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Last week we shared an actual situation in which a gravely ill before the Notary could complete the certificate. The woman, who was physically impaired and confined to her bed, used a signature by mark to sign the document, and two witnesses also signed. The woman also was lucid enough to satisfy the Notary that she was aware of what she was signing and was willing to do so.
What You Said
Our Notary community weighed in on the situation and offered many thoughtful responses:
“The purpose of a Notary is to verify the identity of the signer and then to witness [that] the … document is signed,” said Dorothy Melton. “That actually did transpire. I would verify that I did exactly that. The seal is simply a verification that the transaction occurred.”
Christine Wissbrun also said she would complete the notarial certificate because the Notary ascertained that the’ and had signed the document, which was witnessed by two people.
“I would have had my Notary journal entry completed first, including the signer's mark and information,” Wissbrun added. “After the notarial certificate was completed, I would make detailed notes as to the events leading up to the signer passing away because inevitably, an heir or a relative that may not benefit from the transaction would most likely challenge the document signing.”
David Gordon agreed. “I would complete the notarization and make a detailed note in the journal. The certificate is declaring facts concerning the actual execution of the document: the signer was witnesses, was identified by the Notary and signed in the presence of the Notary and witnesses, and, finally, that the witnesses were also identified and signed at the signer's request and in her presence and the Notary's presence.”
Most commenters said they would complete the certificate. A few mentioned the need to collect their fee, and one said they would not complete the certificate because the fee had not been paid.
Generally speaking, the Notary should complete the certificate — for the reasons our community mentioned. The certificate provides evidence that the notarial act has already taken place:
The signer appeared before the Notary;
The signer provided satisfactory of identity; and
The signer verified that the signature on the document was theirs.
Even though the signer passed away before the certificate was completed, the Notary could still complete it because everything in it would still be true. Every certificate is always written in the past tense, because the notarial act has already occurred.
However, for California Notaries, this situation could represent a gray area because the Secretary of State has said that all steps of a notarization must be completed in the presence of the signer. It could be argued that once the signer dies, you are no longer in her presence.
The suggestion of some commenters — to make detailed notes of the situation in your Notary journal —is a very good idea. Because trust documents typically direct how a person’s assets are to be distributed after they die, this document could easily become embroiled in a legal case regardless of what you choose to do.
Collecting the fee also could pose a delicate situation. Assuming that the signer contracted for the Notary’s services, nobody else is responsible for paying the fee. Depending on your state laws, it may be possible to ask for payment in advance.
Americans use their smartphones and mobile devices for conducting many aspects of life and using apps has become second nature to most of us.
Unfortunately for notaries, app use may also involve their notary clients. Because of this and other reasons, today’s article will focus on possible pitfalls that apps and devices can cause for notaries.
When using apps, be mindful of protecting your and your clients’ non-public private information. The American Association of Notaries isn’t against the responsible use of new technologies, devices, or apps, but we know there may be hazards and we want you to have the best experience possible in your notary public role.
1-Always protect your device and information with a password, PIN, or fingerprint.
For obvious reasons, at least one of these methods should be used on every notary’s smartphone and other devices. Not securing your device could be devastating to you and your clients if the device is lost or stolen.
2-Keep in mind that mobile device app developers aren’t responsible for upholding your notary laws -- you are.Don’t download notary apps without being thoughtful about how the use of an app can affect your signers.
As a general rule, most attorneys don’t even know the nuances of notary laws in all fifty states, so it’s not a stretch to say that an app developer may not be prepared to adhere to every state’s notary laws when creating an app for notary use. In some states, laws that govern notaries are buried in several sections of a state’s laws and not just in one section under a bold title like Notary Public Act. Therefore, it is easy to overlook a subtly stated law in a section relating to real estate or business and finance rather than being codified in the state’s primary notary statutes.
3-Become a notary law scholar before using notary apps. To ensure you aren’t operating in conflict with your laws by using certain apps, study every attorney general’s opinion that affects notaries, understand every law in your state that affects your duties, and consult with an expert on your state’s notary laws about the functions of apps that may cause you to perform unauthorized actions.
You should also contact your notary public administrator and ask for an opinion. If you find no opposition from any of the above, you’re probably safe to proceed.
4-Use of Google Translate apps doesn’t replace direct communication with clients. Technology is grand, but it doesn’t replace direct communication with a non-English speaking signer. If you must refuse to perform a notarial act due to a language barrier, Google Translate could be used to explain to the client why the notarial act has to be refused, but not for the purpose of conducting a notarization.
Google Translate is a temptingly clever online tool that translates written phrases from one language into just about any language in the world and vice versa. Google Translate’s app for Android and iOS mobile devices allows users to speak a phrase into the device and the app returns a translation of the phrase spoken aloud in another language. Users can also type or scan text into the app. Unfortunately, the use of Google’s convenient language tools doesn’t replace direct communication between notaries and clients and many users find that they aren’t consistently accurate.
Ensure that you can communicate directly and clearly with all clients; don’t attempt to use Google Translate, a language handbook stored on your device, or an interpreter in the performance of your notarial duties. (Notably, Arizona notaries are allowed by law to use interpreters to bridge the language gap between them and their clients. No other state’s laws include a provision for the use of an interpreter.)
5-Know what permissions you are giving an app and why you are giving them. Extreme Tech reports that 17% of all Android apps are malware and suggests that users should stick with downloading apps from the Google Play Store because Google stays vigilant to scan and remove malicious apps. Apple has a process to do likewise, but last year, Apple removed 250 info-thieving apps from its iTunes shelves. Ultimately, as a notary, you are responsible for what you download and allow on your devices if you use them to work with clients.
Some apps are designed to snag information from your device for the purpose of marketing to you with advertisements. There are also apps designed for worse reasons. From Kim Komando, known technology and security expert:
“Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University recently analyzed the Google Play store's top 100 apps operations, terms and conditions. They found the following 10 requested the most access to your smartphone or tablet's hardware: Backgrounds HD Wallpaper, Brightest Flashlight, Dictionary.com, Google Maps, Horoscope, Mouse Trap, Pandora, Shazam, Talking Tom Virtual Pet.
It makes sense that Google Maps needs your location and song-identifying Shazam needs access to your microphone, but why does a virtual pet, dictionary or wallpaper app need anything like that? Both iOS and Android have built-in flashlights, so you don't even need an app.”
One of the most puzzling permission requests by a notary app that we uncovered while conducting research for this article was to access the notary’s microphone and Wi-Fi information and to be able to obtain the name of all of the user’s computers and devices attached to any Wi-Fi network connected to the device. There’s no reason for that type of information to be collected by an app.
Experts suggest that it’s not easy to remove an infection possibly caused by an app you downloaded that has nefarious intentions and the best plan is to restore the device to its factory settings.
6-Do extensive research and read all reviews before you buy a device at a cheap price. Recently, reports have surfaced that cheap off-brand tablets may be full of malware. 17,000 tablets were sold on one major retailer’s website, but this could be true of any retailer. A Trojan horse called “Cloudsota” was preinstalled on the $40 Android tablets. Cloudsota enables remote control of infected devices and conducts malicious activities without the user’s knowledge. Researchers said they are confident the hackers behind the Cloudsota malware are in China, as the tablets are manufactured there and much of the code is written in Chinese.
7-Use caution if a notary app suggests recording a conversation or storing images of ID documents. You don’t have to do anything that an app suggests! Use only those functions of apps that your laws allow. Proceed with special care before you acquiesce to an app’s suggestion that you snap pictures of ID documentation or faces or that you record a signer’s voice as convenient methods of maintaining journal entries and proving the signer appeared before you.
Notaries in all states are prohibited from making a copy of a military ID or other federal ID card according to U.S. Code, Title 18, Part I, Chapter 33, Section 701. Don’t allow an app to collect a copy of one. At least one state forbids storing in a journal the numbers from a signer’s ID card, driver license, or passport.
8-Avoid photographing ID documents with your phone at loan signing appointments. When a notary signing agent encounters borrowers who don’t have copies of their ID documents to send back with a loan package and the signing agent is supposed to collect a copies of them, it would be so easy to snap a picture with your phone, print it out, and send it with the package. However, a better strategy to ensure the borrowers’ privacy might be to suggest that they take the pictures themselves and email or fax them to their loan officer or the title company so that you and your phone won’t cause a breach of their privacy rights.
9-Have proper policies in place for lost or stolen devices. Consider installing a locator app and a remote wipe app on your device before it’s lost or stolen. Make sure you choose one that is approved or recommended by your device manufacturer or cellular service provider.
If your phone or device is missing, you can locate it using another device or computer and see if it’s been left at your office or your friend’s house or if it’s somewhere that it shouldn’t be, which may indicate that the device has been stolen. By having a remote wipe app, you can remotely clean off all information on a missing or stolen device.
Minimize your loss and liability by taking these steps as soon as you detect the device is missing or that it is where it should not be:
Wipe your phone immediately.
Contact the police and file a report.
Contact your cellular provider and have the account locked.If you are keeping a notary record book on your device, be mindful of the way losses of paper journals are handled. If necessary, contact your state’s notary public administrator to explain that your device was stolen, advise them that the phone was wiped and when, and describe the period of time the journal may have been exposed. Assure them that the information is backed up on the app vendor’s server or your own computer (if it was).
10-Develop a policy for using an app to scan documents after signing appointments. If you use an app to scan and email (or fax) documents after loan signing appointments by either snapping a picture or connecting to a mobile scanner, ensure you delete the documents after you send them to the title company or lender.
This sounds like a no-brainer, but notaries may not use these types of apps regularly and this could be one of those tasks that slips through the crack.
We’d love to know of your unique experiences with technology, good or bad!
Almost no one likes to do paperwork, especially if they don't have to do it. So, if you tell them that paperwork is not required, most people will be happy to believe you and skip it. When it comes to the notary journal, skipping the paperwork is not an option. Keeping a notary journal is required for the following reasons:
1) Law. Roughly a third of the states require by statutory law that their notaries public keep an official record or journal of their actions. These statutes generally specify what this record must or should contain. Another third of the states have statutory laws that detail how a notary journal is to be handled, and thus one can presume that such a record is a requirement of being a notary in those states. A growing number of states have adopted or are considering adopting one or another of the long-standing model notary laws, which all require notary journals. Also, case law has often supported the need for notary journals. According to Peter J. Van Alstyne of the Notary Law Institute, a notary journal is considered prima facie evidence of the facts stated within it, which gives the entries in the notary journal legal weight.
2) Custom. When you find that a given office has included certain duties for a very long time, even where there are no statutory or case law requirement for such, it is reasonable to proceed as if that duty is an essential element of the office. In the case of notaries public and their official record books, history teaches us that American notaries have been using them for centuries. William Aspinwall, a notary in Massachusetts Bay Colony, appeared in court in 1652 to defend his refusal to turn over his official record book to his successor in office. While the duties of notaries have changed somewhat since his time, the need for an official record of the actions of the notary public is no less critical today than it was then. Keeping a notary journal or record book has been a part of the office for as long as there have been notaries in America.
3) Business. It is a given that any business must keep records of their operations and that such records must contain sufficient detail to allow anyone a means to know what that business did at a given point in time if they have an obligation or a right to know those facts. In business and in government, it is a truism that, if it was not written, it did not happen. Without proper records, no business or government entity can operate successfully. This applies to the business of providing notary services as much as to any other business. As a notary public, you have an obligation to know what you did, so you can explain and defend it if you are ever called into court about a matter involving a document you notarized. The public has a right to know what the officers of its state have done when a matter of public interest arises from their actions. The tax collector and various other government agents have a right to know what you do when it involves the public.
4) Protection. Keeping a notary journal is one way that a notary can protect himself against being sued for or charged with negligence or having baseless claims filed against his bond or errors and omissions insurance. This is because a consistent record of properly performed notarizations demonstrates that the notary regularly takes all the necessary steps to fulfill his duties and follows the best practices of his office. A notary journal protects the public by providing evidence of what official actions the notary took and the manner in which the signer of the notarized document was identified. Such a record adds support for the validity of the notarization of the documents detailed in the journal and can be invaluable in prosecuting criminals if fraud or other crimes are found to have occurred.
5) Practical matters. A notary who regularly keeps a complete and proper journal record will find himself automatically taking all the required steps for a complete and proper notarization. Gathering the information for the journal and comparing the signature on the signer's I.D. to their signature in the notary journal will compel the notary to perform his duties faithfully and fully. Requiring the signer to provide I.D. and to sign the notary journal before notarizing her document helps to impress upon her the seriousness of the notarization, which has been known to cut down on fraud.
For all of these reasons, a notary journal is a required tool of all American notaries public. Proper use of this tool is as important as the notary signature and the notary seal.
13 Notarial Errors Your Notary must Avoid here in Union County North Carolina.
Your notarial certificate will be scrutinized when a document that you
notarized is presented to your state’s authentications office with a request for
authentication of your signature. The state’s authentications office will examine
your work to assure that you performed the notarial act properly.
The presiding notary will almost certainly be reprimanded if the document
does not qualify for an apostille due to a notary error. The following notarial errors
will disqualify a document for authentication:
1. The notary did not sign the certificate.
2. The notary’s seal (if required by the notary’s state) is missing from the
3. The notary’s signature is not the same as the signature on file.
4. The certificate is missing and the notary simply stamped and signed the
document without including the proper notarial certificate language.
5. The certificate language does not comply with the notary’s state laws.
6. The certificate is not completed properly in any manner.
7. A completed notary certificate is attached to a document that has not
8. The document is not signed by the signer and an unsigned certificate is
attached that bears a notarial seal.
9. The information on the notary’s seal does not match the information
10. The seal, if required, is incomplete, illegible, or is not the right color or
type of seal in accordance with the notary’s state laws.
11. The notary’s certificate bears a date that shows evidence that the signer
signed the document after the notary executed the notarial certificate.
12. The notary’s seal shows that his or her commission as represented by
the date(s) on his or her notarial seal was expired when the seal was
13. The notary’s seal shows that his or her term as represented by the
date(s) on the notarial seal had not begun when the document was
It is vitally important to understand the steps to proper notarization and how
to avoid the errors listed above. This list is not all-inclusive. It does not account
for deliberate acts of fraud and there may be other errors that can cause a state’s
authentication’s office to reject a notarial act. Be informed, deliberate, and
Maintain a Notarial Journal— the Notary’s Best Defense
The notary journal can contribute significantly to the safety, defense, and protection of the Notary, and may prove vital if the Notary is ever required to testify in court about a particular act.
The journal helps prevent fraud, as the signer will be unwilling to sign a journal if his intent, for instance, is to commit forgery. The properly completed journal entry can provide proof that the Notary acted according to law and proper procedures in performing the act in question.
The journal is a Notary’s strongest defense against claims of wrongdoing, and can also serve to remind the Notary of key points to the procedure that are required. The journal should include the following information:
the printed name and signature of each signer present
the signer’s home address and phone numbers (do not use post office numbers for an address)
the method or documentation that was used to prove identity, including ID numbers (be certain to observe carefully the photo and signature of the signer before you and compare to the identification document)
if identity is proved by a credible witness or witnesses, the home addresses and phone numbers of the witnesses
if the signature required witnesses, the home addresses and phone numbers of the witnesses
the date of the instrument notarized as well as the date of the Notary act; (Note: the notarial certificate must bear the date notarized. The document may be dated a past date or the current date, but never a future date)
a brief description of the instrument
the type of Notary act (oath or acknowledgment)
any fees charged for Notary services, and
a thumbprint if possible
It is also recommended that the Notary detail that he or she verbally administered an oath or took the signer’s acknowledgment of the signature.
A thumbprint is advisable, and adds to the signer’s security as well as the Notary’s keeping this important ‘diary’ of actions, including the signature of the signer before you, can prove that the signer did appear before the Notary, did take an oath or make an acknowledgment, and may serve to document an illegal act by signer appearing before the Notary if it is later questioned or proven that fraud was committed.
Again, remember the dynamics of consistency. If the Notary follows proper procedures, the same way every time, it is likely that he or she will properly perform consistently. As discussed under ‘Personal Appearance,’ if the Notary is ever requested to appear in court about a particular procedure, the journal will provide invaluable evidence that the Notary acted appropriately. Because notarizations are challenged sometimes years after the act took place, it is recommended that Notaries maintain journals for years beyond the final entry in each book.
Correct Notary Journal Processes for Notaries in Union County Monroe NC
States’ laws vary widely on needs regarding notary magazines. The information any particular one state says must be captured in a journal might be considered unlawful throughout another state. Seeing that is our typical practice, the American Affiliation of Notaries (AAN) wishes to impress upon readers that they must be mindful that laws consist of state to talk about. Also, please be aware that some states utilize phrase “record book” to go into detail the volume through which notarial acts are recorded and other states use the phrase “journal. ” The term “journal” will likely be used to signify them both in this article.
As readers fully understand, many states don't require their notaries to maintain journals. However, the majority of notary public staff in states that not require journals declare that notaries keep accurate records with their notarial acts. This article will be beneficial to both notaries in states that require journals and notaries in states that not require these people.
One notary may start using a single journal. Notaries should never share a newspaper. A notary’s journal is the property and responsibility in the notary who uses it. Even if a new notary’s employer acquisitions a journal for the puppy, the journal must be in the notary employee’s ownership and under their protection. This is valid even if this employer/employee relationship will be terminated. Employers should abide by the notary’s state laws as a way to request a copy in the journal contents with regard to business record purposes.
The best notary magazines are well-bound ebooks or booklets which might be constructed in order that the pages cannot always be tampered with. The pages need to be bound with glue, attached, or securely stapled together for the spine. The pages need to be numbered. Spiral or loose leaf notebooks will not be as desirable as books which might be bound because they are often altered and completely new pages substituted with regard to original ones.
Notaries ought to write their bands, addresses, email deals with, and phone numbers from the inside covers with their journals. Some notaries incorporate a note that says that a reward will be provided if the journal is shed and returned to the notary, but this is a personal decision, an excellent requirement.
It is beneficial to note in top cover of the journal how the journal should be handled in the event of the notary’s death. Some states require that a notary’s journal be returned to the commissioning office. Others require that the journal be tendered with all the county clerk in the notary’s residence.
Notaries may choose to glue a pants pocket folder into back in the journal to carry a copy of their state’s allowable fees, his or the woman's commission, and/or a printed copy of their notarial handbook. Notaries may have got other sheets of information which might be useful during notarizations and the items may also be stored in this pocket folder in the journal.
When a notary retires a journal to begin with a new one particular, he or she should label this retired journal with all the dates of the first notarization and the past notarization. Archived and active notary journals must be locked into a new secure area when outside of the physical presence with their owners.
Start the method with your Diary
When a signer appears when you, pull out your current journal. Cover any past journal entries with a file folder or part of paper. Some notaries make use of an open file folder to hide previous entries. Others tape this short edges involving two letter-sized bits of paper together and lay them over the previous entries upon current page(s) in the journal. When this notarization is comprehensive, tuck the folder or paper inside your journal for use with all the next client.
The job of completing the journal is frequently listed as the past step of suitable notarization; however, the act involving capturing information for the journal actually will begin immediately. Since you should identify the signer and record information regarding the signer’s NO . first before continuing to move forward, you can begin capturing journal requirements at that time, as well.
Although some may argue that the transaction has not happened until the report is signed and notarized, the AAN maintains that notaries public might be trusted to strike the info and make note if the notarization is not completed and the reason why the transaction was halted.
By completing the journal earlier, the notary has a way to see the signer’s signature on their ID documents. If your notary wishes to obtain a signature from the journal before this document is authorized, the journal signature might be compared with this ID document. Lastly, the signature within the document can be in contrast to the two previous signatures and this gives a a higher level assurance that those in the ID document is the same person exactly who signed the report.
Writing in Magazines and Making Modifications
Notaries must make use of ink when writing in a journal. If a notary makes a blunder, he or she draws a line from the error and tends to make a correction. They should then primary the correction. Never use a static correction tape or fluid in a journal.
Why maintain a notary newspaper?
If not instructed to keep a newspaper, why should a notary visit the time and expense to keep up one voluntarily? A notary journal is a record of acts performed by a notary public, that's a commissioned general public servant. If an act is known as into question, an adequately maintained notary journal helps in determining critical information about the act involved.
Government clerks have to keep records with their acts; all members and amounts of the judiciary have to keep records with their acts. Notary acts are critical to the public and to the legal system. It stands to reason that the public deserves due to the notaries to maintain an archive with their acts. A notarial journal assists the public with documentation involving important transactions in the same manner that public residence records and courtroom clerk files incorporate transactional evidence and historical facts which businesses and folks rely upon as a way to conduct business.
A properly managed notary journal supplies its owner a new factual account of their acts. Therefore, a new journal supports its owner, as well for the reason that public. It is a company record that aids in verifying that the notary properly conducted their business if a new notarial act is known as into question.
More than one Active Journal
Some states are clear that a notary may merely keep one active journal each time. Others do not specify that just one journal may always be active. Therefore, notaries must contemplate their states’ laws and regulations before deciding to use a couple of journal at a period.
Walking a Fine Line: Protect NPPI
States that require notaries to maintain journals usually summarize the information that need to be captured for each and every transaction. If notaries will not have guidance on this particular matter, a good rule of thumb is to report enough information in a journal to develop proof of a transaction in a manner that does not make the non-public personal data (NPPI) of signers readily accessible to the general public. Protection of this NPPI of signers is a critical duty involving notaries.
The AAN believes that the following statement should apply to all notaries with no guidance regarding assortment of information. This statement comes from page 10 involving Montana’s Notary Guide -- it follows a listing of required points of information that a Montana notary have to collect regarding notarial acts:
“You may consist of other information the specific circumstances or even other non-private information highly relevant to the identification in the party or to the situation. ”
Many state laws and regulations are silent upon whether notary journals are viewed as to take part in the public report and accessible by most people upon request.
Colorado front range and California, 2 states with substantial populations of notaries, are clear within this point of legislation. For the welfare of example we consider Texas and California to show how one state makes the info very private along with the other state says it is public record, yet both ones protect the information by using different methods.
California’s laws need that notaries enter NPPI within their journals. By NPPI, all of us mean the quantities on driver licenses and passports. Nevertheless, of note will be that California’s laws and regulations are clear from the state’s notary laws that a notary’s journal is the property of the notary and this only single line items might be copied for part of the general public IF certain standards are met by the requester who seeks the info. Failing that, a California notary journal might be copied if this notary is served with a subpoena duces tecum. At the same time, a journal might be confiscated by part of law enforcement if the law enforcement agent has clear potential cause. Therefore, California laws protect notary journal contents by placing rigorous requirements on confiscation and legal distribution in the contents of a new journal.
On another hand, Texas laws say that the journal is a new matter of general public record and members in the public may request copies in the same by paying a suitable fee. Texas strictly forbids assortment of NPPI and thumbprints throughout journals. Texas protects signers’ data by not allowing NPPI for being captured.
Notable variances in notary newspaper laws
Again, we depend on California and Colorado front range as contrasting cases. California notary laws and regulations require notaries to be able to capture thumbprints throughout certain notarial acts. By comparison, Texas privacy laws along with the Texas Secretary involving State indicate that notaries might not capture thumbprints throughout notarial journals since thumbprints are biometric identifiers. In addition, Texas notaries might not capture the quantities from driver licenses or passports, although California requires which notaries capture which information. This is a different example of why notaries Got to know and adhere with their states’ laws.
18 Points that Distinguish Notarial Acts
We have discovered 17 critical factors that tie this notarial act described from the journal to the signer in addition to to the notary that recorded the info.
Notaries in says without journal laws might wish to build their journal-keeping techniques on these suggestions. Notaries in states that require journals may profit by adding a few of these critical pieces of information regarding notarial acts, as long as the information is not forbidden for series by their states’ laws and regulations.
1 – Night out of notarization. All notaries should capture this information in their magazines. One of the most crucial facts about the signing of your document is the date on what it was authorized. This information appears from the notary certificate. A notary can also wish to document from the journal the time in the notarization. Some states may need both the date and time to be recorded from the journal.
2 – Report date. All notaries should capture this information in their magazines. A document may bear to start a date on which it becomes effective or it may simply have to start a date stated at the very top or bottom in the document. That date is the document date. The document date don't even have to be the identical date as this date of notarization. It's rather a date in earlier times or a date in the future. Documents may become good at a date later compared to the date of notarization; documents may be dated within the date they had been drafted for signature or they are often dated for a date before for another cause. Some notaries might be required by the state laws to remember the time in the notarization, as properly.
3 - Title (or type) in the document. All notaries should capture this information in their magazines. For example, this entry would talk about “Affidavit, ” “Deed, ” “Power involving Attorney, ” “Automobile Title, ” “Contract, ” “Last Will certainly and Testament, ” or even other document concept or type.
5 - Parties. It is a time consuming activity, but the information is useful to conclusively discover a document. As an illustration, parties listed in a deed could be the person giving the property to another (grantee) along with the person receiving the property from another (grantor). Parties identified on the mortgage instrument could be the party receiving financing and the thing providing the mortgage. These are called the mortgagee and mortgagor. Parties on an electric of attorney could be the grantor who will be giving power of attorney to the grantee (attorney-in-fact). Texas notaries must identify the data regarding grantors, designers, signers, and original grantees relating to documents. The following case in point illustrates why this entry is essential. A notary may possibly enter “deed” from the journal and the name in the signer. However, in case a person (signer or even otherwise) intends to be able to commit fraud, the individual could remove this notarial certificate in the deed noted from the journal and put it on another document. If the notary information the grantee (person getting the property) in addition to the grantor (signer/giving this property), those notes produce a closer tie to the actual document.
5 – Property involved. If property is involved as being a material the main transaction, a notary would certainly cite information that identifies the property. This would be with regards to a deed, home loan, lease agreement, or other document bearing a home description or deal with. Texas notaries must collect information about property that's the subject of a new conveyance document like a deed or home loan instrument. The reason for this is similar to the example earlier mentioned involving parties. A notary may possibly enter “deed” from the journal and the name in the signer. However, in case a person intends to be able to commit fraud, the individual could remove this notarial certificate in the deed noted from the journal and put it on another document. Noting from the journal the precise property described from the deed provides a better tie to the actual document that this notary notarized.
6 - Volume of pages in report. For example, the entry would are convinced that the document has 45 pages. Notaries who opt for this information must be careful to always be absolutely accurate.
7 – Sort of notarization performed. All notaries should capture this information in their magazines. For example, this notary would report “Jurat, ” “Acknowledgment, ” “Oath, ” “Certified Backup / Name involving Document, ” or even “Oath Administered. ”
8 – Spoken ceremony performed. To note and affirm that a verbal ceremony was performed is an excellent tool because some who try and back out involving transactions have tried to mention that a presiding notary did not administer the verbal ceremony. The notary confirms from the journal that a oath or affirmations was administered, or an acknowledgment was taken, or, in the case of a accredited copy, the notary confirms that the bearer of the document that is certainly copied makes a statement about the genuine nature in the document.
9 - Venue in the notarization. This will be another great instrument to prove which acts are valid. The presiding notary would list town, county, and state where the notarization was carried out. If an act is known as into question, this information can be be extremely helpful if a notarization is known as into question to show that both the notary along with the signer were from the same location at the same time.
10 – Cost. All notaries should list this information in their magazines. If a cost for notarization was charged, the fee need to be listed. Also, observe if no cost was charged.
11 – Identity in the signer. This occasionally includes the document signer’s label, the signer's deal with, and his or her cell phone number. List the label on all NO . documents used during the notarization. Make an email if the signer signs with a slightly different label.
12 – Signature bank of signer. All notaries ought to request that signers indication their journals while proof of their appearance before the notary in the time notarization.
13 – NO . method. All notaries should note this information. This is the way the document signer was identified. The notary would list that she / he personally knows this signer, that the signer was identified by the personal knowledge of several credible witnesses, or by presentation of several documents of id.
14 - NO . documentation. If the signer's identity is established by documents involving identification or trustworthy witnesses, note this document types and their expiration appointments or the bands, addresses, and telephone amounts of the witnesses. (Do not list numbers in the ID documents until state laws need them. )
15 – Thumbprint. Usually do not take thumbprints until (1) state laws and regulations require them or even (2) the notary public administrator from the notary’s state has agreed on this practice. Texas isn't going to allow notaries general public to record thumbprints throughout notary journals.
sixteen – Observations with regards to special circumstances. A notary occasionally includes information about exclusive circumstances that came into being. For instance, information about others present in the time notarization may always be recorded. A notary may document such things as (1) the reason(s) with regard to declining a notarization, (2) that a new signer required special assistance as a result of disability, or (3) that a person’s ability to understand their actions seemed doubtful and why or you will want to the notarization was performed.
17 – Other fees/entity paying fees. If a notary does a mobile notary job, the notary may want to write in a failure of the fees along with the entity that hired the notary and will also be paying the cost.
Becoming a notary public is a noteworthy undertaking; there are many reasons why a person may apply for a notary commission. Some apply for a notary commission to broaden their professional credentials and skills for employment. Others become notaries at the request of an employer or as a service to their business clients. Law firms, shipping centers, banks, and post offices are a few of the many types of businesses that have notaries on staff.
When an employer asks an employee to become a notary, the employer may decide to pay for the employee's notary education (if required), notary seal, supplies, and notarial record book.
Regardless of who pays for the notary commission- the notary, or the employer-the notary commission, seal, and notarial records belong solely to the notary, even if the employer paid for them.
If an employee leaves his or her position of employment, does the employer retain the notary's commission, record book, or notary seal? Does an employer have the right to request that the notary employee resign his or her notary commission? "No." is the answer to both of these questions.
An employer may be under the impression that an illegal notarization performed in the future by a departing notary employee will cause liability for him or her (or the company) since the employer paid for the notary bond and commission. Therefore, employers may erroneously request that notaries resign their notary commissions; employers may also attempt to keep notary seals and records.
However, a notary must insist that he or she remain in possession of his or her notary commission, notary seal, and notary record book. If an employer refuses to give possession of a notary's commission, records, or seal to the notary owner, the notary may be able to resolve the problem by
sending a letter via certified mail to the employer outlining that a notary's commission, seal, and records are the sole property of the notary public to whom they were assigned;
providing his or her former employer with a copy of this article;
including the contact information for the state notary public administrator's office with a suggestion that the employer contact the office to verify to whom the notary's seal, records, and commission belong; and
ending a copy of the letter via certified mail to the notary public administrator's office.
Once the notary public administrator's office has been notified that an employer kept the notarial possessions of the notary, a notary should be able to replace them and continue serving as a notary public.
Notary laws vary from state to state; notaries should inquire about their states' official procedures if they find themselves leaving jobs without being allowed to take and retain possession of their notarial records, seals, or commissioning documents.
Perhaps a father needs to have a statement notarized that authorizes his child to go on a trip with a friend's family. He might decide to handwrite it. The same could be true for a building tenant who needs to provide a letter to a housing authority verifying household income. Or, perhaps a separated couple facing an income tax issue may need to quickly submit a notarized declaration that they have lived apart for several months.
Handwritten documents can be created on the fly. They can be notarized if they are complete and attached to proper notarial certificates.
Below are the steps to follow when notarizing a handwritten document.
Check the document for completeness. In other words, check the document for blank lines or missing information; have the signer fill in blank spaces or enter "N/A."
If the handwritten document includes a notarial certificate, ensure that the notarial certificate complies with your state's notary laws. (Handwritten certificates are perfectly legal and acceptable as long as they include the correct language.)
Review the venue. If necessary, make corrections to the venue; simply draw a line through the incorrect words, initial it, and print the correct venue information. Do not use correction tape or apply a product like White-Out to any part of a notarial certificate.
If no notarial certificate has been included, provide the signer with samples of your state's acceptable jurat and acknowledgment certificates; allow them to make a selection. Never choose for the signer.
Properly identify the signer. Refer to your state's notary laws for acceptable forms of identification.
Record the required information in your record book. You may want to include a comment that the document was handwritten. You could also add a note that the signer presented the document without a certificate and that he or she selected one.
Ask the signer to sign the document if it is not already signed. (If the notary certificate is a jurat, the document must be signed in the notary's presence. If the document is attached to an acknowledgment, the signer may sign the document before meeting with the notary.)
Perform the appropriate verbal ceremony.
Complete the notarial certificate with the date of the act; add your seal.
Notarizing Handwritten Documents- Waxhaw, NC
For more help call Quick Notary Public at 704-290-8807
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.
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:
Ask the signer if they are aware of what they are signing and the purpose of the document.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.