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September 2, 2013

Notary Perjury and Oaths

Notary Perjury

What is Notary perjury? Is that when a notary lies under Oath or when an Affiant lies under Oath to a Notary Public or other state official? In real life there is no such thing as Notary perjury — there is only regular perjury. Don’t get caught lying under Oath — tell the truth!

Penalty of perjury
If you swear under Oath to a Notary Public, you have made a solemn Oath under the penalty of perjury. Lying under Oath is a Felony and Federal crime punishable by jail time of up to five years. The problem is that Notary Oaths are not always very clear. The Notary might have you swear to a document, but what are you actually swearing to? Are you swearing that the document is true, or that you will follow the terms in the document, or both?

What types of things do people lie about?
People might lie about what their legal name is. Sometimes people want to use an alias. Sometimes the name a person has on the Title of a property might not exactly match the name on their identification document which could cause a lot of confusion and legal issues. Another common lie that I might have been told for years (no evidence either way) is on the Occupancy Affidavit. Borrowers can get a discounted interest rate if they claim to live in the building (house) they are borrowing on. The Occupancy Affidavit makes that borrowers swear that they are residing in the property as their primary residence. But, it is common for borrowers to lie and be using the property as an investment property or second home — an example of “Notary perjury”.

People don’t always take the Oath seriously
My biggest objection to being a notary was that people didn’t take Oaths seriously. I sometimes had to ask people multiple times to raise their right hand all the way up — no, not two inches up — all the way up. Mumbling an inaudible “yes” just doesn’t cut it with me. I think that as a Notary Public, you should remind your Affiants of how serious and formal the Oath actually is. I would also tend to think that your Oath takers will be more likely to tell the truth if they are aware of how serious an Oath is and if they are aware of how they could be subject to penalties of perjury should they lie. I have never heard of anyone being punished for lying under Oath to a notary. I have only heard of people getting in trouble for fraud. But, keep people honest in any case! Being a Notary Public is a serious profession that protects the integrity of signatures and society!

You might also like:

Can a Notary get in trouble?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21429

Penalties for notary misconduct and fraud
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21315

When are you required by law to give Oaths as a Notary?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21017

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February 8, 2021

What does it mean to “defend” the constitution.

Filed under: General Stories — admin @ 12:01 am

Police officers, Notaries Public, and other officers and employees of the state often have to take an Oath of Office. We normally swear to defend the constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic at a minimum. California Police Officers also swear to defend the state constitution. They do NOT swear to defend the people, protect or serve however.

My questions are:

1. When was the last time you saw a Police Officer defend the constitution?
2. When was the last time you saw a Police Officer read the constitution?
3. What does it mean to “defend” the constitution?
4. As a Notary Public, you swore to defend the constitution, what situations do you encounter as a Notary where you need to defend the constitution?

“Don’t sign that contract of sale, that will violate the separations of powers clause in the constitution!!!”

As a Notary Public, you will not be in vocational situations where you need to defend the constitution. However, you need to make sure you ID people correctly and handle situations in a sensible way — and sensible doesn’t always seem sensible and might not occur to you without deep thought about various ways you could handle a situation.

Police Officers are capable of arresting people and deal with politicians regularly. If someone violates the constitution, they would most likely be a Mayor or Governor who makes an unconstitutional order. They might be a legislator who makes an unconstitutional law, or a judge who judges a situation in a way that is not consistent with the constitution. They could also be in charge of state infrastructure (like a school) and violate people’s right to free speech, assembly, dress code, etc. Law Enforcement Officers might also violate people’s first amendment rights.

Recently, we have seen people get arrested for going to the beach, going to the park, and kids were threatened by the park police for playing soccer during Covid19. Although kids don’t die of Covid-19 (more than one in a million), society has prevented them from going to school or even playing. People are not allowed to go to church in California because of Covid19. God doesn’t go on vacation during a plandemic (except perhaps to Cancun if the weather is good), why should churches?

PROTECTING THE CONSTITUTION
So, how can a cop protect the constitution rather than adopting a policy of being neutral and not making waves?

1. If you see someone attacking the constitution, lock the constitution up and put it in a lock box that is dry and safe.
2. If you see a governor violate the terms of the constitution or amendments thereof, inform him of what he did wrong and arrest him/her if they do it again.
3. If a law is unconstitutional, complain to the courts.
4. At a minimum, when there is a violation, make a phone call, send an email, or have a talk with an individual who can do something about it.

But, does protecting the constitution mean that you protect it once during your lifetime during one particular action such as an email that takes five minutes to write. “Dear sir, you violated the second amendment when you asked me for my gun, please refrain from such unconstitutional activities, otherwise we will be compelled to accuse you of treason.”

Or, does it mean taking at least one action every time there is an infraction of the constitution? Can you imagine if every cop or citizen in the USA would jump all over a politician in an executive role, legislator, or someone in the judicial branch every time they violated the constitution? They wouldn’t dare even think about doing it. That backlash would be even worse than the backlash from wearing shoes in an ashram in India!

In my opinion, protecting or defending the constitution means reading the constitution first. How can you defend something if you don’t know what it is? And then making a regular effort to defend the constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic, but more the domestic ones. Kim Jong-Un doesn’t seem to be violating the constitution much these days unless having a bad haircut undermines the 5th amendment and I don’t think it does.

IS IT TREASON OR PERJURY?
If you swore to defend the constitution and then violate people’s constitutional rights, to me in my lay person point of view you just committed perjury on your oath. You swore to do one thing and then did the opposite. Is it treason to violate the constitution in a big way? In my opinion it is as it compromises the moral and legal fabric of America, our home. Without rule of law and our traditions, we end up like Venezuela, China, or various African countries that turned to Marxism and destroyed the integrity of their countries and their economies. One could even argue that issuing an executive order that is unconstitutional is sedition as you are encouraging others to violate people’s rights and hence undermine the legal fabric of America which is very damaging.

So, think for yourself about what defending or protecting the constitution means. Now is the time to stand up and fight for freedom otherwise we might live in darkness for the foreseeable future. Take this seriously.

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November 11, 2020

Oaths — how Notaries completely screw them up!

Oaths are an official Notarial act in all states if my memory serves correctly. Oaths unfortunately are very misunderstood and generally poorly administered if administered at all. So, let me straighten out some common problems that I have seen with Oaths.

By definition, all Jurat Notary Acts must include an Oath. A Jurat is a Notary Act with a written statement and an Oath. The documentation of the Oath has verbiage such as, “Subscribed and sworn to before me ______ on this ______ (date) by _____ (name of affiant).” There are various problems that occur here. Oaths also can occur as independent and purely oral acts.

1. Omission of Oath
Most Notaries omit the required Oath for a Jurat. In California, your commission can be suspended, revoked, or terminated by omitting an Oath and you can also be fined $750 per incident. Other states do not teach Oaths, not fine you if you forget to administer it which is exactly why most out of state Notaries simply don’t do the Oath. Nobody is putting a gun to their head, so why should they unless they have integrity which they usually don’t have according to my recent findings. Sad!

2. The word Swear omitted.
When administering an Oath, you must use the word swear, otherwise in my book it is not an Oath. A good Oath requires the signer to raise their right hand, the word solemnly should ideally be used before the word swear (for good form), the phrase, “under the penalty of perjury” could also be used, and the clause, “So help you God” should also be used. Although there is no prescribed Oath verbiage, if you don’t swear, it isn’t an Oath. Some Notaries prefer to affirm, state, acknowledge or attest rather than using the word swear since swearing offends the ultra-religious and ultra-athiest members of the public. So, for those who don’t want to swear, don’t use an Oath — use an affirmation instead which does not mention God or swearing.

3. What if people don’t want to use the word swear?
Some people find it offensive to use the word swear or God in an Oath. For them, you use the sister act which is an Affirmation which is allowed in most if not all states. But, don’t confuse the two acts even though they are interchangeable — they are not the same thing and you can not cross use the verbiage for one act on another. If you Oath you swear and if you do an Affirmation, you Affirm. You do not affirm with an Oath.

4. Using exchangeable verbiage.
Some states allow or prescribe verbiage such as, “Do you solemnly swear or affirm that the contents of this document are true and correct?” That is acceptable to me as an Oath because you used the word Swear even though you had alternate verbiage. But, you did not omit swear to only use the alternate verbiage which would disqualify the act as an Oath.

5. Court Oath vs. Jurat Oath.
There are many types of Oaths out there. You can swear people into court, solemnize a marriage, swear someone into office, or have them swear to a document. Notaries should PRACTICE the various types of Oaths so that they can master each type and not confuse them otherwise the Notary will look like an idiot (this happens a lot with our members.) It is common for me to ask for an Oath for a document and the Notary says, “Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?” I say, “I do, but can we now say an Oath for my document?” That is not a document Oath, that is a swearing you into court Oath.

6. Swearing that I voluntarily signed a document
Many Notaries will have me swear that I voluntarily signed a document. This is required in many instances in Massachusetts, however, swearing that I signed a document is not necessary in most states since the Notary watched the person sign, and making sure you signed voluntarily has never been an issue for anybody I know. If you were under duress, would you suddently tell the Notary simply because he asked or would you get nervous? Hmmm. There is no harm in asking if I signed a document on my own free will, so long as you don’t forget to give Oath verbiage about the document in Jurat Oath where the point of the Oath is to swear to facts contained in the document.

7. Swearing that I am the person in my ID
This is ridiculous. If I were an identity fraud, would I say that the ID was not mine? Many Notaries administer an Oath on my ID when I ask them to do an Oath on my document. The ID is not the document — get it straight.

8. Omitting the word document
If you are doing a Jurat Oath but give an Oath that “the information” is true and correct doesn’t cut it. If you are giving an Oath about a particular document, you must reference the document somehow. “Do you solemnly swear that the contents of the document before you are true and correct to the best of your knowledge, so help you God?” That would be an acceptable Oath because you are swearing, and swearing to a particular document rather than to thin air.

9. Relying on cheat sheets.
Many Notaries can only do an Oath when they have their recommended wording from their state with them. If for any reason they should lose the cheat sheet, they would not be able to lawfully conduct their duties as Notary Public. If you practice giving Oaths, you can give them by heard. Additionally, many Notaries give inapplicable Oaths as I mentioned above, so relying on reading text that you don’t understand the meaning of is useless. You need to understand the meaning and significance of the Oath you are giving otherwise it serves no intrinsic purpose.

10. Subscribed and Sworn.
Many Notaries say, “Subsribed and sworn to this ____ day of ___” when I ask them to deliver an Oath. That is the written documentation that an Oath took place. It is NOT the Oath itself. Oath wording typically starts with, “Do you solemnly swear…” and you should have the person raise their right hand.

11. A Jurat is not an Oath
Oath is to Jurat what Motor is to Automobile. A Jurat has an Oath, but a Jurat is not an Oath. An Oath can be an independent Notarial act which in most states has no written certificate. Florida has a useless certificate which says there was an Oath, but doesn’t give any indication of what was sworn to or the type of Oath. You might as well not have paperwork if it is that lame.

12. Notary Acts
When I ask people to name some Notary acts, most people claim not to know what I am talking about. They commonly mention Acknowledgments and Jurats. Few mention Oaths. Oaths and Affirmations are Official Notarial Acts in all or nearly all states. Notaries are required by law to administer Oaths if the public requests them from you. If you have never been asked to do one, that doesn’t preclude the possibility that you will be asked to do one. You are also not exempt from the responsibility of knowing how to administer one. If you are a commissioned Notary Public, you are responsible to administer Oaths, and correct sounding relevant Oaths, otherwise your state has the right to decommission you — and in my opinion they should.

MY RECOMMENDATIONS

Here is some standard Oath wording I like for documents.
“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 and that you agree to and will abide by the terms — if any in the document, so help you God?”
Please notice that I mentioned terms. What good is swearing to an agreement if you only agree that the agreement is true? The point of an agreement is that you agree to the agreement and will follow the terms of the agreement. Having a “useful” Oath rather than a correct but “useless” Oath makes a lot of sense. If your Oath serves no purpose, then why give one?

BAD OATHS
Here are some examples of wrong Oaths for Jurat documents for your reading pleasure.

“Do you acknowledge that this is correct?”
“Do you affirm that the document is correct?”
“Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you God?”
“Subscribed and Sworn to before me.”
“Do you solemnly swear that this is your true ID?”

OKAY OATHS
“Do you swear that the foregoing is correct?”
“Do you solemnly swear that the document in front of you is true and correct to the best of your knowledge?”

COMMENTARY
Most states do not teach the art of Oath giving, but they should. Notaries are required by law to administer Oaths, yet the majority of Notaries either give no Oath, inapplicable Oaths, or poorly worded Oaths while others rely on cheat sheets which is bad. Using cheat sheets is okay, but relying exclusively on some standardized wording for Jurat Oaths is not acceptable. There are situations where there is REQUIRED prescribed wording where you have to use that particular wording. In such a circumstance it is okay to rely on particular wording. However, for Jurat Oaths, you should be able to make up an Oath, otherwise I will fail you.

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You might also like:

Notary Public 101 guide to Oaths, Affirmations, Jurats & Acknowledgments
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19500

Airline meals vs. Oaths & Affirmations
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19549

Affirmations – pleasing the politically correct while offending the traditional people.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19606

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November 2, 2020

Notary Verbiage & Notary Wording

Originally published Nov 13, 2016.

Notary verbiage is a fancy way of saying Notary wording. Notary verbiage is legally required on all notarizations that are in writing. Oaths and Affirmations might not contain any written proof of the transaction other than in the Notary journal. The Notary form where the Notary wording is documented or written is called a Notary Certificate. A Notary Certificate would be a separate piece of paper where official state Notary wording is written or it could be the official notary wording embedded at the end of a legal document after the signature section.

Notary verbiage varies from state to state
You need to make sure that the Notary wording you are using is prescribed for your state. Each state has different wording, and you can look up that wording on Google by using terms such as, “New Jersey Acknowledgment Verbiage.” You need to specify which type of Notary act you want to know the wording for. Acknowledgments and Jurats are the two most common forms of Notary acts, although some states allow for certified copies of powers of attorney and other specialized notary acts.

Out of State Notary wording causes confusion
If you are a California Notary Public notarizing a deed with Florida Notary wording, you are allowed to Notarize the document. Notary wording on out of state documents might be a little different than what your state’s official Notary verbiage is. But, so long as it is not substantially different it is allowed. That means that so long as there are no differences in meaning behind the words in the Notary verbiage then it is okay. Most Acknowledgment sections claim that the signer appeared before the Notary on a particular date and acknowledged that they in fact signed the instrument (document).

International Wording
Out of state notary wording has never caused a problem in my personal Notary career of eight years. However, international requirements can cause a huge nightmare. It is common for overseas document custodians (the entity who will record or hold on to the document after it is notarized) to have requirements which are not only “not done” in the United States, but could be illegal. It is common for Chinese organizations to want an American Notary to put a stamp on a blank piece of paper with no Notarial wording which is completely illegal. In such a case, you have to explain to the signer that you are required by law to staple a notary certificate to the document being Notarized, fill it out completely, and then stamp it to complete the Notarization. Most states also require the signer to be identified and sign a journal.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT CERTIFICATE WORDING FROM TOP TO BOTTOM

(1) The Venue

Q. What is a Venue?
A. The venue comes at the top of a Notary certificate and documents the state and states the county.

State of California
County of Los Angeles

Certificate verbiage will contain a venue which is a section at the top of the notary certificate which includes the state and county where the notarization took place, and a signature section at the bottom which is where you put your signature and Notary seal impression. It is possible that a preprinted venue will have the wrong state which is a problem. If there is wrong information in the venue, you either have to do a cross out, or start with a brand new form. Most venues pre-print the state, but leave a blank where the county is to be inscribed. A prudent Notary will make sure all forms get filled out correctly with no cross outs as that is very unprofessional, especially on documents such as Deeds or Power of Attorney which are likely to be recorded by the county or some other organization.

(2) The body of an Acknowledgment.
Below the venue, the acknowledgment certificate will state that on such a date, a particular person or several named people personally appeared before a Notary Public and acknowledge that they signed the corresponding document. The wording will also include the fact that the signer was positively identified or perhaps known to the notary (some states allow for personal knowledge of a signer at a notarization.)

(3) The bottom of an Acknowledgment
Locus Sigilli is a lovely Latin term means the location of the stamp. At the bottom of the Notary certificate form is where the signature of the Notary goes and also where the stamp goes. Most Notaries use an inked Notary Seal while others use a non-inked Notary embosser in addition to prove authenticity of the notarization as it is possible to emboss all of the pages of the document to prove that pages were not swapped after the fact.

(4) Examples

Example of a Florida Acknowledgment Certificate

STATE OF FLORIDA

COUNTY OF BROWARD

The foregoing instrument was acknowledged before me this ___________ (date), by __________ (name), who is personally known to me or who has produced _____________ (type of identification) as identification.

______________________________

Notary Public

Printed Name:__________________

My Commission Expires:

____________________

Commission #_________

California Acknowledgment Wording

State of California
County of Los Angeles

On 7-21-2016 before me , Joe Smith Notary Public, personally appeared Sam Sarno
who proved to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence to be the person(s) whose name(s) is/are subscribed to the within instrument and acknowledged to me that he/she/they executed the same in his/her/their authorized capacity(ies), and that by his/her/their signature(s) on the instrument
the person(s), or the entity upon behalf of which the person(s) acted, executed the instrument.

I certify under PENALTY OF PERJURY under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing paragraph is true and correct.

Witness my hand and official seal _______________
Description of Attached Document
Title or Type of Document: _______ Number of Pages: ________
Document Date: _____ Other: _____________

Crossing out verbiage is required
On an Acknowledgment form, the boiler plate wording in the middle of the form requires cross-outs. Normally on legal forms you don’t want to cross out anything, but these cross-outs establish whether you are dealing with an individual signer, a male, female, group, etc.
If you look at the California Acknowledgment wording above, you will notice the term “Person(s)”. If it is a single person, then cross out the (s). The term name(s) — if there is only one name then cross out the (s). If you are doing a name affidavit, you might have a single person and six or seven names in which case do not cross out the (s). Then there is the he/she/they wording which can be complicated if you are notarizing someone of ambiguous gender or for Siamese twins.

Jurat Wording
Jurat wording is substantially different from Acknowledgment wording in that the Jurat requires the signer to sign in the presence of a Notary and swear under Oath as to the truthfulness of the document. Many states have a simplistic wording that just says,

“Subscribed and sworn to before me this __________ date of ______, (enter year) _______. ”

Other states have more elaborate wording, but the basic facts documented are the same.

Certified Copy by Document Custodian
This is a type of Jurat that is used only from time to time. Many individuals want to make a copy of a document and then have a Notary “certify” that the copy is correct. Most states don’t allow a Notary to certify this information. However, a Notary could make the photocopy him/her-self and write a note claiming that they attest to the fact that the photocopy is a true and complete copy of the original. However, the offficial Notary act that takes place is a Jurat where the signer swears under Oath that the copy is genuine. I completed many such Notary acts for college transcripts especially for foreign clients.

Read More about Notary Wording

http://blog.123notary.com/?tag=notary-wording

Should you use book wording for Oaths or improvise?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19660

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

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

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January 29, 2019

Can a Notary go to jail for Notary fraud?

Can a Notary go to jail for Notary fraud?
Can a Notary go to prison for Notary fraud?

Notaries very rarely end up in jail. There are many illegal things that Notaries to almost daily. However, the law seems to rarely catch up with them unless a crime is committed where there are damages. Additionally, if the crime was committed with intent to steal, embezzle, or harm someone, the Notary would be in a lot worse trouble.

Notaries typically do not administer Oaths for Jurats. Those that do, typically administer an Oath in my opinion incorrectly. I test Notaries regularly and this is how I know. It is illegal to sign a Jurat that makes you claim that you supervised an Oath when in fact you did not. That might be considered perjury, although I am not an Attorney and cannot say with any certainty. However, Notaries very rarely get in trouble for omissions in their duty.

The only time I have heard of a Notary going to jail was one who assisted in fraud involving real property. The Notary falsified paperwork, probably Deeds of some sort and helped someone steal someone else’s property. That Notary got put away for a long time.

However, Notaries end up in court regularly for things that signers did fraudulently. Some signers alter documents after they were notarized. Other signers committed identity fraud. Once in a while, someone will forge a notary seal and pretend to be a particular Notary. It is common those these acts of fraud to result in a Notary being supoenaed to court or at least being investigated.

So, unless a Notary does something intentionally to cause financial harm to another person, it is unlikely that they will end up in jail — but, then.. who knows…

You might also like:

All mortgage fraud is investigated by the FBI
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20995

Penalties for Notary misconduct, fraud and failure of duty
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21315

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January 17, 2019

Notary Etiquette 104 — General Tips

Filed under: Etiquette — Tags: — admin @ 3:19 pm

GENERAL TIPS
Return to Table of Contents for – Notary Etiquette 104
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1. Dress for success.
Business casual is great. People get complaints more for dressing poorly than for being a horrible Notary. So, go to Men’s Wearhouse first, and then buy that Notary course you were thinking of. And remember — it’s not what you know — it’s how you look! Notaries who show up in shorts and flip-flops get some serious complaints and even a bad review on their profile. In short, don’t dress like me.

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2. Forms you should carry
Carry loose Acknowledgment, Jurat and other certificates in your Notary Carry All Bag that you purchased from the NNA. Carry a thumb printer, wipes, and pens with you. Nothing is worse than a Notary that doesn’t have pens except one who wears flip-flops. Having good professional equipment makes you look like you know what you are doing even more than actually knowing what you are doing.

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3. Arrive on time
Nothing is worse than a late notary other than one who wears flip-flops.

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4. Follow up punctually
If you have to get the FedEx back, do so immediately. Do not wait to drop a package unless you are waiting for a callback. If you wait 90 minutes or more for a callback, consider that title needs their docs back and it might make sense to just drop it. That is a judgment call, so think carefully about it. If you get emails, answer them asap.

You have to be available after signings for up to the rescission date and sometimes later. If you become unreachable after the signing, you will get very serious complaints. The worst complaints we get about notaries are that they were rude, or unresponsive after they had completed work.

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5. Don’t be rude
If someone is rude to you, don’t reciprocate. Your reputation is on the line. You can get penalized for being rude even if the other person deserves it. So, watch yourself!

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6. Animals
If you are uncomfortable with animals in the room with the signing, you can politely ask if the animal can be put behind a firmly closed door. Dog owners assume that since they enjoy Fido jumping over them that it’s okay that Fido jumps all over you — after all, it’s okay because Fido’s a nice doggy.

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7. Where to sit
You are the facilitator of the signing, and you call the shots where people sit at the signing. It is often easier if you sit at the head of the table with husband and wife sitting next to each other. That way when person #1 signs and turns over the document, the second person can turn it over and sign it assembly line fashion.

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8. Tips for Jurats
In a Jurat, the signer has a choice of doing an Oath or Affirmation. Many Notaries today are very politically correct to the point where they assume that the borrower will be offended by an Oath and by default only do an Affirmation. This is offensive to those who want an Oath and also not legal. It is up to the borrower to choose which type of Notary act to choose, so just say,

“To execute a Jurat, we will need a statement made under the penalty of perjury as to the truthfulness of the document… would you prefer to swear under Oath under God or affirm on your honor?”

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9. Leaving a business card
At the end of the signing it is not bad manners to give them a business card. You never know when they will need another notarization.

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10. Do you answer the phone during a signing?
It is generally a bad idea to have phone calls during the signing. Some signing companies forbid this altogether. However, you might not be able to get your next job unless you answer your phone. So, if the phone rings, give the caller a minute before you cut them off. It is rude to answer the phone only to tell someone you can’t talk, and it is rude to the borrowers to have a long conversation with someone unrelated to the loan. This is a judgment call. However, it is sometimes hard to get a chance to talk to a Notary due to the fact they are always busy, because they are either at a signing, between signings, eating, or at church — with notaries this busy there is no good time to talk to them… ever!

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Please Also Read:

Best marketing resources for Notaries. This entry goes over active vs. passive marketing in detail
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16322

Notary etiquette from Athiest to Zombie
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=13718

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December 30, 2018

When are you required by law to do Oaths?

As we all know, state notary laws differ from state to state. Since I live in California, it is difficult for me to know what all the Notary laws are in other states. Sometimes I create a chart as a cheat sheet to know which states require certain things and which ones don’t. However, every state I have read about (I read handbooks for all states so you will have a problem fooling me — they are all online except for NC if I remember correctly) requires Oaths and has Oaths in the handbook as an official duty of a Notary Public. So, I am going to write some quiz pointers about Oaths below.

1. Oaths are an official Notary act in all states.
If I am wrong, show me your state notary handbook and show me the omission of Oaths.

2. Affirmations are an official Notary act in almost all states…
Or perhaps, now they are in all states. Not sure…

3. If you see the words — SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN (or affirmed) TO BEFORE ME BY…
This is Oath documentation verbiage. It is NOT the Oath itself, but the documentation that you administered an Oath or perhaps Affirmation. If you sign a form stating the above verbiage and do not administer an Oath, you have just committed fraud on a Notarial certificate which is a crime. I am not sure what type of crime it is, but it might be fraud, or even perjury which is a Federal crime punishable by up to five years in jail per infraction. Gulp. Please consult an Attorney to see what type of crime he/she thinks it is as my opinion is a layperson opinion and not legal advice.

4. My state doesn’t require Oaths.
I hear this every day. Your state DOES require Oaths, however your state doesn’t require you to read the handbook that says you have Oaths as an official duty. Moreover, your state doesn’t explain how to administer an Oath or WHEN to administer an Oath. I can blame your state, but this is also your fault if you go through life engaging in criminal negligence because you did not bother to learn when and how to administer Oaths.

5. We don’t do Oaths in my state.
Some people claim that Oaths might be an official Notary act in their state, but that it is never done. This is also not true. Carmen (who does sales for 123notary) does loan signings for out of state documents all the time and every single package has at least one Oath that is part of a JURAT.

6. If you see the word AFFIDAVIT in the title of a document.
The word Affidavit customarily means that the document is to be sworn to before a state official commissioned with the capacity to administer Oaths such as a Judge, Notary Public, Justice of the Peace, etc. If you see the word Affidavit, it is possible, although unlikely that you will execute an Acknowledged signature on that form. 99% or more of the time you will execute a Jurat, and Jurats by definition require the signer to sign (subscribe) in front of you and swear under Oath as to the truthfulness of the document.

7. Are you swearing to the identity of the signer, the signature or the truthfulness of the document.
Many Notaries administer Oaths to me over the phone on quizzes and make me repeat my name several times. However, the Oath for a document is regarding whether or not the document is true or not, and NOT to my identity. However, if the document makes me specifically swear to my name or name variations then I would have to swear to my identity. Additionally, an Oath on a document does not require the Affiant (signer) to swear to whether or not they signed it or whether or not they signed it on their own free will unless their state specifically requires it or unless the cheat sheet for the Oath requires it. As a general rule, an Oath on a document must be regarding the truthfulness of the document as the primary focus. Any other considerations are secondary or perhaps not necessary or perhaps should be left out.

8. Why Oath cheat sheets are dangerous
If you do not know the legal requirements of an Oath on a document in your state, you might not administer a passable Oath if you read off the cheat sheet. In my opinion which is based on logic, but not on law, an Oath on a document must be about the truthfulness of the document. If your cheat sheet for an Oath says, “Do you solemnly swear you signed this document.” — that would lead to an incomplete notarization because you never swore to the truthfulness of the document.

9. I don’t do Oaths, I only do Refinances.
Newsflash — Every refinance I have ever seen has at least one Oath. If there is an Affidavit such as a signature affidavit, identity affidavit, or occupancy affidavit, customarily there will be an Oath. If you do Refinances, you are required to do Oaths as part of fulfilling the statements on the Jurat certificate(s).

10. Oaths on oral statements or without Jurats
You might be asked to give an Oath on an oral statement. There might not be any paperwork involved other than your journal. You need to read up on how to do this. You might also be asked to give an Oath on a document that does not have a Jurat. You would have to ad-lib to come up with verbiage so practice on random documents to get the feel of it.

11. Remote court attendance.
Florida state allows certain witnesses to appear in court by phone. A Notary must swear them in from their remote location. This type of Oath requires the Notary to look at their ID, read it to the judge and do the TV court Oath of how you swear to tell the truth, whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God.

12. Penalties for wrong or omitted Oaths.
Notaries rarely get in trouble for omitting a required Oath or refusing to administer an Oath. But, there are times when they do. Here are the things that could happen to you. Why take chances? It is like leaving your door unlocked.

(a.) REVOKED COMMISSION — Your commission could be revoked. I heard of several Notaries in Oklahoma who did not administer Oaths on loan documents.

(b.) OVERTURNED LOANS — The loan that had documents with required Oaths could be overturned by a Judge if they find out that the Notary did not administer an Oath.

(c.) GETTING SUED — The Notary could get sued by the Lender because there will be serious financial damages for the Lender because the Notary omitted a legally required Oath. Damages might be $20,000 or more if you get caught. People don’t get caught often — but when they do…

(d.) FINES — Certain states fine Notaries for misconduct and omissions. Failing to administer a required Oath in California used to have a $750 fine per incident. Now, it might be $1500. I am not sure of the exact fine, but it should be in that neighborhood.

(e.) JAIL — I have heard, and this may or may not be true, that making a false statement about an Oath on a certificate is perjury. The penalty for perjury is a jail sentence of up to five years per incident. So, you could end up in jail if the Feds or your state start checking up on Notaries to see if they are administering Oaths. They are not checking up now, but they could start any time.

(f.) LOSE LISTING — 123notary sometimes removes people for disciplinary reasons. If we find out that you do not obey Notary laws, we normally steer you to some educational materials. But, if you have a complete disregard for law, order, and common decency, you could lose your listing. We normally as a handful of Notary questions and will accept a very low average since most Notaries do not know their stuff. However, if you score under 50% on our quiz whether oral or written, you will most likely be in trouble with us. Although we are not commissioned to enforce laws, I do enforce who I list and that is my right and authority as owner of this site.

SUMMARY
Although Notaries only get in trouble for not administering an Oath once in a blue moon, it is illegal not to fulfill your duties as a Notary Public, and it only takes minutes to read up on when and how to administer Oaths. There is no reason for this type of blatant negligence and criminal behavior. So, please become an expert at administering Oaths. Your first step should be to read your state handbook and see what they say about Oaths. They probably do not do a complete job of teaching it which is part of the problem. The NNA and 123notary have materials as well, and you could consult an Attorney. Although Oath procedure is not taught properly by the states (not even California) you are still legally required to give Oaths and give logical and correct sounding Oaths.

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You might also like:

Should you use book wording for Oaths or improvise?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19660

Airline meals verses Notary Oaths & Affirmations
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19549

Oaths – How Notaries completely screw them up!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19369

Oaths and the art if improvisation
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19367

Notary Public 101 – Oaths, Affirmations, Jurats & Acknowledgments
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19500

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December 6, 2018

Jurat – Definition

A Jurat is a Notary act where the signer or affiant must sign and swear (or affirm), both in the presence of the Notary Public. The signer gets to choose whether they wish to swear under God under Oath or affirm on their honor — both acts are done under the penalty of perjury.

Jurats are the second most common Notary act next to Acknowledgments.

There is no prescribed Oath verbiage, however, the word swear should be used, and there should be a reference to the truthfulness of the document. The Notary could have the affiant raise their right hand and ask, “Do you solemnly swear under God and under the penalty of perjury that this document is true and correct to the best of your knowledge?”

A Jurat also requires a Jurat certificate. And the certificate must confirm to state specific rules and have state specific verbiage. Verbiage differs from state to state, but the language, “Subscribed and sworn to before me by (name) on (date)” is common.

Related Links

Jurat wording step by step
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=7875

What is a Jurat?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=6937

Notary verbiage for Jurats
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2088

Notary Public Information
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20075

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Keywords
How do I fill out a jurat
How do I fill out a jurat form
2018 california jurat
2019 california jurat
Jurat forms, how to fill them out
A loose acknowledgment or jurat
Jurat certificate
Attaching a jurat
Jurat and Oath
Jurat wording
Credible witness jurat
California jurat sample
Can one jurat cover multiple documents?
Can a jurat be attached to a grant deed?
Do you need a thumbprint on a jurat?
Does signer need to sign a jurat?
Fixing error on a notary jurat
Example of jurat

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October 5, 2018

Index of posts about Notary Acts

Here is my index of posts about various Notary acts including Acknowledgments, Jurats, Oaths, Affirmations, and more.

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GENERALLY BEST ARTICLES

Notary Public 101 — Basic Notary Acts
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19500

Oaths — how notaries completely screw them up
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19369

Airline meals versus Oaths & Affirmations (very interesting and informative)
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19549

How do I get an Apostille or Authentication?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1793

Notary Public 101 — quick review pointers (includes notary act info)
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19679

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AFFIRMATIONS & OATHS

Affirmations — pleasing politically correct people while offending everyone else
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19606

Should you use book wording for Oaths or improvise?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19660

Oaths and the art of improvisation
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19367

Notary perjury and Oaths
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=6917

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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

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

California Acknowledgment Wording explained
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8459

Optional information on Acknowledgment Certificate
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4407

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OTHER

Interesting and uncommon Notary acts
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=483

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

Which Notary act does not require the personal appearance of the signer?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19668

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September 11, 2018

Logic errors can cost you as a Notary

Many of the mistakes that Notaries make are logic errors. Not being a logical person, or having a low IQ are dangerous in the Notary profession. I believe that state Notary divisions should require an IQ of 95 minimum simply because the misapplication of rules often happens because of incompetent or sloppy thinking. Additionally, not being meticulous can really cost you and your clients as a Notary. Missing items on forms, or missing items when you check forms can lead to court cases. One wrong number or one missing initial can ruin a loan. It is not safe being a Notary unless you are a very cautious and logical person. Let me elaborate how an illogical Notary can get in trouble.

1. Additional Information Sections in Loose Acknowledgements.
The illogical notary says, “This is not legally required, therefore I will not fill it out.” Unfortunately, a fraud can switch the acknowledgment from the document it was supposed to be on to another document signed by the same person which was not “notarized” and get away with it. The reason being that the Loose Acknowledgment was not labeled as to which document it belonged to.

The optional additional information section goes over the document name, document date, number of pages, other signers, capacities, and perhaps more. With all of that specific information, it would make it difficult but not impossible to find another similar document to swap the certificate to. If you want to be even more cautious like me, get a secondary embosser seal that leaves a raised impression and emboss all of the pages in everything you notarize. Then, if someone swaps pages or an Acknowledgment, it would be easy to catch the fraudulent act.

2. Not stapling forms together
If you do not affix, attach, or staple an Acknowledgment form to a document, or if you do not staple the document together, it is easy to swap pages after the notarization is complete. Swapping pages is illegal and unethical and dangerous, so you want to prevent this from happening. In California, not stapling Acknowledgments to documents is also illegal. An illogical person would not see the necessity of stapling forms as they do not bother to think of the reason why they should be doing it and what can go wrong if they don’t. Yet another reason why illogical people should not be Notaries.

3. The John Smith Dilemma
When I ask dumb Notaries this question, they normally get it wrong which is dangerous as you can end up in court for screwing this up regularly.

If the ID says John Smith, but the signature on the document says John W Smith, would it be prudent to notarize the signature under the circumstances.

The most common answers include:
You can always over sign — this is a title rule and not a legal rule. The legal rule is that you must prove a signer’s name/identity in order to notarize them. The meaning of “you can always over sign” means that if the name inscribed in the signature section of a document says John Smith, but the signer wants to sign John W Smith, that Title will not mind. Although in real life that is a matter of preference and Title might mind.
Just ask for another ID — once again, another illogical answer. Of course you can always ask for another ID, but in this circumstance there is no other ID. Having a second ID would be a different circumstance, and not the one mentioned. Additionally, in a yes/no question, you need to give a yes/no answer otherwise you are not being logical and also not proving you know the answer to the question which is NO.
The longer not shorter rule — this is not a rule and can easily be reversed. Never memorize a rule that can be reversed. The ID can be matching but longer than the name notarized. But, the ID cannot just be longer. The signature notarized can never be longer than the ID if you follow prudent procedure although some states have wishy-washy identification rules and might allow this.

My logical answer is that the ID must prove the name you are going to notarize the signer under. The ID can be matching but longer than the signature on the document, but not unmatching or shorter.

4. Understanding basic notary acts
You could get in trouble for not understanding basic notary acts. If a client asks if you can notarize an Acknowledgment when they ALREADY signed the document, most Notaries would say no. However, almost all states do not require the signer to sign in the presence of the Notary, but only to Acknowledge in the presence of the Notary — a distinction an illogical person often cannot make. So, by not understanding the rules, you will deny a valid request for notarization which is by definition — illegal. Many Notaries deny legal requests all day long and then accept illegal requests because they are completely ignorant of Notary law and procedure which describes most of the Notaries on our site which is appalling.

5. Omitting or scrambling required Oaths & Affirmations
The illogical Notary doesn’t realize that Oaths are administered in all states by Notaries and that they are required for Jurats. The illogical Notary makes the following mistakes.

Omitting the Oath / Affirmation — It can be considered a felony of perjury to omit an Oath when you filled out a paper stating that an Oath was taken. Yet many Notaries are completely unaware that they need to administer Oaths and don’t even care until they get busted and have their commission revoked which doesn’t happen very often.
Giving an Affirmation instead of an Oath — Many Notaries who were asked to give an Oath used the word affirm because they don’t like the idea of swearing. That constitutes choosing the Notary act for the signer which is not allowed. The signer decides if they want an Oath or Affirmation, so you should probably ask if the law allows for either or.
Giving an Oath as to the identity of the signer — if you are giving an Oath about a document, having the signer swear their name is John Smith does not constitute an Oath about the document unless the document says, “My name is John Smith.” An Oath is incomplete or not administered unless it is topical to the subject matter. An Oath for a document should be regarding the truthfulness of the document.
Giving an Oath regarding that the signer signed the document — once again, by law a Jurat signature must be signed in the presence of the Notary, and the Oath should be about the truthfulness of the document and not whether they signed it.
Unique state laws — if your state requires more than just swearing that the document is correct, then by all means, fulfill your state requirements which we know nothing about here at 123notary. However, if you fulfill the other state requirements, but don’t administer an Oath regarding the truthfulness of the document and I caught you as a judge or notary division worker — your commission would be revoked on the first offense as that is perjury and undermines the integrity of the Notary profession and society.

In short, being illogical as a Notary can not only cost Title companies thousands and get you fired, or sued. Being illogical as a Notary can even get you jail sentence of up to five years for perjury which is a federal law which has no regard to the particular laws of your particular state. So, learn to be a correct Notary and keep in touch with your Notary division so you don’t goof on anything.

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You might also like:

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

Oaths — how Notaries completely screw them up!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19369

The grace period after your signing
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19465

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

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