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August 17, 2014

Why do new notaries go to “sites” to get answers to questions?

I have been reading some of the various sites lately like Linkedin, etc and it just amazes me how many new notaries go to these sites to ask other folks notary questions from people that may or may not be in their state, or my not even be seasoned enough to give an acurate answer. Why not try reading your notary handbook or calling your Secretary of State. After all they are in most cases the folks that issue the commissions and make the rules that you need to follow.

Then there are questions about what to ‘look for’ in a trust signing, POA, etc. People remember you are there not to interpret or read documents. You are there to verify signature and identity. And the following will apply: The person must have current government issued identification Make sure there is no duress or influences from others for a person to sign. They must not be on any mind altering medication, and there should be no blank spaces. And naturally, they should have ability to pay you if you are charging a fee. Remember, don’t analyze just notarize. We notarize signatures on documents not the documents themselves.

People remember, in most cases the best place to get your questions answered is from the source….the people that hired you!

Until next time, be safe ~Carmen

Tweets:
(1) Don’t analyze: Notarize; We notarize signatures, not the documents themselves!
(2) Don’t visit private agency websites for answers to notary questions. Go to your Secretary of State!

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June 21, 2014

I need a notary to translate some documents and notarize them

I received an email today to this effect. I told the guy that I am a site admin and don’t notarize anything. He needs to find a Texas Notary Public in his area to get the job done. But, translation? Many people erroneously think that notaries are authorized to translate documents. Being an interpreter or translator is a completely separate profession. I don’t know who certifies them or how good they have to be, but what they do is completely different than what a notary does.

Notaries notarize signatures on documents
Translators translate documents into a different language.

This guy will have to hire a translator first, and then a Texas notary public. The notary cannot certify that the translation is correct, but he/she/it can notarize a sworn statement certifying that the translator claims that the translation is correct. The same applies to copies of documents. The notary can’t certify a copy of a document in most states (see your notary handbook,) but he can notarize a document stating that the affiant or document custodian swears that it is a true copy. It is not bad form for the notary to overlook the document and make an informal quick statement verifying the same.

Tweets:
(1) A Notary doesn’t translate documents and can’t certify the accuracy of a translation either!
(2) If you need a translation notarized, find a translator and a notary. 2 separate people!

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February 12, 2014

We Are 123notary.com

“Est”, an interesting suffix, denoting the ultimate. Where I live in New York City we have many “est” accolades.

The New York Police Department is called “New York’s Finest”, the firefighters are “New York’s Bravest”; the Sanitary Engineers (newspeek for garbage collectors) are “New York’s Strongest”, and the Corrections Personnel (prison guards) are “New York’s Boldest”.

While I normally dislike the adoption of new words into the lexicon; here and now I’m going to coin a new word. My readers and all 123Notary.com members, with a very few exceptions; are the “Notaryest” available anywhere. We are several thousand strong, and fully one fourth of us have passed the no nonsense

123Notary.com certification test. I would love to see that number climb to 100%; but, there are good reasons that is unobtainable.

While many of the bEST of us (there is that “est” again) have taken the test, we are an open fraternity. We welcome “newbies” into our fold and offer them hard learned tips and advice to give them an edge. The newly minted notaries will have to spend some time “in the trenches” gaining experience, and take a course or two prior to passing any test. Some will exceed beyond all others their skills and knowledge. They will become holders of the coveted “Elite” status, by passing a second and far more grueling exam. Presently, a bit less than five percent of the membership has achieved that level and are the best of the best!

Around here,123Notary.com, you might be surprised to learn that more than half the members are Female; we are certainly not an “Old Boys Club” at all! Speaking of “old” – Jeremy has informed me that the average age of the membership is about fifty; that was good news. We are a mature and cautious lot, restrained and not impulsive in thought or deed. My fellow members bring much in the way of life experience to the Notary task; having an average of half a century honing their interpersonal skills.

Tenure? Well not exactly, but duration of membership can be determined by your “N” number. That number is assigned to each new member sequentially. Mine is 922. The lowest (that “est” again) still active is held by Nan A, with number 8, a longtime member since year 2000. If you don’t know your “N” number email Jeremy; it’s important that you confirm your listing regularly and the “N” number is needed to login to do that.

Are you a very inactive member? If so, you are missing out on the sharing of information that WILL help you to both do a better job and to earn more money. We share information on non-paying “duds” and also how we use our Notary authority to do more than to notarize signatures. Of course your state laws regulate what you are permitted to do. However, there are probably numerous avenues of revenue that you have not explored.

In every association of many thousands of members there will be some disrespectful people. Their problem is that they do not like themselves. Rather than look in the mirror to curse; they write spiteful dribble on the

Forum. I choose to simply ignore them; perhaps you will too. Those looking to pick a “fight” go away when nobody responds to their antics. But don’t be scared off by this paragraph. The vast majority of members are really kind and helpful souls. My experience as a http://newyorkmobilenotarypublic.com with the forum and blogs has been overwhelmingly positive; yours will be too.

As an elite (I hope someday you get to take and pass that test) member, you have shown your desire to be the NotaryEST you can be. There are no statistics as to “quality of assignments”. But I would venture the opinion that those with a few reviews, a decent notes section and perhaps having passed one or both exams get the “primo jobs”. Those are the ones where the dollars are big; for both the documents and the notary fee.

Tweets:
(1) Newly minted notaries need to spend some time in “the trenches” to get some valuable experience.
(2) More than half of notaries on 123notary.com are female. So much for the old boys club!

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November 13, 2011

Can a notary witness a will or notarize one?

Can a notary act as a witness to a will — Can a notary notarize a will?
 
This is a very difficult topic to write about because notary law differs from state to state, and notary laws change over time as well in particular states.  As a general rule, a notary public is discouraged from notarizing signatures on any will.  If you are a New York Notary Public, you should probably avoid notarizing signatures on Wills under any circumstance since standards for what constitutes unauthorized practice of law in New York State for a New York Notary Public are more stringent than many other states.  I heard that notarizing a Will as a New York Notary might be considered practicing law. However, in many states, a notary can notarize signatures on a will — even though it would be meaningless.  Utah notaries are encouraged to notarize signatures on Wills if asked to since it is illegal to turn down any lawful request for a notarization. But, what about acting as a witness?
 
A notary can act as a witness, but in their capacity as an individual.
Unless your state prohibits a notary from being a witness (  have never heard of such a restriction, but it could exist), a notary can be a witness.  A Delaware Notary Public can act as a witness as an official Delaware notary act and charge a prescribed maximum notary fee.  However, in other states, a notary public may act as a witness, but in their capacity as an individual — or at least it would not be done as an official notary act recognized by their state.  On the other hand, the notary acting as a witness can also indicate that they are a commissioned notary in their state which adds credibility.  Notaries are screened before being commissioned in their respective state which makes them perhaps more credible than an average citizen (you would think).
 
Unauthorized practice of law — what does this mean?
I am not an attorney, and can not give any meaningful tutorials on what unauthorized practice of law constitutes.  As a non-attorney notary, you should avoid giving any type of advice about what type of notarization to get, what type of legal paperwork to get, or how to fill it out.  You should not draft legal documents in any state (documents to be used in court or submitted to a judge or used in conjunction with any court case).  You might be able to assist in drafting non-legal documents in many states that are to be notarized such as simple affidavits, etc.  A Florida notary public is strongly advised against helping drafting any type of documents since laws in their state are more strict about what type of advice a notary may give.  In short, each state has a different idea of what “UPL” means.  To play it safe, please read up on what your state notary laws are, and don’t draft legal documents, and don’t give advice on legal matters.
 
How many witnesses do you need for a Will?
It is standard in California, New York, Ohio, Arizona,  and  most other states for a Will to require two witness signatures. I read on findlaw.com that Vermont requires three witnesses to sign a Will.  Witnesses must be 18 years of age or older in any state.  A notary can be one of those witnesses.
 
How do you document witnesses?
It is not a crime for a notary public to notarize the signatures of witnesses on a will, although it is improper to notarize the signature of the principal. It is always helpful for the witnesses to print their name, give their address and a phone number as documentation. You never know when they might need to be contacted.  By having witnesses’ signatures notarized, the notary has a record of the identification of the witnesses, and a prudent notary would also record their adress and maybe even their contact information.
 
What is it like to act as a witness to a will?
I have done this many times.  It is a very boring, but traditional formal proceeding. It is common to have an attorney present, a few neighbors or friends, and perhaps even a bottle of wine (for after the signing).  Everyone commonly gathers around the dining room table. Once everyone is there, then the attorney might give a quick speech, and then the principal signer signs, and then the witnesses sign in their appointed places.  Afterwards, there is lots of chatting generally. Or, you might meet in the conference room of a law office and do it there (less fun).  Many people consider a notary to be a better quality witness since they deal with signing documents as a profession and they take signatures more seriously, so I got many gigs as a witness.  I took it very seriously and watched very intently every time a signer signed!
 
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