Thursday, December 11, 2008

DO NOT LIE TO A NOTARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

VA Notaries are authorized to take sworn statements from individuals and document that the person has affirmed the statements under oath. Willfully lying to a notary while under oath is a crime. Furthermore, lying during a deposition when you have sworn to tell the truth is a crime. The former mayor of Detroit has been convicted because he lied to a notary. A notary is not a dude with a stamp.The notary is a public official appointed by the Governor for a specific term.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Checking the ID Of Your Ninety Year Old Client

Checking the id of your ninety year old client can be challenging, Yes the client has a government issued picture id. However, the picture is old and it is difficult sometimes to determine if that picture is really the client. You can have someone known to the notary with their own id swear under oath that the client is indeed Jane Smith. Additionally, visit my blog entry NO ID NO Notarization? However, you can also check what cards the client has with the name on it. Power of attorney document with very broad authority need to be approached cautiously. Furthermore, make sure the client understands the document and trust the person who is getting the power of attorney

Thursday, November 13, 2008

All Notaries Need to Contact the VA Legislature RE Electronic Notarization

All notaries need to contact the members VA legislature as soon as possible in regards to the stalemate on electronic notarization. The electronic notarization law got passed and was suppose to go into effect July 1,2008. However, the executive branch stated that standards had not been set for electronic notarization. The members of the VA legislature need to be encouraged to determine what standards need to be set. I am personally cautious about electronic notarization. The person still needs to appear before the notary!!!!However, a device is inserted into the computer in some states. If this device is lost or stolen, this could be huge possibility for fraud. In all probability, only notaries with huge corporate account where major filings occur will be using the electronic notarizing even when the legislature sets the standardss. The blog on the right side has a link to the VA legislature.

Saturday, July 5, 2008



Friday, June 27, 2008



Thursday, June 26, 2008

Important Changes For All VA Notaries To Know

"Here are some important changes in Virginia law that will be effective July 1, 2008:
• You may notarize a document without the notarial certificate being on the same page as the signature(s) being notarized, however the notarial certificate must include the name(s) of each person whose signature is being notarized.
• You must now affix a sharp, legible, permanent, and photographically reproducible image of the official seal near the notary’s official signature on the notarial certificate on a paper document" There are now significant criminal consequences for both notaries and supervisors of notaries for criminal misconduct!!!!!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Are Court Reporters going to become antiques?

In order to answer this question one needs to briefly point out that the slide rule became obsolete when the hand calculator arrived in 1975. As computers become smaller, the electronic calculator will become antiques. Depositions can now be taken electronically with a microphone attached to a laptop and electronic recorder is used as a backup if the laptop malfunctions. A notary administers the witnesses oath. Software exits that put the sound into printed word. As the older judges get replaced by more savy technology judges, only the notary public will necessary. No court reporters needed.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Can a newly appointed notarize without a seal stamp?

A newly appointed VA notary told me he could not notarize any documents because he had not ordered his stamp. After July 1 2008,Va Notaries are now required to have reproducible seals. If a notary does notarize, the notary must sign the document,state clearly whether the notary did a jurat or acknowledgement,check the client's government photo id,determine if the client is cognisant of the document's content, write down the notary's commission expiration date, write down the location of the notarization (county or town Commonwealth of VA), write down the notary appointment number on the document, write down the date of the notarization, most important, the notary client needs to sign the document in the presence of the notary!!!!!!!!!!!!!It is highly recommended you have the client sign your notary book first and record the type of government photo id presented. You are required to have a notary seal asof July1, 2008 . If the client does not have a government photo ID, read my blog entry "No ID No Notarization?".

Monday, June 9, 2008

Changes in VA Notary Law effective July 1,2008

VA Notary Public class eNews is reporting the following:2008 Changes In Virginia Notary Law
Several changes will go into effect July 1, 2008

Notaries will not receive individual notifications of this year's changes. The changes will be posted to the Notary Registration Home Page at the end of June. courthouse

Expect to see changes in the following:

Notary application - the recommendation process is changing.

Loose certificate change - Currently notaries are required to notarize on the same page as the signer. Effective July 1, 2008 : The law says under prohibitions: Notarize a signature on a document without notarial certificate wording on the same page as the signature unless the notarial certificate includes the name of each person whose signature is being notarized.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Meeting other states requirements?

Only the Commonwealth of VA sets the standards of notarization in Virginia. No, VA notaries do not need to meet the requirement of other states. Va Notaries need to comply with the newest VA notary Hand Book available on line; a reproducible seal is now required as July 1, 2008!!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

When should a notary flee from an assignment?

The notary should flee from an assignment when any overt or direct threat is made to notarize a document. If the document signer has signed the document and left before you arrive, you need to flee the assignment. If the proposed signed is impaired or there is any indication of fraud, the notary needs to flee the assignment. While conducting a deposition, you need to pack up and flee if there is a direct threat against you. If you think the deposition might get out of had, arrange for security to monitor the deposition. If someone exhibits offensive behavior based on race, gender, religious orientation, disability, or age, do not respond but you can take notes; be prepared to leave. Do not confront the person. The notary is not John Wayne or Judge Judy. Respective counsel have sole responsibility to report offensive conduct to the judge or administrative law judge supervising the case.

Jurat vs Deposition The Role of Notary

By administering the oath to a client, you are establishing the fact that the client was sworn in while affirming the truthfulness of the document.If you have any questions on the truthfulness of the proposed signer, you are obligated not to proceed. Intentionally doing a jurat when you believe the document is false could make you a target for the pit bulls with law licenses (federal prosecutors). Administering the oath during a deposition does not create that liability. The witness can proceed to say the earth is flat, the moon is made of cheese and martians are living in his woodpile at his house. The notary is not Judge Judy, Raymond Burr, Dick Tracy, or John Wayne. The sole responsibility is the respective counsel to deal with witness conduct

Monday, June 2, 2008

Role of VA Notary in Depositions

The VA notary is neutral person administering the oath, turning the recording machine on and off, writing down starts and stops. The notary is not Judge Judy, Perry Mason, John Wayne, or Raymond Burr. If one of the parties is frustrating the notary by making it very difficult for the notary to get into a building controlled by the party, it is the sole responsibility of the other party to notify the administrative judge of this matter!!!!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Is Telephone Notarization Legal?

A person must appear in front of a notary. Even with the advent of electronic notarization, the person must appear before the notary. Telephone notarization is totally illegal and could make the notary a target of pit bulls with law licenses, federal prosecutors!!!

Deposition and Notary

Virginia notaries are allowed to administer the oath to the person being deposed. Va notaries can do this on federal property located in VA. Instead of written transcription , the deposition can electronically recorded by a microphone to a computer; counsel or pro se litigant can give opposing parties electronic disk copies.

Monday, May 26, 2008

No Legal Holiday for Notaries

There is no legal holiday for notaries. Though notaries are public officials, they are authorized to notarize every day of the year.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Presumed Not Neutral

Va notaries are barred from notarizing of their spouses. Clearly, the notaries know who their spouses are; notaries need to be neutral parties in the notarization. Notaries are presumed not neutral towards their spouses.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Clueless Notary?

A VA notary who fails to check the government ID of a client the notary does not know or does not write the notary number down or fails to state whether the notary act was an acknowledgment or jurat or fails to state the ss or date is a clearly or fails to have a reproducible seal is a clueless notary.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Notary Supplies

VA notaries only need a pen,their commission expiration date, a reproducible seal (effective July 1, 2008) , and appointment number to legally notarize in VA. Private companies sell seals, crimps, and notary stamps to notaries. Even if a business bought the notary supplies, the business does not own the notary stamp or seals. If the notary leaves, the notary needs to take the notary seals or stamps or destroy them. A business employing the notary can not require the notary to turn the fees collected by notary over to the business.Frequently, the business does not charge for the notary service.

Notary Fees

If you go to a business, the notary can charge you the notary fee authorized by VA. However, the employer can not require the notary to turn the fees over to the employer!!!!!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Unlimited Liability for Credible Witness

If a credible witness is negligent or fraudulent in providing the identification of a proposed notary client,that witness would have unlimited liability; if the act is fraudulent, the credible witness could become a target of the pit bulls with law licenses, federal prosecutors. I rely on government ID with photo. It would be an unusual situation where I would use the credible witness for ID of a client.

U S citizenship required?

Va notaries do not need to be US citizens due to long standing U S Supreme Court decision. A green card and living or working in VA is the requirement

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Unlimited Liability of Notary's Employer

IF a notary is negligent in notary practices while employed by you, your business could have unlimited liability. If you are involved with fraud involving notarizing, you could be targeted by the pit bulls with law licenses, federal prosecutors.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Comatose/Unresponsive Individuals

Comatose or unresponsive individuals can not be notarized despite the pressure of family members or the willingness to give exurbanite fees to the notary. The family needs to petition the appropriate court for a power of attorney.

Should VA notaries be allowed to do marriages?

Three states allow notaries to do marriages. VA does not.If you think VA notaries should do marriages, contact VA senators and members of the House of Delegates to get the law changed.Visit let them know your opinion!!!!

Complete Agreement

Several times I have notarized documents entitled agreement uncontested divorce or change of custody. Besides the usual steps of checking governtment photo id and signing the notary book, I politely inquire on whether they are in agreement. Notarization does not make the document; it provide evidence the parties signed the document. Clearly, if you are not in agreement you need to tell the notary. If legal advice is needed, the notary can direct the person to a lawyer.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Capacity of the Signer

In most cases, the client is signing in an individual capacity and providing government photo id to validate the person's identity. When the individual is signing as an officer of a corporation, make sure you specify the title in the acknowledgement. You are not required to verify the person's title.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Attention Notaries Beware of Pit Bulls with Law Licenses

Attention All Notaries!!Do not think,plan,dream,blog talk write or speak about violating any federal criminal law. The Federal Prosecutors are Pit Bulls with Law Licenses. Their favorite words are racketeering, conspiracy,and civil forfeiture followed by large fines and long sentences. A VA notary allegedly loaned an notary stamp to an individual who engaged in activities that got the attention of the FBI and Federal Prosecutors. The notary was then indicted. Your errors and omissions coverage will not protect you from the Pit Bulls with Law Licenses.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Attention all VA Antique Vehicles Owners

As of July 1, 2007, antique owners must show evidence that own and regularly use another passenger car or truck when applying for antique license plates(for cars 25 years and older) for a one time fee of $50 by filing out VS 10 B available online from VA DMV Web site , under Vehicle Registration, Antique Motor Vehicles and Trailers. The document needs a jurat notarization. Once registered there are limitation on mileage and occasions when the car can be driven.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Beneficiary vs Fiduciary defines fiduciary vs beneficiary
"Courts have neither defined the particular circumstances of fiduciary relationships nor set any limitations on circumstances from which such an alliance may arise. Certain relationships are, however, universally regarded as fiduciary. The term embraces legal relationships such as those between attorney and client, broker and principal, principal and agent, trustee and beneficiary, and executors or administrators and the heirs of a decedent's estate."
"A beneficiary (also, in trust law, referred to as the cestui que use) in the broadest sense is a natural person or other legal entity who receives money or other benefits from a benefactor. The beneficiary of a life insurance policy, for example, is the person who receives the payment of the amount of insurance after the death of the insured. The beneficiaries of a trust are the persons with equitable ownership of the trust assets, although legal title is held by the trustee. The term is also used in the context of a letter of credit for the party receiving the money related thereto. Beneficiaries in other contexts are known by other names: for example, the beneficiaries of a will are called devisees or legatees according to local custom.

A series of beneficiaries may be designated in many cases to designate where the assets will go if the primary beneficiary or beneficiaries are not alive or do not qualify under the restrictions in the given contract or legal instrument. Most commonly the restriction is that the beneficiary be alive, which, if not true, allows the assets to pass to the contingent beneficiaries. Other restrictions such as being married or more creative ones can be used by a benefactor to attempt to control the behavior of the beneficiaries. Some situations such as retirement accounts do not allow any restrictions beyond death of the primary beneficiaries, but trusts allow any restrictions that are not illegal or for an illegal purpose.

The concept of a "beneficiary" will also frequently figure in contracts other than insurance policies. A third party beneficiary of a contract is a person who, although not a party to the contract, the parties intend will benefit from its provisions. A software distributor, for example, may seek provisions protecting its customers from infringement claims. A software licensor may include provisions in its agreements which protect those who provided code to that licensor."

If a notary is a beneficiary, the notary can not notarize the document. If the notary is fiduciary, the notary can notarize the document.

Friday, April 25, 2008

A Blind Client

A blind client is entitled to have a document notarized. First the notary must talk to the client about the client's understanding of the document. The notary may take the additional step of reading the document to the blind client. Check the client's picture government id. Direct the client hand to the line that the client needs to sign; remember, the signature is the signature.

Absolute Disagreement

I was asked by two individuals to notarize two documents that were in absolute disagreement. I then asked them to write down what they would agree on. They did and I notarized their document they agreed on. If you disagree with a document, tell the notary. Signing a document in the presence of a notary does not make it legal; however signing a document that you disagree with could cause problems later. If are clueless or in absolute disagreement, please let the notary know. The non-lawyer can then direct you to get legal advice.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


California allows for fingerprinting of notary clients; VA relies on government ID with picture.

No Contingency

A notary is a neutral individual with no interest in the outcome of the signing. Consequently, my fee is due at the time the notarization.There is no contingency on paying for the notarization. Some mortgage companies think they only need to pay the notary if the loan goes through. This practice is illegal. A notary is a neutral individual with no interest in the outcome of the transaction.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Language is not the issue?

A client, a US citizen, asked me to notarize a document in a foreign language. The foreign embassy had turned him since was he was a US citizen. The client thoroughly explained the document to me and provided a VA driver's license. I did a jurat notarization. Clearly, language is not the issue. Notarization does not make a document legal.

What is the location? SS does not mean social security

The address of the client can confuse the notary on the location of the notary act; Rose Hill, Lorton, Springfield VA are not acceptable locations. Fairfax County is the correct location for all the entities. Even the GPS can give a faulty indication. My GPS gives Alexandria as my location when I am in my driveway.I live in Fairfax County. Longitude and Latitude are not yet acceptable indications of location of the notary act. There is an Alexandria which is part of Fairfax County; Alexandria City is not part of Fairfax County. Before the days of GPS, I was not certain whether I was in Alexandria City or Arlington County. I had the McDonald's cashier to produce a receipt which told me where I was notarizing. SS does not social security which is Latin for scilicet which mean more particular. The means what is the location.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Commonwealth vs State Everything you wanted to know

This information is from
"Four of the constituent states of the United States officially designate themselves Commonwealths: Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. This designation, which has no constitutional impact, emphasizes that they have a "government based on the common consent of the people" as opposed to one legitimized through their earlier Royal Colony status that was derived from the King of Great Britain. The word commonwealth is of English derivation and refers to the common "wealth" or welfare of the public. In common parlance, people do not make the distinction between state or commonwealth.

Commonwealth of Kentucky

In 1785, residents of Kentucky County began petitioning the Virginia legislature for statehood. They wished the County to be recognized as a "free and independent state, to be known by the name of the Commonwealth of Kentucky." On June 4, 1792, Kentucky County, Kentucky officially became a state. The Constitution was changed as to the style for "all process and mandates" to "Commonwealth of Kentucky" in 1850; prior to that change "State of Kentucky" was used.[1]

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Massachusetts is officially named "The Commonwealth of Massachusetts" by its constitution. The name "State of Massachusetts Bay" was used in all acts and resolves up to 1780 and the first draft of the constitution. The current name can be traced to the second draft of the state constitution, which was written by John Adams and ratified in 1780.[2]

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

The Seal of Pennsylvania does not use the term, but legal processes are in the name of the Commonwealth and it is a traditional official designation used in referring to the state. In 1776, Pennsylvania's first state constitution referred to it as both "Commonwealth" and "State," a pattern of usage that was perpetuated in the constitutions of 1790, 1838, 1874, and 1968.[3]

A detailed history describing the origins of Pennsylvania's government, including its designation as a commonwealth from colonial times, is available from the Secretary of the Commonwealth's office.[4]

Commonwealth of Virginia

The name "Commonwealth of Virginia" dates back to its independence from Great Britain. Virginia's first constitution (adopted on June 29, 1776) directed that "Commissions and Grants shall run, In the Name of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and bear taste by the Governor with the Seal of the Commonwealth annexed." The Secretary of the Commonwealth still issues commissions in this manner. Among other references, the constitution furthermore dictated that criminal indictments were to conclude "against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth." "

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Age is not the issue?

I had to to decline to notarize a 62 year old person; the individual could not communicate with me or recognized his only son. However, I had a delightful notarization with a 92 year old individual who had ID and was very conversant on what he was doing. He also affirmed his trust in his son. Clearly age is not the issue. Potential clients need to have government photo id, know what they are doing, and be able to communicate with the notary. Notarization does not make the document legal; it does affirm you signed the document. Consequently, minor person who signs a contract does not waive va law as it applies to minors signing a contract. Furthermore, a minor signing a statement would not waive any applicably va law requiring parental permission.

No ID No Notarization ?

The exceptions to no government id with photo no notarization are 1. a known to notary credible witness who swears to the identity of the person and 2. Two credible witness with government photo ID who swear to the identity of the person. I think these exceptions should be used sparingly. One example where the rules could apply: the person's driver's license has been seized by the police and needs to get the car out of police custody by giving a person permission to remove the car. The notary also might want to see all available ID the person has. If a relative turns in their driver license, please make sure that the Division of Motor Vehicles issues a non driver ID. In the case of power of attorney, I would not use the exceptions. Notaries have absolute power to decline to notarize if they have any doubt of the identity of the person.

License vs Appointment of notary

Only the Governor of Commonwealth of VA has the the power to appoint notaries in VA!!!!!You occasional read about licensed notaries. The term applies to notaries who have private notary groups. The license has no effect on the legality of the notarization. The important element is that the notary has a valid appointment and the notarization is done within the term of the appointment.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Authentication of Products

VA notaries can not use their notary stamps to authenticate products under the July 1,2008 rules.

Can not use notary to endorse a candidate

Va notaries cannot use their notary stamp to endorse any political client under the new July 1 2008 rules.Notaries can endorse clients personally but can not use the stamp to approve or disapprove political candidates.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Attention all Lawyers and notaries: Receipe for a Lawsuit

When a notary fails to be diligent in checking of the signers, this can be a receipe for a lawsuit. Even if a person who is known to notary swears to the identity of the signer, which is legal in VA, the question can be raised on why the notary did not check the id of all signers. The classic example: Notary is told by a boss that Jane Doe is the wife of John Doe. Unfortunately for the notary, Jane Doe is really Jane Smith, John Doe's girlfriend. The real Jane Doe is very unhappy when the family home is sold.She then consults a lawyer who files a lawsuit.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Note from VA ABC to all notaries

VA ABC has a meaningful to note to all notaries notarizing their documents. Do not notarize a documents with blanks or a document that is incomplete. This is an excellent point.

Invalid notarization

Failing to write down the notary's appointment number, failing to state whether the notary act was a jurat or acknowledgement, failing to state the date, failing to state the location, or the notary failing to sign will result in an invalid notarization. The notary's stamp does not cure the lack of the notary's signature. The notary's signature must be the same signature as the one recorded in the court house.

The Notary Crimp

The notary crimp which is designed to make an impression on the paper is falling out of use. If used the notary needs to insert carbon paper into the crimp to make it reproducible or use a pencil to darken the impression. Most notaries are using ink stamps. Va now does require notaries to use reproducible seals.

The Notary Book

Va does not require VA notaries to keep a notary book. Most VA do keep a notary book where the client's name address and signature
are entered. This book is a public record .

Monday, April 14, 2008

Adoption cases and notary commission expiration date

People in the middle of foreign adoption proceedings frequently ask me when my commission will expired. The foreign authorities seem to think that the adoption will not be valid if the notary's commission expires during the adoption process. Nothing could be more inaccurate. Once a document is notarized, the notarization is valid forever. Notaries need to be very careful in their notary work today; the notarization never expire!!!!!!!!!!

The Clueless Client

I was contacted by a potential notary client who told me that she was clueless on the contents of a probate document that a lawyer sent her to be notarized. Notaries, who are not lawyers, can not advise clients on the contents of documents. A major responsibility of the notary is to make sure the client understands what they are signing. In this case, I referred her to a Arlington County VA lawyer who opened a probate case for the client. The client had discovered that the document sent to her was not in her best interest. Do not be afraid to tell your notary that you are clueless on the contents of the document. This will give the non-lawyer a chance to refer you to lawyer. Paralegals in VA can not advise you on the content of a document or the legality of a document. Notarization of a document does not mean that the notary guarantees the legality of the document. However, notarization of a document that you are clueless about may cause problems for you.

Friday, April 11, 2008

SS does not mean social security number

The notation ss does not mean social security number on a notarized document; it means the location that the notarization occurred( latin scilicet=more particular). This would mean the VA city or county; Commonwealth of VA. I add USA if the document is going overseas.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Attention All Lawyers VA is a Commonwealth not a State

Attention all lawyers!!!!!!!!!!! Virginia is the Commonwealth of Virginia ; not the State of Virginia. There are three other commonwealths in the USA; Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. During the revolution, a commonwealth was considered people friendly. If you need more information visit

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Electronic Notarizing

Electronic notarizing is coming to Va after July 1, 2008. The electronic notary will require a separate appointment and will charge more than $5.00 You will need to appear in front of the notary!!!!! More details later.

VA Notaries and the Canada Government

Canada made the decision that a notary can help their citizens renew immigration documents if they are living in USA. VA Notaries are allowed to take sworn statements. The notary signs the statement was administered under penalty of perjury. The event is entered into my book. The client is charged $5 plus travel. Canada is very generous in the instructions.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

My Appointment Certificate

You are not entitled to a copy of my appointment. The Secretary of the Commonwealth of Virginia will be pleased to issue an authentication (apostle) to verify that I am a notary public in VA for a fee of $10.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Va Notaries do not perform marriages

  • Va notaries are barred from performing marriage ceremonies.
    • Some of the VA circuit courts appoint marriage celebrants who have authority within the jurisdiction of the circuit court to perform marriage ceremonies.

VA Notarize documents outside of Va

All Va notaries can notarize anywhere in the Commonwealth of VA; Va notaries can notarize documents outside the Commonwealth of VA provided the documents are recorded in the Commonwealth of VA.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Notarized Exact Copies

Virginia allows notary to produce notarized exact copies of documents. Documents such as birth certificates, death certificates, marriage certificates, and court orders may not be notarized as exact copies because they all have keeper of the records. Documents such as passports, driver licenses, professional licenses, and transcripts can be notarized as exact copies. I insist that the copy be made in my presence. The charge is $5 per notary (not $5 per page), cost of duplication and negotiated travel fee.

Notary is not a rubber stamp

Sometime ago, a person called me and told me she would explain everything to her clients who were in foreclosure. I just need to stamp the documents. I decide if the person understands what they are doing. A notary is not a rubber stamp. I declined her request to be her notary.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Your ID Please

Government issued with photo is the gold standard for notary publics in VA. The major exception to this is the person who is known to the notary. For me this term applies to people I have known for several years. Notaries were give wide discretion to refuse to notarize for any reason under the July 1, 2008 new rules. Government issued id with photo does not guarantee that the notary will notarize the document. Grounds for denial are client's disoriention, client's lack of understanding of document, and/or suspected dishonesty. Va notaries are barred from notarizing the signature of their spouses.

Presence of Client and Notary

The client must sign the document in the presence of the notary. It is illegal to notarize a document when the client is not present. Do not sign a document until the notary arrives. Furthermore, do not sign a document and leave. The notary will not notarize the document!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Signature

The signature is the signature of the client. No special penmanship is required when signing a document in front of a notary. The notary's signature needs to be the same as the signature recorded in the courthouse.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Notary Apostle - A European Term

Apostle is a European term which is equivalent to authentication in VA. I have copied certain information below directly from a web site. Call Us (UK): 44 (0) 207-637-3881 / 0800-081-1510

"Apostille: Certification

. An apostille, or postil, is properly a gloss on a scriptural text, particularly on a gospel text; however, it has come to mean an explanatory note on other writings. The word is also applied to a general commentary, and also to a homily or discourse on the gospel or epistle appointed for the day. Apostille is also a French word which means a certification. It is commonly used in English to refer to the legalisation of a document for international use under the terms of the 1961 Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents. Documents which have been notarised by a notary public, and certain other documents, and then certified with a conformant apostille are accepted for legal use in all the nations that have signed the Hague Convention.

States which have not signed the Convention must specify how foreign legal documents can be certified for its use. Sometimes two countries will have a special treaty concerning the recognition of each others documents, but usually not. When the country issuing or receiving the document does not recognise an apostille, you must usually take the document to the consulate of the foreign country you need to certify it or to an honorary consular officer appointed by that country who is qualifed to certify it. It may need to be certified by the highest government official in the country where it originated, such as the Secretary of State or Minister of Foreign Affairs, before being accepted by the consular officer of the foreign country, this process is known as chain authentication as an unbroken chain of government officials each certifies the signature (and seal in some cases) of the prior official in the first country and the consular officer then certifies that the document should be recognized as authentic in the country of destination. Usually that consular officer's signature can be authenticated in the country of destination as well."
Apostle is a European term that means the same as authentication here in VA. I have copied some information from another web site.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Jurat vs Acknowledgement

Jurat vs Acknowledgement

When a Virginia Notary Public swears in client and then has the person sign, this is a jurat. The person making the statements could be prosecuted for perjury if the person knew that they were false. The notary does not guarantee the truthfulness or accuracy of the document.

When the Notary Public has the client sign the document, this is called an acknowledgement. In both cases the Notary has checked the signor's government picture identification, recorded the signor's signature in the notary's book, signed the notarized document, stated the location and date of the notary act, written the notary's number, and written down whether the notary act was a jurat(sworn) or an acknowledgement. In neither of these cases does the notary guarantee that the document is truthful or accurate.

Friday, March 21, 2008


This information is copied from the web site of the Secretary of the Commonwealth of VA.


"The purpose of authentications is to verify for foreign governments that a Virginia official is in good standing. These officials include notary publics, clerks and deputy clerks of Virginia courts, registrars and deputy registrars of the Department of Health and the Clerk of the State Corporation Commission. Please note: Various states and embassies refer to the Authentication process differently; it can also be described as Legalization or Certification.

Authentication of a notarized document is required for conducting international business by individuals and corporations in Virginia. All documents for Authentication must be less than one year old. This means that the issue date on Vital Records must be less than one year from the day that we process it. On all documents signed by a notary, Deputy Clerk, or any other Virginia official, that signing must have taken place less than one year from the day that we process it.

The Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth does not regulate what documents are required by the foreign country. To verify the required documents, contact the embassy of the country to which the documents will go.

International Authentication – Individual Use

For international acceptance, the official state registry of birth, death, marriage and divorce must be obtained from the Department of Vital Records. For information on obtaining a copy, call Vital Records at (804) 662-6200. These Vital Record documents should only be signed by a State Registrar or Deputy State Registrar, and not notarized.

Marriage certificates can also be obtained from the Circuit Court in the city where the marriage was recorded. These black and white certificates must be accompanied by a Triple Seal Page, also called an Authentication of Record. This is a separate sheet of paper from the Court with the signatures and seals of the Court Clerk and Judge. This additional page must be attached to your document prior to our office Authenticating it.

All other documents requiring authentication for foreign use should be notarized by a Virginia notary. These documents include Power of Attorney, school transcripts and diplomas, and copies of passports and immigration paperwork. Please follow the instructions below.

1. Enclose a cover letter with your name, address and phone number. Also include the country the you need the document authenticated for.
2. You may use our Authentications Request form as your cover letter (pdf, 17 k).
3. The fee for this service is $10.00 per document, payable to the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
4. Please be sure to enclose a prepaid return mailer. This can be regular mail, Fed X, UPS, DHL, etc. We recommend using Fed Ex or UPS for both speed and reliability.

If you have vital records or other documents notarized from another state, you must send those documents to the Secretary of State for that state.

If you have marriage or birth certificates from another country, you must send those to the U.S. State Department, which can be contacted at 1-800-333-4636.

All documents besides Vital Records and Court Marriage Certificates must be notarized by a Virginia notary. Notaries must include ALL information required in the handbook. When there is no signature for a notary to notarize, such as passports, INS documents and academic records, notaries may notarize the documents as true and exact copies of originals. Specific information is found in the Acknowledgment Section of the Notary Handbook (pdf, 163 k).

International Authentication – Corporate Use

In order to conduct business in other countries, certain documents are required by foreign governments.

Documents may include Certificates of Good Standing, Articles of Incorporation and Corporate Amendments and Resolutions. They may be obtained through the State Corporation Commission. These documents will bear the signature of the Clerk of the State Corporation Commission and do not need notarization. To obtain these records, contact the Clerks Office in the State Corporation Commission at (804) 371-9733. All other documents pertaining to international business must be notarized following the handbook procedures.

For further information/mailing address:

Betsy Anderson
Director of Authentications
Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth
1111 East Broad Street, 4th Floor
Richmond, Virginia 23219
(804) 786-2441

or use our Inquiry Form

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Changes in VA Notary Law effective July 1,2008

Effective July 1, 2008, all notaries are assigned a number which must be used every time the notary notarizes. A seal is not required in the Commonwealth of Virginia; however, a seal must be reproducible if used. This means if the notary uses a notary crimp, carbon paper must be used with the crimp or the resulting seal must be darkened with a pencil. I use an ink seal.
Requiring the notarization to be on the same page as the client signature is a significant change. I carry several stamps that bring documents into compliance with VA law if the document does not have the notarization on the same page as the client's signature. The notary also must specify what type of notary act was done. Location of the act must be clear. SS means location not social security number. Location means incorporated town or county or city and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Virginia is a Commonwealth; not a state.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Mobile vs Stationary Notary Public

A Mobile Notary travels whereas a Stationary Notary has an office where the notary works. A Notary charges $5 per notary act. A Mobile Notary negotiates with the customer to determine what the travel fee will be charged. Not all negotiations are successful. I screen all potential clients to determine whether the potential client needs a Mobile Notary or a Stationary Notary. If someone has a banking relationship, I encourage the person to visit the bank notary. However, I have been told some banks refuse to let their notaries notarize power of attorney.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Appointment of a Notary

All notaries are appointed by the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia for a term.
Before the term is up, the notary needs to apply for a reappointment. The notary is sworn in and then is able to notarize documents after the notary acquires a reproducible notary atamp. Notaries are not required to keep a book; most do.