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January 31, 2011

State specific – strange and critical rules

Bizarre facts and things to watch out for in these states!

This blog entry will briefly discuss some bizarre rules effecting Arizona notaries, Georgia notaries, Florida notaries, Notaries in South Carolina, Virginia notaries, and Washington notaries (in Washington State, not DC).  I hope you find it as interesting as I do! 
Arizona
The subject of travel fees is a dismal topic for Arizona notaries.  Many Arizona notaries in this state can not make a living doing mobile notary work while obeying the law which only allows a small rate per mile for travel fees.  There is a lot of information on this topic in our forum to read about.  The restrictions on travel fees are disasterous for elderly and bedridden people who can’t go to a notary.  People in convelescent homes can’t get their papers notarized and notaries can’t make a living.  Many notaries do charge a substantial travel fee, and nobody has had their commission revoked yet in AZ, but eventually something could happen.  http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=4231
 
Arkansas
This is nothing to be afraid about, but really bizarre. An AR notary applicant will
be mailed three originals of their notary certificate and oath forms. AR notary rules can be a little odd at times.
 
Florida
To become a notary in Florida, you must be a Florida resident. However, Florida residents can become Alabama or Georgia notaries. BTW… Georgia notaries may only practice in the state of Georgia.  A Notary in Florida may solemnize a marriage.  But, without experience in this sensitive type of work, how well would a notary handle a marriage?  Another strange rule is that Florida notaries get paid by the stamp, and not per signature when doing acknowledgments.
 
Illinois
Be careful if you are an Illinois notary public, there are some new laws that effect only Cook county regarding real estate notarizations.  http://blog.123notary.com/?tag=illinois-notary-laws.  Additionally, an IL notary may only charge $1 per acknowledged signature!  How does anyone make a living at this?
 
South Carolina
Non-attorney notaries in South Carolina are prohibited from doing loan signings unless there is telephone presence from an attorney.  The irony is that our directory has many notaries in South Carolina who pay their renewal fee each year. If you are a notary in South Carolina, you can still do other non-loan types of notarizations for the most part. Georgia notaries are faced with a similar situation.
 
Virginia
Here is a very odd rule:  All Virginia notaries are notaries at-large & have the authority to perform all notarial acts anywhere within the Commonwealth of Virginia. Virginia notaries have limited powers in performing notarial acts
outside of the Commonwealth of Virginia.  However, documents notarized
outside of the Commonwealth by Virginia notaries must be must
be recorded in Virginia.
 
Washington State
This is a nitpicky rule. But, the notary and client must agree upon the travel fee beforehand.  This is stipulated by law in Washington State, so Washington notaries need to be careful to have their verbal agreements clear.  Additionally, Washington notaries may notarize their spouse’s signature.

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November 3, 2010

The Florida Notary issues and quirks

Florida Notary Issues and oddities

Understanding a document
A Florida notary public is NOT required to be able to read all documents being notarized by them, but the signer must be able to read the document. The document must either be in English, or a language the signer can read. This is differently worded from many other states. In California, the notary must be able to communicate directly with the signer, but does not need to understand the contents of the document, nor do the contents need to be in English.

Foreign language signers
The notary must be able to communicate directly with the signer without the help of an interpreter in California. So, if the signer brings their children along to help translate, the notary must decline the job unless direct communication is possible. But, in Florida, the statutes do not specify that the notary and signer must be able to directly communicate, but specify that the signer must have the document translated into a language they understand in order to qualify to get their signature acknowledged.

Verifying a VIN #.
Another unusual official act of a Florida notary is to be able to verify a VIN number on a vehicle. The maximum charge for this is $10 per notary act.

Drafting documents
Other states simple forbid notaries from engaging in legal advice, but don’t spell out exactly what legal advice could consist of. A notary public in Florida is expressly forbidden from drafting any type of document for a client — both legal documents and less formal documents. A legal document is often described of one that might be used in court or submitted to a judge or attorney. Additionally, a Florida notary must not fill in blank spaces in documents as that also constitutes unauthorized practice of law or legal advice in FL.

The Florida Notary Manual page 58 states that a Florida Notary should only sell legal forms and type up documents written by their customers.

Disabilities
A notary in Florida may sign on the behalf of a person with a disability if the disabled person requests. Nobody has ever mentioned any rule like this before on any of our forums.

Notarizing for minors
The state of Florida allows notaries to notarize for minors and should ideally document the minor’s age next to their signature.

Incompetency
A notary may not notarize for an individual who doesn’t seem capable of understanding the meaning of the document being notarized.

Marriages – I do!
Florida notaries may solemnize marriages if the couple provides a marriage certificate. ME, NH, and SC, plus one parish in LA are the only other states we have heard of that allow notaries to conduct marriages, but they need a special extra license in NH to the best of our knowledge. The notary may make up their own verbiage for the marriage, and then complete an official certificate for the marriage.

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