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December 16, 2015

I’m just the Notary

How often do you say, “I’m just the Notary?” It’s like saying, “I don’t know, I just work here.” What does a Notary really need to know? For one, you need to know your state’s Notary laws, and they might not do a good job of teaching them. California, New York, Louisiana, and Florida invest more effort in teaching their Notaries than the other states do combined. But, many Notaries are unaware of many Notary laws that affect them.

Can I send a loose notary certificate in the mail? Many Notaries think it is okay to send loose certificates in the mail. You could lose your commission for that in some states.
Many Notaries think it is okay to Notarize someone with a name variation that is shorter on the ID than it is on the document.
Many Notaries think that the Title company is the all-ending authority when it comes to determining what is legal to notarize at a loan signing.

The Notary is the final authority in deciding what can be notarized and what can’t be. If you didn’t study your notary handbook, you might not know the correct answers, but you are still the one in charge. So, act like you are in charge. You are NOT just the Notary. You are a state official whose function is to prevent fraud. Try to see your career in that light and you will do it completely differently — and hopefully much better.

Perhaps you are not supposed to discuss the terms of the loan with the borrower. But, do you know where the borrower can find out when their last payment is? Do you know where info about the APR, the Rate, and the Prepayment Penalty are? Do you know which document discusses late fees or collateral? There is a lot to know as a loan signer, and most people just wing it and say, “I might not know the answer when you ask me, but I’m fine when I’m at an actual signing.” That is not acceptable. If you are a professional loan signing agent, you need to know your documents as well as your Notary law as well as knowing how to follow directions.

So, be more than just the Notary, and be a pro at doing all that you do! This begins with doing a lot of reading of handbooks and Notary courses as well as actual loan documents.


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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

(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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