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August 5, 2017

Oaths and the art of improvisation

Jazz musicians are famous for their ability to improvise. Con-artists know how to ad-lib. Notaries are also required to know a little about improvisation. The problem is that the states require Notaries to know how to administer Oaths when those very same states do not instruct Notaries on the art of Oath giving.

Beginnings and endings
A good Oath begins with some formalities. Remember, that Oaths are by definition formal, and should be formal. Lying to a Notary Public under Oath is an act of perjury and should not be tolerated!

“Please raise your right hand. Do you solemnly swear… (body of Oath) so, help you God?”

There is a beginning of an Oath which must include the word “swear” otherwise in my book it isn’t an Oath. Then, the Oath should ideally end with so, help you God? For those who want to leave God out of it, you can administer an affirmation instead of an Oath which uses the word Affirm and refers to no God. However, you must NOT use the term affirm in an Oath. You cannot mix and match notarial acts and their respective verbiages. Oaths use the term swear, Affirmations use the term affirm, state, or perhaps attest.

Bodies of Oaths
The body of an Oath would really depend on the context. As an Oath creator, you have to create Oaths that are useful, and make sense based on the situation. Sometimes there is some prescribed wording that you must use. Using prescribed wording does not let you off the hook for understanding the Oath. You must understand the Oath and its parts otherwise you won’t know if the prescribed Oath makes sense or not. If there is no prescribed wording, you can ad-lib or use a cheat sheet. But, if you lose your cheat sheet and cannot perform, people will think you are an idiot, and I run into this problem with Notaries a lot. Below are some examples of how I would create an Oath for various purposes.

PLEASE RAISE YOUR RIGHT PAW!

Marriage
“Do you solemnly swear to take this man/woman as your lawfully wedded husband/wife for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in smartness and senility (let’s be realistic), until death do you part, so help you God/Godess?”

Oath of Office as a Notary Public.
“Do you solemnly swear that you will uphold all of the laws relating to Notaries Public in the state of California, and faithfully discharge your duties as a Notary Public for the duration of your term, so help you God, the Secretary of State, and perhaps the NNA Hotline (if they still have one?)”

Oath for Military
“Do you solemnly swear to defend the constitution of the United States for the duration of your term as a Military Officer in the United States Army and defend the USA against all enemies foreign and domestic, and not abandon your duties for light and transient causes (or loophole clauses), so help you God?”

Rental Oath for Agnostics
“Do you solemnly swear to be a good tenant in this apartment for the duration of your year lease, and thereafter if you should stay beyond the contracted terms of this agreement, so you help you God… if there is one?”

Jurat Oath
“Do you solemnly swear that the contents of this document are true and correct to the best of your knowledge and that you agree to and will abide by the terms within if any, so help you God?”

ID Oath
“Do you solemnly swear that this is a true identification card for you as an individual and that it was not forged, counterfeited or falsified in any way, shape or form, so help you God (and the DMV?)”

Court Oath
“Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?” (standardized wording here and not ad-libbed in this situation.)

COMMENTARY
Please notice that my Jurat Oath included the requried word, “swear” and refered to a particular document and not just to thin air. You swear to something particular and not to thin air.

Please also note that my Notary Oath included the term, the state in question, the act of defending the laws of the state and being dutiful in discharging your duties. It is important to mention all of the relevant components of what a person is swearing to. Can you picture a Notary Oath where the new Notary is only asked if they swear they will be a good Notary for an undefined period of time? Ludicrous!

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February 7, 2017

Notary Wording

Notary Wording Varies from State to State
There is no official American Notary wording. Notary verbiage differs from state to state, and varies based on what type of Notary act you are having done. There are various common types of notarizations such as Acknowledged signatures, Jurats, Oaths and Affirmations. The vast majority of notarizations are Acknowledgments whose wording states that the signer appeared before the Notary, was positively identified, and signed the document.

Notary Certificates — what type of wording is included.
Your typical Acknowledgment or Jurat Certificate will include several sections with wording.

1. Venue
The venue states the state and county where the notarization is taking place. Please note that the Notary is not always commissioned in the county where the notarization is taking place. So, if you are in Orange county, but the Notary is from San Diego, please make sure they put the venue county based on where the notarization is taking place, and not where they live.

2. Boiler Plate Wording
The main body of the text could be worded in an infinite variety of ways, but normally state the date of the signing, name of the signer, the name of the Notary, the fact that the signer appeared before the Notary, the fact that the signer signed the document, and if an Oath was included (Jurats by definition have Oaths) then the fact that the signer swore before the Notary. The verbiage “subscribed and sworn to before me this (date)” is commonly used in many states especially in New York where the cabbies enjoy the swearing part more than any other part of the Notarization.

3. The Signature Section
The bottom of the notary wording or notary verbiage has room for the Notary’s seal which might mean their signature or their official notary stamp. In most states the Notary signs and stamps, or might even emboss with a non-inked embosser as a secondary form of stamp.

Types of Acknowledgments
Normally, when people want to be Notarized, they ask the Notary if they can notarize a Jurat for them. In actuality, most Notarizations are for Acknowlegments. Normally people can use an All Purpose Acknowledgment, but in Ohio, there is such thing as a Corporate Acknowledgment and Attorney in Fact Acknowledgment.

Where Can You Find Your State’s Wording?
If you visit our find a notary page, you can click on your state and find current notary wording for your state. Or Google your states notary wording. Example: “California Acknowledgment Wording.”

Sample California Jurat Verbiage

State of California
County of Lake

Subscribed and sworn to (or affirmed) before me on this 5th day of January, 2017, by Jedadiah Goldminer, proved to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence to be the person(s) who appeared before me.

(Seal)

Signature_______________________

Loose Certificates
Many documents have preprinted notary wording on them. However, it is legal to attach a loose certificate form using a staple. NNA is a great source for Notary certificate pads such as Acknowledgment Certificates, Jurat Certificates, and even Copy Certification by Document Custodian if you want to get fancy.

Filling out the Forms
It is common on Notary certificate forms to have sections where there is he/she/they or signature(s). You have to cross out the non-applicable word(s). If you are Notarizing a woman, cross out the he and the they and the (s). If you are notarizing a man and a woman in the same notary act, cross out the he and the she, but keep the (s). If you are notarizing a man who used to be a women — your guess is as good as mine — good luck, you’ll need it.

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November 22, 2016

Definition of Oath

This article deals with Oaths in general as well as how Oaths are significant in the Notary Profession.

What is an Oath?
An Oath is a solemn and formal statement of fact or promise that is worded in a sacred or official way. An Oath is a formalized vow normally taken before others in a formal situation.

Types of Oaths
It is common for people to take an Oath or swear under Oath when becoming a public official which would be called being sworn into office. People also take Oaths when they get married or when they are sworn into court as a defendant, plaintiff, Attorney, witness or juror. People take an Oath of citizenship when becoming a citizen. Those in the medical profession take a hippocratic Oath. But, zookeepers do not need to take a rhinocratic Oath contrary to popular belief.

Hand Gestures
It is common in the United States for people to raise their right hand with their palm facing forward at the beginning of an Oath proceeding. Different parts of the world might have different hand gestures or no hand gestures.

Some People Refuse Oaths
Some Christians refuse to swear under Oath as they always tell the truth (or claim to.) They seem to not understand that the purpose of the Oath is not to prove to themselves that they are telling the truth, but to impress upon others that they are — while the others might not have the same opinion as to the integrity of the affiant. The Notary profession now allows for Affirmations instead of Oaths for those religious people who don’t believe in oaths.

Affirmations
An Affirmation is a formal statement that currently carries the same and identical weight and meaning as an Oath. A Notary Public can swear someone in using an Affirmation instead of an Oath merely by substituting verbiage. Instead of saying, “Do you solemnly swear that this document is true and correct?” you could say, “Do you solemnly affirm that this document is true and correct?”

Affiant
An affiant is the person who swears under Oath typically in a written statement called an Affidavit.

Affidavit
An Affidavit is a written document, often a legal document where the Affiant swears before a Notary Public as to the truthfulness of the document.

Jurat
A Jurat is an official Notary act where the affiant swears under Oath to the truthfulness of a written statement or document. Some Jurats have handwritten statements written by the signer who is also the affiant. Others are drafted up by an Attorney, government or professional agency.

Notarial Oath
Jurats are not the only Notary act that can have an Oath. Notaries use Oaths in many aspects of their work. Notaries take an Oath of Office to get sworn into duty when their commission begins. Notaries routinely swear in Credible Witnesses who are used to identify a signer who doesn’t have identification. Notaries swear in Subscribing Witnesses as well who witness people signing a document. There are also just plain Oaths that Notaries administer. The Oath might not be written or recorded. If Notary administers an Oath, they should indicate in their journal that they gave an Oath regarding a particular subject and have the Oath taker (affiant) sign the journal in that corresponding entry.

Acknowledgments with Oaths
Acknowledged signatures normally do not have Oaths, but they could have an accompanying Oath. Acknowledgments allow the signer to sign before they see the Notary Public. However, the Oath would have to be taken in the presence of a Notary Public.

Oaths in Mortgage Loan Signings
Mortgage loan signings normally contain several affidavits such as the Signature Affidavit which requires a sworn Oath. So, if you perform Loan Signings, be prepared to be an expert at the art of Oath giving.

Question
If Physicians take a Hippocratic Oath, what type of profession would take a Rhinocratic Oath?

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September 20, 2016

Their Signature

Their Signature

Let’s use, as a working definition of Their Signature; “somebody’s name written by him or her in a characteristic way”. Long ago, about a decade, I was often asked to provide “legible” signatures that matched the name signing. I tried that a few times, mostly with dismal failure. More often than not, the signature was totally illegible – more like artwork than written script handwriting.

Now let’s go back a lot further in the past, about two thousand years. Commercial transactions were common then as they are now. Most did not read or write, they made their mark. It was the seal of the Notary, who knew the affiant that validated the “mark”. Nothing has really changed. It is still the Notary who is supporting the validity of the signature.

They can sign many ways, with a pen, with a brush (artsy?), using their hands, feet, knees or mouth to hold the instrument of signing. Keep in mind the Americans with Disabilities Act. We must make reasonable accommodation to all who qualify for our seal. The signature does not have to be the same as, or even similar to the one on their ie: driver license. A lost limb or even both arms does not preclude notarization. Pen held in mouth is fine, the signature will be vastly different – but that really does not matter. Many elderly people have hands that shake, but their minds remain crystal clear.

Their “signature”, however written is the second aspect of accepting the Notary Oath. The first part is communicating a “yes” to the Oath; the signature is the written agreement. As mentioned – often the signature does not match the ID. Of course the picture must. There is one signature that (at least in NY State) must match – and that one is mine. My signature is recorded with the county clerk and for it to be authenticated; my signature on the document must be the same as my officially recorded one. Thus my signature cannot change.

To me what really counts is their printed name somewhere to indicate exactly who is being notarized. If it’s in my “loose ack” – I get to print the name. Sometimes it’s not that clear on the document, that is when I ask them to print their name under their signature. Notaries must take care to delimit their notarization to those actually given the oath and ID checked. When there are “other” places for signature, I often add “by affiant name” to the “sworn to and subscribed”.

Signatures vary greatly. I have seen perfectly formed cursive handwriting, squiggles and minor works of art with flourishes. Many bear no relation whatsoever to the name. Sometimes the same thing is on the ID, sometimes not. It’s my job to determine who they are, not to critique how they write their name. It would be so much more “absolute” if a DNA sample were to be added. Some think a thumbprint would be best; but not everyone has a thumb.

So, I am not a handwriting nanny. When the instructions mandate “clearly written” I tell the affiant what they “require” – and accept what they do. Usually I ask for their routine, standard signature “the way you would sign a check”. In my experience people object to being told “how to sign”. The signature, stamp and seal of the Notary makes whatever it is “Kosher”.

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March 27, 2016

You know you’re a notary when…

You know you’re a Notary Public when…

(1) You go to a bar and ID the bartender before he has a chance to ID you.
(2) You ID every girl you date even when their high school yearbook is over 18
(3) You like Oreo cookies because they’re embossed.
(4) Your favorite ice cream is from Jen & Sherry’s, Rescinded Rum Raisin
(5) You background screen your golf buddies before going out into the course with them
(6) You have a bumper sticker that says “I’d rather be signing”
(7) You spend so much time with your GPS that you make Siri sign a prenup.
(8) You spend so much time with your GPS that you know all of its most intimate pieces of information such as favorite foods, birthdays, favorite roads, and mother’s maiden name.
(9) You become famous, people ask for your autograph and you’d rather have theirs
(10) Your mailbox and inbox are cluttered by twelve different notary organizations.
(11) Your Jewish son meets a nice Jewish girl and you ask, “Is she a notary?”
(12) Your favorite seafood is squid because it never needs an ink refill.
(13) When you get your parking validated, you rip the stamp out of the person’s hands so you can stamp it yourself.
(14) You comment, “Gee, your hairstyle doesn’t match your ID,” when you meet someone at a bar.
(15) You compliment people on their signatures — “Gee, that’s a lovely cursive.”
(16) You take pawprints of the animals in the neighborhood just in case they get lost.
(17) You spend your spare time last weekend writing a letter to the State of Nevada criticizing them for allowing drivers licenses to be valid for 20 years.
(18) When you go to court (for whatever reason) you correct the bailiff’s Oath wording.
(19) You wear a T-shirt saying, “I’m not your husband’s mistress, I’m the Notary!”
(20) You have an NNA towel that you take to the beach (if such a thing exists)
(21) All guests entering your house must personally appear before you and sign the journal, put a date and time, plus reason for entry.
(22) Your favorite California wine is the Notary Public Cabernet – You’d swear under oath it’s the best vino there is if you weren’t busy slurring your notary verbiage
(23) When your friend asked you, “Can I turn left here?” You respond, “I am not an Attorney and may not answer legal questions or perform loan signings in the state of Georgia. I am just a Notary.”
(24) When you go to cocktail parties and people ask what you do you respond, “Next question.”
(25) When you go to a bar, you always order their signature drinks.
(26) When someone asks how old your young children are, instead of measuring their age in weeks or months, you measure it in fractions of a commission. Oh this one? Judy? Yeah, we got her during my 2nd commission. But, Fred over here we’ve had since before I was commissioned at all. He must be getting old now.
(27) You ask your Jewish friends if they need their kid’s Bar-Mitzvahs Notarized.
(28) If your friend invites you to a party and then calls you to change the venue, you offer to initial the change.
(29) You have a bumper sticker saying — Warning, I brake for Mortgage Brokers.
(30) You have another bumper sticker saying — Notary on Board
(31) You have a happy hour menu with special prices for Jurats.
(32) Your favorite Chinese restaurant has fortune cookies that read — He who backdate live long life, but have short commission.
(33) You have a special credit card that gives double miles if you stay at The Notary Hotel
(34) When you see a girl with a nice tan, you comment that she must have used a lot of toner to get that look.
(35) When you go out for steak you only get certified Angus steak.
(36) When charitable organizations send you 500 labels with your home address on it, you throw them out as you prefer to use a customized stamp.
(36) Your favorite movie was — Honey, I Notarized the Kids.

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June 16, 2015

The Right to Decline Notarization

The Right to Decline Notarization
Notary must officiate on request.

The Penal Law (§195.00) provides that an officer before whom an oath or affidavit may be taken is bound to administer the same when requested, and a refusal to do so is a misdemeanor. (People v. Brooks, 1 Den. 457.)

The above is from the handbook of law provided to New York State notaries. Not much “wiggle room” there. I am writing this wondering if I just committed a crime! Of course we decline to notarize when something is “not right”, as we should. However, the issue before me is a request to officiate at the opening of a safe deposit box.

I have never participated in a safe deposit box opening. From what I understand, the notary is present and verifies the contents. It’s often a time consuming procedure. Generally it is a low paying function. I have heard that sometimes the notary is notarizing the statement as to the contents made by a bank officer. Other banks require the notary to make the statement as to the content and, as a notary, stamp and sign. That second procedure is a self notarization and illegal in New York State, and probably most other jurisdictions.

For the sake of discussion; let’s assume the procedure requested is the former, notarization of the statement by the bank officer. That’s certainly legal. The real issue is can mobile notaries legally refuse assignments? It is my understanding that a notary in a place of public accommodation (eg: at a bank) cannot refuse often saying “you must be a client of the bank”, any legal request. However, the mobile notary does not have a walk in location open to the public. Thus, IMHO the “before whom” does not exist; certainly that propinquity is not achieved “over the phone”.

One approach to avoiding unwanted situations is to price them very high. Sure, I’m available for your safe deposit box opening and my fee, with travel, is $500. But, that is a sham; and is sure to put you on the bank’s “do not call” list; possibly precluding an attractive assignment. I did not “high bid” my recent caller. I simply stated that I choose to not accept such assignments. And, that is the heart of the issue. Was declining a proper thing to do?

I have had people, despite my advertising to being a “Mobile Notary”; ring my bell and wish to enter my residence to have their document notarized. All of these have been declined. One or two were irate, and indicated that they would file formal charges against me. If they did, my licensing authorities probably dismissed their protest. I doubt there is any requirement to allow persons into my home, with the exception of Police, Fire, Building Inspectors, etc.

Unfortunately, the real issue remains, in my mind, a bit murky. Can I refuse a valid mobile notary request? If my schedule conflicts, I consider that a valid reason. But, if I am “available” do I have the right to “pick and choose” what mobile notary assignments I accept? We certainly do that all the time with Edocs from lowball disreputable callers. Many notaries do not like to notarize Power of Attorney documents. Many clients tell me their bank refused because Power of Attorney notarizations are “against bank policy”; presumably to avoid potential litigation.

Do we as individual mobile notaries have the right to refuse service to individuals for whatever reasoning we employ? The law cited above appears to require servicing all legal requests. My “not before us” is probably on weak legal grounds; I am not an attorney. How do you respond to requests that you do not wish to accept; especially those from individuals with proper ID, etc.

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February 24, 2015

Why Notarize?

Why Notarize?
There is no denying that notarization can be inconvenient. Of course you can easily search by zip code to find a nearby mobile notary on 123notary.com that will go to you. But, even if the process is very convenient; the question remains why bother?

Although some “shorty” notary sections contain only “sworn to before me”; one that meets the complete guidelines of the various states contains much more information. Some contracts or documents may be quite legal in one state but prohibited in a different state. A proper notarization contains a Venue that states where the notarization took place. The venue always represents where the oath was given and notary signature was affixed. It has nothing to do with the content of the document; and, at times, may not reflect where you signed the document.

Almost all notary sections contain the date the document was notarized. Consider a hand written IOU that says the payment is due in 90 days, but does not mention the start date. The notary section’s date is always the date that the notary signed. Attorneys may argue many details, but the notarization date is the date that the parties were given the oath. Lacking any other date, the notarization date would usually be considered the effective date of the document.

Squiggle, squiggle; handwriting is often unreadable. A great notary section will mention by name the person(s) who were notarized, generally in clearly printed block letters. Care must be taken by the notary, when there are several affiants; to mention only those that were given the oath.

Speaking of oath, many do not realize that a sworn statement before a notary carries exactly the same legal standing as testimony in a court of law. The Bailiff “swears in” the witness, exactly the same as the notary oath. False statements on notarized documents are equivalent to lies in the witness stand – the crime of perjury. Take notarized documents seriously!

Back to Why have a signature notarized. In addition to recording in a uniform format the above information; the notary determines the identity of the affiant. Not to an absolute certainty, but by inspecting “government issued photo ID”. A good forgery can fool anyone who is not an expert at examining the specific ID. However, notaries inspect IDs closely, and if there is any evidence of tampering – they will reject the ID. It is the chief duty of the notary to inspect and approve the ID presented and record that acceptance by placing a notary seal and signature on the document.

The “humble notary” is actually a sworn officer (we take an oath to follow the notary laws) of the (in New York) Department of State. As a commissioned officer, we have the legal right, and often the legal obligation, to confirm the identity of the person signing the document. Being impartial, our stamp and signature are accepted as substantiation that the named person did indeed sign.

Information is gathered and recorded, IDs are checked and the notary signs and stamps. Notarization does not make a document valid, legal, binding, or truthful. Those aspects of the document are generally issues for litigation. A notarized false statement remains exactly that, the notarization does not have any relationship to the contents of the document. It does allow the document to be entered in evidence in a court. It makes forgery more difficult, but not impossible. Though not always required, it’s unlikely an unnecessary notarization will void a document.

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February 24, 2014

A social media site for Notaries — Affiant

For centuries, notaries have been complaining that they were bored, and had trouble meeting friends. They frequently said that they had no friends because there was nowhere to meet people. Then, during the 60’s, there were the be ins, and the love ins and the sign ins. During that decade, the notary public community didn’t complain as much because they were too high to know the difference. But, then in the 10’s (I’m the first person to call this decade the 10’s), notaries once again felt very lonely. If only there were a solution. If only there were a social media site for notaries. Of course the real reason notaries are lonely is because they complain all the time and nobody wants to hang around with them as a result. The second reason nobody hangs around with notaries, is that most notaries don’t answer their phone (at least when we call). But, one guy came up with the solution!

Affiant — a social media site for notaries

Meet new friends on Affiant. Affiant is so good, you will SWEAR BY IT. Members on this site are called Affiants. You can not be a member unless you love the site so much that you swear by it. After all, one who is sworn in to do an Oath, be definition is an Affiant!

Notaries around the country, and even in foreign countries flocked to this new and fascinating site. There were forums, events, lectures, guest speakers and more that all coordinated on Affiant.

How do you become a member of Affiant? The sign-up procedure is easy. You need to be sworn in with a notarized Oath. The Oath verbiage reads:

“I solemnly swear that I swear by Affiant. I think Affiant is so wonderful and great, that it is the best thing that ever happened to the notary — besides 123notary — and nobody paid me to mention the 123notary part either!”

Join Affiant today!

Tweets:
(1) For centuries, notaries have been complaining that they are bored & have trouble meeting friends.
(2) During the 60’s there were the be ins, love ins and sign ins (for hippy notaries)
(3) Notaries complain they’re bored & have trouble making friends
Now there’s “Affiant,” a social media site 4notaries!
(4) Meet new friends on Affiant – a social media site for notaries. Affiant is so good, you’ll SWEAR BY IT.

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November 16, 2013

Notarizing Yoda in, “The Secretary of State Strikes Back”

We had a tweet about a notary trilogy. There was:

Notary Wars
The Secretary of State Strikes Back
Return of the NNA — with discounted prices on Journals.

People liked the tweet. But, in The Secretary of State Strikes Back, Luke has to get commissioned as an intergallactic notary and go to notarize Yoda. Unfortunately, the trip to see Yoda was filled with unexpected perils including a crash landing in a swamp. After the crash, Luke tries to get C3PO back together and find his signer / Affiant.

Yoda: What are you looking for?
Luke: I’m looking for a person named Yoda.
Yoda: Looking you are; Look and you shall find!
Luke: I think I just did.
Yoda: What is your purpose here?
Luke: I need to notarize a signature for Yoda and give a sworn Oath to accompany the signature.
Yoda: Hmmmm, a signature you seek; A signature you shall find. Look around; Be watchful!
——— swoop!!! —————–
Luke: Oh my god, that bird almost took my head off.
Yoda: Always watchful, a Jedi Notary must be.
Luke: You’re telling me! In any case, I brought a laser printed copy of the document I need you to sign.
Yoda: Hmmm, laser printed you say. I thought this technology disappeared 800 years ago with the previous empire.
Luke: No, it’s still here, but now we need dual tray printers. For legal and illegal sized federation documents.
Yoda: I know not of these things. Relative isolation is the condition here. In nature I live, in nature I die. Hmmm.
Luke: Can you sign right here?
Yoda: Sign, I will. Wait, you must!
Luke: Hey, where are you going? Hey come back here! Oh no, now what did he do?
————– Luke looks for his signer, but can’t find him anywhere ———-
————- A voice from the distance says, “Use the force Luke, use the force” ———-
Luke: I’m trying to use the force. I know I can find this guy. He was just here a minute a/…. What was that.
Yoda: (appears from nowhere) Paying attention you were not. Danger is everywhere. Alert you must be. You are never thinking of WHAT you are doing and WHERE you are going. Hmmm? You must always be paying attention. What if you are witnessing a signer and your attention is distracted, hmm? Someone else might sign for him? Or his ID might be fake. Attention, you must pay, hmm.
Luke: I never thought of it like that. There is nobody else here.
Yoda: That is what you think.
Luke: Anyway, if you want me to notarize this document, please don’t run away again. Just sign here.
Yoda: Sign, I will. Attention you will pay this time!
Luke: Okay, please raise your right hand. Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
Yoda: Solemnly swear — I do. The whole truth I will tell. Nothing, but the Truth!
Luke: Do you agree to, and will you abide by the conditions and terms in this document?
Yoda: Hmm. Written in Tatooine it is. Speak their dialect I do not. Translation is needed. Wait. I will use my powers of concentration and intuit the document. You translate, I will see if you translate correctly.
Luke: It is saying that you will submit to the rules of the New Federation. A few rules are stipulated below including the rules of transportation, etc.
Yoda: Hmmm. Their rules, I do not like. Choice, I do not have if I wish to live without a fight. Sign, I will.
Luke: Thanks Yoda. I will have this document recorded with the intergallactic recorder right away. C3 can send it virtually to them after scanning it, and I’ll get the actual physical document as well to them.
Yoda: Hmmm. Good. Our work is done. Pay attention — always. Never be caught off guard or a Jedi notary you will never be.
Luke: Thanks Yoda!

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September 2, 2013

Notary Perjury and Oaths

Notary Perjury

What is Notary perjury? Is that when a notary lies under Oath or when an Affiant lies under Oath to a Notary Public or other state official? In real life there is no such thing as Notary perjury — there is only regular perjury. Don’t get caught lying under Oath — tell the truth!

Penalty of perjury
If you swear under Oath to a Notary Public, you have made a solemn Oath under the penalty of perjury. Lying under Oath is a serious crime. The problem is that Notary Oaths are not always very clear. The Notary might have you swear to a document, but what are you actually swearing to? Are you swearing that the document is true, or that you will follow the terms in the document, or both?

What types of things do people lie about?
People might lie about what their legal name is. Sometimes people want to use an alias. Sometimes the name a person has on the Title of a property might not exactly match the name on their identification document which could cause a lot of confusion and legal issues. Another common lie that I might have been told for years (no evidence either way) is on the Occupancy Affidavit. Borrowers can get a discounted interest rate if they claim to live in the building (house) they are borrowing on. The Occupancy Affidavit makes that borrowers swear that they are residing in the property as their primary residence. But, it is common for borrowers to lie and be using the property as an investment property or second home — an example of “Notary perjury”.

People don’t always take the Oath seriously
My biggest objection to being a notary was that people didn’t take Oaths seriously. I sometimes had to ask people multiple times to raise their right hand all the way up — no, not two inches up — all the way up. Mumbling an inaudible “yes” just doesn’t cut it with me. I think that as a Notary Public, you should remind your Affiants of how serious and formal the Oath actually is. I would also tend to think that your Oath takers will be more likely to tell the truth if they are aware of how serious an Oath is and if they are aware of how they could be subject to penalties of perjury should they lie. I have never heard of anyone being punished for lying under Oath to a notary. I have only heard of people getting in trouble for fraud. But, keep people honest in any case! Being a Notary Public is a serious profession that protects the integrity of signatures and society!

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