Have you ever done a jail notary?
Have you ever visited a Jail? Would you be afraid to go to one?
In reality, a jail is a very place place to visit. There are guards everywhere, and the bad guys are behind bars. Notaries make a pretty penny notarizing at jails, in fact some make so much it should be criminal to charge that much! You can charge a lot higher travel fee going to a jail because its a lot more trouble than a regular signing, and few notaries are willing to go. There is also more to know. Jail signings are usually the result of physical or online yellow page advertising, not directories that cater to loan signings ( such as ours ).
Who hires you to do a jail signing?
If you are called to do a Jail signing, it is never the inmate who calls you, but their girlfriend, family member, or attorney. The inmates don’t want to blow their (1) phone call calling a notary – and I don’t blame them. You need to arrange a time and meeting point near the jail where you are sure to be able to spot each other – at the same place at the same time. Its easy to get lost at a jail.
Idenfication for jail-birds
When you get the call, ask them if they have identification for the signer, and if they do, then have them read it to you – including the expiration date, before you book an appointment. If they don’t have ID, don’t use the jail bracelet wristband, thats not acceptable by notary standards. You might be able to use credible witnesses if you can get two of them who have ID that is current – if credible witnesses are allowed in your state. If you can’t get identification, you might be able to do a Jurat which doesn’t require identification in most states. However, California now requires ID for Jurats as well. Unfortunately, most documents such as a power of attorney or grant deed are normally done with an acknowlegment, not a jurat. But, you can attach a Jurat form and hope for the best. A recorded document might not be accepted for recording if its not done with the proper wording, but you never know.
Where do you meet your client for a jail signing?
You have to arrange to meet a stranger at the jail at a certain time. Jails are large confusing places, so it might be better to meet at a well marked street corner. If you meet in a jail, you might not know which part of the jail to meet. Waiting room? Hall to the waiting room? Front dest? Out side the bront door? IN the parking lot? Its easy for two people to be at opposite ends of the same facility or get lost. Make sure the person meeting you has a cell phone and make sure you confirm with them, otherwise you might be making a trip for nothing. Jail notaries are not for the elite of society and blowing off a notary would not ruffle the conscience of most of your potential clients for this type of job.
Logistics at the jail.
Once you are actually at the jail, you meet the client, and then fill out forms with the guards to be granted permission to enter. Make sure you know what cell the inmate is in and that they haven’t been moved. Be prepared to wait – jails have a very different sense of time from the way a busy notaries sees time. Follow the instructions for where to go, and then find a guard to bring the inmate to you once you are there. You will have to pass your journal and forms through slits with help of the guard.
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