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May 4, 2020

Notary in Texas gives permission for someone to forge her signature?

Filed under: Technical & Legal — admin @ 9:38 am

I am reading an interesting article that states that an eNotary in Texas offered permission for another individual to forge her signature on an electronically filed Affidavit in Support of Defendant’s Motion for New Trial document. An email was the proof that the notary authorized permission to conduct this act of fraud. I wonder if there was an eJournal entry as evidence in this case too. Read the entire story below.

https://www.lmtonline.com/local/crime/article/Court-records-shed-light-on-Texas-Rangers-raid-15107655.php

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April 30, 2020

Does a signature need a signature line?

Filed under: Technical & Legal — admin @ 9:35 am

Does a signature require a signature line? Does a car need a road? Does a taco need a plate (or banana leaf?)

This question opens up a can of worms, especially since many signatures resemble worms. A signature does not require a signature line. But, it is customary to have a signature line that you sign upon. Many Notaries might be tempted to draw in a line in their own handwriting if there is no signature line on a document that needs to be notarized. Is this practicing law to alter a legal document? Or is the alteration such that it does not compromise the content or character of the document in any meaningful way? These are questions for an Attorney and I cannot answer them myself.

I have seen a particular document show up in many loan packages. It says, “This form must be notarized.” However, there is never any notary wording, or a signature line on the document. So, I would add an Acknowledgment form and have the person sign the document. If the borrower wanted to draw a signature line that is better – that way they are doing the tampering and not you.

A document that lacks a signature line is definitely unprofessional and not well thought out. But, technically, a document doesn’t require a signature line, strange or “misaligned” as that might sound.

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December 25, 2019

An alleged Notary forges a signature in Hawaii

An alleged Notary forged Puana’s name. Puana, a Hawaii resident and Notary, as relative of the victem named Kealoha was investigated by forensic experts to determine who signed the name. An alleged Alison Lee Wong was determined to have forged the signature, however, it was later found that there is no such person.

A person named Kealoha who was a former deputy prosecutor stated that her mailbox had been stolen, and that was the damage of this forgery case according to the news article that I am linking to below.

https://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/2019/06/08/hawaii-news/kealoha-corruption-trial-focuses-on-alleged-fake-notary/

This is a very odd and convoluted story. I hope you enjoy the link and can figure this one out! Aloha!

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A forged notary seal ends someone with a prison sentence
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21355

I was forged (Ken’s experience)
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=13659

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August 17, 2019

The Signature Name Affidavit: what is it and its purpose…

I am posed with questions concerning this document quite often. So let me tell what it is and what it isn’t. For those of you that are unfamiliar; this document is one of the documents found in 95% of all of loan packages.

The signature name affidavit represent names that have appeared on an individuals credit report(s). When a person applies for a loan, the lender runs a persons credit using all 3 of the credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax). These reports will usually include all of the names an individual has used in their lifetime; examples would be; marriages, maiden and name given at birth. The signers are required by the lender to sign the form and the form typically needs to be notarized.

At other times there will be clerical errors consisting of misspelled names and occasionally where the names are quite different. Sometimes in the case of the latter the signers will have an objection to signing the form and one can hardly blame them. So, if the signers have an objection to signing a name that is not their own, I have them strike it and initial. To date that has been acceptable and I haven’t had a document returned because of this action. (I suggest however, that you always bring this to the attention the company (or person) that hired you while-at the signing table if it is an issue. Never take matters into your own hands. ALWAYS ask).

There will be other times when the ID doesn’t match the documents exactly; say for example, a middle name is missing or the maiden was used previously and now they are married but they have no ID with these variations, you may be asked to add this name variation to the signature name affidavit in lieu of having ID. This is a big NO.NO. We must have current government issued picture ID. (or credible witnesses if they are allowed in your state). You CANNOT add names to the signature name affidavit that you DON’T have ID for. This is fraud and you will be on BIG trouble, if it ever comes up in an investigation or court case. I hear notary excuses; “But Carmen, they swore to me that that was their name.” Not good enough. Just imagine how this would appear to law enforcement or a judge. You must protect yourself and the signer. If you unfortunately find yourself in this situation always ask the signers if they have other acceptable ID that has all their names on it or use credible witness if allowed.

Now, I have actually added names to the signature name affidavit that I had ID for, but that is another blog story. 🙂

Until next time, be safe!

You might also like:

What constitutes a signature?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22173

The Signature Name Affidavit
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16298

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May 30, 2019

What defines what a signature is?

Filed under: Technical & Legal — Tags: — admin @ 10:44 am

I never stopped to think about this until today. What defines a signature? A signature is a type of a mark that is systemically used by a particular individual to identify themselves by name on a document. It is normally a cursive version of their name (do they still teach cursive to the youngins these days?) Some people might print their name in a unique way. Some disabled people might do a signature by x with some subscribing witness. Someone signed using Chinese characters with me as their Notary. And then there are the doctor scribble type signatures too. All of these are acceptable as signatures.

But, how do you know this is their genuine mark? Just check their drivers license and make sure the signature matches up. Sometimes signatures evolve as a person gets older. But the basic stroke style should be about the same. If it doesn’t match up, then you might be at risk notarizing that signature. The signature in Chinese characters I was a little apprehensive or as the Chinese say, “Zhao-ji” about, but I checked the ID and it matched.

In the old days in America, the upper class used to seal deals actually using seals, which is where the expression seems to have come from. They used candle was and a stamp of some sort to seal their business deals on pieces of paper. I saw that in a movie when someone sold a slave.

And in China some people use a square and very intricate seal with four characters on it sometimes written in their antiquated form. They are very beautiful and you can look them up online under the term, “traditional Chinese seal” and then look up images. They could be made from marble or wood, or many types of materials I guess.

But, once I notarized a movie producer from Israel. His signature was some sort of a line with a hook and a dot. He claims he signed million dollar deals with that signature. The only thing I had to say to him was, “You call that a signature?”

You might also like:

Can you notarize a signature in Chinese characters?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18784

The signature name affidavit — what is its purpose?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22541

Bikers on boats — Notaries heisting signatures
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21160

What if the signature or notarization is in the middle of the document?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20525

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December 11, 2018

What if the signature or notarization is in the middle of the document?

Most times you go to a Notary job, the certificate wording is at the end of the document. But, sometimes one document might have two certificates. There might be a signature in the middle of the document, or perhaps multiple signatures in the document. It might be confusing to know which one you are notarizing. You really need to document this in your journal and on the Acknowledgment form so there is no doubt after the fact as to what you notarized and which signature you notarized.

Just remember that you notarize signatures. You do not notarize people or documents although in spoken language we speak as if we are notarizing people and documents.

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Notary Public 101 – Journals
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19511

A coerced signature
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19457

Get the special jobs
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19106

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October 16, 2018

A guide to notarizing documents with blanks or multiple signatures

Filed under: Technical & Legal — admin @ 1:04 am

Don’t notarize documents with blanks!!!
That’s the end to the guide!

Dealing with Blanks
However, the main thing to understand is that as a Notary, you have many responsibilities. You have to identify people, keep a journal, staple things together, give Oaths, fill out certificates. You are so busy, that you might not have time to scan a document for blanks. But, you need to scan every single page.

If you spot a blank, you can put a diagonal or horizontal line through it. The main thing is to make sure that no new information is added to the document after the notarization.

You can also refuse to notarize and make the signer or document custodian complete the document before submitting it to the Notary.

Notarizing Individual Pages (or not)
Additionally you cannot notarize particular pages of a document separate from the document. Sometimes a particular page needs to be fixed or changed in a document and you might get a request to notarize just that page. You simply notarize the entire document as a whole.

Multiple Signatures
However, sometimes you get a document such as a health directive which has multiple notarizations within a very long document. I have seen health directives or living wills with fifty or more pages. Sometimes at a notarization you are notarizing signatures in the middle of the document as well as at the end of the document when the certificate is at the end of the document. I have also seen cases where there are multiple signatures in the middle of a document and a certificate in the middle of the document. This is confusing. Affidavit of Support forms have Jurats in the middle of the form too, and not enough room for your stamp (dumb government workers.)

The 1003 is a great example of a document with an entire page intentionally left blank. But, that is a signed document, not a notarized document.

The main point of this quick article is to remind you that you have to scan documents for blanks.

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Cross out and initial, or use a fresh form?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19933

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

Five things a Notary must do
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19583

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August 26, 2018

Are you practicing law by drawing a signature line?

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 11:14 am

Are you practicing law by drawing a signature line?

As usual my opening ambiguous answer: it depends. Depends on what you are probably thinking. Well IMHO it depends on where that line is to be drawn. I view items to be notarized as consisting of two sections. The document and the notary section, the former is outside of my “sphere of influence. Conversely, the notary section is my domain exclusively.

I have a simple policy regarding the document area, I don’t touch it, nada; not at all. If a correction is to be made in the document, the affiant(s) make it, and they initial it. That rule applies to additions, changes and redactions. Often I have been requested to change something in the document section; I request that in writing. Then, the instructions are passed to the affiant(s) as “requested” modifications; with the source of the request explicitly shown.

Of course if the signature line where I as the notary should sign is missing I, using a credit card as a straight edge, draw it in. Not so for the document itself, that is a job for the affiant(s). Am I carrying my “keep out of the document” policy to an extreme? Probably, but it’s a slippery slope when violating a basic rule.

Often the notary section is split. The Venue (State of: & County of:) might appear at the very top. That is still part of the notary section and must show where the notary signed. We all know to either fill it in if blank, or redact the inappropriate entry (notary initials at one end of the redaction line) and neatly prints the correct value(s). The affiant(s) do not initial changes to the Venue. Thus, the document section and the notary section(s) are “touched” only by their owners.

Back to that missing affiant signature line. It’s not really required. Often there is just a box for the signature or only an indication of where the affiant is supposed to sign. Would I really ask them it draw that silly line? Probably I would give them the option to do so; and let them decide if they want to. It has happened to me a few times. They are split on the option; some do, some don’t – it matters not a bit to me.

Let me stress the major “take away” from this article again. Don’t write, not even a tiny bit outside of the notary section. Pass along requests, but do not make the marks yourself. The affiant(s) will be initialing those modifications and they should be in “affiant handwriting”.

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How do you notarize a document with no signature line?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20890

Notary Maintenance – there is lots for Notaries to maintain
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19417

Notary also as a witness
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19415

The Notary of the Future
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18952

Power of Attorney – notary processing mistakes
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18958

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August 3, 2018

Notary Public 101 — Scenarios: How do you notarize a document with no signature line?

If you have been instructed to notarize a document that doesn’t have a signature line, that is a cross between a quandary and a conundrum.

You cannot notarize a document without a signature. Notaries notarize signatures on documents, not documents, and especially not documents without signatures. And you cannot have a signature without a signature line. But, it could be construed as UPL for a Notary to add a signature line to a document. So, now your ability to get the job done is really on the line — which unfortunately doesn’t exist in this case, until someone writes one in.

So, what do you do to get the document notarized? If the signer draws a signature line, then they are the one engaging in UPL, not you, especially if you do not advise them to do so. The bottom line (no pun intended), which is the signature line, is that without a signature, there can be no Acknowledgment or Jurat on a particular document. An Oath or Affirmation are the only Notary Acts you can do without a signature.

So, once a signature line has been added, the affiant can sign, and then you can notarize the signature on the document.

But, what if you have a signature without a document — that is an entirely different question.

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April 14, 2018

Check to see if the signatures match

Filed under: Technical & Legal — admin @ 10:24 am

As a Notary, when you do an Acknowledgment, the signer does not need to sign in your presence (in most states). However, they need to appear before you and sign your journal. You must check to see if the signatures match the ID, journal and document. If they don’t, you have a big problem. Also, make sure the person looks like they do in their ID, and note down their ID information in your journal which of course you keep because you can get in trouble if you don’t keep one even in states that don’t require it.

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