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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.

You might also like:

Cross out and initial, or use a fresh form?

Affirmations – pleasing the politically correct while offending all others

Five things a Notary must do


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.


September 5, 2017

Comparing journal entries to fedex signatures

Believe it or not, most Notaries on 123notary do not fill in their journal correctly. It is not rocket science. The rule is:

One entry per person per document.
Two people each signing three documents = SIX journal entries.
But, won’t that take too much time and use too much of your journal? It will only take a few minutes.

Let’s say that Johnny is signing ten documents that are to be Notarized. You put the date, type of notarization(s), document names, document dates, name of signer, address, ID information, notary fee, etc. Next, you draw an ARROW down for the date which remains the same for all ten entries, the name, address, and ID. Then, the signer has to sign for all ten entries. That takes less than a minute. 123notary suggests thumbprinting whether it is required by your state or not as a security measure to help the FBI when they come a knocking. They are bothering one of our Notaires as we speak (or type) and confiscated her journal. So be prepared!

What most Notaries do is one entry per person. Then, they put all the names of the documents in the document section. They have the signer sign once. This is stupid.

If Fedex delivers five packages to you do you sign once? No, you sign once per package and there is a corresponding tracking number next to your signature so you know what you are signing for. If you have a signer sign once in your journal for multiple documents, they could accuse you of having added more documents after the fact and having used them for fraudulent purposes. You would have no way to contest their accusation as the signer did not sign for any particular document.

The bottom line is to have the signer sign once for each document. That way you have proof that your work was authorized and your journal will then be up to standards. And once again, it doesn’t take more than a few mintues and it’s not rocket science.


June 13, 2020

Inspecting Journals

Filed under: Journals — admin @ 10:14 pm

Many Notaries do not bother to learn how to correctly fill in their journal. This is important because you could be investigated by the FBI (it happens to our notaries from time to time) and you could end up in court before a judge. You might be treated more leniently should anything go wrong if you keep very prudent and correct looking records. If you have omissions, sloppiness and don’t follow sensible procedure, you increase the chance that you could end up in trouble.

The most important rules to remember in journal entries are:

1. Fill out all fields in the journal. The additional notes section can be used for anything noteworthy about the building or signer that might jog your memory years after the fact in court.

2. One journal entry per person per document. Three people each signing four documents = 12 journal entries, not three and not one using the squeeze it all in method. Those signatures and thumbprints that you could keep in your journal are evidence that might be used in court – treat it as such!

3. Make sure your journal is locked up and stored properly after it is filled up. There are 512 entries per journal, so make sure you have extra blank journals for when you need them.

California actually inspects Notary journals regularly. If you live in California you need to know this. They can have you copy and mail your journal entries from a particular date range. If you are not following proper procedure based on what they currently want (ask them not me what they want) then they can suspend you. California suspends or revokes many notary commissions due to exactly this reason. Additionally, the rules keep changing so keep up with the times, man.


May 8, 2020

Notary Test about Notary acts and more

Filed under: Technical & Legal — admin @ 9:41 am

Here are some test questions for you guys to see who’s got it and who has been faking it all this time.

1. In an Acknowledgment, who acknowledges what?

2. In a Jurat, does the signer swear that they:
(a) Signed a particular document and that they agree to it
(c) Are the person who they claim to be
(d) All of the above

3. If a document was signed on March 1, 2001, and today is March 2, 2020, what type of notary act can you use to notarize the document without having it resigned?

4. When administering an Oath to an affiant, after having the affiant raise their right hand (or paw) the Notary should start with the words:
(a) I solemnly swear
(b) Do you solemnly swear
(c) Do you affirm
(d) I solemnly affirm

5. What is the difference between an Oath and an Affirmation?
(a) In an Oath you swear; In an Affirmation you Affirm;
(b) They are essentially the same
(c) In an Oath, the affiant swears under God; In an Affirmation the affiant affirms on their personal honor;
(d) In both acts the affiant makes a solemn promise

6. A proof of execution is an act where the principal signer:
(a) Does not show up
(b) Must show up because the signer must show up for all notary acts
(c) Does not show up, but has someone show up for them
(d) There is no such act.

7. If you have two names on an Acknowledmgent (John & Sally) but Sally cannot make it, what is the most pressing benefit to crossing her name out on the form rather than using a fresh form.
(a) Your recording fees will not be affected
(b) There is less danger of the new form being detached and used fraudulently
(c) It is easier
(d) It will look better in court because it is “cleaner” than using a new form and stapling it to the document.

8. If you are notarizing the signatures of three people each on ten Grant Deeds, how many journal entries should you use?
(a) 1
(b) 3
(c) 30
(d) 13

9. If you are notarizing the signatures of one person on five Grant Deeds, how do you differentiate the Deeds in your journal?
(a) Indicate the property address
(b) Indicate the APN number
(c) Indicate the document date
(d) Just say, “Grant Deed” in your journal entry(ies)

10. If you are at a loan signing and have a question about a notarization…
(a) You should ask title
(b) You should ask the lender
(c) You should ask the NNA
(d) You should ask your state Notary division

These are very important notary questions. Answering them correctly will help you know your job and reduce your chance of ending up in a sticky situation. You can consult our Notary Public 101 course on the blog to look up content regarding these points although we don’t address these specific questions in particular.


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.


April 2, 2020

How Much Can I charge for a mobile notary assignment and be sure that I will get the job?

Filed under: Other Guest Bloggers — admin @ 8:48 am

There is no easy or definite answer but based on my experience over many years, I have the following suggestions.

First and foremost, don’t immediately say YES when you are asked if you are available to do a notary signing.

The first question should never be, “how much are you paying”? Instead ask informative questions.

When (day and time) do they need it, what type of signing is it (Loan, refinance, POA etc), where is it and how many signatures are being notarized?

If you are comfortable with the answers you get on the above questions even if you don’t get all of the answers, then proceed with getting further details.

Who has the documents? If they are going to email them to you, when is the latest you can get it? Do you need to print one or 2 sets? Do they want you to fax or scan & email them back or drop it at a FeDex or UPS office? I always tell them to email the borrower a copy of the loan documents so they can review them ahead of time and not waste your time reading all of it and ask you questions when you get there for the signing.

After going through your questions, now is a good time to ask them how much they pay for the notary signing and for you to negotiate. You know the distance, date, time and hopefully number of signatures to be notarized. You need to know how much your time is worth and is it worth driving 1 hour for $75 or $150. Be prepared to let them know your reasons for your fee. In Los Angeles, the traffic can set you back 2 to 3 hours depending on where and what time you are traveling. What revenue are you giving up during the travel time otherwise known as Opportunity Cost?

I was recently blindsided when I accepted a notary signing for $250/-. On the surface it seems like more money than the average signing. The two critical mistakes that I made are not finding out definitively if the loan signing is for California or out of state and total number of signatures to be notarized. Out of state loan documents especially New York require more notarizations which require that you prepare California Acknowledgments or Jurats. Never assume that the number of signatures notarized are generally the same at around 4 or 5 for loan signings. The number of signatures I notarized was 30, not including numerous signatures and initials. Without the traveling fee alone, I could have charged up to $450/-. The signers wanted me at their house on the west side of Los Angeles at exactly 6 p.m. because it was convenient for them. That is rush hour and I spent an hour and one half on the freeway and only got there at 6:30 p.m. and offered my apologies to the signers.

As I drove back at 8:30 p.m., I reflected on how I can avoid repeating my mistakes. Although I asked for the number of signatures to be notarized, they told me that they did not know. Going forward, if I was told that they did not know the number of notarizations, then I would confirm via email that the mobile fee is good for up to 6 signatures and anything more they will be charged an additional $15/signature notarized. Next, I will not accept any assignment that will force me to drive during rush hour. If they insist, I will charge an additional fee depending on how long I expect to be stuck in traffic. If they don’t want to pay, that is fine. They can find another notary but at least I am valuing my time and they will know it.


December 9, 2019

Notary TV Network

Filed under: Comprehensive Guides,Humorous Posts — admin @ 8:30 am

Welcome to NTVN — the network for Notaries.

We have notary comedy, notary drama, notary classes, tutorials,
stories and more. I know, sounds a bit like the 123notary notary blog,
but this is television. Below is our broadcasting schedule:

8am: Affidavits done your way with host Randy David

9am: Notary housewives gone wild

10am: General Notary Hospital

11am: Notary acts explained — we go over Acknowledgments, Jurats,
Oaths and Affirmations. Raise your right hand!

12pm: Notaries without underwear

1pm: How to confirm a signing without missing any bases

2pm: How to spin your embosser with spinning with the stars

3pm: How Jeremy started his signing business and other Notary stories

4pm: Dealing with issues regarding FedEx and shipping.

5pm: Social media tips for Notaries

6pm: Notarios sin barreras

7pm: Dealing with Chinese characters in signatures

8pm: The Notary Bar – a sitcom about Notaries where everyone knows your name.

9pm: Sponsored programming.

You might also like:

Notary Ed – similar to driver ed

Affiant – a new social media site for notaries


December 5, 2019

The 50th Notary High School Reunion

Filed under: Andy Cowan — admin @ 6:09 am

The 50th Notary High School Reunion

What could be more exciting than attending the biggest notary high school reunion of them all, the big 5-0? A chance to feel great that the cool kids grew up to be old and dumpy. And the geeks grew up to be old and dumpy. It’s the 50th. You were expecting “svelte?”

Jill: Hi?? … (noticing Jack’s notary high school picture nametag): Ohhhhh… Jack! Sorry for your loss.

Jack: Yeah, I went bald in notary college. You still look hot.

Jill: Thanks!

Jack: As in hot flash.

Jill: Menopause happened back in my fifties, so I’ll take that as a compliment. Are you still performing Notarial Acts?

Jack: I still witness signatures. The ones my kids make trying to sign me into a home.

Jill: At 68, they’re trying to put you in a nursing home? That’s not very nice.

Jack: I’m joking. I retired last year. Made a killing.

Jill: That’s great. How did you do it?

Jack: I was a notary specialist. My clients were all octopuses. Eight arms. Eight signatures.

Jill: That adds up. Remember our teachers in Notary Junior High? Mr. Guther?

Jack: How could I forget? He suspended me for embossing my private parts.

Jill: Oh yeah! You were a wild kid.

Jack: But I got an A in shop class for making the stamping device.

Jill: You affixed it to a tangible record, all right.

Jack: Weren’t you a cheerleader back then?

Jill: I sure was. I still remember our chant. “Give me an A, give me an F, give me an F, give me an I, give me a D, give me an A, give me a V, give me an I, give me a T, what’s that spell?

Jack: Affidavit?

Jill: I don’t know. I was a great cheerleader but a lousy speller.

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Notaries over 50


December 4, 2019

A notary tries to be a comedian at a comedy club

Filed under: Virtual Comedy Themes — admin @ 6:04 am

There was a Notary who thought he was funny. But, he ended up having a lot of trouble at the comedy club. Here is what happened:

NOTARY: Hi, I’m mingling.

GIRL: Oh, that’s nice. This is a good comedy club.

NOTARY: I know, that’s why I came.

GIRL: I love comedy, it’s funny!

NOTARY: (pause… laughs abruptly) It’s just funny how you say it. It’s so obvious, of course comedy is funny. But, just the way you said it is funny. That’s right. Comedy — is — funny!

GIRL: Well your set is coming up.

MANAGER: Listen Notary, did you come to do comedy, or are you just joking around?

NOTARY: No, I’m here to do my set.

MANAGER: Good because there is nothing I love more than consensual sets.

NOTARY: And I brought a helmet so it will be protected sets.

GIRL: I didn’t see that one coming! Ha ha.

(Notary gets on stage)

NOTARY: So, this is a great crowd. Yeah… So, are there any Notaries here?

HECKLER: I don’t think Notaries can afford the $6 for drinks on what they make. Especially if there are eDocuments involved.

NOTARY: Normally I don’t like hecklers but you kind of have a point. When they asked for my six dollars I asked them to bill me and do a few fax backs. The bartender just gave me a blank look.

HECKLER: A blank look is better than a blank check.

NOTARY: You’re telling me, but don’t get your signatures in a bunch. So, did you hear the one about the two signatures that got married? They got divorced a week later. The writing was on the wall. The divorce ended up in a huge tangle. (pause) I guess they were not doctor signatures. I hope they had a good Attorney because the paperwork must have been a nightmare.

HECKLER: They would have to put the signatures on the documents which would mean they would have to multiply.

NOTARY: Hey, are you trying to steal my show? Actually, your jokes are even better than mine — so this will work out well. You must have a good writer.

HECKLER: It’s the same dumb-ass who writes your lines numbskull.

NOTARY: Good point. Wait a second, that means the writer is calling himself a numbskull.

HECKLER: He means it facetiously I’m sure. Okay. There was an embosser who bossed around the employees. Who’s the em-boss now?

NOTARY: I think he only has power over the employees in an em-mergency.

HECKLER: Good one. You must be learning from me.

NOTARY: Good God, what a thought. Okay. Got one. What do Notary seals and squids have in common?

HECKLER: Ummm. They both have ink?

NOTARY: Besides the ink…

HECKLER: Besides the ink?

NOTARY: Just kidding… it’s the ink.

HECKLER: You got me on that one! What about octopuses who do signings?

NOTARY: Yeah, they can answer the phone, fill in their journal, stamp the document and kiss the borrower’s wife all simultaneously. It’s kind of like being one of those Hindu Gods with all of the hands.

GIRL: Yes, there is nothing like hands-on experience.

HECKLER: I think that would be tentacles-on experience. Hey, look at that guy with the purple circles on his neck. Does he have a really good girlfriend or was he attacked by an octopus… speaking of octopuses?

NOTARY: No, that is Chinese gua-sha suction cupping. People use it to reduce tension and clear up blood flow. There is nothing funny about that. Olympians use it too, at least they showed evidence of it recently.

GIRL: Are you sure that isn’t an AIDS symptom?

NOTARY: It looks like it, but the AIDS circle is normally on your back or forehead and is smaller and looks different. Plus the color goes away in a few days if it is cupping. I went to a signing with cup marks once. I told the boss I had marks and he said do the signing anyway. Then he fired me because the borrowers complained. What a hypocrite.

GIRL: Men. On Monday they say one thing and on Tuesday they say another.

HECKLER: Kind of like a woman’s love. They try to hook you into a marriage, but halfway into the engagement they change their mind.

GIRL: Think of all the legal fees you saved. Speaking of legal fees, hey Notary, do you know any Attorney jokes?

NOTARY: Why don’t sharks attack Attorney-Notaries?

HECKLER: Oh, I know that one. Professional courtesy.

GIRL: No, it is because the Attorney-Notaries are so busy doing signings in Georgia that they don’t have time to go swimming.

NOTARY: Another possibility…. Okay, now we have a two-drink minimum, so when the drink lady comes, give her a nice order and a good tip. Deal?

JOHN: Do they have drinks with squid ink in them so I can have an official Notary drink?

NOTARY: There is no such thing, but there is Peruvian Inka Cola — try that. We have it on tap.

GIRL: I tried the certified angus burger with an embossed flat bread bun. Very delicious. But, not as good as the wagyu burger I had at the Japanese place.

NOTARY: Okay crowd. Now, A Notary was to notarize a husband and wife…

HECKLER: Oh, I didn’t know you were into that.

NOTARY: But, the wife wasn’t there and had to sign on another day. What do you do with the acknowledgment?

GIRL: Something kinky I hope.

HECKLER: You ruined it. I thought you were going to have a threesome and dress the wife up as a French maid or something. I think you have to use one acknowledgment for the guy and another for the girl, but not fill out the girl… oh that sounds kinky.. until you see her when her husband is not around on another date. You have to put the date the husband signed on the husband’s acknowledgment and the date the wife signed on hers.

NOTARY: Yeah, we Notaries sure love filling things out.

GIRL: Do you fill people out too?

NOTARY: You have to pay extra for that!

HECKLER: Oh! Good come back. I’m impressed. You should try improv!

NOTARY: One thing I don’t like about the amateur nights is that each person only gets three minutes and you are not allowed to interact as that is considered heckling. Thank God we don’t have that inconvenience here.

HECKLER: Yeah, I’ll say. People think you pay me to be here and harass you.

GIRL: You’re actually a big help and not that rude considering. I wish I could say the same about my ex-husband.

NOTARY: There was a rumor that I was having an affair with Jennifer Lopez, and the rumor spread all around Twitter, but I only got three responses. 1. Right on. 2. Awesome and 3. You wish… The third comment was from my wife. Okay, this has been a great show. Thanks and remember — keep stamping.

MANAGER: Yes folks, if you liked the show, stamp your feet on the ground to show solidarity with oppressed Notaries who stamp and stamp all day – well they stamp documents, but you will just have to be happy stamping on the floor for now. Thanks and you have been a great crowd. Damn it… they just ran out of Inka Soda. Why does this always happen on my shift?

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