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October 8, 2017

Which statement is a true statement

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — Tags: , , — admin @ 12:25 am

Here is a situation that Ken Edelstein created for our learning purposes. I am crediting this blog to Ken as he created the content for the question which I really liked.

Both borrowers signed and initialed (correctly in all the right places) all the pages of a 258 page double refinance package; prior to your arrival. Which of the following statements is true.

1. They legally must resign all signaures as you did not witness any of them.
2. Only the Acknolwedgments must be resigned as they include the wording, “subscribed before me.”
3. The Title company notary must do the notarizations as they are the only entities authorized to notarize unwitnessed signatures.
4. Only the Jurats need to be resigned (legally, putting aside Lender preferences.)

This is an interesting question Ken brought up because many Notaries confuse the law with Lender preferences. Most Notaries go through life with the mentality that:

I have to do this and I have to do that.
Jeremy’s comments — yeah, right.

You can ALWAYS oversign…
Jeremy’s comments — what does that mean. Does that mean you can sign more than what is on the typed name in the document or the typed name in the ID. The Lender might not mind oversigning, but you might be in court later on as a witness to identity fraud.

The documents must be signed exactly the way the typed name reads below the signature line.
Jeremy’s comments — once again that is what the Lender wants which is not always legal. You have to please the law, the lender, common sense, and proceed in such a way that you will not end up in court. Taking thumbprints in your journal is the most efficient way to deter identity fraud and catch the perpitrators the fastest as well.

You have to witness all signatures.
Jeremy’s comments. The law says you have to witness signatures for documents receiving a Jurat notarization as it says, “Subscribed and sworn to BEFORE ME.” However, the Acknowledgments in the majority of states do not have a “before me” clause. The Lender might want you to witness, but look up in your handbook to see what the law of the land says otherwise you could create a mess.


September 11, 2016

How do I get a foreign language document notarized?

How do I get an international document notarized?
How do I get a foreign language document notarized?

This is a tricky point in Notary law. The answer is that it depends on what state you are living in. California requires the Notary to be able to communicate directly with the signer which means you need to know the same language well enough to communicate. However, California doesn’t require the Notary to understand the document. Other states might require the Notary to understand the entire document.

The Main Function is to Identify the Signer
The main function of a Notary Public is not to understand the document, but make sure the intended signer is mentioned in the document and is the person actually signing the document. The Notary uses identification documents to identify the signer. Normally a drivers license or passport is used to identify the signer.

Find Out Your State’s Rules
Most states allow notarizing foreign language documents if the Notary doesn’t know the particular foreign language. To find out your state’s rules for whether or not the Notary has to understand the document, you can visit your state’s notary division’s website. Many state notary websites omit critical information about many Notary procedures. So, if your state doesn’t specifically say that you can’t notarize a foreign language document, then it is up to your interpretation. However, the certificate for the notarization (which could be a loose form stapled to the document) must be in English and using wording identical or similar in content to your state’s official notary wording.

Direct Communication with the Signer
Some states allow the use of interpreters during a notarization for the Notary to communicate with the signer. It is not safe to do this as the interpreter could make a mistake or deliberately mislead the signer which could lead to trouble down the road. Even if your state doesn’t require direct communication with the signer, I recommended just to be on the safe side.

You might also like:

Notarizing your foreign language document! (Ken’s guide)

10 tight points on loose certificates

What is a Notary Public?


December 18, 2015

Do Notaries need to be mentally reprogrammed?

Filed under: Humorous Posts — Tags: , — admin @ 12:38 pm

I was watching a sneak peek at Woody Allen’s movie “Sleeper.” They had put him to sleep for 200 years and then woke him up contrary to the rules of the state. Woody complained about being woken up. “I get grouchy if I don’t get at least 600 years of sleep!” The people who woke him warned him not to tell anyone what happened otherwise he would need to be mentally reprogrammed.

Then, it came to me. A lot of Notaries need to be mentally reprogrammed. Yes, there are the Notaries who play by the book, know Notary law inside out, and understand loan signing to a T. But, what about the Notaries who don’t know what they are doing who insist on doing notary work anyway?

Carmen told me today about some notary who ignorantly screwed up someone’s loan and the borrower lost their lock when interest rates were climbing fast. The Notary might get sued, and E&O is not going to help. You have to be very careful as a Notary and know how to deal with all types of complicated situations — especially when the Lender or Loan Officer doesn’t answer their phone at the critical moment. Most notaries just resort to calling the Lender when things get tricky, but if the Lender isn’t there, you need to actually know something! Most Notaries don’t. So, what is the solution?

Mental reprogramming. Notaries need to be wired up to a machine that will give them some subliminal messages about how they need to master Notary law, signing agent knowledge, and pass 123notary’s test among others. Better yet, perhaps they need to be taken to a special camp for gifted people.

Picture this paragraph being phrased with a thick German accent. My housemate is from Austria and said it sounded kind of creepy!

“We are going on a little train ride — ya! We are going to meet new friends, unt learn new things — ya! You will like it there! You can talk about all the new things you learned with your new friends who you will have so much in common with. You will be very happy — ya…. Unt zen, you will return, but only when you are ready! Ya!”

In any case, before your state government decides to reprogram you, why not reprogram yourself. Sit in front of the mirror and say, “I can learn, and it is imperative that I do — I will learn Notary law and signing agent basics and pass Jeremy’s test!”



June 17, 2013

California Notary laws that you need to know

CA Notary Laws that You Need to Know

There are lots of reasons to want to become a California notary. The fact that it is a resume booster is just one of them.

Notary Public California: Basics

By now you know just how easy it is to become a California notary public. Because the process (though lengthy) is so easy, a lot of notary hopefuls believe that the job itself is going to be easy. For the most part this is actually true…provided, of course, that you follow the letter of the law. The laws surrounding California notaries are strict, and it is important that you know them inside and out.

California Notary Laws

Here are just some of the laws that you need to follow when you are a notary in California.

Proper Identification Required

It used to be that if you personally knew the person whose documents you were notarizing, that person wouldn’t have to present any ID. That law is gone. Now—even if you’ve known them since preschool, they have to show you ID.

Your Journal Is Important

You know that journal the Secretary of State says you have to keep? You really have to keep it. It must be perfectly updated, and you really do have to know where it is at all times. More importantly, you have to know that it is safe at all times.

If you fail to keep the journal updated, secured, and protected, you could get charged with a misdemeanor!

NOTE: The same rules apply to your seal!

To this end, if anything happens to your journal or notary seal — if you lose them or they get stolen or damaged, you need to notify the Secretary of State immediately. Do not simply hope that it will turn up! You don’t want your seal to be used on fraudulent actions without your knowledge and without the Secretary of State knowing that it was not actually you who performed those actions!

To Thumbprint or Not to Thumbprint

As of January 1st, the state requires every notary in California to get a journal thumbprint for any notarizing involving “real property.” What does that mean? There is a partial list of what constitutes “real property” in the California Notary Law Primer.

Webcams Are a No-No

Notarizing something via webcam is not the same thing as being there in person. This means if someone wants you to perform a notarial action through a webcam, you could get in big trouble if you say yes!

Double-Check the Wording

There are some situations (like jurats) in which the wording in the document must exactly match the wording required by the Secretary of State. Make sure you know which situations require exact wording and which will let a “close enough” slide through.

Every year, the Secretary of State makes changes and tweaks to the laws for what California notaries can do, can’t do, and how they are required to do things. It’s okay to have questions and to feel unsure. When you aren’t sure what you can or can’t do, ask!

The 2013 Notary Public Handbook is available for free online. If you don’t find what you need there, contact someone in the Secretary of State’s office in Sacramento and ask.

Erin Steiner writes full time in Portland, Oregon, and has covered a wide range of topics from gutters to personal finance.


July 4, 2012

The first name notary law

The First Name Notary Law

I meet a lot of people as a notary. Very few of them are notaries. Some, fortunately very few; proclaim themselves as experts on notary law and procedures. Of the more comical are the signing related personnel who have the (fictitious) power to authorize backdating. Others have told me it’s OK for me to notarize someone who has no ID, because “they are an honest person”.

Today I met a yet another self styled expert on notary law. They advised me of “The First Name Notary Law” – of which I was not familiar. There were several commercial documents to be signed, as on the signature line by “Eddie Hallibull”. Everyone knew Eddie, and he briefly “flashed” his New Jersey driver license – commenting on how nice a picture it contained.

It was unusual for someone to “flash” their ID, normally people hand me their driver license. Not having seen much more than the picture, I asked for Mr. Hallibull to hand the license to me. I then noticed that the name on the license was Eddy Hallibull, not Eddie Hallibull. “There seems to be a spelling error on the signature line”, I mentioned to the office administrator. That is when I learned of the “First Name Notary Law”. I did ask the affiant “what is your legal name – as on your birth certificate, and have you legally changed your name”. He replied his legal name was Eddy Hallibull, and he prefers Eddie; but never had a legal name change.

“Oh, it’s OK for you to notarize the first name as Eddie”, sayeth the office admin. “But it’s not the same as on the license”, I replied. The admin then relayed to me that she “frequently” ran into notaries who were not familiar with the “First Name Notary Law”. She lamented that she often had problems with this lack of notary training. Perplexed, I first asked if the admin was a notary. “No”, but I do know the applicable law, was the reply.

Intrigued, I asked for a complete explanation of this glaring oversight in my knowledge. I was taught the relevance of phonetic pronunciation to notarization. Prior to going into the details let me go on record that the explanation that follows is pure hogwash and total rubbish; and has no relevance whatsoever to proper notary procedures. That said, the office administrator offered the following reasoning why it would be perfectly proper for me to proceed with the notarization.

Mr. – what we have here are variations in the first name that are spoken exactly the same way. Eddy is spoken the same way as Eddie. They are equivalents; both spoken and legally. If Mr. Hallibull were being sworn in, in a courtroom, there would be no way to tell which spelling was being sworn to. Don’t you see my point? Both are the same! As they are pronounced the same; they are legally equal and either may be used at any time; both are interchangeable as it’s impossible to tell, when spoken; which variation is being used.

I brought up the subject of the words “there” and “their” and asked, though they are spoken the same way if they were “interchangeable”. Somewhat taken aback by my “counterlogic” – I was told that the analogy is inappropriate to the subject at hand. “What we are discussing is
the First Name Law”, not the “finer” points of spelling and grammar. So much for logical counter arguments.

Somewhat stunned by this manifest display of twisted logic, it took me a few moments to recover. It was obvious the office administrator had given this utter baloney to notaries in the past; lamentably, with some measure of success! I said that the best I could do was to notarize
the Eddy “variation” – and promised to research the “First Name Notary Law”; vowing to return and redo the notarizations at no charge – if I could find the appropriate legal citation/law.

After completing the notarization (legally) I did ask the admin if she had the business card that I presented upon arrival. It was handed to me. I made a great display of reviewing the documents, saying that I was checking for the slightest flaw or improper date, etc. During that time I deftly pocketed my business card. As I had refused to accept “Eddie” – I doubt if they will be calling me again. To be more honest; make that I hope they will never call again.

The lesson to be learned: Always fill in the notary section – with the ID in hand. Never complete the name in the notary section based on how it is preprinted on the document. You use the ID to establish the name of the person signing – don’t let spelling “changes” either typos or deliberate – cause you to enter the wrong name in the notary section. It is definitely your responsibility to get the legal name in the notary section. It would be a lame defense to say “that’s the way they had it on the signature line of the document”.