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June 26, 2018

Which rules are laws, Lender practices, or best practices?

Notary Rules

or Industry Rules?
It is confusing with all the standards in the Notary business.. When 123notary teaches Notary practices, we are not teaching laws, but solid practices. Many Notaries argue with us about our practices because they are not required by law. That is the whole point — we are not teaching law because we are not authorized to, and because we don’t know it. We do know solid notary practices, and teach it as you can get into trouble for not knowing your basics. However, notaries have many misconceptions about the rules of the industry. So, let me clarify.

1. You can always over sign — industry practice (not a law)
Is this a Notary law, industry practice, or what? This statement means that you can sign a document with a name that is longer than the name typed in the signature line. However, that does not make it legal to notarize that longer name unless you can prove the name with an ID. Pleasing the Lender is one aspect of being a Notary. Obeying the law is a much more important one. If you displease the Lender you get fired. If you get in trouble with the law you can end up in jail. Pick your poison.

2. The name on the ID has to match
Please keep in mind that there are four names we have to keep track of:
(a) The name on the ID
(b) The name typed on the signature section of the document.
(c) The name signed on the document
(d) The name on the acknowledgment.

In theory these names could all be different variations, but it is cleaner if they are identical. The critical points are that:

(e) The name on the Acknowledgment must be identical or matching but shorter than the name on the signature line of the document. If the signature on the document says John W Smith, you can put John Smith or John W Smith in the Acknowledgment to please the law, but the shorter name might not please the client.
(f) The name on the Acknowledgment must be provable based on the name on the ID, but does not have to be an exact match. The ID could say John W Smith and you can put John Smith in the Acknowledgment if you like.
(g) The name signed on the document can be identical or matching but longer than the name typed on the document to please most Lenders, but legally notarizing the longer signature or shorter signature is dependent on proving all of the components of their name with an ID.

3. The Lender is the boss of the Notary Public (true for signings, but not for the actual notary work)
The Lender is your boss as to the general assignment, and what happens with loan documents. They are NOT your boss about Notary issues and you should not ask them for Notary advice ever as they might have you do something illegal out of ignorance or greed. You ask your state’s notary division if you have a Notary question and perhaps the NNA hotline and that’s it. The Notary can ask the Lender their preference in how something is notarized if there is more than one legal way to do it, but you can not ask a Lender how to do your job. You are the appointed Notary, not them. If they want to do it their way, they should come over with their stamp and do it their way which hopefully is legal — but, it is their commission at stake if it is not legal. Don’t risk your commission depending on the Lender or Title for Notary advice.

4. The Notary is the boss of the Lender?
The Notary is a state appointed official who represents their state, although the state is not the entity that pays them. If there is a discussion between the Lender and the Notary as to how a Notary act is done, the Notary dictates how it should be done. If there are multiple legal ways to do something such as fixing a mistake by crossing out and initialing vs. attaching a loose certificate — then, the Notary can ask for the Lender’s preference, but not for advice. However, there are liability issues with doing cross outs and initialing. It looks like tampering and you don’t want to end up in court. So, once again, it is the Notary’s discretion as to how problems are solved when there are multiple methods to solve. You can ask the Lender what they like or you can dictate to the Lender what you are going to do. But, the Notary is the boss of Notary work. If they don’t like it, they can find another Notary. It is best if you explain the reasons why you want to do something a particular way. If your reason sounds prudent, there is a chance you might get some respect for your decision. Most Notaries don’t think issues out carefully and do not have well thought out reasons for anything they do. Read our course more and become reasonable! Your commission might depend on it.

5. Send me a loose certificate or jurat in the mail (illegal)
Acknowledgment or Jurat certificates must be stapled to the documents they are associated with. If there is one floating around, you cannot create another one until you destroy the original yourself. Some states do not allow creating new certificates for botched notarizations and require you to do the notarization all over again. Consult your notary handbook on this issue, especially in California where there are many new rules created in the last few years that I have heard about but not actually read to my satisfaction.


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August 12, 2017

Official New Standards at 123notary

Filed under: General Articles,Popular on Linked In,Popular Overall — Tags: , — admin @ 11:25 pm

After thinking long and hard, I have decided to have some notarial standards here at 123notary. As you know, we are a national organization based in California. We list Notaries throughout the nation. Since most of our Notaries are very weak on Notary knowledge and almost equally weak with loan signing knowledge, it behooves us to ask them questions from time to time to see if they know what they are doing. The more they assure me that they know what they are doing, the worse they do on my quiz. What a con job. But, I’ve heard it all a million times and don’t fall for it.

I have had it with Florida Notaries who shove it down my throat that their state doesn’t require journals and therefor it isn’t necessary. We have a handful of Notaries that are currently being investigated by the FBI, court system or criminal justice system and their journal was their only piece of evidence to defend them. Your change of ever showing up in court is probably only one in a thousand or perhaps 1% for a very busy Notary. But, why take chances. Do your homework and keep your records straight. We don’t want to list a bunch of unprofessional idiots. We want professional Notaries here, not stamperizers. A three year old can stamp documents, but does that make him a Notary? Many of the Notaries we list are not much more advanced than a three year old. And that is why I am requiring these new standards.

1. Identification — Proof of identity required for quizzing purposes.
Not all states require the Notary to prove a signer’s exact identity. Many states allow missing middle initials or don’t spell out exact identification requirements. 123notary requires Notaries to know how to PROVE an identity. If the identification card does not prove the name you are notarizing, then you do not have proof. i.e. if the name on the document is John W. Smith, but the ID says John Smith, then you cannot notarize him according to best practices under the name on the document as you cannot prove the person is John W. Smith. In real life, our Notaries can do whatever their states require, but for quizzes, they must answer according to our standards which match the NNA for identification standards.

All Notaries listed on 123notary must know how to adequately prove a signer’s identity using identification documents. We also strongly suggest journal thumbprints as that is the only way the FBI can catch someone with a fake ID. You must know the more than but not less than rule correctly. Most Notaries scramble the rule and it does more harm than good.

2. Journals — Required
Not all states require journals, but 123notary requires you to know how to fill out out correctly. Our standard is one journal entry per person per document. So two people signing three documents each would be six journal entries. We also do not accept journals with check boxes for loan document names. So, don’t use one as they create more room for errors.

3. Oaths
All states require Notaries to administer Oaths for Jurats, and do purely verbal Oaths and Affirmations as well. However, most Notaries we talk to get very confused when we ask them to do an Oath. If they did their Oaths daily as required, the Oath verbiage would flow off their tongue. Most either don’t do Oaths or have to look up the suggested verbiage. There is nothing wrong with reading from a script, but you are required to improvise from time to time, so if you don’t know how — you are in trouble.

4. Acknowledgments & Jurats
You have to know the rules for both Notary acts.

5. Certificates
You need to understand the parts and compontents of Notary certificates, as well as the rules for filling them out.

6. General Notary rules and knowledge.
Yes, there are rules that change across state lines, but you need to know the powers of a Notary and general rules.

I am sick and tired of how hard it is to just get a Notary to know their job and do their job. Carmen doesn’t like this either. If you can’t function as a Notary, you cannot be a loan signer.

123notary reserves the right to quiz you on Notary knowledge. If you don’t comply with our questions or get the answers wrong, you will lose points in our point system. If you get less than an acceptable percentage, we reserve the right to suspend you until you study for at least ten hours and learn to do a better job as a Notary.


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April 13, 2012

Do notary journals need to be kept under lock and key?

Do notary journals need to be kept under lock and key?
Notary rules differ from state to state. Many states don’t even require a notary to have a journal, or notary seal.  However, California requires the use of both a notary journal and seal, and both must be kept under lock and key.  However, there is a catch.  The currently used journal must be locked up and access must exclusive to the notary public that it belongs to.  Co-workers and bosses can not look at the journal without the notary being present.  USED journals that have been filled out to their completion can be stored at the notary’s home, office, etc., but don’t need to be locked up. 
When a notary’s commission is over, they must return all journals (California notary journals) (current and completed) to the county clerk’s office or whatever agency the notary division in their state appoints for them.
California notary journal rules might not apply to other states, but you should be careful with your journal and seal in any case as it contains really important information. Additionally your California notary seal, or seal from another state could be used for fraud, so you need to prevent that from happening if possible.

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April 4, 2012

How much should a notary charge for swearing in a…

How much should a notary charge for swearing in a … 

Please keep in mind that notary rules, and notary prices vary from state to state.  Also, notaries engage in various types of notary acts involving Acknowledgments, Jurats (which include Oaths), Oaths, Affirmations, Protests, and more depending on what state is in question.
How much should a notary charge for swearing in a witness?
Notaries can swear in witnesses, and so can a judge, as well as other types of state appointed officers such as a justice of the peace, etc.  When you are swearing someone in, you are giving them an Oath.  You might have the affiant raise their right hand and ask them, “Do you swear or affirm to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?”.  They might say, “Yes”, or “I do”.  
An Arizona Notary can charge $2 for administering an Oath
A California Notary can charge $10 for administering an Oath.
A Florida Notary Public can charge $10 for administering an Oath
An Illinois Notary may charge $1 for administering an Oath
A Maryland Notary may charge $2 for administering an Oath
A Michigan Notary can charge $10.00 for administering an Oath
A Notary in New York can only charge $2 for administering an Oath
A Notary in New Jersey can charge $2.50 for administering an Oath
An Ohio Notary can charge $1 for administering an Oath
A Pennsylvania Notary can charge $5 for administering an Oath
A Texas Notary can charge $6 for administering an Oath
A Virginia Notary can charge $5 for administering an Oath
A Washington State Notary can charge $10.00 for administering an Oath
A Washington DC Notary can charge $2 for administering an Oath
Note:  The price for Oaths and Affirmations in the mentioned states are identical.  We are only showing rates for highly populated states, and the rest of the state notary prices and notary rules and be queried by visiting our find a notary page.
Swearing in a Credible Witness?
If you need to use a Credible Witness as part of a signing, please consult your state notary manual to see if you can charge extra for each Oath you administer to them.
How much should  a notary charge for swearing in an affiant who is signing an affidavit?
Any time a person signs an Affidavit, or other document which requires a sworn Oath, the Notary (if they are using a notary) needs to have them raise their right hand and swear under oath.  The notary generally has to choose the verbiage for the oath which requires a small amount of skill and extemporaneous “improv” talent.   The notary should charge whatever their state allows as a fee for an Oath.
How much should a notary charge for swearing in someone who is not signing anything?
Sometimes the Oath accompanies a document that is going to be notarized, and other times it is an Oath of Office, an Oath for getting a commission, an Oath swearing them into court, or for a variety of other purposes.  The notary price for this type of Oath should be whatever the local state you are in allows a notary to charge for an Oath.
How do you document an Oath without a signature as a notary public?
Not all states require a notary to have a journal, but without a journal, you can not document any of your transactions, many of which might be very sensitive such as notarizations of Deeds, Powers of Attorney and other important documents that  could have high stakes involved.  If someone is taking a purely oral Oath with no paperwork involved, you should document this in your journal, and have the affiant sign your journal. You should document in the notes section of the journal that you administered an Oath, and write a few words describing what the oath was about.  The exact wording of the oath is not critical for the journal entry.  The notary price or notary fee for this type of act should be whatever the state in question allows a notary to charge for an Oath.

 Travel fees and waiting time?
Many years ago, I went to a lady’s house in Los Angeles.  She was having a court case by phone, and I was there to swear her in before the judge on the other end of the line.  I had to wait for 45 minutes, and had to drive twenty minutes as well. So, I charged a travel and a waiting fee.  I was a very reliable notary and got to this very critical appointment early, so I feel entitled to my fee!  Not all states allow travel fees or waiting time fees, so you need to know the notary prices and acceptable charges in your state of commission.

(1) How much can a notary charge for swearing in a Witness. A state by state fee chart!
(2) Notary Fees for swearing in witnesses range from $1 to $10 in the states we compared.
(3) How do you document an Oath that has no accompanying documentation? #Notary #Journal

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