of Notary Public and faithfully discharge your duties lawfully while accepting lawful requests and declining illegal requests. Most Notaries do not correctly distinguish between what they are allowed to do and what is illegal and prefer to rely on what they feel comfortable with which is neither here nor there. Those unlawful Notaries need to be weeded out. Notaries that are too smart tend to leave the industry early and are not a detriment, but will not be likely to stick around.

(b) Attorney Notaries are not generally good Notaries.
Many states like the idea of having Attorneys do certain Notary functions such as loan signings. In my experience, Attorneys are over-priced, the least likely to be available, and also are the bottom of the bottom of the barrel in the legal world and are so incompetent that their average stupidity exceeds that of our average non-Attorney Notaries. I am not against Attorney Notaries providing they can pass a tough Notary test to prove their basic knowledge. Attorneys should also be declined any special privileges in the Notary world. In New York, I heard an Attorney can become a notary without a test at all which I feel is a mistake.

(c) A clerical background is desireable.
If someone has a background doing clerical work in a capacity which requires being picky and attentive to detail, that would be a good background for being a Notary Public. Notaries fill out certificates and journals and being nit-picky and anal precedes you as a good Notary. On the other hand a clerical background filled with clerical errors that have gone unnoticed for years would be a disaster.

(d) Being meticulous and having integrity.
Those who dot their i’s and cross their t’s are the types I would like to see as Notaries. Those who are ethical and care about safeguarding society are also idea. Having a generally good attitude matters too.

(e) Willingness to study and learn.
My biggest complaint about Notaires Public is that so few of them read their state’s Notary Handbook. If you aren’t willing to read your state’s laws and Notary rules, how on earth can you possibly enforce them?

3. Regular auditing of Notaries
Notaries need to know someone is watching them as few uphold the law. If Notaries are audited by a mystery person who appears to be a client, that client can ask them to do something seemingly illegal to trick them into incriminating themselves. This is the only reliable way to catch large quantities of bad Notaries. Having Notaries come to the county clerk for a pop quiz once a year is another highly recommended idea. The quiz should be hands on Notary work in addition to multiple choice questions. To audit all Notaries twice a year requires there to be less Notaries to audit.

4. Higher pay for Notaries
To attract good Notaries, there needs to be a good minimum wage for Notaries. I suggest $40 per appointment minimum on the East and West coasts and $30 in the interior states. Additionally, many Notaries travel and states should have minimum travel fees of $40 for appointments that are 30-60 minutes away plus waiting time. Travel fees should be paid in cash at the door or by paypal to eliminate what I call “Beneficial Interest” which is a term that depicts a person who is named in a document who stands to benefit from the document being signed in financial ways or by gaining privileges. By being a Notary whose travel fee is contingent on a document being signed, the Notary will be swayed to accept non-matching identification or comply with illegal requests so they will get their measely travel fee so they can pay their rent. Notaries who are poor are likely to bend the rules to ensure they get paid. Having travel fees paid up front as a matter of law will safeguard the public from Notaries having any semblence of beneficial or financial interest in a document or set of documents being signed.

5. Universal Notary Acts
Most states have Acknowledgments, Jurats, Oaths, Affirmations, and perhaps a few other acts such as Copy Certificaiton Safety Box Opening, Attestations, Witnessing, etc. The problem is that the rules for these acts are not always consistent across state lines which causes a lot of confusion especially to those of us who run nationwide Notary directories. I suggest these as universal acts.

WITNESSING
Some Notary acts require rigid identification rules. It would be nice for those who don’t have identification or don’t have identification with the correct name variation on it to be able to get notarized on informal documents in any case. Having a witness notarization with optional identification would be convenient without being a risk for identity fraud since the documents being witnesses would not concern large sums of money by definition.

A signer could:

(a) sign in the presence of the Notary in a witness notarization.
(b) Identification could be a choice of a thumbprint, an ID with a non-matching name, or an ID with a matching name.
(c) The description of the ID should ideally be documented on the Notary certificate for this act as well as the Official Journal of Notarial acts.

Some states already have an official notarial witnessing act. But, having universal and flexible standards would be wonderful.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Formal documents such as Deeds, Powers of Attorney and contracts normally use an Acknowledgment. Acknowledgments in most states require:

(a) The signer to be identified by the Notary using state approved types of ID cards such as passports, drivers licenses, etc.
(b) The signer has to acknowledge having signed the document in the physical presence of the Notary in a non-verbal way by presenting the document to the Notary with the request for it to be notarized.
(c) California requires the signer to be named in the document
(d) There is an Acknowledgment certificate which must be embedded in the document in question or added as a loose piece of paper and then stapled to the subject document.

The first issue with Acknowledgements on a national level is that there are six states which specifically require an Acknowledged signature to be signed in the presence of the Notary Public while the act intrinsically does not require this. The second issue is that Notaries in states that do NOT require the Acknowledged signature to be signed in the presence of the Notary typically require the document to be signed in their presence because they feel uncomfortable with the alternative. Notaries let their petty comfort related concerns supercede the law which is a problem that needs to be dealt with and enforced. This constitutes the denial of a legal request which by definition is not legal as Notaries Public must provide the public with Notary work for all legal requests unless (in particular states) there is some legitimate reason why the Notary feels that it would not be safe to notarize the person. Standardizing the rules of Acknowledgments makes a lot of senses as that single act constitutes 80% of Notary work nationwide. For those signatures that must be signed in the presence of a Notary, there are other acts such as Jurats and Witness notarizations that require that.

JURATS
Jurats are notarial acts where the signers must sign in the presence of the Notary Public and swear under Oath to the document in some way shape or form. Whether they swear to the truthfulness of the document, or whether or not they signed the document using their own free will, or whether they agree to the terms of the document could all reasonably be sworn to. Most Notaries omit the Oath or give an Oath which makes no sense under the circumstances which is unacceptable.

OATHS & AFFIRMATIONS
Most if not all states have these acts. However, some states (such as Florida) require a certificate for an Oath. If a certificate is to be required, it should indicate the nature of the Oath. Florida’s documentation of Oaths does not require any indication of what the Oath was about. There is no point in keeping paperwork if the paperwork has no pertinent information on it. As a former Notary, I will vouch for the importance of issuing certificates as it is a record for the customer to keep of what happend. The more critical information the merrier (without going overboard.) Notaries need to be taught how to administer good and relevant Oaths and Affirmations as 90% do not know the difference. Oaths use the word swear and normally mention God while Affirmations use the word Affirm or state and leave God out of it which is something that ultra-religious and athiests both agree upon.

6. Thumbprinting
Journal thumbprints are a matter of contention. California is the only state to require it for Deeds affecting real property and Powers of Attorney. Several of the Notaries listed with us were able to provide critical pieces of information to the FBI which helped nail identity thieves, ponzi schemers and other fraudulent menaces to society. Many companies and individuals object to being thumbprinted which creates pressure for the Notary to not thumbprint unless required to by law. Therefor, the only way to safeguard the equity in your real property from being syphened by identity thieves is to require journal thumbprints nationwide.

Since journals are NOT required in all states, it would be necessary to require journals in order to require journal thumbprinting. I recommend a thumbprint requirement for all notarizations of Deeds, Living Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Subordination Agreements, or notarizations where the identification did not completely match the signature on the document.

7. Proper Journal Entries
Most Notaries who I deal with keep a journal, but do not keep it correctly according to what I consider best practices to be. It is common for Notaries to enter multiple documents on a single journal entry which is signed once by the customer / signer. This is a bad practice because it would be possible for the Notary or someone else to add extra document names to the journal entry AFTER the signing was over which would constitute fraud. It would also be possible for someone to accuse the Notary of fraud when he/she did not engage in fraud with such shoddy bookkeeping practices. Therefor, it should be necessary by law to have one journal entry per signer per documents which would be six entries if you had two signers each signing three notarized documents at a particular appointment. The primary purpose of a journal is not to please the state where the notary is commissioned. The primary purpose is to please judges and investigators who use the journal as perhaps the primary or only piece of evidence in an identity fraud court case or investigation. The journal is the only evidence a Notary Public has of what Notary work they have done, so it behooves society to ensure that journals are filled out prudently, completely and correctly.

.

You might also like:

Letter to Donald Trump about the State of the Notary industry
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19908

Is Trump to blame for a Notary slowdown?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19138

If Trump hired you as a Notary, would you get fired?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19120

Letter to California Notary Division
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19939

Share
>
Older Posts »