This is an interesting article.
This is an interesting article.
Here are some test questions for you guys to see who’s got it and who has been faking it all this time.
1. In an Acknowledgment, who acknowledges what?
2. In a Jurat, does the signer swear that they:
(a) Signed a particular document and that they agree to it
(c) Are the person who they claim to be
(d) All of the above
3. If a document was signed on March 1, 2001, and today is March 2, 2020, what type of notary act can you use to notarize the document without having it resigned?
4. When administering an Oath to an affiant, after having the affiant raise their right hand (or paw) the Notary should start with the words:
(a) I solemnly swear
(b) Do you solemnly swear
(c) Do you affirm
(d) I solemnly affirm
5. What is the difference between an Oath and an Affirmation?
(a) In an Oath you swear; In an Affirmation you Affirm;
(b) They are essentially the same
(c) In an Oath, the affiant swears under God; In an Affirmation the affiant affirms on their personal honor;
(d) In both acts the affiant makes a solemn promise
6. A proof of execution is an act where the principal signer:
(a) Does not show up
(b) Must show up because the signer must show up for all notary acts
(c) Does not show up, but has someone show up for them
(d) There is no such act.
7. If you have two names on an Acknowledmgent (John & Sally) but Sally cannot make it, what is the most pressing benefit to crossing her name out on the form rather than using a fresh form.
(a) Your recording fees will not be affected
(b) There is less danger of the new form being detached and used fraudulently
(c) It is easier
(d) It will look better in court because it is “cleaner” than using a new form and stapling it to the document.
8. If you are notarizing the signatures of three people each on ten Grant Deeds, how many journal entries should you use?
9. If you are notarizing the signatures of one person on five Grant Deeds, how do you differentiate the Deeds in your journal?
(a) Indicate the property address
(b) Indicate the APN number
(c) Indicate the document date
(d) Just say, “Grant Deed” in your journal entry(ies)
10. If you are at a loan signing and have a question about a notarization…
(a) You should ask title
(b) You should ask the lender
(c) You should ask the NNA
(d) You should ask your state Notary division
These are very important notary questions. Answering them correctly will help you know your job and reduce your chance of ending up in a sticky situation. You can consult our Notary Public 101 course on the blog to look up content regarding these points although we don’t address these specific questions in particular.
Should a Notary notarize every page of a document? How can a Notary or signer safeguard themselves from someone swapping pages in a document after the notarization has taken place? You need answers! Here they are!
1. A Notary Public notarizes signatures on documents, not pages on documents. A particular page or pages might have notary certificates within a document. Or, a certificate could be stapled to the back of a document. Ideally that certificate should identify the corresponding document. If you have a ten page document, there will most likely only be one, and possibly two pages with notary wording.
2. A prudent Notary Public carries what is called an inkless embosser that leaves a raised seal impression. This is in ADDITION to having the legally required inked seal that is used with blank ink. The embosser can be used to emboss every single page in a notarized document. I did exactly that on everything I notarized even if there were 100 pages. I did this for safety reasons. I did not want people to get away with switching pages after the fact and dragging me into court as a result of someone else not liking the idea that a page was swapped.
3. If a signer swaps a page from a notarized document, and that page was embossed, they can still swap the page. However, it will not be legal, and it will be very obvious to the Notary Public if investigated that the new page was not part of the original notarization as the notary embosses all pages — if the notary indeed was the type of notary who embossed all pages — like me!
4. Some people initial all pages. Initialing is a type of precaution. But, initials can be forged easily, and it is sometimes not easy to tell if they were forged.
5. If a document had a page swapped, the staple and staple area in the pages might show evidence of tampering. The degree of evidence depends on how skillful the fraud was at swapping pages. Luckly in my career of 6000 Notary appointments I did not have this issue.
6. If you need to add a page to an already notarized document. What can you do? You have to notarize the entire document all over again. I had that happen. What a pain. The signer wasn’t happy. Sorry — just following the law!
You might also like:
Notarizing Multi-Page Documents 2011 edition
Sending loose certificates is illegal
Penalties for misconduct, fraud and failure of duty
How often do Notaries end up in court?
Originally published Nov 13, 2016.
Notary verbiage is a fancy way of saying Notary wording. Notary verbiage is legally required on all notarizations that are in writing. Oaths and Affirmations might not contain any written proof of the transaction other than in the Notary journal. The Notary form where the Notary wording is documented or written is called a Notary Certificate. A Notary Certificate would be a separate piece of paper where official state Notary wording is written or it could be the official notary wording embedded at the end of a legal document after the signature section.
Notary verbiage varies from state to state
You need to make sure that the Notary wording you are using is prescribed for your state. Each state has different wording, and you can look up that wording on Google by using terms such as, “New Jersey Acknowledgment Verbiage.” You need to specify which type of Notary act you want to know the wording for. Acknowledgments and Jurats are the two most common forms of Notary acts, although some states allow for certified copies of powers of attorney and other specialized notary acts.
Out of State Notary wording causes confusion
If you are a California Notary Public notarizing a deed with Florida Notary wording, you are allowed to Notarize the document. Notary wording on out of state documents might be a little different than what your state’s official Notary verbiage is. But, so long as it is not substantially different it is allowed. That means that so long as there are no differences in meaning behind the words in the Notary verbiage then it is okay. Most Acknowledgment sections claim that the signer appeared before the Notary on a particular date and acknowledged that they in fact signed the instrument (document).
Out of state notary wording has never caused a problem in my personal Notary career of eight years. However, international requirements can cause a huge nightmare. It is common for overseas document custodians (the entity who will record or hold on to the document after it is notarized) to have requirements which are not only “not done” in the United States, but could be illegal. It is common for Chinese organizations to want an American Notary to put a stamp on a blank piece of paper with no Notarial wording which is completely illegal. In such a case, you have to explain to the signer that you are required by law to staple a notary certificate to the document being Notarized, fill it out completely, and then stamp it to complete the Notarization. Most states also require the signer to be identified and sign a journal.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT CERTIFICATE WORDING FROM TOP TO BOTTOM
(1) The Venue
Q. What is a Venue?
A. The venue comes at the top of a Notary certificate and documents the state and states the county.
State of California
County of Los Angeles
Certificate verbiage will contain a venue which is a section at the top of the notary certificate which includes the state and county where the notarization took place, and a signature section at the bottom which is where you put your signature and Notary seal impression. It is possible that a preprinted venue will have the wrong state which is a problem. If there is wrong information in the venue, you either have to do a cross out, or start with a brand new form. Most venues pre-print the state, but leave a blank where the county is to be inscribed. A prudent Notary will make sure all forms get filled out correctly with no cross outs as that is very unprofessional, especially on documents such as Deeds or Power of Attorney which are likely to be recorded by the county or some other organization.
(2) The body of an Acknowledgment.
Below the venue, the acknowledgment certificate will state that on such a date, a particular person or several named people personally appeared before a Notary Public and acknowledge that they signed the corresponding document. The wording will also include the fact that the signer was positively identified or perhaps known to the notary (some states allow for personal knowledge of a signer at a notarization.)
(3) The bottom of an Acknowledgment
Locus Sigilli is a lovely Latin term means the location of the stamp. At the bottom of the Notary certificate form is where the signature of the Notary goes and also where the stamp goes. Most Notaries use an inked Notary Seal while others use a non-inked Notary embosser in addition to prove authenticity of the notarization as it is possible to emboss all of the pages of the document to prove that pages were not swapped after the fact.
Example of a Florida Acknowledgment Certificate
STATE OF FLORIDA
COUNTY OF BROWARD
The foregoing instrument was acknowledged before me this ___________ (date), by __________ (name), who is personally known to me or who has produced _____________ (type of identification) as identification.
My Commission Expires:
California Acknowledgment Wording
State of California
County of Los Angeles
On 7-21-2016 before me , Joe Smith Notary Public, personally appeared Sam Sarno
who proved to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence to be the person(s) whose name(s) is/are subscribed to the within instrument and acknowledged to me that he/she/they executed the same in his/her/their authorized capacity(ies), and that by his/her/their signature(s) on the instrument
the person(s), or the entity upon behalf of which the person(s) acted, executed the instrument.
I certify under PENALTY OF PERJURY under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing paragraph is true and correct.
Witness my hand and official seal _______________
Description of Attached Document
Title or Type of Document: _______ Number of Pages: ________
Document Date: _____ Other: _____________
Crossing out verbiage is required
On an Acknowledgment form, the boiler plate wording in the middle of the form requires cross-outs. Normally on legal forms you don’t want to cross out anything, but these cross-outs establish whether you are dealing with an individual signer, a male, female, group, etc.
If you look at the California Acknowledgment wording above, you will notice the term “Person(s)”. If it is a single person, then cross out the (s). The term name(s) — if there is only one name then cross out the (s). If you are doing a name affidavit, you might have a single person and six or seven names in which case do not cross out the (s). Then there is the he/she/they wording which can be complicated if you are notarizing someone of ambiguous gender or for Siamese twins.
Jurat wording is substantially different from Acknowledgment wording in that the Jurat requires the signer to sign in the presence of a Notary and swear under Oath as to the truthfulness of the document. Many states have a simplistic wording that just says,
“Subscribed and sworn to before me this __________ date of ______, (enter year) _______. ”
Other states have more elaborate wording, but the basic facts documented are the same.
Certified Copy by Document Custodian
This is a type of Jurat that is used only from time to time. Many individuals want to make a copy of a document and then have a Notary “certify” that the copy is correct. Most states don’t allow a Notary to certify this information. However, a Notary could make the photocopy him/her-self and write a note claiming that they attest to the fact that the photocopy is a true and complete copy of the original. However, the offficial Notary act that takes place is a Jurat where the signer swears under Oath that the copy is genuine. I completed many such Notary acts for college transcripts especially for foreign clients.
Read More about Notary Wording
Should you use book wording for Oaths or improvise?
Notary Acknowledgment Wording
Index of information about documents
A bunch of states are in a huge hurry to implement online notary services as a form of legal notarization. However, online notarizations increase the possibility of fraud. The question is how much fraud?
As with any other system, there is no way to predict how much fraud a new system will cause or facilitate. If you test a system over the course of years and get some analytics on how often court cases happen in comparison to traditional notary services, then you can see if the risk is worth the reward.
The problem is that so many states are enabling RON all at once, that if there is a serious problem, this could effect elections, and all sorts of notarized documents. It could even invalidate elections if fraud is investigated and force elections to be held all over or at a minimum create ongoing conflicts between democrats and republicans.
Personally, I think it is better to vote in person instead of seeing a notary to get an absentee ballot notarized. There is less possibility for complications and fraud. And absentee ballots without a notary seems like suicide as fraud would be rampant. Mailing in a copy of your ID doesn’t compare it to what you look like in real life — that is the job of a notary to compare.
Shut downs are another example of states trying untested processes by just jumping on the bandwagon. If shut downs are detrimental to economies, then instead of one state having an economic problem, all states will have on all at once. Would it not be a better idea to test out what happens when you shut down an economy for three months? You can track all of the suicides, child molestation, alcoholism, protests, and long term economic damage before implementing shut downs on a massive scale. When disaster strikes is NOT the time to be experimenting with anything.
PATIENT: Can we go to the sun to get a solution to Covid19?
DOCTOR: It would be too hot
PATIENT: What if we went at night?>
I read in page 28 of the California Notary handbook that Oaths must be signed by the Notary. How do you sign a verbal act? Jurats must be signed and have a form and place to sign. But, an Oath is a purely verbal act with no accompanying paperwork at least in California. I am stumped. Can someone explain what I am missing?>
I am reading an interesting article that states that an eNotary in Texas offered permission for another individual to forge her signature on an electronically filed Affidavit in Support of Defendant’s Motion for New Trial document. An email was the proof that the notary authorized permission to conduct this act of fraud. I wonder if there was an eJournal entry as evidence in this case too. Read the entire story below.
In Colorado, residents may use a digital ID that they display on their iPhone. Notaries in that state may accept that as an ID. But, in California and Ohio, they are also accepting this type of ID providing it has all of the required information such as serial number, physical description, signature, photo, etc. Interesting. The world is really changing. Soon, I might be able to get a digital cat and feed it digital food.>
Does a signature require a signature line? Does a car need a road? Does a taco need a plate (or banana leaf?)
This question opens up a can of worms, especially since many signatures resemble worms. A signature does not require a signature line. But, it is customary to have a signature line that you sign upon. Many Notaries might be tempted to draw in a line in their own handwriting if there is no signature line on a document that needs to be notarized. Is this practicing law to alter a legal document? Or is the alteration such that it does not compromise the content or character of the document in any meaningful way? These are questions for an Attorney and I cannot answer them myself.
I have seen a particular document show up in many loan packages. It says, “This form must be notarized.” However, there is never any notary wording, or a signature line on the document. So, I would add an Acknowledgment form and have the person sign the document. If the borrower wanted to draw a signature line that is better – that way they are doing the tampering and not you.
A document that lacks a signature line is definitely unprofessional and not well thought out. But, technically, a document doesn’t require a signature line, strange or “misaligned” as that might sound.>