Notaries beware! Do you do your job thoroughly?

By
Real Estate Services with Southwest Florida Notaries (Mortgage Notary Signing Agent)

Sign hereThe other day, I did a loan signing with a mortgage broker and Realtor present.  First, I brought out my Notorial Log and completed the information in it. Both said wow, they never saw a notary do that.  OK, it is not a Florida requirement, but it is foolish NOT to do this as a notary anywhere!  Then, since there are always Jurats in every mortgage package (OK, maybe not EVERY, but virtually every if not all - I can't recall a mortgage package that DIDN'T have one) I gave them an oath about perjury.  Both looked at each other and again stated, they didn't have any notary that they could recall do that.  Now this, I have a problem with.  Do they, and do you realize the potential impact of NOT completely doing your job as a notary?  It could jeopardize a lot of things, and have implications for you as the notary, the borrower, the title company, and the lender.  If something goes wrong down the line, and it ends up challenged in court, do you realize the headaches and problems this can cause - everyone!!?? 

Take OathDid you not see the words, "Sworn to and subscribed to...."?    The very first word, "SWORN" is there for a reason.  You are an official of the State of Florida, and if they swear to it, and sworn falsely, they can be brought up on perjury charges.  That is serious business!  If you did not give them an oath, and they signed it and you stamp it, you have not done your job, and it will be difficult at best to pursue perjury charges, even though they did in fact commit a perjury type of action, but without an oath being given, it would make it difficult or impossible to pursue these charges.  Then you know who they are coming after - I think you can fill in the blank here!!!  Other states might not call it a Jurat, although I would tend to believe most probably call it the same thing, and if not, they at least have the same kind of document that needs an oath be given to the person.

WOWDo you follow all procedures, ALL the time?  If not, do you realize the liability you are opening yourself up to?  While everything mentioned in this blog is for Florida Notaries, many procedures are similar for every state - but take the time to KNOW all your state requirements before proceeding. 

A notary public may notarize a signature on a document if the following conditions are met:

  1. The person whose signature is being notarized is in the presence of the notary public at the time the signature is notarized.   NOTE: This does not say they have to sign the document in front of you, and for an acknowledgment, they do not have to sign it in front of you.  BUT... if it is a Jurat, it states, "Sworn to and subscribed....." so the 'subscribed' means they signed in FRONT of you.  So it is imperative to know the difference and your requirements!
  2. The document is complete.   In other words - NO BLANKS!!  (Keep in mind, if there are boxes that do not NEED to be checked - that is OK, but they may not be altered after you affix your stamp and signature.) 
  3. The person signing the document is mentally competent and understands what he/she is signing.  On this one, I think I mentioned it in one of my other blogs, it is not important for you to verify if they are doing something proper or not, but they MUST understand what they are signing.  I had a man wanting me to notarize his wife's signature, but while she clearly had medical issues, she also clearly did not understand what she was about to sign.  I have little doubt that they were doing nothing improper or illegal, BUT, she did NOT know what she was doing, so I had to respectfully decline the notarization and note it in my log and why I refused.
  4. The notary is in the State of Florida.  You MUST be within the state border.
  5. The notary is not a party to the transaction - or mother, father, son, daughter, or spouse to the signer.   While I believe this is all the law specifically states, if they are related in any way that you are aware of (blood or legal), unless it is a wedding, you are much safer finding a different notary to avoid the implication of any conflict of interest.
  6. A notary public must specify in the certificate of acknowledgment what type of identification was relied upon, and whether or not an oath was taken.
  7. Valid identification must be obtained from each person whose signature is to be notarized. Proper identification is necessary since legal consequences of an error are severe. The following examples are good forms of identification:
    1. Personal acquaintance of the notary
    2. Driver's license (FLORIDA ONLY - It may be expired, but expired NO more than six (6) months AND have been issued within the last five [5] years)
    3. Passport
    4. Photo identification card issued (within the past five years) by a state or branch of the federal government
  8. A notary public must specify in the certificate, when two or more signatures are to be notarized, which signature is being notarized. It will be presumed that absent these specifics, notarization by the notary public is for all signatures on the document.
  9. When notarizing a document, it is important that the state, county where the signing took place, and date be completed before the acknowledgment and seal are affixed

This is just a brief overview of your responsibilities, but this is a good starting point.  If you are not fully aware of at least these minimum requirements, then I strongly suggest you stop notarizing, and take the time to learn what your requirements are, and know what you can and cannot do.  Also, I suggest you have at a minimum a membership with the ASN & NNA, as they both have help desk personnel that can assist you with the rare unusual things that inevitably come up in your job as a notary!

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Title companies & mortgage brokers, help your borrowers- arrange to have their loan signed and notarized in their home, at their convenience by a Certified Notary Signing Agent (CNSA)  Southwest Florida Notaries is open for your mortgage closing 24/7 at your location (Based in Murdock, FL, near Port Charlotte FL, but covering all of Southwest Florida - Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Desoto, Lee and Collier counties)

Browse The Rain for a qualified and Certified Notary Signing Agent in your area.

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Rainer
1,235
Therese Burgueno
Mobile Notary -Loan Signing Agent
TB Notary Services

I can't agree with you more Ronald.  I receive the same response over and over again when I swear a client in.  Loan Officers, Real Estate Agents and even borrowers are very surprised and certainly let me know that its RARE they have a notary follow this procedure.  I always inform them that it is part of my duty and I wouldn't be doing job if I choose not to perform the oath.  I have the client sign and thumbprint my journal each and every time.  Double check the packages before departing and sometimes one more time before they are sent off.  I have found following the law consistently and thoroughly has left little room for error.    This is appreciated and have gained repeat business because of it.

August 17, 2008 11:04 AM
Rainer
120,136
Ronald Gillis
CNSA Southwest Florida. Notaries, Port Charlotte, 941-7-NOTARY
Southwest Florida Notaries (Mortgage Notary Signing Agent)

Therese, I couldn't agree more, and I think that is why I get a lot of repeat business as well.  I was very lucky, in the beginning, I received some pointers from a local woman that used to do this, her name was Rose, she has since moved to TX to live closer to her kids.  She gave me a lot of great info, that helped with the NSA stuff, but also, even though I had been a notary for 16 years, even her notary advise was great!

Signature of Ronald Gillis - owner of Southwest Florida Notaries - call them for all your mobile notary needs anywhere in Southwest Florida at 941-7-NOTARYVisit the Active Rain profile of Ronald Gillis - owner of Southwest Florida Notaries - call them for all your mobile notary needs anywhere in Southwest Florida at 941-7-NOTARY

August 17, 2008 05:16 PM
Rainer
4,215
Deborah Huffert
Ace Mobile Notary, LLC

Hey there, know what I love about your posts?  I get serenaded at the same time.  Love the music.  I feel so lucky just to be able to figure out how to type a reply, lol.  Thanks for all the reminder tips.  It's amazing what we run in to out in the field.  I did a signing about a year ago.  Called the borrower to confirm and she was eager to see me and let me know she was a signing agent too so this would go pretty quick since she was "experienced". 

I got to her house and one look around scared me and I thought I would never trust my confidential information with her and her environment but that's another story altogether.  So we sat down at the table and I asked for her ID.  I put everything in my journal and had her sign it.  I asked for a thumbprint, which is not mandatory in AZ but a habit I brought with me from my days notarizing in CA.  She was willing to do the thumbprint and we moved on to signing the docs.  First up, a jurat.  I told her I needed to swear her in and she asked why.  She was not familiar with jurats and she told me she never swore anyone in at her signings.  I explained to her why she had better start.  Then as I went through the notarial verbiage, making my strike through and circling the correct wording she asked me what I was doing?  I explained to her and again she was surprised saying she never does that and her signing company has never refused her docs.  I raised my eyebrows and informed her that she also probably would not find her signing company standing next to her in a court of law.  She trained on-line through the NNA, passed the cert test and went to work doing $45 closings.  And this is why I am on the bandwagon to try to persuade the AZ SOS to make it mandatory to attend a training class and take a test in a controlled environment before a notary commission will be handed out.

September 05, 2008 01:15 AM
Rainer
120,136
Ronald Gillis
CNSA Southwest Florida. Notaries, Port Charlotte, 941-7-NOTARY
Southwest Florida Notaries (Mortgage Notary Signing Agent)

Deborah, I am certainly not naive to think these types of notaries are not out there, because we all know they are.  It is that type of recklessness that can have serious consequences, and many do not realize it!  I hope you are successful with the SOS!!

Signature of Ronald Gillis - owner of Southwest Florida Notaries - call them for all your mobile notary needs anywhere in Southwest Florida at 941-7-NOTARYVisit the Active Rain profile of Ronald Gillis - owner of Southwest Florida Notaries - call them for all your mobile notary needs anywhere in Southwest Florida at 941-7-NOTARY

September 05, 2008 01:27 AM
Anonymous #14
Anonymous
Deborah

I've even administered the oath to other notaries when signing a doc and are you ready for this?  Sitting down?  They didn't know what I was doing or why I was doing it.  I just signed docs this week for a CA purchase and the borrower had a notarized doc from a notary here in AZ (just notarized last week).  She handed it to me and I couldn't believe my eyes.  The notary name was not printed on it, the borrower name was not printed on it and none of the verbiage was corrected.  It was just signed, dated and stamped.  Such shoddy, incomplete work. 

September 11, 2008 08:24 PM
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Rainer
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Ronald Gillis

CNSA Southwest Florida. Notaries, Port Charlotte, 941-7-NOTARY
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