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April 15, 2018

A Job Declined

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — Tags: , — admin @ 11:20 am

A Job Declined
Are you available for a “simple” job late tonight? Up goes my alert status. The caller used two vague take advantage of the notary words. When they say the job is simple it generally has more strings attached to it than a cat with a ball of yarn. Also, late tonight can have many definitions. So I reply with my standard request to know the What, When and Where and if there are any other aspects that I should know about. I’m glad I asked.

The affiant is flying in to Newark airport, not too far from Manhattan. The flight is due to arrive at 2AM; stretching the late tonight a bit. Location is not too far at the southern tip of Manhattan. The document is a simple one page affidavit. Once signed, and when I return home, I am to scan and email. The original goes via FedEx to my client.

OK so far, I quote double my routine fee (for 2AM) and mention the need for exact shipping address with company name, zip code and phone number at destination. Great is the response, we will send you the document in a few minutes. Just a moment please, there is one more aspect to making this work for both of us. My fee, plus the estimated FedEx fee is payable at this time. Do you mean that you want to be paid in advance? Yes, there are many things that can go wrong with this type of assignment.

The plane can be delayed, as is often the case in Newark airport. The affiant my have ID that does not match the document. The affiant may choose to not sign the document. Also, you are asking me to send you an invoice for my fee plus the FedEx charges. Thus, you want me to incur all expenses and wait for your law firm to add me as a vendor and process payment. I do not work that way and neither does anybody else. I can’t even order a T shirt and have Sears send it to me with an invoice for me to pay after receiving it.

Don’t you lawyers insist upon a “retainer” prior to doing anything for your clients? Well, it’s the same for me. The reason that I require payment in advance is to put all “risk” on your side. If any of the problems I mentioned above occur and I am unable to complete the project I truly doubt that you would send me a check. I guarantee to do my part, but my actions rely upon the assurances that you have given to me regarding the assignment.

It is the policy of our firm to process an invoice only after the work has been completed and received, inspected and approved. Well it’s my policy to receive, especially for this early AM, no affiant contact job, my full fee in advance; including out of pocket FedEx charges. Thus, while I certainly do respect your business policies; they conflict with mine. I must decline to accept your assignment. There are many notaries in Manhattan and 123notary, where you found me, lists quite a few more. A few phone calls might find someone who will accept your terms.

If it is close by, during routine hours, and the caller sounds “right” – I go for cash. It’s nice to avoid the PayPal deductions. But when there are “unusual” aspects, I require payment up front. To protect my calendar my phrase is that I do not put the task on my calendar until payment is received; the time slot will be held for 15 minutes awaiting payment. When complex or unusual jobs fail, due to circumstances beyond my control – they never want to send a check for “efforts”.

.

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November 22, 2016

Definition of Oath

This article deals with Oaths in general as well as how Oaths are significant in the Notary Profession.

What is an Oath?
An Oath is a solemn and formal statement of fact or promise that is worded in a sacred or official way. An Oath is a formalized vow normally taken before others in a formal situation.

Types of Oaths
It is common for people to take an Oath or swear under Oath when becoming a public official which would be called being sworn into office. People also take Oaths when they get married or when they are sworn into court as a defendant, plaintiff, Attorney, witness or juror. People take an Oath of citizenship when becoming a citizen. Those in the medical profession take a hippocratic Oath. But, zookeepers do not need to take a rhinocratic Oath contrary to popular belief.

Hand Gestures
It is common in the United States for people to raise their right hand with their palm facing forward at the beginning of an Oath proceeding. Different parts of the world might have different hand gestures or no hand gestures.

Some People Refuse Oaths
Some Christians refuse to swear under Oath as they always tell the truth (or claim to.) They seem to not understand that the purpose of the Oath is not to prove to themselves that they are telling the truth, but to impress upon others that they are — while the others might not have the same opinion as to the integrity of the affiant. The Notary profession now allows for Affirmations instead of Oaths for those religious people who don’t believe in oaths.

Affirmations
An Affirmation is a formal statement that currently carries the same and identical weight and meaning as an Oath. A Notary Public can swear someone in using an Affirmation instead of an Oath merely by substituting verbiage. Instead of saying, “Do you solemnly swear that this document is true and correct?” you could say, “Do you solemnly affirm that this document is true and correct?”

Affiant
An affiant is the person who swears under Oath typically in a written statement called an Affidavit.

Affidavit
An Affidavit is a written document, often a legal document where the Affiant swears before a Notary Public as to the truthfulness of the document.

Jurat
A Jurat is an official Notary act where the affiant swears under Oath to the truthfulness of a written statement or document. Some Jurats have handwritten statements written by the signer who is also the affiant. Others are drafted up by an Attorney, government or professional agency.

Notarial Oath
Jurats are not the only Notary act that can have an Oath. Notaries use Oaths in many aspects of their work. Notaries take an Oath of Office to get sworn into duty when their commission begins. Notaries routinely swear in Credible Witnesses who are used to identify a signer who doesn’t have identification. Notaries swear in Subscribing Witnesses as well who witness people signing a document. There are also just plain Oaths that Notaries administer. The Oath might not be written or recorded. If Notary administers an Oath, they should indicate in their journal that they gave an Oath regarding a particular subject and have the Oath taker (affiant) sign the journal in that corresponding entry.

Acknowledgments with Oaths
Acknowledged signatures normally do not have Oaths, but they could have an accompanying Oath. Acknowledgments allow the signer to sign before they see the Notary Public. However, the Oath would have to be taken in the presence of a Notary Public.

Oaths in Mortgage Loan Signings
Mortgage loan signings normally contain several affidavits such as the Signature Affidavit which requires a sworn Oath. So, if you perform Loan Signings, be prepared to be an expert at the art of Oath giving.

Question
If Physicians take a Hippocratic Oath, what type of profession would take a Rhinocratic Oath?

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September 18, 2016

He, She, or They?

He She or They

Jeremy and others have often mentioned the “requirement” (in quotes because the laws regarding this issue probably vary by state) to cross out the irrelevant sections in a notary section. They reason that the notary is responsible to redact entries that do not “match” the person being notarized. I disagree.

In the thousands of notary sections that have my signature and seal, over a decade of doing this; not a single one has had the redactions. Not one. And, I have never been “called to task” for not completing the section properly. There is no mention in New York State law requiring such action. The model for the Acknowledgement that I use has both “he she they” and “his her their”; and is taken directly from the handbook for NY notaries. My Jurat is even simpler: Sworn to and subscribed before me by _____.

Long before “gender identity” was a news topic I concluded that I was not the person to determine the gender of affiants. If I am not the one, who is? Well, the best answer is probably the affiant. However, some may consider a medical doctor more appropriate. It could also be a Judge. I do not see it as my function, in MY statement, to declare the gender of the affiant. Now the gender identity issue has become a hot topic in the media. To me it’s a personal issue, one for the affiant to declare or not declare as they see fit. Whatever gender identity THEY say, outside of the notary section; is fine with me.

My sharp eyed critics, and they are legion; will have noticed I included “they and their” as items that I do not redact. They are thinking “surely you should delimit the notary section to one individual when multiple names are not being notarized”. Perhaps, but I offer two defenses to leaving it as is. First, the sole name, when there is only one affiant signing, is clearly entered in the notarization. Secondly, and admittedly this is a bit of a “reach” – the affiant might identify as being of dual identity. One ID, but they consider themselves two persons. Possibly one gender sometimes, different other times. Technically it’s proper for me to enter two names in the notary section when only one person is before me and taking the oath. This comes directly from the NY County Clerk office. If the affiant has two passports with a different name on each document – they have “proved” both names and “they” have the option of having each name entered on the notary section.

With the rampant rise of identity theft and similar crimes; the role of the notary has become more, not less, important in commerce. More important yes, but not of greater scope in our basic function. Many are the “notary signature only” documents I have seen included with the packages. Fortunately for me it is illegal in NY as a notary; to make statements of fact. The most common being for me to state that I have determined the identity of the affiant(s) to an absolute certainty. The State standard is to view “adequate proof” – not absolute proof. These statements by the notary will only admit you to the litigation chain if, in fact, you were conned by a good looking forgery of the ID.

But, let’s get back to the gender issue. A person is a person, nobody will refute that. We notarize people, they come in a wide variety – and it’s our job to accommodate all of them; within the bounds of our respective state codes. I leave my notarizations “open” to be all inclusive. It’s for others to decide issues of gender. It’s so easy to make false assumptions. I have asked the Sister of the affiant to sign on the Spouse line. Ouch, that was awkward for a moment. Clearly including the name, as taken from the ID is what works for me. Of course care should be taken to not provide an “open ended” notarization to which some additional name(s) can be added at a later date. As the County Clerk told me: “You notarize the name as on the ID, nothing else”. Thus, I make no determination as to he, she, or they, and leave the form alone.

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May 24, 2016

Disgusting – Nobody wanted the Notary Job

Disgusting – Nobody wanted the Notary Job
I write this with a combination of sadness and rage. First, let me clear up the use of the word disgusting. That refers to the “so called” “Notaries” who flat out refused the assignment that will be the topic of this entry. I hope some of them will read this blog entry and, perhaps, change their ways.
The call was from a distant location, one that would require double my local fee. Initially, prior to learning the details, I informed the caller about 123notary and Notary Rotary. I suggested they search using their zip code to find a closer agent who could process their job more efficiently and at a lower fee. About an hour later they call back to report that none of the “Notaries” they contacted would accept the assignment. Intrigued, I asked why.

The job entailed 4 one page documents, and a 12 page document. All were to be notarized. So far, routine. However the affiant was both blind and partially disabled. The affiant had already had the documents read aloud, and was totally able to understand the contents. They related to investments. Not wanting to work for someone who has perfect ID and is rational (actually highly intelligent) is, IMHO a notary sin. The MINOR limitations could be accommodated and the notarizations could proceed quite legally.

I established some “ground rules” to protect the affiant. While I was in route to the location the documents were to be read aloud – slowly. Every word. I was informed he could sign if the arm was supported – the affiant was able to use his hand to sign. Each document contained a statement by the “reader” as to reading the complete text aloud. I required that this take place prior to my arrival, and again in my presence. That process added an hour, of course at no additional charge. The appointment was confirmed and I began the lengthy journey.

I met a person who awed me. Not being the least bit negative as to physical condition. Cheerful, bright and witty were the initial impressions. Only later did I learn the depth of intelligence. My client was an investing genius. What Stephen Hawking is to science, my client was to investing. I felt an inner glow when my client told me that my fee for travel was fair; and it was understood that the extra time the procedure took was not part of the fee. How kind it was to hear that spoken.

I was told that the documents were already completely understood; and that my insistence at being present for an additional reading was both appreciated and unnecessary. I’m passably intelligent, but I know enough to appreciate the vastly superior intellect before me. With the formalities completed, double and triple checked; we chatted a few minutes. We discussed the notary function, and I was able to cover some of the regulations and procedures mandated by NY State law. The conversation turned to investing and market trends related to the upcoming (2016) elections. I learned a lot.

To the heartless, self centered, poor excuse for a “Notary” who dismissed this assignment; I say “shame on you”. Not only did you miss an EASY job, but you also missed some very useful investing advice that is sure to yield me profits far greater than a mobile notary fee. Back to that fee. I did consider charging my local rate. But, that would be treating this client “differently”, and bringing up the subject might be viewed a pity; something neither needed nor appropriate.

Some might consider my client “handicapped” or think (to themselves) “there but for the grace of God go I”. I prefer to think it’s a routine assignment, costly due to distance, lengthy because we are all different; and important because we are all human.

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July 14, 2015

Certified Copy of an Apostille?

Filed under: Ken Edelstein,Technical & Legal — Tags: , — admin @ 10:00 am

Certified Copy of an Apostille?
Sometimes I am in awe of the machinations suggested to reduce notary fees. I have just been asked to process a college degree with an Apostille. Routine. However, the client also has asked me to additionally prepare a “certified copy” of the Apostille bearing document! Of course this is totally illegal; and it’s worthwhile to explore the issues involved.

“Student Copies” of educational related documents (degrees, transcripts, etc.) are illegal to notarize in New York State. Photocopies do not include the anti-tamper protections commonly incorporated into the original documents. “Photoshop Magicians” have been known to change the grades; raising their grade point average from a dismal 2.5 to a laudable 3.7. All done with just a few clicks of the mouse. Worse, there have been cases where only the name is changed on the degree – instant college education!

To put an end to this fraud, New York State has added educational related documents to the list of “copy may not be notarized” documents. Already on that list are Birth, Death, Marriage, Divorce and some other officially issued documents. With educational related documents, it is the Principal or Registrar who is the only authority to sign and be notarized. Their signature is on an original, even if it duplicates a prior issuance. Degrees are generally issued for Apostille processing as a letter, signed and notarized – attached to the actual degree. Both should contain the raised seal of the issuing institution.

Now to follow the processing trail. I notarize the signature of the Registrar on the letter with attached degree. My signature is authenticated by the State of New York and the signature of the County Clerk is added; attesting to my “good” standing as a New York State Notary. Then the document goes to the Department of State to receive an Apostille, after the signature of the New York County Clerk is verified. Finally the Apostille is added; with a tamper proof, non-removable grommet, such that pages cannot be added or removed.

The package now contains many signatures: The Registrar, the Notary, the County Clerk and the Secretary of State of the State of New York. Each one has added, in addition to their signature either a raised seal, or some other tamper resistant protection. It is for that reason that the package is acceptable for use in other countries.

Now comes a request for me, the humble notary to “certify” a copy of the entire package! It’s not even easy to make a copy because of the grommet holding the pages together. The only way to make a copy is to fold the prior pages “out of the way” leaving the grommet at the top left intact.

The photocopy would be a mess, and look it. But, it is technically possible; with parts of the underlying documents “cut off” because the non-removable grommet blocks the photocopying. OK, now http://kenneth-a-edelstein.com has a “somewhat” complete copy. How can I “certify” the copy? First, it’s illegal in New York State for a notary to certify ANY copy, only the owner of the document can make a statement that the copy is complete and unaltered; assuming it’s not on the “no photocopy” list. It’s common to notarize a photocopy of an electric bill to be part of proof of residency. But, it’s a long step from electric bill (with affiant present) to educational degree with Apostille attached and no affiant. The only legal way would be to do the complete job twice.

.

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February 24, 2014

A social media site for Notaries — Affiant

For centuries, notaries have been complaining that they were bored, and had trouble meeting friends. They frequently said that they had no friends because there was nowhere to meet people. Then, during the 60’s, there were the be ins, and the love ins and the sign ins. During that decade, the notary public community didn’t complain as much because they were too high to know the difference. But, then in the 10’s (I’m the first person to call this decade the 10’s), notaries once again felt very lonely. If only there were a solution. If only there were a social media site for notaries. Of course the real reason notaries are lonely is because they complain all the time and nobody wants to hang around with them as a result. The second reason nobody hangs around with notaries, is that most notaries don’t answer their phone (at least when we call). But, one guy came up with the solution!

Affiant — a social media site for notaries

Meet new friends on Affiant. Affiant is so good, you will SWEAR BY IT. Members on this site are called Affiants. You can not be a member unless you love the site so much that you swear by it. After all, one who is sworn in to do an Oath, be definition is an Affiant!

Notaries around the country, and even in foreign countries flocked to this new and fascinating site. There were forums, events, lectures, guest speakers and more that all coordinated on Affiant.

How do you become a member of Affiant? The sign-up procedure is easy. You need to be sworn in with a notarized Oath. The Oath verbiage reads:

“I solemnly swear that I swear by Affiant. I think Affiant is so wonderful and great, that it is the best thing that ever happened to the notary — besides 123notary — and nobody paid me to mention the 123notary part either!”

Join Affiant today!

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Tweets:
(1) For centuries, notaries have been complaining that they are bored & have trouble meeting friends.
(2) During the 60’s there were the be ins, love ins and sign ins (for hippy notaries)
(3) Notaries complain they’re bored & have trouble making friends
Now there’s “Affiant,” a social media site 4notaries!
(4) Meet new friends on Affiant – a social media site for notaries. Affiant is so good, you’ll SWEAR BY IT.

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November 11, 2013

Affidavits — What do you need to know?

BLOG: Affidavits

What is an Affidavit?
An Affidavit is generally a document that has an accompanying Sworn Oath. The person who swears under Oath is the Affiant or Deponent. The person giving the Oath could be a Notary Public, Justice of the Peace, Court Recorder, Commissioner of Oaths, Judge, or other type of official who has the authorization and capacity to give Sworn Oaths.

What types of Affidavits are there?
There are many types of Affidavits. Many are for business. There are various types of Affidavits used in loan signings such as Signature Affidavits, and Occupancy Affidavits. A Financial Status Affidavit is also common in loan signings. For people who want to be able to come to the United States, sometimes it is necessary for a relative or loved one to sign an Affidavit of Support. Many people who lost their passports and can’t find their Birth Certificates sign and swear to an Affidavit of Citizenship.

There are many other types of Affidavits as well!
Jurats commonly have an attestation clause at the end certifying the fact that the affiant made an Oath and the date and signatures.

Other common types of Affidavits:
Affidavit of Heirship, Affidavit of Residence, Affidavit of Name Change, Affidavit of Service, Financial Affidavit, Affidavfit of Domicile, Affidavit of Death, ID Theft Affidavit.

What types of wording can you use in an Affidavit?
You can word an Affidavit any way you like, but if it is to be used as a legal document, please consult an Attorney. Additionally, please do not ask a notary public to draft documents, because many states have restrictions as to what a notary public is allowed to do, especially if it borders on what Attorneys typically do.

How do I get an Affidavit notarized?
Please find a notary on 123notary.com! We have 7000 mobile notaries throughout the nation waiting to help you. Just visit our find a notary page in the navigation bar above!

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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 serious crime. 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!

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