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April 5, 2012

Your purpose is NOT to notarize?

You DON’T go to Notarize

Many notaries have lost sight of their primary responsibility, and feel it is their primary mission to go to the assignment to notarize the signatures. This is not the case. The primary mission is to determine if the documents / IDs – qualify for notarization. Only then can the client’s desires be accommodated.

A recent situation that I experienced will illustrate. And, as you will see the affiant DID have “Government issued Photo ID” but did NOT qualify for notarization. In the example that follows, for privacy purposes; the last name has been changed.

I receive a “piggyback” assignment from a very reputable Title Settlement company to process a very high dollar refinance. They stressed that the client appointment was difficult to arrange and that they were willing to pay a higher than usual rate for very careful processing of a large number of documents. In other words: It had to be done right the first time. I had requested a borrower contact number, but was asked to NOT call; just arrive on schedule.

When I received the appointment confirmation the names of the borrowers were Susan and Moe Rice. I immediately replied that Moe was more commonly used as a “nickname” and they should verify that indeed was the true borrower first name. I received no response other than an immediate pre-payment of the full amount to my PayPal account.

The document set was truly huge, over 500 pages (counting the borrower copy), and required many notarizations. It arrived barely in time to print and dash to the signing location. Still literally hot from the LaserJet printer, copies in hand – off I went with 2.5 hours allocated to process.

On location, after greetings; I requested the borrowers IDs. Hers was fine, his was a showstopper! The docs had “Moe” but his NY driver license had “Mortimer”. “Mr. Rice” I asked, “What is your legal name”. He replied that “that is a complex issue”. He said that his birth name is not translatable into English. Further discussion revealed that his legal name (at least in the US), came from his Naturalization document, and that Mortimer Rice was also on his passport. He offered me several other New York issued IDs, with photo, that had the name “Moe Rice” on them. I again asked him what was his legal name. He replied “Mortimer Rice” but prefers to use “Moe Rice” and that virtually all of his dealings are in the “Moe” name. He did have a prior driver license in the “Moe” name; however as it did not have his true legal name (per his statement) I could not accept it.

The documents all had “Moe Rice” everywhere. I thought about the “Name Affidavit” but that requires me to notarize “Moe Rice” and enter “Mortimer Rice” as an AKA – the reverse of the Name Affidavit function. Furthermore the existing Name Affidavit would have required me to notarize “Moe Rice” and, of course; that not being his stated legal name, is impossible.

I took a picture of his New York State Driver License “Mortimer Rice” and sent it to the Settlement Company explaining that I had no option but to adjourn the session. In email correspondence with Settlement; they determined that a legal procedure will be necessary to change his Title. The first thought was having me notarize a Quit Claim Deed, but I pointed out that I would have to notarize the seller “Moe Rice” to transfer the property to “Mortimer Rice” – also impossible.

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