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March 21, 2017

When to refuse a notarization: a comprehensive guide

Most clients you have will have legal requests, but from time to time, there will be someone who wants you to bend the law, or someone who doesn’t understand proper protocol. Here is how to handle the difficult requests.

Situations where a signer is not appropriate to notarize
(1) If you cannot prove the signer’s identity with satisfactory evidence. Some states allow personal knowledge of the signer, so please study your state rules. Satisfactory evidence normally involves current, or near current driver’s licenses, passports, or other government issued ID. Each state has different variations on what is acceptable, so know your state rules!

(2) If the signer doesn’t appear before you.
This means that they should be a few feet from you and fully visible.

(3) If you cannot communicate directly with the signer.
This means that the signer needs to speak the same language that you speak. If you speak the signer’s language as a second language, but don’t know it well enough to understand all of the communication necessary to give instructions and answer questions regarding the notarization, then you should decline.

(4) If the signer refuses to swear under Oath if an Oath is required as part of the notarization.

(5) If the signer is being coerced to sign or pressured to sign.

(6) If the signer is drugged (perhaps in a nursing home or hospital,) confused, or disoriented. If they can’t answer basic questions about the document, they are not in a clear enough mental state to sign.

(7) If the journal entry requires a thumbprint by law and the signer refuses to furnish you with one.

(8) If the signer refuses to pay the Notary fee

(9) If the signer is so incapacitated that they cannot sign their own signature.

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Situations where the document is not satisfactory

(1) If there are blanks, or omitted pages in the document.

(2) The document lacks a notary certificate and the signer refuses to tell you which type of notary act they need done.

(3) The document is a vital record, or a type of document that may not be notarized or be copy certified.

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Situations where the Notary cannot notarize due to conflict of interest

(1) If the signer is your parent, spouse, child, or other close family member. It might be okay to notarize for cousins and more distant relatives although it is generally better to avoid notarizing anything important for a family member due to conflict of interest.

(2) If you are named as a beneficiary in a document or have any type of financial interest in the document being signed.

(3) If you are the signer of the document, you may not notarize your own signature (contradictory to popular belief.)

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I created this blog because of a discussion I had with a Notary who went to another Notary at a UPS store to get notarized. The Notary refuseed to notarize because the signer (also a Notary) refused to be thumbprinted. I had to look this up. California state law did not discuss the issue, but did say it was illegal for a Notary to refuse service. I researched what NNA had to say about this issue and they concured with California in an article about when to say no. In any case, I hope this article was helpful.

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Just say no #3
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September 10, 2019

Guide to Recognizing Elder Abuse and Knowing Your Rights

Filed under: Other Guest Bloggers — admin @ 11:02 pm

According to statistics, one in ten elders worldwide experiences a form of monthly abuse. However, given that only one in 24 cases is reported, we can expect the figures to be higher.

In this respect, it is important that we know how to recognize elder abuse – no matter if we are sons, daughters, or even elders, as well as our rights and how to apply them. Naturally, one of the first steps we have to do is request the help of a nursing home abuse attorney, so that we can find out more about how we can protect ourselves and our loved ones.

Let’s see how you can recognize elder abuse, and which of your rights you can apply to such circumstances.

Symptoms of Elder Abuse
Many times, professionals miss the signs and symptoms related to elder abuse, mainly because they are very similar to the symptoms of deteriorating mental health.
Still, keep in mind that one’s ability to recognize elder abuse is paramount for prompt intervention, as well as to reduce the impact that the abusive actions had on the person’s physical and psychological well-being.
Obviously, symptoms of elder abuse can be divided into behavioral and physical. Here are some of the signs that will point you to discover if a certain elder is being abused:

Bruises – these usually come in regular patterns or clusters.
Black eyes and welts.
Evidence of lack of medication or even overdoses of medication.
Verbal report – some elders may even report their abuse.
Depression, anger, anxiety, fear, and nervousness.
Avoiding eye contact.
Getting startled easily or even cringing; their eyes may also dart.
Sudden apathy.
Withdrawal behavior.

In some cases, the person responsible for the care of the elder may not allow any visitors to be alone with the elder, or refuse them entirely.

Naturally, these were only a few of the symptoms that should make you take action. Keep in mind that there are physical abuse signs, emotional abuse signs, sexual abuse signs, neglect or self-neglect signs, financial exploitation signs, healthcare abuse, or fraud signs.

Knowing Your Rights
Always remember that every state comes with an Adult Protective Services law that you can rely on. This law helps adults with disabilities and older adults who need assistance, as a result of abuse.
Moreover, there’s also the Administration on Aging, whose purpose is the empowerment of older persons to remain safe within their communities, healthy, and independent.
Among the aforementioned, you can always rely on the National Center of Law and Elder Rights, Legal Services for the Elderly, which provides older people with legal assistance nationwide, as well as the Office of Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs, which operate in all states.
In short, you could say that you don’t even need extensive knowledge of your rights. If you or your loved one has been abused, there are more than enough laws and associations and support groups to help you deal with this issue.

The Bottom Line
As soon as you notice elder abuse, you must act! Doing so will not only keep your loved one healthy, but will also make sure that the ones responsible will be held responsible in court for their actions.

Even though the elder is in a nursing home, they must be protected from abuse at all costs. This is the same as with children in kindergarten, or employees within their workspace.

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August 31, 2019

Travel fees if nothing gets signed

Filed under: Notary Fees & Pricing — admin @ 10:55 pm

It is common for Notaries to go to a job where the signer refuses to sign, or the job gets cancelled. What can the Notary charge for a travel fee since he/she/they didn’t “do” anything? The answer is that the most important aspect of this issue is not what you charge but what you explain over the phone. The client/signer needs to be painfully (the more pain the better) aware that the notary’s schedule is not for free and that they have to pay x amount of dollars even if nothing gets done as well as waiting time.

It is a generally prudent policy to get travel fees in cash at the door upon arrival before seeing the signer. This is because you need to be able to be impartial and have no beneficial or financial interest in a document being signed. If your $50 travel fees is contingent on Sammy signing the Affidavit, you will be tempted to notarize it even if the ID doesn’t match completely. As a Notary, you need to not be tempted to wiggle on state notary rules, and having your travel fee in your pocket puts the power and integrity back in your pocket. It’s hard to be integrous when money is at stake.

If someone gives you $40 travel fee which includes the first 20 minutes waiting time, and then keeps you waiting more than that, since you have the $40 in your pocket, you can demand cash for the next twenty minutes or threaten to walk. People will string you along in this line of work so it is important to keep the upper hand, or as Mrs. Meao likes to say — the upper paw!

The bottom line is that communication of signing fees over the phone before the signing is the most important solution to the travel fee issue. Fail to communicate — you might not get paid at all. So, communicate not only what the client will have to pay, but terms and conditions for what gets paid when and how much. Also, be careful with checks. Signers who cancel jobs sometimes bounce checks or stop payment. It happened to me after a very time consuming jail job. I bet Mrs. Meao would have something to say about that!

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See our “fees” category
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August 24, 2019

Inappropriate things you could do at a signing

Filed under: Humorous Posts — admin @ 10:49 pm

Here is a list of inappropriate things you could do at a signing.

1. Visit the other rooms of the signer’s house and make comments.

2. Park in their driveway without permission.

3. Flirt with the borrower’s wife.

4. Ask the signers to hurry up and sign a little faster.

5. Watch youtube on your iphone during the signing and laugh loudly.

6. Call your girlfriend / boyfriend during the signing multiple times.

7. Dress as you would dress going to the beach or going to a nightclub.

8. Comment loudly on the borrower’s rate — “Oh my god you’re paying 5.3%?”

9. Fall asleep at the signing table.

10. Refuse to leave once the signing is finished!

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August 23, 2019

More on bad boy Notaries

Filed under: Humorous Posts — admin @ 10:49 pm

I wrote a blog article about the difference between bad boy Notaries and “nice” Notaries. It seems that “nice” Notaries are basically not nice at all, but a bunch of losers who want to attain other’s positive opinion and never assert themselves. The intrinsic meaning of “nice” means that you care for others which is very different from caring about how others think of you which is selfish in a lame sort of a way.

Here are some more things a bad boy Notary could do.

1. The “nice” guy Notary arrives in his Toyota Corolla or Honda, parks on the street even if he has to walk three blocks.
The bad boy Notary arrives at the signing driving a Harley. Of course, if the Harley was really noisy that would add to the bad boy appeal.

2. The ‘nice” guy Notary read copious reviews on buying the most sensible laser printer on the market, yet ends up with one that is broken half the time and works at the speed of a snail because his budget was too small. The bad boy Notary invests in a mega printer that spits out 40 pages per minute (on a bad minute) and never breaks, and also has a three year guarantee. When the bad boy Notary introduces his printer he says, and I quote, “check out this bad boy.”

3. The “nice” guy Notary neatly stacks the blank pages (if any) in the stack of loan documents. The bad boy Notary
makes spitballs out of the blank pages in the stack of loan documents, or makes paper airplanes. Japanese bad boys prefer to do origami with the blank pages and show off their Yakuza tattoos and explain the story of each tattoo. The bad boy notary could also play hang man with customers using blank pages (and even hang them if they lose.)

4. The “nice” guy Notary refuses to answer phone calls during the signing because he feels it might upset the client. The bad boy Notary realizes that he will miss his next job assignment as well as tomorrow’s job assignments if he misses phone calls, texts and emails, so he is watching them like a hawk. Moreover, he is concerned that his various lady friends might call while at the signing and he definitely doesn’t want to miss their calls.

5. The “nice” guy Notary explains to the borrower why page three on the 1003 is left blank and then gets funny looks. The bad boy Notary plays tic tac toe with the customer using page three of the 1003. Sounds kind of lame, but is a way to use the page that says, “this page intentionally left blank.”

6. The “nice” guy Notary invests big bucks going to all of the NNA conferences, learns some, and makes a handful of connections that he could have made by making a few phone calls. The bad boy Notary reads Jeremy’s blog and masters the materials in the free courses, gets a few mentors by networking with Jeremy, Carmen and the other more experienced people in the industry, AND, writes sarcastic and mildly inappropriate responses to Jeremy’s blogs… (hmmm, sounds like Ken.)

7. The “nice” guy Notary let’s his customers rack up a huge bill without complaining. After all, he is afraid that they will stop sending business his way. The bad boy Notary has a credit limit with customers which he expects them to honor. If the don’t he will cancel a job at the last minute and send a text saying, “Paypal what you owe me or find another Notary, punk!” Ouch! Once again, sounds a little like Ken, except Ken asks to be paid up front as a standard business practice. I wonder if Ken wears a leather jacket? Ken also doesn’t call people punks… he calls them turkeys instead. (gobble gobble.)

8. The “nice” guy Notary wants to attracts any client he can and is afraid to lose any client. The bad boy Notary realizes that there are some people with more time than money, and others with more money and less time — he prefers the latter and charges them appropriately. If the client is not in a position to pay big and pay fast, bad boy Notary doesn’t have a use for them.

9. The “nice” guy Notary carries pepper spray in the car just in case. Better safe than sorry. The bad boy Notary carries pepper spray in the car, on his person, a gun, has a knife collection and a club. After all, you never know what is coming. Additionally, bad boy Notary always sits closest to the door not because he is afraid — he is just thinking ahead of the game just in case something happens. You always have to have an escape plan.

10. The “nice” guy Notary always brags that he knows what he is doing and talks endlessly about his “experience.” The bad boy Notary is certified five times over and keeps his cool when talking to clients. He answers questions the way they were ask, and doesn’t try to insert little self-promoting statements into the conversation when unnecessary. He figures if someone wants to know about his background in Escrow or the 10,000 loans he signed (or claims to have signed) they will ask. He plays it cool and gets the job, because he is very professional and not at all annoying contrary to the “nice” Notary who falls on his face trying to do a snow job or smoke screen.

So, there you have it. Nice guys finish last not because they are nice, but because they are lame and unprepared, not to mention stupid. Stay ahead of the game and be a bad boy Notary. But, perhaps without the Harley as that pointer is not that critical. However the Harley jacket has been scientifically proven to attract babes.

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August 1, 2019

Notarizing a Won’t

Filed under: Humorous Posts — admin @ 7:53 am

Have you ever notarized a Will? Well what about a Won’t? It is generally advised that you get written instructions for notarizing a Will as there might be negative side effects from doing so. However, what about a Won’t? What is a Won’t, and why would you (or wouldn’t you) sign one?

A Won’t
A Won’t is a document that says what you are unwilling to do. It is a favorite of cleaning ladies who say that they don’t do windows or that they Won’t do windows. Then there are hotel staff who won’t clean rooms and then wonder why their salary is a lot lower since the owner has to come at 2am to clean rooms as there is nobody on staff at that hour who can do it. And then there are Notaries who cannot and will not study to learn to be a better Notary since they think they already know it all. There are many reasons why you might sign a Won’t. But, this is what happened when one of our Notaries on file was at a Won’t signing.

NOTARY: Won’t you sign this Won’t for us?

SIGNER: Where do I sign, or should I say, where do I refuse to sign?

NOTARY: Right here.

SIGNER: Glad to know. Because after that I’m going to a Wedding where someone is waiting to say, “I don’t”

NOTARY: What’s the point?

SIGNER: It’s kind of a Seinfeldian “Un-wedding.”

NOTARY: With this ring I thee un-wed…, that kind of a thing.

SIGNER: You’re catching on man.

NOTARY: So, will you sign the Won’t right here?

SIGNER: Oh, do I owe you a travel fee.

NOTARY: $40 plus zero signatures at a rate of $15 per signature.

SIGNER: That sounds very reasonable. Here you go. Spend it wisely.

NOTARY: I mean I will, I mean I won’t…

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July 12, 2019

Why are the fees offered to us so low you ask?

Filed under: Carmen Towles — admin @ 3:15 am

Why are the fees offered to us so low?
….because many of you keep taking them. Some folks are new to the profession and don’t know any better. They want to get experience at any cost. Others know better but take them because they are desperate and can’t seem to find better paying work. Whatever camp you fall in you should not be taking low fees. Why? Because it hurts all of us!

Let me give you some history on our profession. Years ago, it use to matter to signing services/companies who they used. There use to be oral and/or written tests given before they would hire you. And with the exception of a few they paid better and more timely. But those days are behind us. Most of them don’t seem really to care. They are looking for the most green, inexperienced notary so they can maximize THEIR profits. Most title and escrow pay anywhere from 150 to 300 per signing and the signing services know this even if you don’t. The money is allocated from borrowers closing fees and the (title/escrow) typically aren’t paying it out of their title/escrow fees, they are charging it the borrowers. So signings don’t cost them anything for the most part. (there are exceptions to this but no need to get into that now, that’s for another blog). 🙂

Many of you ask me why they use signing services in the first place. Bottom line is they use them for convenience. It is easier to just give the service the assignment and let them find a notary. It frees them up and saves them an enormous amount of time to follow lender instructions and make sure all conditions are met so they can close. But over the years as things have slowed up and due to many notary errors many have abandoned signing services altogether. So contrary to what many folks think many of them do still use notaries directly. But the notary signing professions is still over run with companies that are just out to maximize their profits. And this is our fault.

I had a notary just call in the other day and told me that she was offered a sellers package from a signing service for 20.00. (you know they were receiving WAY more than that) 20.00 dollars people! Unbelievable. Just take a moment and let that sink in. That paltry fee is not even worth starting your car up for. Here in Callie we get 15.00 per signature and then if you have to print (god only knows how many pages) and then take them to FedEx or UPS to ship them back, it is just not worth the time, energy or paper.

Now the saddest and worst part about this situation is probably not the ridiculously low fee of 20.00 being offered, it is the fact that although the notary speaking with me refused, we know somebody will/or did accept it. For those of you that have followed my blogs and or spoken with me, I predicted long ago that as long as there are notaries that take low fees, they would persist and they would eventually get lower and lower. That day has come. I too was just recently offered 65.00 to go to a place that is about 40 minutes from me. There were 2 copies needed to be printed, signed and dropped all at FedEx or UPS all for for 65.00. I would never accept such an assignment, even if I were desperate.

I know that a lot of folks don’t really understand this business and the learning curve is quite high. I also know that other notaries once they start to figure things out they don’t share information on pricing/fees. But we need to work together. We need to educate each other that fees need to be fair and reasonable. We are all in this to make a profit. And you can’t make a profit if others are making/taking the majority of the money (signing services) and you are undercutting one another just to say you had some work.

Remember, the goal is to work direct! Marketing and advertising is key to your success in reaching those title and escrow that have had it with signing services. It is time to works smart not hard. Know your worth.

Just some food for thought…

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May 20, 2019

Are you a residence or a business owner?

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 11:05 am

Many of you Notaries behave more like a residence than a business owner. It is not very professional. When I call you I get a “hello?” and not a “Sampson signings, Judy speaking.” I am not the only one who cares about professionalism. The other thing is that if you are eating dinner you often refuse to talk. If you are a business forget about dinner and focus on the task at hand. Do you complain that people call you on a Sunday? That means you think of yourself as a residence. If you get mad when people call you after 9pm that means you think of your operation as a residence.

The fact is that whether you are registered or not, since you take money for offering a service, or are offering to do so, technically you could be legally construed as a business. So, get registered to keep it legal and start thinking of your self as a business. Maybe then you will start acting like a business.

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May 16, 2019

Notary Quiz of the day

Filed under: Humorous Posts — admin @ 11:30 am

Notaries hate being tested, but love reading Notary tests on blog entries for some reason. I’ll have to ask my psychic why that is. Maybe it is because they are not on the spot with this. Here is a fun quiz of the day.

1. Notaries notarize
(a) Documents
(b) People
(c) Signatures
(d) Signatures on Documents
(e) People’s signatures on documents.

2. Initials. If you initial a change on a loan document, where should the initial go?
(a) To the right of the crossed out text
(b) To the left of the crossed out test
(c) Above the crossed out text
(d) Anywhere around the crossed out text
(e) Below the crossed out text to the right.

The processor I used to work for did not want me to cross out the text, but initial below the text and below the right end of the text. The processing dept. would do the rest according to good old Emily. I wonder how she is.

3. What is the difference between a conflict of interest, interest, financial interest, and beneficial interest? This reminds me of the joke about the Mortgage Broker who left the industry in 2008 because he lost interest.

4. A Notary was asked to notarize a document with no signature line. What should the notary do?
(a) Ask the borrower to write in a signature line.
(b) Tell the borrower that he cannot notarize the document without a signature and signature line.
(c) Write in the signature line himself.
(d) Refuse to notarize the document.
(e) Call Carmen at 123notary and ask for help.

5. A Notary does a job for an old lady at a hospital notarizing a document. The notary asked the lady if she understood the document and she said yes. Two months later all parties were in court because the lady did not understand what she had signed. What should the notary have done?
(a) Ask the lady to paraphrase the document.
(b) Tell the lady how he went to the white house to visit President Johnson and see how she reacts.
(c) Stick to jail signings — they might be criminals, but at least they are in their right mind (whatever that means.)
(d) Start a conversation about current events to do a “reality test.”

6. A Notary was asked to notarize at the peace process. The Palestinians said you can’t have peace without a process. The Israelis said you can’t have peace without security. The Notary said you can’t have a notarization without a signature. After a long discussion, the Palestinians wanted to be acknowledged twice for one signature, Since the Israelis wouldn’t acknowledge the existence of their people, at least a Notary could acknowledge their signature twice to compensate. What is wrong with this picture?

(a) The Palestinians wanted to trade one Israeli signatures they had captive for two hundred Palestinian signatures as a peace initiative.
(b) The signer is the only one who can acknowledge a signature, not a Notary.
(c) An Israeli Notary will not acknowledge a Palestinian signature until they acknowledge the State of Israel’s signature.
(d) Yes, a single signature can be acknowledged multiple times, but it is the signer who does the acknowledging.

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May 11, 2019

A new category in the Notary census

Filed under: Humorous Posts — admin @ 11:13 am

The traditional categories on Notary census counts for race would be non-hispanic-white, hispanic white, non-hispanic white, black or “african-american”, hispanic, asian or pacific islander, etc. But, now due to the cultural divide in the United States, there is a huge divide between those who are white, and those who are “huwight.” And I assure you that those who identify as being hwite or huwight are not hispanic… although these days you never know, especially in remote parts of Texas (yee-haw…)

If you live in a large urban center, say politically correct things and enjoy having sushi on the weekends, you are white.

But, if you drive a pick up, listen to country music, vote republican, and have a selection of sawed off shot guns and rifles bolted to the back window of your pick up truck, it is more likely (although sometimes it can be ambiguous) that you are definitely “huwight.” If you refuse to notarize on Sundays, you are definitely huwite. If you take offense when someone calls you while you are having dinner or after 7:45 in the evening or if you are at a baseball game (how is the caller supposed to know?) then you are most certainly huwite.

If your family escaped from Fidel Castro, or the political tyranny of Argentina, you look Anglo, but racially identify only with brown skinned races for cultural reasons, first of all you fail to understand the difference between culture and race, and secondly… you are white… hispanic white. But, racially hispanic white is still just white with a slightly different accent and cultural heritage. The DNA still matches despite all of your inane and illogical claims of being a different race (this one is for my chiropractor.)

If you are Cuban, Republican and living in Florida (running for policical or notorial office), and are confused about how to identify yourself on the Notary census form. Just take this simple test. Which statement sounds more like something you would say?

1. My grandparents were hard working immigrants who played by the rules and did their best to learn the language and fit in.
2. I’ve noticed that the Chinese pot sticker dumplings are a lot more flavorful up in Dallas than this rinky dinky town we live in down here.
3. What did you say about my daddy?

If you picked one, then your name is Marco Rubio, you play by the rules, most people like you, and you are likely to be our nation’s next leader, and you will probably declare “arroz con pollo” to be our next national dish to please your Cuban grandparents. And I’m cool with that providing you don’t over do the garlic.

All right folks, that about sums it up!

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