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April 1, 2018

Scenarios: What is the cleanest way to rectify an error on a certificate?


Notary Certificates


In this article I will address multiple points affecting fixing errors on certificates.

WHAT IS THE CLEANEST WAY TO RECTIFY AN ERROR ON A NOTARY CERTIFICATE?

Most Notaries like to cross out and initial changes in certificates. Keep in mind that these are legal documents affecting million dollar properties. Cross-outs look like tampering and there is always a small chance that your cross-out will cause a long and drawn out delay in a court case if an Attorney suggests that perhaps there was tampering. It is CLEANER to take a fresh acknowledgment form from your Notary bag, fill it out thoroughly including the additional information section with the name of the document, number of pages, etc., And then staple it on to the document.

To be prepared for this type of situation, please do the following:

1. Keep Notary certificate pads on your person
Buy Acknowledgment, Jurat, and Copy Certification forms from the NNA. These forms come in pads and fit in your notary bag or at least in your trunk. A good Notary carries these and uses them regularly.

2. Ask for preferences, not for advice
Know when to ask the Lender or Title company for their preference. Please remember that as a Notary, it is your exclusive jurisdiction to be the expert and sole authority as to how Notarizations should get done and how Notarizations do get done. However, if there are two legal ways to handle a situation such as fixing an error on a certificate (does not apply to Maryland as I have heard that you may not add a loose certificate there — look it up in the MD Notary Manual to be sure) you can ask for a preference as to which legal way the Lender prefers. But, you must not ask a Lender if it is “okay” to do something in a Notary form, but only if they have an “issue” with it.

The way you think about asking Lenders questions matters as many Notaries think of Lenders as their authority and boss. As to completing the assignment, loan documents and shipping, they are your boss. For the actual Notary procedure, the Secretary of State Notary Division (or whatever they are called in your state) is your only authority and YOU are the authority over the Lender in this regard. You have the right to say no, and they do not have the right to boss you around about Notary issues, but only to voice preferences.

3. Recording fees & issues with adding forms
If you add a loose acknowledgment to a notarized document in a loan signing, that will change the recording fee which might be recorded on the CD, Closing Statement or HUD-1. You are opening a can of worms if you do that. However, in my opinion, the integrity of the notarization trumps any recording fee issues as you are not likely to end up in court because the recording fee went up by $10 or $50, but you might end up in court if someone thinks there is tampering due to initialing and changing information on a Notary certificate.

WHAT IF THE LENDER WANTS YOU TO USE THE ORIGINAL?

Lenders are particular to the fact that they might have trouble reselling their loan if there are too many abnormalities in the Notary section such as adding certificate forms. Additionally, recording fees can go up if you add a certificate to a recorded document, and that affects the information on the CD or HUD which opens up a can of worms. However, please consider that if there are any accusations of tampering, it is you who might spend a long time in court. Adding a fresh certificate that has its additional and optional information filled out, which identifies the document clearly, eliminates most possibility of suspicion.

YOU HAVE THE WRONG STATE IN THE ACKNOWLEDGMENT
Assuming the form is acceptable in all other ways other than the state, just cross out the state, write in the new state, initial, and you are done. Do NOT let the borrower initial Notary certificate forms — that is exclusively the jurisdiction of the Notary.

WRONG COUNTIES VS. WRONG DATES OR NAMES
Having a cross-out in the county of the venue would probably not affect the nature of the contact. Whereas changing a date would affect rescission which could nullify the effectiveness of a loan if challenged in court. Crossing out a name on a certificate can really change the contractual significance of a loan document. I cannot recommend how to handle situations with any authority. However, please realize that changing a county is a small issue while crossing out and initialing a date or name on an acknowledgment for a loan document could cause havoc down the line.

You might also like:

Cross out and initial or use a fresh form?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19933

Index of posts about Notary certificates
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20268

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November 17, 2015

Filing out your journal before the appointment?

One notary on Linked In wrote about filling in their journal before the appointment. Honestly, there is nothing illegal about this. However, if one of the parties doesn’t show up for the signing, you might have to do a lot of crossing out in your journal which might not look good if you ever get audited. I have not heard of notaries getting audited, but your state could raise its standards any time, so behave as it if could happen.

If you have limited time at a signing, you might be tempted to pre-fill the Acknowledgment forms and journal entries. It is illegal to stamp the certificates before the signer has signed your Notary journal and the document. However, putting the wording in is okay. The problem is that last minute changes do happen regularly. Signings can be postponed until the next day, and if you put the date in, or there is a last minute name variation change, you will not be able to use that form.

Personally, I feel that you should not fill in forms before or after the appointment. It is easier to make career-ruining mistakes if you divide these tasks into two sessions. You are more present at the signing (at least I am) and you should fill in the forms with the signer in front of you. As a Notary, saving a few minutes at the signing is not an important goal. Filling out these Notary certificate forms is generally very quick if you have experience. The main goal for signing agents should be to develop good practices which keep your error rate near zero.

So, my advice is — avoid the possibility of messy situations. Don’t preword your forms or journals. Do it at the time of the notarization. Be safe! You could call this a “Best Practice” or the avoidance of a “Non-Best Practice”

You might also like:

Notary Journals from A to Z
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8348

Everything you need to know about Notary Journals
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=70

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November 22, 2011

Make your own notary certificate forms!

All the right words in all the right places
 
Many notaries call us and can’t find good notary forms.  We say, “You’ve been lookin’ for forms in all the wrong places, lookin for supplies in too many faces, searching the internet and looking for traces….”.  Honestly, we send many people to the NNA.  They make / sell excellent notary forms, supplies, journals, acknowledgment pads, jurat pads, bonds, etc.  But, what about the obvious alternative?  Forms are expensive, and acknowledgment pads and jurat pads are space consuming in your little notary bag, right?
 
Make your own
It’s not hard to typeset an acknowledgment form or Jurat form on your computer.  Just put your state notary verbiage or notary wording in the correct order, a venue, a place to sign and seal, or whatever your state requires.  You can photocopy this very cheaply at Kinko’s or wherever.  Make as many as you want.  Copying someone else’s copyrighted form is not legal, and not worth it.  You can’t copyright notary verbiage, and that works to your advantage!

There are other advantages in creating your own Acknowledgment Pads / Jurat Pads / Notary forms with your state notary verbiage too.
 
Branding?
If you create your own notary forms, and make them attractive, you can also put your notary company information and phone number at the bottom.  This is very smart branding.  Then, whenever anyone looks at how beautiful your notary forms are, they will think of you and call you too.  You could even put a company logo at the bottom of the form under the notary verbiage.   Times are tight these days, so you need every edge you can get, and this is not that much work to coordinate.
 
How much can you save?
Notary pads of professionally made forms can cost you $9 per notary pad more or less, plus tax and shipping.  It adds up.  If you buy in bulk, then you might get a slightly better price.  There are generally 100 certificates per pad.  How much would it cost to have 100 pieces of paper copied at a discount printing place?  If you did 500, you might be able to get away paying $10-15.  Or just print them out on your laserprinter, and print as many as you need, and when you need it.
 
Other forms?
I had a detailed permission to travel form for minors traveling with accompanying adults.  It was easier to do it with a form instead of writing it out for people each time. There is so much content that goes on that form.  BTW, in Florida, notaries should not offer to write documents.  The name of the child, who their parents are, who they are traveling with, when they were going, where they were going, and when they were coming back. I had signature lines for everyone and little places for thumbprints.  The feedback was that the security at the airport appreciated the thoroughness of the forms and my embosser’s impression.  Very professional!  They were probably used to handwritten confused looking letters and sick of it!
 
Designs?
If you have a good designer, you can add designs to the paperwork.  This is for full-time mobile notaries only.  It can get expensive using designers, but you will make a great impression if you have great stationary!  Think of your Jurat pad as a stack of resumes!

Tweets:
(1) You can purchase notary forms from the NNA, but if you make your own you can put your biz name & Phone #.
(2) If you make your own certificate forms, you can put your business name & phone number at the bottom!
(3) I used to make my own permission to travel for minors form with blanks for dates, names & thumbprints!

You might also like:

Index of posts about Notary certificates
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20268

Everything you need to know about notary journals

Notary Acknowledgment Information

The signing from hell

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