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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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August 30, 2018

Notary Public Information


Notary Public


If you would like general information about the Notary world, read this! There are many things to know about the Notary world from how to become a Notary, how to find one, and the particular types of jobs and Notary acts Notaries do (or commit.) We will try to elaborate on all of this information below.

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Become a Notary Public

To become a Notary Public requires contacting your state’s Notary division. Most states have rules for who can become a Notary.

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No felons allowed!
You generally have to be free of felony convictions or of convictions of crimes that involve moral turpitude such as fraud.

Residency requirements
You should be a legal resident of the state you want to be commissioned in as a general rule, although some states allow residents of neighboring states who work in state.

No citizenship requirements
You generally do not need to be a US citizen, although you should be able to read, write and speak English well.

You need to be 18 or older in most if not all states.

State Notary Divisions Contact Info
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1941

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What do Notaries do?
Notaries can perform a short variety of Notarial acts which can differ from state to state. These acts include performing Acknowledgments, Jurats, Oaths, Affirmations, Proofs, and some states allow Copy Certification of Powers of Attorneys or other documents, Witnessing, Safety Deposit Openings, Protests for non-payment of bills and more. Let’s focus on understanding the more universal acts first.

Acknowledgments — A Notary Public may notarize an Acknowledged signature which is a signature that a signer acknowledged signing. This involves the signer presenting a signed document to the notary, signing the Notary’s journal, and presenting current government issued photo ID to the Notary. The rules may differ from state to state, but this is a general description. Read more…

Jurats — A Notary Public may execute a Jurat which would involve the signer or Affiant (one who swears under Oath or signs an Affidavit) to sign and swear to the document in the presence of the Notary Public. Read more…

Oaths — Notaries can administer (supervise) Oaths as well. Oaths are by definition part of the Jurat procedure for Oaths on documents. But, Oaths can also be done for remote court attendance for Florida Courts by Notaries and Oaths on oral statements. Read more…

Affirmations — Affirmations are similar to Oaths. Affirmations are also formal statements made under the legal penalty of perjury, but do not use the traditional verb “swear” or the term “under God.” In an Affirmation you affirm on your honor rather than to a higher power. Read more…

Proofs of Execution — Proofs are an unusual Notary act that cannot generally be done for important documents. But, the signer can sign in front of a subscribing witness (a person who sees them sign) and then the witness can appear before the Notary and have the Notary fill out a certificate indicating the same. Read more..

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Notary FAQ

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Q. How long is a Notary term?
A. The term for Notary Public is generally from 3 to 10 years and is up to the state. Louisiana commissions Notaries for life.

How long is a Notary term? — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4606

Q. What is a Notary’s jurisdiction?
A. Normally, a Notary can notarize in any county of the state(s) they are commissioned in. Louisiana commissions either statewide or to their home parishes plus reciprocal parishes. There are a few exceptions nationally to this rule, and military Notaries have a very different type of jurisdiction that you can look up.

Q. Can a Notary get in trouble?
A. Notaries who break the law, make errors filling out forms, or don’t keep a journal can get in big trouble with the law, and even be treated like a suspect in identity fraud if they don’t leave a good paper trail. Notaries who cause damages to parties by upholding the law can get in trouble too if they don’t clearly explain the reason why they cannot offer services.

Q. What do I need to be notarized?
A. As a general rule, a current government issued Photo-ID, and a statement or document to be notarized is all you need.

Q. How much does a Notary cost?
A. Notary fees are set by the states and Notaries can run anywhere from 25 cents to $15. You can look up Notary fees on state notary division websites. I believe that all states except North Carolina keep their information open to the public.

How much can a notary charge — http://blog.123notary.com/?tag=how-much-can-a-notary-charge

Q. How much does a Mobile Notary cost?
A. Some states have rules for how much a person can charge for travel fee. But, generally rates run from $25 to $60 for mobile fees plus the cost of the actual notarization.

Q. Can a notary notarize in a jail?
A. Yes, but you need to make sure the inmate can be identified in a way acceptable to the state where he/she is incarcerated.

Jail Notary Jobs from A to Z — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=151

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Additional Helpful Links

Notary Public 101
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19493

How to become a successful Mobile Notary from scratch
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=13340

Signing Agent Best Practices: 63 Points
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4315

Seven error free ways to identify a signer
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15288

Notary Vocbulary in our Glossary
http://www.123notary.com/glossary/

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January 25, 2018

Should you use book wording for Oaths or improvise?

Most of our Notaries either don’t give Oaths or can’t give one without their cheat sheet. Some states have prescribed wording while others do not. The main thing when giving an Oath is to have them raise their right hand and swear to the truthfulness of a statement or a document.

If you don’t practice giving Oaths how will you know how to if you are put on the spot? You can experiment at home inventing Oath lyrics.

Do you solemnly swear you are a cyclops?
Do you swear you are crazy?
Do you swear that New York has bad traffic?

What I don’t understand is why it is so hard for Notaries to put together Jurat Oath verbiage from the top of their head. You need to say swear and refer to a document. Easy!

Another thing I don’t get is that I asked one guy to administer an Oath TO ME and he kept saying what he would tell THEM. I said, leave THEM out of it and just ask an Oath question to me so I can say I do, or I don’t. He kept telling me what he would tell them rather than following instructions and asking me an Oath question.

Oaths begin normally either with the phrase, “repeat after me,” or an Oath question. It is faster to ask an Oath question. Make it easy so they just say yes.

If your state has recommended wording, then memorize it. But, if you memorize an Oath without understanding the logic of what context it is used in, then it will not be very useful. You will probably use it at the wrong time.

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You might also like:

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

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

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

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>

December 26, 2017

Affirmations – Pleasing the politically correct while offending the traditional people

The politically correct movement has become so strong. We have lost our freedom of speech and are controlled in so many ways that it is upsetting. However, it applies to the Notary world too. Those who don’t believe in God or don’t want to mention God have been so adamant that Notaries had to change how they did their job in terms of Oaths and Affirmations.

What was supposed to happen was that those who did not want to swear, could choose a different yet legally equal notary act called an Affirmation to replace the Oath. However, most Notaries do not understand the rules and principles of Oaths vs. Affirmations. What many Notaries do is administer an Oath with affirmation wording which is as stupid as doing and Acknowledgment with Jurat wording or going to a urinal in a female bathroom. It doesn’t work that way.

Oaths are Oaths and Affirmations are Affirmations. They are interchangeable but you cannot mix the verbiage from one to another.If you do an Oath you swear whether that offends people or not. If you do an Affirmation you affirm or state whether that offends people or not. But, you cannot affirm during an Oath to spare people the offense. And by the way, affirming during an Oath offends me because it is wrong.

It is the customer’s choice if they want an Oath or Affirmation. As long as your state recognizes it, it is up to the client.

Many Notaries say, “I don’t do Oaths, I only do Affirmations.” That is not your choice. You have to offer all Notary procedures that your state says are on the list. It is up to the customer to choose any type of notarization your state recognizes.

So, get it straight people because I test on this stuff and I take it very seriously. In fact I’m writing a few other articles on the topic that clarify the matter.

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You might also like:

Airline meals vs. 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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>

December 3, 2017

Oath, what oath?

Filed under: Carmen Towles,Popular on Linked In — Tags: , , — admin @ 10:48 am

So it has come to my attention and honestly to my surprise that most notary signing agents don’t give oaths. And whats even worse they don’t seem to know that it is part of the job. (btw, I give them regularly) I asked those that don’t, “Why not?” Most replied that, ‘they aren’t required to give oaths in their state’ and others didnt know anything about them at all. Really? Then I went on to ask, “Don’t you know that most sets of loan documents have a few documents in the loan package that require an oath be given?” Such as, for example; the signature name affidavit, correction agreement? And that all ‘jurats’ certificates require an oath. Most tell me that they were never trained that this was necessary. But, here and now I remind you that It is part of your job description. So it may be time to get those handbooks out for your state and take another look. Just remember that anytime you see the notarial wording that begin with, “Sworn or affirmed before me”, will always require an oath to be given. And it should go something like this: ‘Please raise your right hand. Do you solemnly swear or affirm to the truthfulness of the document that you are are about to sign?’ Feel free to make your own, this is mine.:). They undoubtedly will say yes and you can proceed with having them sign the document, Remember these documents typically require the signer to sign in front of you. (If they have signed the document already you can have them resign in front of you or use a fresh copy) State notary law regarding this may vary.

Now, I have never heard of anyone getting in trouble for not giving an oath. But it is part of your job. And it could have the potential to render your notarization void if a judge asked you if you gave the oath and you didn’t. So it is better to know what your duties are and do your job. It is better to be safe not sorry.

Also read – Oaths, how Notaries completely screw them up

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

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October 15, 2017

Airline meals verses Notary Oaths & Affirmations

Filed under: Technical & Legal — Tags: , , , — admin @ 3:06 am

Have you ever wondered what airline meals have in common with Notarial Oaths? More than you think. In the old days airlines would only have one choice. The choice would normally have meat, and a few sides. Those were the good old days when women stayed at home and men supported them, and children had fathers. But, we solved the problem of children having fathers (so old fashioned and unnecessary.) Now, we are all the more wiser and realize that children do just fine without a live-in father and don’t need school prayer either. What a waste of time. Additionally, we have stopped reproducing for the most part which is another way to solve our sociological problems.

On the other hand, a preacher from Tennessee on television says, “If God goes out, then the Devil comes in… Since we have stopped prayer in school, there has been an upsurge in drugs, teen pregnancy, violence, and the list goes on…” But, I digress.

Now, you can get the regular airline meal, vegetarian, vegan, gluton free, high fiber, and about ten other choices. Singapore air even has some good Asian delicacies (yes please!) But, let’s get to the point of this article. It does have a point, right?

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AIRLINE MEALS

Let’s say that on Trans-Notarial Airlines you have two choices of a meal.

(1) THE REGULAR MEAL: which has a chunk of certified angus beef, two veggie sides and an embossed oreo plus a can of Affiant Cola. And then, there is

(2) THE VEGETARIAN OPTION which gives you the broccoli with tofu, their signature salad, corn, chocolate cake and a drink.

The problem is that the Notaries who ran Trans-Notarial Airlines thought they knew everything about notary food law, but didn’t. What the Notaries did was to offer vegetarians the regular meal, but remove the meat. The Notaries did not know that there was a vegetarian meal since they had not been trained.

Similarly, Notaries are unaware that most states have an OATH and an AFFIRMATION. The affirmation was created or invented as not to offend those who did not want to mention God or swearing. But, what Notaries often do is to administer an Oath, but remove the required Oath verbiage of “swear” and “God” as to please the politically correct and religious zealots instead thereby bastardizing an Oath rather than administering an Affirmation. The other mistake Notaries make is to only do Affirmations when legally they might (are likely to) be required to offer a CHOICE of acts.

MY RECOMMENDATIONS

Offer your clients a choice of an Affirmation or an Oath in a Jurat execution or if they want a purely oral sworn statement. It is their choice, so you have no place choosing for them. It is the same as offering a choice of the regular meal or the veggie meal rather than giving the regular meal without the meat. Where’s the beef? My opinion is that if you leave God out, the devil comes in. So, when you administer a sworn statement to me, don’t forget the God part. Without him/her, we wouldn’t even exist! And for New York Notaries, I recommend not doing Affirmations with the cab drivers because cabbies prefer to swear!

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You might also like:

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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>

August 22, 2017

Oaths — how Notaries completely screw them up!

Oaths are an official Notarial act in all states if my memory serves correctly. Oaths unfortunately are very misunderstood and generally poorly administered if administered at all. So, let me straighten out some common problems that I have seen with Oaths.

By definition, all Jurat Notary Acts must include an Oath. A Jurat is a Notary Act with a written statement and an Oath. The documentation of the Oath has verbiage such as, “Subscribed and sworn to before me ______ on this ______ (date) by _____ (name of affiant).” There are various problems that occur here. Oaths also can occur as independent and purely oral acts.

1. Omission of Oath
Most Notaries omit the required Oath for a Jurat. In California, your commission can be suspended, revoked, or terminated by omitting an Oath and you can also be fined $750 per incident. Other states do not teach Oaths, not fine you if you forget to administer it which is exactly why most out of state Notaries simply don’t do the Oath. Nobody is putting a gun to their head, so why should they unless they have integrity which they usually don’t have according to my recent findings. Sad!

2. The word Swear omitted.
When administering an Oath, you must use the word swear, otherwise in my book it is not an Oath. A good Oath requires the signer to raise their right hand, the word solemnly should ideally be used before the word swear (for good form), the phrase, “under the penalty of perjury” could also be used, and the clause, “So help you God” should also be used. Although there is no prescribed Oath verbiage, if you don’t swear, it isn’t an Oath. Some Notaries prefer to affirm, state, acknowledge or attest rather than using the word swear since swearing offends the ultra-religious and ultra-athiest members of the public. So, for those who don’t want to swear, don’t use an Oath — use an affirmation instead which does not mention God or swearing.

3. What if people don’t want to use the word swear?
Some people find it offensive to use the word swear or God in an Oath. For them, you use the sister act which is an Affirmation which is allowed in most if not all states. But, don’t confuse the two acts even though they are interchangeable — they are not the same thing and you can not cross use the verbiage for one act on another. If you Oath you swear and if you do an Affirmation, you Affirm. You do not affirm with an Oath.

4. Using exchangeable verbiage.
Some states allow or prescribe verbiage such as, “Do you solemnly swear or affirm that the contents of this document are true and correct?” That is acceptable to me as an Oath because you used the word Swear even though you had alternate verbiage. But, you did not omit swear to only use the alternate verbiage which would disqualify the act as an Oath.

5. Court Oath vs. Jurat Oath.
There are many types of Oaths out there. You can swear people into court, solemnize a marriage, swear someone into office, or have them swear to a document. Notaries should PRACTICE the various types of Oaths so that they can master each type and not confuse them otherwise the Notary will look like an idiot (this happens a lot with our members.) It is common for me to ask for an Oath for a document and the Notary says, “Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?” I say, “I do, but can we now say an Oath for my document?” That is not a document Oath, that is a swearing you into court Oath.

6. Swearing that I voluntarily signed a document
Many Notaries will have me swear that I voluntarily signed a document. This is required in many instances in Massachusetts, however, swearing that I signed a document is not necessary in most states since the Notary watched the person sign, and making sure you signed voluntarily has never been an issue for anybody I know. If you were under duress, would you suddently tell the Notary simply because he asked or would you get nervous? Hmmm. There is no harm in asking if I signed a document on my own free will, so long as you don’t forget to give Oath verbiage about the document in Jurat Oath where the point of the Oath is to swear to facts contained in the document.

7. Swearing that I am the person in my ID
This is ridiculous. If I were an identity fraud, would I say that the ID was not mine? Many Notaries administer an Oath on my ID when I ask them to do an Oath on my document. The ID is not the document — get it straight.

8. Omitting the word document
If you are doing a Jurat Oath but give an Oath that “the information” is true and correct doesn’t cut it. If you are giving an Oath about a particular document, you must reference the document somehow. “Do you solemnly swear that the contents of the document before you are true and correct to the best of your knowledge, so help you God?” That would be an acceptable Oath because you are swearing, and swearing to a particular document rather than to thin air.

9. Relying on cheat sheets.
Many Notaries can only do an Oath when they have their recommended wording from their state with them. If for any reason they should lose the cheat sheet, they would not be able to lawfully conduct their duties as Notary Public. If you practice giving Oaths, you can give them by heard. Additionally, many Notaries give inapplicable Oaths as I mentioned above, so relying on reading text that you don’t understand the meaning of is useless. You need to understand the meaning and significance of the Oath you are giving otherwise it serves no intrinsic purpose.

10. Subscribed and Sworn.
Many Notaries say, “Subsribed and sworn to this ____ day of ___” when I ask them to deliver an Oath. That is the written documentation that an Oath took place. It is NOT the Oath itself. Oath wording typically starts with, “Do you solemnly swear…” and you should have the person raise their right hand.

11. A Jurat is not an Oath
Oath is to Jurat what Motor is to Automobile. A Jurat has an Oath, but a Jurat is not an Oath. An Oath can be an independent Notarial act which in most states has no written certificate. Florida has a useless certificate which says there was an Oath, but doesn’t give any indication of what was sworn to or the type of Oath. You might as well not have paperwork if it is that lame.

12. Notary Acts
When I ask people to name some Notary acts, most people claim not to know what I am talking about. They commonly mention Acknowledgments and Jurats. Few mention Oaths. Oaths and Affirmations are Official Notarial Acts in all or nearly all states. Notaries are required by law to administer Oaths if the public requests them from you. If you have never been asked to do one, that doesn’t preclude the possibility that you will be asked to do one. You are also not exempt from the responsibility of knowing how to administer one. If you are a commissioned Notary Public, you are responsible to administer Oaths, and correct sounding relevant Oaths, otherwise your state has the right to decommission you — and in my opinion they should.

MY RECOMMENDATIONS

Here is some standard Oath wording I like for documents.
“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 and that you agree to and will abide by the terms — if any in the document, so help you God?”
Please notice that I mentioned terms. What good is swearing to an agreement if you only agree that the agreement is true? The point of an agreement is that you agree to the agreement and will follow the terms of the agreement. Having a “useful” Oath rather than a correct but “useless” Oath makes a lot of sense. If your Oath serves no purpose, then why give one?

BAD OATHS
Here are some examples of wrong Oaths for Jurat documents for your reading pleasure.

“Do you acknowledge that this is correct?”
“Do you affirm that the document is correct?”
“Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you God?”
“Subscribed and Sworn to before me.”
“Do you solemnly swear that this is your true ID?”

OKAY OATHS
“Do you swear that the foregoing is correct?”
“Do you solemnly swear that the document in front of you is true and correct to the best of your knowledge?”

COMMENTARY
Most states do not teach the art of Oath giving, but they should. Notaries are required by law to administer Oaths, yet the majority of Notaries either give no Oath, inapplicable Oaths, or poorly worded Oaths while others rely on cheat sheets which is bad. Using cheat sheets is okay, but relying exclusively on some standardized wording for Jurat Oaths is not acceptable. There are situations where there is REQUIRED prescribed wording where you have to use that particular wording. In such a circumstance it is okay to rely on particular wording. However, for Jurat Oaths, you should be able to make up an Oath, otherwise I will fail you.

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You might also like:

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

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

Affirmations – pleasing the politically correct while offending the traditional people.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19606

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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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