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December 4, 2018

Doing Oaths? Use a multiple choice form to pick a deity!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — admin @ 10:40 am

The politically correct movement has swept the nation. Even in places like Alabama, people are shying away from the mention of God and doing Affirmations instead of Oaths. The problem I have with this is that there are customs involving Oaths that make the Oath formal and solemn, and by doing away with these customs, in my opinion, you undermine the whole Oath experience.

A traditional Oath is done with the clause — so help you God at the end.

Nowadays you can pick your favorite diety in an Oath, or at least that is what many Notaries feel. The way I teach Oaths, you can only swear to God and nobody else. If you don’t like God or the mention of God, then try an Affirmation which has you affirm on your honor. The picking of divine entities bothers me because the Oath procedure becomes a free for all. It is like Gay marriage. Now a man can marry a man, woman, sheep, or even a lion in some states (just kidding.) Below are some examples of this convoluted change in Oath procedure.

NOTARY: I am going to administer an Oath to you. So, I will need you to pick a deity to swear to. For me to do the Oath verbiage correctly, please let me know your choice of deities in advance. For God press A, for Lord Krishna press B, for Muhammad C (although that would be forbidden in Islam to swear to anyone other than God), and for Shinto-Man press D.

SIGNER: I don’t really care.

NOTARY: Oh, I am just being sensitive. Do you have a preference?

SIGNER: I’ll pick Ganesh for $50.

NOTARY: I don’t think Ganesh is for sale, but here goes. Do you solemnly swear that the contents of this document are true and correct so help you Ganesh?

SIGNER: I do. I swear by his tusk. He’s an elephant so I assume he has a tusk, unless he was detuskified.

The ironies of these types of Oaths are that the Notaries put so much effort into avoiding offending the Affiant (a word most Notaries do not even know) that they fail to maintain the legality of the Oath by giving off-topic Oaths perhaps regarding whether or not you signed the document on your own free will, or if your name is really John Smith. The Oath must be to the truthfulness of the document as a primary focus. But Notary focus is on politically correct nonsense these days and not on the law. If there were a prison for Notaries who break the law, I would put them in a very politically prison where they are referred to as Notarial-Americans instead of Notaries.

Here is another example. The signer is being particular about his preferences.

SIGNER: I need an Oath.

NOTARY: Oh, would you like to have an Oath under God, or some other diety.

SIGNER: Is it possible to swear to Vishnu because I am a Vaishnav.

NOTARY: A what?

SIGNER: A Vaishnav is a type of Hindu that believes in Vishnu just like a Shivite prays to Shiva.

NOTARY: Who?

SIGNER: How can you administer an Oath to me for a God that you don’t even know the name of?

NOTARY: Okay… Do you solemnly Affirm under the supreme rule of Vaishoo…

SIGNER: Not only did you mispronounce the name of my God, but you don’t even know the names of the words in a real Oath. In an Oath you swear not affirm, and in an Affirmation you affirm, not swear. You can’t just mix-match the words any way you like. The minute the word swear is not there, it is no longer an Oath.

NOTARY: Yes, but they are legally the same.

SIGNER: Be that as it may, I have the right to choose the type of Notarization, and you re-chose a different act on your own initiative which is not legal. If you spent more time following the law and less time playing multiple choice with deities you might be a better Notary. You might even become a law abiding Notary!

NOTARY: You’re rude! But, we’ll do the Oath again. And the deity of the day is Jupiter. I want to do a Greek God today.

SIGNER: Doing Oaths is not like deciding what type of dressing to put on your mandarin salad. This is a legal process and there are rules. You might not know what the rules are, but there still are rules. I am reporting you to the Secretary of State. I am sick of this nonsense. You are commissioned to do notary work, yet you don’t even know how to do the simplest acts. Unbelievable. My Vishnu… Ooops, I used the lord’s name in vein.

NOTARY: Don’t worry, I won’t report you.

Jeremy’s advice
Unless you have read up on your state’s laws and know which Gods are admissible for an Oath, stick to God, the founder of the universe. And in an Affirmation have the Affiant affirm on their personal honor. That is how I teach it and it is simpler that way. You may not think anyone is checking up on your when you are doing Oaths — but, God is, so use his name if you do an Oath. And if someone doesn’t like mentioning God, do an Affirmation. And remember — if they are Unitarian, the last time God was mentioned was when the janitor hit is thumb with a hammer.

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You might also like:

Airline meals vs. Notary Oaths & Affirmations
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19549

Notary Public 101 – Oaths, Affirmations, Jurats & Acknowledgments
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19500

Should you give book wording for Oaths or improvise?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19660

Oaths – how Notaries completely screw them up
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19369

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November 15, 2018

The Starbucks Oath Question

Filed under: Technical & Legal — Tags: , — admin @ 10:25 am

I created a quiz question for written quizzes about Starbucks. It is a very interesting and caffeinated question. Here it is…

A Notary goes to a signing.

The Affiant asks for an Oath on a document that is an Affidavit that reads, “I love Starbucks.”

The Notary proceeds to attach a Jurat…
and made a statement that was, “Do you solemnly affirm that you are the one who signed this document and that your name is John Smith?”

What did the Notary do wrong?

COMMON RESPONSES

1. Ask for ID?
Many Notaries feel the Notary should ask for ID. It is true that Notaries are responsible for identifying people. However, that is not central to this question and since the document, certificate, and journal entry have not been completed or stamped, that is irrelevant at this point. Unfortunately, Notaries tend to get sidetracked on irrelevant details that are not central to situations while missing very critical points that can get them in trouble. Talking about ID at this point would be going off on a tangent, especially if that is the only thing you mentioned — although in most states you probably would have to identify the signer.

2. Create a journal entry.
Yes, you should ideally create a journal entry. But, that too is not central to the question at hand.

3. The notary used Acknowledgment wording.
I have never heard of a state that makes you take an Oath while doing an Acknowledgment except perhaps that Massachusetts wants to make sure the signer signed on their own free will and makes them make some sort of statement confirming that fact.

4. Make sure the venue has the correct information.
This document has no venue, and Oaths in all states but Florida (not completely sure about this by the way) do not have certificates. Certificates have venues, but if you don’t have a certificate, you don’t have a venue. Oaths once again typically do not have certificates, and therefore do not have venues.

CORRECT RESPONSE

1. The Notary did three things wrong

(a) The Notary added a Jurat when he was asked for an Oath. Although Jurats have Oaths or Affirmations, Oaths do not have Jurats. Humans have diabetes, but diabetes does not have humans. So, please do not assume that an Oath has a Jurat. An Oath can be done as an independent notary act, and most Notaries don’t know this because they do not read up on Notary tutorials, nor do they ever do Oaths as independent acts. In fact, most Notaries do not do Oaths as part of Jurats either — they just skip over it and assume nobody will notice, or they think that filling out the subscribed and sworn written verbiage is the actual Oath (which is not true because Oaths are verbal by definition.) An Oath is a purely verbal act, however, in Jurats there is a written documentation that accompanies and documents the verbal act.

(b) The Notary gave an Affirmation when he was asked to administer an Oath which is bad for two reasons — one, because the notary did not do what he was asked and, two, because the notary CHOSE the Notary act on behalf of the signer which you are not allowed to do. Only the signer or client can choose the Notary act. So, what the Notary did looks like it is bad service, but also illegal.

(c) The statement the notary made was about the signature and the name of the affiant, but not about the content of the document. The Affiant asked for an Oath on their document, so therefore, the Oath should be made purely on the content of the document.

“Do you solemnly swear that this document is true and correct to the best of your knowledge so help you God?” — would be okay.

“Do you solemnly swear that you love Starbucks? — is paraphrasing and is okay assuming you don’t butcher the statement in any way that detracts from the logic of the statement.

“Do you solemnly swear that you love Starbucks, so help you the Starbucks Goddess.” — if you are politically correct and have multiple choice for what divine entity you want to swear to, you might be able to get away with this one. Read your state notary handbook and see if they allow swearing to the Starbucks Goddess, or as I call her — The Goddess of Caffeine.

“Please raise your right espresso…” (fill in the rest according to your imagination.)

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You might also like:

Notary Starbucks – charging for waiting time while sipping Sumatra
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18926

The Starbucks Signing in the 30 point course
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14291

Airplane meals versus Notary Oaths & Affirmations
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19549

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November 13, 2018

The Delaware Oath revisited

Filed under: Technical & Legal — Tags: , — admin @ 10:22 am

I have started asking questions that intentionally lead you into going off on an unnecessary and illogical tangent. Notaries go on tangents all the time. So, if I have multiple choice answers or questions that would lead an illogical person off track, I get to see who is on the ball and who is not. Here is a scenario that I ask about a lot.

An Affiant appears before a Notary and asks for an Oath on a document that says, “I live in Delaware.”
The Notary declined the job because the Notary is an Illinois Notary, and not a Delaware Notary. What did the Notary do wrong and what should the notary have done?

COMMON ANSWERS

1. The Notary should have checked the ID.
If you are going to decline a Notary job, checking ID will not help. If your state requires identification for Oaths (most if not all probably do although I don’t know that for a fact) then identify the person and keep a journal entry.

2. Just change the venue to Illinois.
The document has no venue. It just says, “I live in Delaware.” The word Delaware is part of a statement and not a venue. If your state requires a certificate for Oaths, the certificate would have a venue, but most states do not have certificates for Oaths. No certificate = no venue.

3. He should look up Delaware wording
There is no state specific wording for Oaths in any state that I have heard of. Check your handbook for a real answer as I am not educated in state notary law although I read ALL the handbooks from all states regularly. An Oath is just an Oath and the notary or signer have the freedom to word it and craft it as they see logical and appropriate.

4. He should use Illinois wording on the Oath.
Once again, you do have to follow the notary laws in your state regardless of where a document is going to be recorded or where the custodian of the document is located. However, the document is NOT a Delaware document. It is a document that has no location at all — it merely states that the Affiant lives in Delaware.

5. The Notary should say, “Do you solemnly swear that you live at such and such an address in Delaware so help you God?”
This Notary is adding content that is not on the document. You can’t do that. Just administer an Oath as to the content of the document.

6. Add a Jurat
In this question you are giving an Oath only if you follow instructions. Oaths do not have Jurats, but Jurats have Oaths or Affirmations. You were not given permission to add a Jurat either, and might be considered UPL to choose the Notary act on behalf of the Affiant.

7. Just give an Oath.
The correct answer is to just give an Oath based on the content of the document. There is no state specific wording necessary. You could say, “Do you solemnly swear that the contents of this document are true and correct?” Then the Affiant must say, “I do.”

This question is really an easy question that tests whether you do your job, or get sidetracked by inconsequential details. You would be surprised at how many notaries just cannot do their job the minute they get distracted by something tiny that throws them off.

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October 17, 2017

Notary Public 101 — Basic Notary Acts

Return to table of contents for Notary Public 101.

BASIC NOTARY ACTS

Each state has a different list of official Notary acts. Some state handbooks don’t make it clear if certain actions are considered “official” notary acts or not. However, all states or the vast majority have Acknowledgments, Jurats, Oaths, and Affirmations. Many also have Protests and Proofs of Execution, while only a few have Witnessing, Attesting, immigration form filling, and depositions as acts. There are a few more acts I will not mention as they are obscure and very state specific. Let’s focus on the main acts that we will hold you responsible for knowing.

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

When I studied to be a Notary, my teacher said you Acknowledge a signature, Execute a Jurat and Administer an Oath. This is not true. The Notary is not the one who acknowledges a signature. The SIGNER acknowledges the signature and then the Notary CERTIFIES that the signer acknowledged the signature by virtue of filling out the Acknowledgment Certificate. Here are some basics on Acknowledgments.

1. The signer acknowledges having signed the document.

2. The signer must physically personally appear before the Notary for such an act.

3. The signer does NOT have to sign before the Notary according to most if not all states such as AK, IA, SC, SD, VT, and WV. Lenders might require the borrower to sign in the presence of the Notary, but that is a particular Lender’s standard and not necessarily a state standard or even a best practice.

4. The Notary must positively identify the signer using identification documents acceptable to their state which normally include Drivers Licenses, State issued identification photo ID’s, Passports, and Military ID’s. Other ID might be accepted on a state by state basis and you can look that up in your handbook. Also, see our section on identification.

5. The Notary should ideally keep a journal entry of all Notarial acts even if their state does not require this.

6. There should be Acknowledgment wording appropriate or acceptable to your state inscribed within the document, or you can attach a loose acknowledgment form with a staple.

7. After you fill out the certificate form, you sign and stamp the page (some states allow you to write in your seal information without a stamp.) Make sure your stamp is clear and not smudgy otherwise the county recorder has the right to reject the Notarization.

8. Note — some states require the Notary to ask the signer to attest to the fact that they signed in their own free will. Please be aware if your state has any unusual requirements or special wording on forms.

9. A California Notary faces many restrictions as to what type of out of state forms they can use. Please check the California Notary Handbook to see what you can accept and what you can’t otherwise you could get in trouble particularly if it is a recorded document.

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JURATS

Jurats are a Notary act where the signer or affiant by definition signs and swears (and/or sometimes affirms) before the Notary. Jurat wording differs from state to state. However, some basic verbiage includes the phrase, “Subscribed and sworn to before me.” What does this mean? This means that the document was signed in the physical presence of the Notary Public as well as sworn to before the Notary Public at the signing. In an Acknowledged signature you can sign prior to seeing the Notary, but you acknowledge before the Notary. A Jurat is completely different. Modern verbiage for Jurats sometimes says, “Subscribed and sworn or affirmed to before me.” This does not mean that you can administer an Oathfirmation and mix the Affirmation and Oath verbiage. This means that you can have the client choose if they want an Oath or Affirmation and do one or the other. Don’t mix these Notary acts unless your state specifically says you can.

Many Notaries are unaware that when executing a Jurat, you do need to administer an Oath particular to the document being signed. Please see our commentary on Oaths below. Failing to administer an Oath on a Jurat is illegal and could void the legal completeness of the document. Some states additionally will reserve the right to suspend your commission if you omit a legally required Oath.

“Subscribed and sworn to before me” is NOT Oath verbiage! That is the written documentation that you gave an Oath. When you ask the affiant to raise their right hand, do NOT utter the words, “subscribed and sworn to before me.” otherwise they will think you are an idiot and there will be no way for them to respond unless they repeat. Start an Oath with, “do you solemnly swear” after they have raised their right hand.

A good Oath for a document could be, “Do you solemnly swear under the penalty of perjury that the information in this document is true and correct to the best of your knowledge, so help you God?” Then the other person says, “I do.” Then you pronounce them “man and document” by the powers vested in you.

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OATHS

Not all Notarial acts include a written document or written certificate. Some are purely oral. Oaths and Affirmations are oral acts where most states do not have a certificate for the Oath. You should write in your journal if you administered an Oath and where it says, “Name of document” you should write that you gave an Oath about a particular topic. You do not write the actual verbiage of the Oath in your journal. You might write, “Oath regarding military duty” or “Oath of citizenship,” etc.

Oath verbiage is generally up to the Notary and few states have any actual requirements for what you should say. However, common sense and tradition dictate certain things about Oath verbiage.

Raise Your Right Hand — you traditionally have the signer raise their right hand before swearing under Oath.

Solemnly – it is traditional to ask the signer if they solemnly swear. An Oath is a solemn occassion and swearing to a Notary is as official as swearing to a judge in a court of law.

Swear — you must use the word “swear” in an Oath otherwise it is no longer an Oath.

Document or Statement — in an Oath you should make a reference to the content you are swearing to. It might be a document, or a statement you are about to me. Just make sure you reference the content in a way that makes sense. Asking someone to swear to “the information” is not as precise as asking them to swear to the truthfulness of “this document” while pointing to the document.

God — Oaths traditionally refer to God. If someone doesn’t like God, rather than remove God from the Oath, do an Affirmation INSTEAD of an Oath.

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Correct Oath wording for a Notary to make for a Document
“Please raise your right hand. Do you solemnly swear that the document you signed is true and correct to the best of your knowledge, so help you God?” — The answer would be, “I do.”

Wrong Oaths for a Document
“Do you solemnly swear that the statement you are about to make is true?”
“Do you solmenly swear that the information you provided is true?”

Commentary
If you are swearing to a document there is no statement you are about to make. There is a document you already signed that you swear to. You cannot swear to a statement you are not going to make — that is nonsense. The information in the document might have been provided by a Lender or Attorney, so don’t make them swear to WHO provided the information. Just have them swear that it is true.

Administering an Oath
When you are a Notary and you give or supervise an Oath to someone, you are administering an Oath. When you administer an Oath there are two ways to do it. You either ask an Oath question such as the ones mentioned above, or you say, “Repeat after me.” Repeating after me is really tenous as every three words the affiant has to repeat those words and it is like being six years old doing the pledge of allegience. How annoying!

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AFFIRMATIONS

An Affirmation is similar to an Oath. The are equal in their significance and used during the same situations. Affirmations are legal in most states. Check your state’s handbook to see if they are used in yours and if there is any state specific wording that you must use. However, you cannot mix and match the wording in an Affirmation. If your client wants to do an Affirmation, you use the word Affirm or State rather than swear, and you do not mention God. Leave God out of it! Other than that, the verbiage is the same as an Oath, so help you nobody!

To better understand choosing Oaths vs. Affirmations or mixing them up together read this fun article about Airline Meals versus Oaths and Affirmations.

To administer an Affirmation for a document just say, “Do you solemnly affirm or state that the information in this document is correct?” or for a purely oral statement just say, “Do you solemnly affirm or state that the statement you are about to give is true and correct?”

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PROOF OF EXECUTION

Not all states allow proofs of execution, but it is a traditional Notary act that I would like you to know about. In a proof of execution, the principal who is the one who signs the document signs when a subscribing witness is witnessing his signature. The definition of a subscribing witness is one who watches someone else sign. Then the subscribing witness appears before a Notary and swears under Oath that he/she witnessed so and so signing the document. I have never heard of this act being done, but for less formal documents, it is often allowed and it is interesting to read about as it is so unusual.

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PROTESTS

Not all states have protests. Protests are normally done by people working in banking to protest the non-payment of a bill or bounced check. We do not hold our Notaries responsible to understand this act although it is good to know what it is.

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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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You might also like:

Airline meals verses Notary Oaths & Affirmations
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19549

Notary Public 101 – Oaths, Affirmations, Jurats & Acknowledgments
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19500

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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.

You might also like:

Notary Boiler Plate Wording
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2432

Notary Certificates, Notary Wording & Notary Verbiage
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1834

We caught a bunch of frauds using Notary Verbiage
http://blog.123notary.com/?tag=notary-verbiage

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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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