Notary Public


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Union County Notary Monroe, NC

Notarizing Last Wills and Testaments 

Wills are highly sensitive probate documents that determine how a person's assets will be distributed after his or her death. The person making the will is called a "testator" if male and a "testatrix" if female.

Some states advise novice notaries against notarizing wills unless those notaries are knowledgeable about the practice. Many notaries who encounter wills do so within the capacity of their occupation, for instance as a legal assistant or an employee of a law firm that handles wills and other estate-planning documents. Such wills are drafted by attorneys with specific instructions and pre-printed notarial certificates for the notary to complete.

Problems can arise when a client presents a notary with a self-prepared will and the client depends on the notary to determine the appropriate notarial certificate. In such cases, a savvy notary should decline to perform the notarial act and advise the person to contact an attorney for advice. You might also suggest that investing in a good attorney will prevent problems down the road with contested wills or wills thrown out in probate court due to sloppy execution procedures.

Laws regarding the proper execution of wills vary greatly from state to state. In states such as New York and North Carolina, a will does not have to be notarized to be accepted for probate in the courts. However, attorneys in those states recommend drafting "self-proving wills" to speed up the probate. A "self-proving will" is one in which the testator and the disinterested witnesses swear, in an affidavit in front of a notary, that the testator is fully aware of what is being signed and that the disinterested witnesses witnessed the testator sign the will. In these states, the court will accept "self-proving wills" without contacting the witnesses who witnessed the testator sign the will. In the absence of a self-proving will, it will be necessary to track down the original witnesses to "prove" he or she witnessed the signing of the will, which can be difficult and time consuming for the heirs.

In California, a will only needs the signatures of two disinterested witnesses who witness the testator sign the will and does not need to be notarized in order to be valid.
In some states, such as Texas, a holographic will (written entirely in the testator's own handwriting) is considered valid. It would be prudent, therefore, for the notary in those states to make it a practice to refuse to notarize hand-written wills and to refer clients with those requests to an attorney.

In conclusion, notaries should exercise caution when notarizing wills. Because of a lack of understanding and diligence, an improperly drafted will that is notarized can be declared null. If you are not comfortable with notarizing a will, you should not proceed. If you have questions, politely ask the client for the name, address, and phone number of the lawyer who drafted the will.

One last note: always follow the steps for proper notarization when performing notarial acts by requesting the physical presence of the signer, properly identifying the signer, and ensuring that the signer is competent and fully understands what is being signed.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Local Notary Public- Monroe NC

Local Notary Public- Monroe NC

Most notarizations a notary will perform involve signers who are competent, understand the content in the document, and have the ability to sign freely and willingly. In rare situations you may receive a request to perform a notarization from a client who is blind or illiterate. How will you proceed? Will you refuse to perform the notarization simply because the signer is unable to read? Is it enough to ask those signers for proper identification and acknowledge they understand the contents of the document and proceed with the notarial act? What protections will you offer vulnerable signers to ensure a smooth and honest transaction?

When notarizing for the blind or illiterate, the steps to proper notarization should always be followed as in any normal notarization. However, due to the heightened potential for fraud, a notary must maintain caution in ensuring they are notarizing the document the signer is intended to sign and that the signer fully understands what is being signed. When presented with such a situation, follow the steps below:

  1.  Ask the signer if they are aware of what they are signing and the purpose of the document. 
  2.  Read the entire document to the signer. This may take some time, but this is important in ensuring the signer is signing the document they are intending to sign. However, to avoid unauthorized practice of law, non-attorney notaries should avoid explaining anything in the document if asked by the signer. 
  3.  If the signer is unable to understand all or any of the document's contents you are reading, then you should refuse to notarize. Detail the refusal in your record book. 
  4.  If family members are coercing the person into signing, ask family members to step out of the room until you complete the notarial act. Refuse to proceed if they refuse to step out.
  5. After the above steps are completed, proceed with performing the steps to a proper notarization, such as identifying the signer, and reading the notarial certificate to identify the type of notarial act you will be performing. 
  6.  Direct the signer's hand to the signature block to sign. If the person is unable to sign, a signature by Mark "X" will suffice. Ensure you follow your state notary law requirements regarding Signatures by Mark. 
  7.  Do not allow the signer to use a signature stamp to sign the document. This may invalidate the notarization in states that do not allow signature stamps. Most states require the notary to witness the signer signing the document. (Note: Oregon allows the use of a signature stamp by the disabled or the illiterate). Check your state laws to determine if this is permitted. 
  8.  Follow the same steps above to have the signer sign your notary record book.

As a notary, you are required to exercise a high degree of reasonable care and due diligence when performing your notarial duties. Reasonable care is defined as the standard of care which an ordinary, reasonable and prudent notary public would exercise to ensure a flawless notarization under the same or similar circumstances.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Monroe NC Notary Creed

As a Notary, I pledge to uphold this Creed of Integrity with every official act I perform. I pledge to constantly and without waiver maintain a professional demeanor and act responsibly and honorably by upholding the following ethical principles: 

  • I will empower myself with professional Notary training, continuous education, and the expertise of this Company.
  • I will constantly strive to bring honor and respect to the office of Notary Public and to the public’s concept of this office.
  • I will diligently follow Notary law, practices, and procedures, following established protocol proven to protect myself and the public I serve.
  • I will prove the identity and require the personal appearance before me, at the time the notarization takes place, of every signer requesting a Notary act.
  • I will verbally administer an oath or take a spoken acknowledgement for each Notary act performed.
  • I will protect the client’s confidentiality and privacy at all times, unless mandated by law or in a matter of any threat to national security.
  • I will conscientiously maintain a current and complete journal of all Notary transactions.
  • I will never abuse my official capacity for any personal gain or at any request, and will never perform any notarial act when I am personally involved in the transaction.
  • I will take measures to determine that the signer before me understands the transaction taking place, and if the signer does not understand, I will decline to notarize until comprehension is attained through an attorney or trusted source other than myself.
  • I will carefully maintain security of my Notary seal and journal, and never allow their use by another person.
  • I will be completely professional and above reproach in all matters both private and public, embracing high ethical standards at all times, and pledge to never bring disgrace to the honorable Office of Notary Public.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Union County Monroe NC Stamps

Union County NC 
Pre-Inked Notary Stamps vs. Self-Inking Notary Stamps 

The official seal of a notary on a legal document is a recognized mark that the notary is an officer of the state qualified to provide the services being rendered and that the authenticity of the signature on a legal document is being verified. It is important when making an impression of your notary stamp to ensure that all the required information will clearly print on the document that you notarize. Missing or unclear elements of the stamp may jeopardize acceptance of the document you notarize, making it questionable and probably invalid.

In years gone by, notaries only had a choice of wooden, rubber stamps with a separate ink pad. The notary commission information was engraved on a rubber strip applied with adhesive onto the wooden stamp. The notary would first press the stamp onto the ink pad and then apply the stamp to the document to be notarized. (Rubber stamps and ink pads are still available today, though rarely used.) As technology advanced in the early 70's, the self-inking stamp was introduced and became the dominant tool used by notaries all over the United States and the world. Late in the 1990's, the pre-inked stamp was introduced and became equally as popular as the self-inking notary stamp in Monroe NC.

So, what is the difference between the self-inking notary stamp and the pre-inked notary stamp if both serve the same purpose? Which one is the better choice? Which one is more popular and more durable? A study conducted by the American Association of Notaries shows that both stamps are durable, are equally popular, and serve the same purpose. It is up to the notary to decide which type of stamp he prefers. Here is a brief comparison between the two:

The pre-inked notary stamp is generally the more expensive stamp. It uses a flash light system to transfer the required written information from the laser printer to foam that will be inserted on the bottom of the stamp and then inked with an oil-based ink. Since it uses an oil-based ink, it lasts longer and can make up to 50,000 impressions. Once ordered, it can be manufactured in minutes and then shipped promptly to customers who need a stamp immediately. Since the ink is kept in a reservoir, the manufacturer can make the stamps in various designs, such as pocket notary stamps, or pen-shaped notary stamps. The only drawback to using pre-inked notary stamps is that some oil-based ink is slow to dry and might smear and run over text on the back of the document. The American Association of Notaries uses fast-drying oil-based ink that will not smear or pool behind the stamp. When the stamp is applied to a surface, the ink flows through the stamp from behind and creates a clear impression on the notarized documents. A second or two must pass before ink can flow through the pre-inked stamp surface, and the stamp may require a slight "break" after several documents have been stamped in succession in Union County.

The construction of the self-inking stamp is different: it uses a built-in ink pad to re-ink itself after each application. The ink pad is up in the casing of the stamp so that when pressure is applied the die plate hits the ink pad and flips to make the engraved impression on the document. Self-inking stamps have the advantage of being easily re-filled, and they use environmentally friendly water-based ink that does not smear. The built-in ink pad can be re-inked and is easily replaced. It is always wise to keep a bottle of ink handy in case you need to re-ink your stamp. The time required to manufacture a self-inking stamp varies depending on what type of equipment the manufacturer is using. Stamp manufacturers who use a laser engraver can manufacture a stamp within minutes. Many manufacturers are still using the old system (which still produces a stamp as good as one produced by laser engraving): a negative is created from a laser printout, then liquid rubber is poured on top of the negative and developed under ultraviolet light until it hardens. Oil-based ink cannot be used on a self-inking stamp because it will cause damage to the rubber piece.

Each type of stamp will serve any notary well. It behooves each notary to experiment by purchasing each type of stamp to see which one will best suit his needs for ease of use and durability based on his own notarizing and work patterns. We always recommend that you purchase your notary stamps from a reputable notary stamp manufacturer that will stand behind its products and be there in the future if you ever need to replace your stamp.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Are Union County Notaries Notarizing for Family members?

Notarizing for Family Members In Union County NC

 Notaries must be impartial witnesses to transactions. They may not have an interest in the documents that they notarize. By the same token, notaries are prohibited from notarizing their own signatures, or documents in which they are named. 
Just as an employer feels it is convenient to have an employee who is a commissioned notary, your family members may be delighted to learn that you have become a notary public because they may feel it will be a convenience for them. You may find that family members will call upon you to notarize documents. If you agree to go forward with their requests, problems may arise for both you and them.

While most States do not have a specific ban against notaries notarizing documents for spouses or family members, the practice is generally frowned upon in most jurisdictions. In most States, notaries are cautioned against notarizing for family members related by blood or marriage because notaries are forbidden to notarize any document, or participate in any notarial procedure, from which they may profit or gain a financial benefit.

The likelihood of benefiting from the legal transaction of a family member is high and increases with the closeness of the relationship. For instance, a wife may wish to notarize the signature of her husband who is refinancing a home mortgage. Since the wife will ultimately benefit from the transaction, she should decline to notarize the document and engage an impartial Notary to do so.

Even in transactions where a financial benefit to the notary appears remote, it is best for the notary to abstain. A notary may be asked to notarize a document for a second cousin who designates a pension beneficiary. The beneficiary may be the notary's son or daughter. If the cousin passes away, the notary could benefit from the transaction if the child receives the funds. The notarization may be challenged in court at a later date and the notary's impartiality could be called into question.

Therefore, notaries should refuse to perform notarizations for all family members. If a family member makes such a request of you, direct him to another notary. It is better to risk annoying a family member by refusing to notarize a document for him than to risk incurring penalties for violating the universal rule of notarial impartiality.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Can a Notary Certify a copy of a passport or drivers license?

Can a Notary Certify a Copy of a Passport or a Driver License? 
State laws vary on the acceptability and procedures for Copy Certifications. As with every other type of notarial procedure, notaries should study carefully their state's statutes on copy certification to see if, and how it is administered. For some states, the client will make a copy of a document to be certified and present it to the notary. In other states, the notary will be presented with an original document by the client and then the notary will make a photocopy of the original. Whatever the procedure in your individual state, there are certain documents which require special consideration when presented for copy certification. Most states prohibit copy certification of vital records such as birth, marriage and death certificates. This is because the original of these documents are held by local agencies; a client must seek a certified copy by going to the agency or requesting a copy online; usually there is a fee required.

But what about other common documents such as a driver's license or U.S. or Foreign Passport? Notaries will discover that they will be presented with requests to certify these documents from time to time. Most states do not have specific laws for the certifying of these documents as they do for birth and death records. Therefore, whether or not to proceed with a copy certification for such documents may present a quandary for the notary: whether to proceed with a seemingly reasonable request by the constituent or whether to risk reprimand from your State's authorities for performing an ill-advised procedure.

Inasmuch as the states have not regulated these types of certifications, it is best, wherever feasible to avoid handling the copy certification of a driver's license or passport. If however, the client insists upon some action by the notary, the notary may proceed to assist the client in "certifying" his or her copy of the document in question. This procedure is correctly termed, "Copy Certification by Document Custodian." In this procedure, the copy of the license or passport is being certified by the document custodian - the individual who is in permanent possession of the document, i.e. the client - not the notary. The notarization would proceed as follows:
  • The document custodian - client - will present a request to have a copy of his or her U.S. or Foreign Passport or driver's license certified. It is always good if the verbal request can be accompanied by a written directive.
  • The document custodian will make a photo copy of the requested document to be certified and present it to the notary. In this case, the notary should not be the one to make the photocopy.
  • The signer will present an affidavit attesting to the fact that the attached copy is a true copy of his or her passport or driver's license.
  • Depending on the state, the signer or the notary will select or attach the correct notary certificate containing jurat language to the signer's affidavit statement.
  • The notary will issue an oath to the signer, having previously identified him through acceptable ID methodology.
  • The signer will swear or affirm that the attached copy is a true and correct copy of the license or passport and then sign the affidavit.
  • The notary will complete the notary certificate, by signing and stamping it.
All the documentation will be handed back to the signer; in some states the notary will also retain a "copy" of the photocopy of the document to be certified. All steps and information involved in this procedure must be carefully documented in the notary's record book or journal; especially due to the sensitive nature of the request.

It is extremely important that before this certification by document custodian is initiated, that the signer contacts the recipient or requester of the certified copy to ascertain if this procedure is going to serve the necessary purpose for which it is being requested. Because of the stringent procedures involved in obtaining a valid driver's license or passport, this procedure may not be considered sufficient for certain legal purposes. In that case, the signer may have to further consult with the certification requester or the government offices which issue the documents to see how to proceed. In an extreme case an attorney may need to be consulted. Notaries should always follow their conscience when presented with these requests. While copy certification by document custodian may be a viable alternative, if the notary has misgivings, he or she should not proceed. As usual, document all requests which have been denied in your notary record book in case the matter should resurface at a later date.

The information provided herein is not intended to be an authoritative statement of law. Notary laws differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and may be interpreted or applied differently depending on your state's statutes or situations. By providing this information, we are not acting as your attorney. We are providing this information based on long-established and recognized notarial standards and practices. If you have legal questions regarding acts or conduct as a notary public, please consult with an attorney or refer to your state's statutes or other appropriate legal resources.
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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Monroe NC Notary Signs Documents Now Available

Here is what I am looking for when you come to my office. Please be on time for any appointments and make sure you have the following with you:

 • Document to be notarized (unsigned) please include all needed copies of the document
     • Driver’s license or other state issued picture ID, such as a passport