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January 17, 2011

A Massachusetts Notary Speaks Out. A coerced signature.

Filed under: Technical & Legal — Tags: — admin @ 12:02 am

A few days ago I spoke to a Massachusetts Notary Public on our list. She told me that there are some strange laws out there that almost got her in trouble. She had to appear before a judge due to a Notarization gone wrong. The wife was forced to sign by the husband and she didn’t really want to. I think they were from a foreign country where men boss people around because American men know what will happen to them if they boss people around.

Unbeknownst to me, there is an unusual law in Massachusetts where for some or all Notarial acts, the Notary must ask the signer (or ask the signer to swear — forgot which) if they are signing on their own free will.

I have never heard of a signer being coerced to sign in America. In India it happens a lot when people want to steal your property.

The judge made the Notary promise to always make the signer claim that they are signing under their own free will otherwise their commission would be revoked. Yikes. But, that is not a bad law.

I wonder why we don’t have that law in California. We have all types of other nonsensical laws. Hmmm.

Acknowledged signature
Witnessed signature
Forged signature
UnCoerced signature

So, now we have a new notary act — an uncoerced signature. That should be its own act not to be confused with an acknowledged signature.

The moral of the story is, if you notarize strange foreigners where the men think that men can still act like men and get away with it, beware, they might be forcing the females to sign.


October 21, 2010

Massachusetts Notary Odd Information

Massachusetts notary odd rules and conditions.

A Massachusetts notary has restrictions about signing loans since Massachusetts is an attorney state. But, many Massachusetts notaries still sign loans. In Georgia, notaries never sign in-state loans in my experience because the rule about non-attorney notaries not being allowed to sign loans is more strictly enforced.

Massachusetts is the only territory in the United States that is a commonwealth, not a state, but we call it a state in any case.

The secretary of the commonwealth does not regulate the activities of Massachusetts notaries. A Massachusetts notary public is regulated by the governor.

Massachusetts notary fees are pitifully low.
A protest for over $500 – the notary can charge a fee off $1.00, or 50 cents for a protest for a lower value. These fees are suitable for the 1800’s, but a modern day notary can not make a living making pennies for their work.

A 50 cent fee for recording a protest is allowed. A fee of 75 cents is allowed for noting the non-acceptance of a non-payment for a bill of exchange. For each notice of non-acceptance or non-payment of a bill of exchange, order, draft, check, or note, given to the party liable for the payment thereof – a fee of 25 cents.

The whole cost of a protest including all notices and record: $2 for amounts $500 or more, or $1.50 for protests under $500. Costs for noting, including recording and notices shall not exceed $1.25.

Interesting witnessing rule
A Massachusetts notary public may ONLY witness documents while physically present in Massachusetts at the time of the notarization.

The Governor recommends:
Common places to look for a Massachusetts notary include city and town halls, courts, banks, law offices, insurance companies, drug stores / pharmacies, and in the phone book. I wish the governmor would also recommend I think that the Massachetts notary materials on state websites were written more than ten years ago.

What is the purpose of the executive order?
Up until the effective date of the Executive Order, there had been no guidance for Massachusetts notaries public about what to do and how to do it. The Executive Order provides that information. In addition, there have been no safeguards in place to help prevent fraud, forgeries, and other misconduct by a small but significant number of notaries. The Executive Order provides notice to notaries as to what behavior constitutes misconduct, and then allows the Governor to remove or decline to re-appoint notaries who are engaging in misconduct.

Which Massachusetts Notary is required to keep a journal?Non-attorney Massachusetts notaries are required to keep a journal. But, shouldn’t the attorneys keep one too? Paralegals are exempt from keeping a journal too. Records are records, and everyone should keep records in my humble opinion.
A Massachusetts notary public who is employed by a bank can…
“Conducting a real estate closing involves the practice of law in Massachusetts. Thus, non-attorney notaries public may not conduct real estate closings. A notary public who is employed by a bank may notarize a document in conjunction with the closing of his or her employer’s real estate loans. Also, a non-attorney notary public who works for a bank may notarize bank documents relating to an equity line of credit or a refinance mortgage, absent other violation of the Executive Order.”.. from the Governor’s website.

Term of office
A Massachusetts notary holds their office for seven years.