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July 8, 2019

Looking Beyond the Notary Section – A case Example

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — Tags: , — admin @ 3:01 am

The classic examples
We are often told not to notarize a document that contains blank areas. Of course in reality we do exactly that in every loan package. Take a look at the 1003 (the computer version of the loan application). Lots of blank areas there and nary a single N/A. Once I was put on standby for many hours; to notarize the sale of a super tanker. The neatly bound document was thicker than the Manhattan phone book (alas no longer issued). It was about 1500 pages. I did not turn each page in a desperate attempt to find a wayward and un-entered fill in. After about 6 hours of waiting time, I notarized the (approx from recollection) two dozen affiants at the end.

What happened today
The document was an amendment to an incorporation agreement. There were to be eight affiants; even with the nicely preprinted notary sections it totaled four pages. Simple? Well there was an issue. Just prior to naming the trustees, there was the statement that the names and addresses of the trustees would follow. The names were there but not the addresses. I normally don’t read the documents, but wanted to be sure the list of names matched the notary sections. I mentioned the discrepancy to the person managing the signing. I was asked how this should be handled. I covered the I’m not a lawyer issue. They came up with three possible courses of action.

The first would be to simply write in the addresses. Second, would be to redact “and addresses”. The last was to simply ignore the matter. They choose option 2. So, when the “and addresses” had a line drawn thru (not at my suggestion), I felt compelled to raise the issue of the requirement to initial hand written changes.

The first two affiants had left the session after being properly notarized and were not present to initial the change. The other 5 initialed. Hmmmm, 8-2=5? Sorry, but one of the planned 8 could not attend and would be notarized at a later date, and also initial that redaction.

In all probability the infamous “fix it fairy” would provide initials for the two who left early; of course I did not suggest that. But, as unfair as it sounds to me; some were unhappy that I mentioned the discrepancy between the stated text and the data entered. In other words; it seemed to some that I “created a problem” – just by stating the obvious (to me) flaw.

In all probability I goofed In hindsight, as I peck away at the keyboard; away from the seven affiants who want me to
resolve the “issue I created” – I shudda kept my big mouth shut. My biggest blunder was to agree on the 3 possible solutions. Perhaps the address is an absolute requirement for acceptance of the document. I truly don’t know. And, the only reason that I sailed into that blunder was by mentioning the issue.

Resolved: At least for me – if it’s not in the notary section, don’t read it, don’t comment on it. And absolutely say nothing about how they should proceed. It’s OK to mention initialing changes, but take no “legal opinion” about “course of action” when modifications are being considered

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