This article is sort of like — how to be a notary in a nutshell. But, if you were a Notary in a nutshell, would your seal fit in the nutshell? Notaries are a bunch of nuts anyway, so they probably were inside a nutshell at some point in their evolution. In any case, what does a Notary do?
3. Filling out certificates
4. Giving Oaths
5. Understaning the difference between a legal and illegal request.
The most important thing a Notary does is to identify the signer and make sure they are the one who is intended to sign the document. Many Notaries take liberties identifying people which is dangerous and could come back to them. There are fake ID’s and people who impersonate others with the same name or variation of the same or similar name. If you think this will never happen to you, guess again and then you will understand the reason why the Notary profession exists — to deter fraud and safeguard transactions. If you are not safeguarding transactions through proper identification, you might as well not be a Notary.
Not all states require a journal, but if you are in front of a judge or FBI agent and don’t have a journal, you will be in a ton of trouble. So, there is more than just your sec of state to be accountable to. You need a journal in case there is an investigation and if you don’t keep on, you should not be a Notary. Period!
Filling out certificates seems easy enough. But, what if there is a snag? What if the certificate was filled out by the lender and one of the signers cannot show up or what if the state is wrong? Then, you have to make a change. But, what if you don’t know who initials the change, or forget to initial altogether? Then, you will be in huge trouble and will deserve it. What if you don’t know how to add a loose certificate with a staple to a document and fill out the “additional information” section. If you don’t know, then you are taking a huge risk being a Notary. That is mandatory knowledge.
Giving Oaths is something Notaries are generally legally required to know, however, no state audits people’s Oath giving abilities. The result is that 70% or more of Notaries do not know how to give an Oath. Some rely on their cheat sheets, but not knowing how to give an Oath off the top of your head is as ignorant as needing to consult a manual every time you tie your shoe. A real notary would not need a cheat sheet.
Knowing what is legal and not is a must. Different states have different laws. By rejecting legal requests, you are no longer a Notary Public, because a Notary Public accepts all legal requests from the public. Most Notaries reject legal requests on the basis that they don’t feel personally comfortable with the fact that someone already signed a document to be acknowledged or that the document is in a foreign language. In California, the document can be in Slobudian. You are notarizing the signature not the language. Then, the very same notary who declined a legal request will stand in line to do something completely reckless and illegal out of carelessness or stupidity like mailing a loose certificate in the mail simply because — it’s okay because the Lender told me it was okay or, it’s okay because I always do that. Always doing something doesn’t make it legal or safe! The law decides what is legal and acceptable — not you!
You might also like:
Notary Public 101 Real Life Notary Scenarios
Notary Public 101 A Guide to Notary Best Practices
Confirming the Signing