Friday, June 26, 2009

I am very impressed with some couples

I am very impressed with some couples. I meet couples who are bravely standing by and helping a very disabled or ill spouse. Va law is very clear. All spouses are 100% disposable by reason of divorce anytime and for no reason. During my notary travels, it is wonderful to meet these loyal couples. Divorce is necessary at times. As I have stated earlier, when a spouse sends a torpedo into marriage, press the ejection button and get on a new airplane, Do not get angry. I am also seeing couples have come to an agreement to go their separate ways. I am pleased to notarize their agreement so they both can have a new beginning.

Does the Notary need to check the government photo id of the Witnesses?

I record and check the government photo id of witnesses. Furthermore,I sign them into my book. This is required if the notary certificate includes the names of the witnesses along with the signer(s). However, I do this regardless of what the notary certificate says. The client is not and should not be charged for this extra work. If there is controversy later, I have a record the witnesses in my notary journal.This may be redundant since many drafter of wills and power of attorney documents require the witnesses to put their name & address. Maybe it would also be good idea of signers and witnesses to also write down their email. People move. A very good British friend moved but I tracked him down since I had his email. People sometimes keep the same email for years.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Opening a litigation File on a Non Paying Client

On June 6, 2009 I did 27 notarizations in Springfield VA. The agreement was $5 per notary act plus travel ($25). The representative of the affluent wealthy civic association has refused to pay the $160 and there appears to be no administrative remedies. Consequently, the options are to bill each signer independently or litigate against the the unincorporated entity that does not appear to have an registered agent.
The first step after opening the litigation file is to document all communications and identify all parties and witnesses. After giving notice of the breach contract, one needs to thoroughly check the background from public records civil and criminal.Once the decision has been made to litigate, request for admissions, bill of complaint (warrant in debt) interrogatories, request for production of documents and possible depositions. Deposition sites need to be located. Modern technology is such that deposition can electronically recorded. Before one launches a litigation, one must be totally prepared with written briefs supporting your case. If I want to alert the media so the issue will receive appropriate coverage.Certainly, the smaller media outlets may have interest in a notary who did not get paid by wealthy Springfield Homeowners Association that will benefit thousands of dollars by a successful rezoning case.The bad news for the defendants is that I am GW trained legal assistant with extensive legal ability.

Celebrity Clients

The notary needs to check the government photo id of all celebrity clients even if the notary thinks they are public officials like Mr. and Mrs. Obama. A very famous soap star moved from Florida to Virginia and left her government photo id in Florida. She had plenty of newspapers articles with her picture and she was clearly known to millions over the years. The presiding notary declined to notarize her signature until the photo id arrived from Florida. While the presiding notary was perfectly correct in declining to notarize, other options might have used. Two people with photo gov id who know the person and have no interest in the document could have been used. Alternatively, one person with id who is known to the notary and who knows the individual and has no interest in the document could have been used. However, both options should be used infrequently. If President Obama and Michele Obama need notarization in VA, I will definitely check their government photo id. The presiding notary has the absolute right to say no and there is no appeal from the presiding notary.

Clients are all members of the board

When the clients are signing as members of the board of an entity, this must be specified both in the signature line and in the notary certificate. The notary is not responsible to check the corporate documents to prove they are all members of the board. However, the notary must check the government photo id of member and have them sign your notary book. The notary could do a jurat and ask each member to affirm his/her membership on the board. The notary could also simply ask the individual to affirm that he/she is a member of the board.

Cash only!!!

Another mobile notary told me of several times checks bounced and the people could not be found or/and moved out in the middle of the night. Clearly, this is another form of non payment of notary fees with no easy remedy. This has not happened to me yet and I do not take credit cards. Cash only is now my policy unless I am dealing with an establish corporate entity or someone I known for a long time. Cash only is an excellent policy for all notaries!!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Client is 90 years old and has an old VA non-drivers ID

The client has an alert 90 year old mother with an old Va non driver's id. The son request notarizations. After interviewing and examining the Va non drivers photo id, examine all other cards the person has. Swearing in two credible individual with id and no interest in the document and having the witnesses say under penalty of perjury that Mother(Jane DOE) is Mother (Jane DOE) is a viable extra step.Record all witnesses and signer in your book. No charge for swearing in the witnesses.

Conflict of Interest!!!

If the notary lives in a community applying for rezoning the notary will benefit directly or indirectly the notary can not notarize the documents that will be filed with the County zoning department. While the notary may be liable for sanctions for the notarizations it is not clear whether the notary's conflict would invalidate the notarizations. A notary who used to live in the community but does not now and does not own property in the community does not have a conflict of interest. Reputable banks call in outside notary when safe deposit boxes are opened and inspected after non-payment occurs. They do this to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest. The Va Notebook says the following:
Under the Virginia Notary Act, a notary may not perform any notarial act with respect to any document if:
The notary is a party to the document
The notary’s spouse is a party to the document
The notary or his or her spouse has a “direct beneficial interest” in the document
Notaries should not notarize any document when there is any possibility that the contents of the document will benefit them or their spouse. Notaries may notarize wills in which the notary is fiduciary. Notaries must NEVER notarize wills in which they are named beneficiaries. If you are uncertain about the difference, please consult an attorney before notarizing

Incomplete Notary Certificate or Absent Notary Certificate

Frequently notaries are confronted with document with no notary certificate or incomplete notary certificate. Like most Va notaries, I carry a stamp with all the element of both jurat and acknowledgment notarization and a stamp for exact copies. However, in the future if confronted with multiple notarizations that have incomplete notary certificates, I will decline the notary job. Some people do not appreciate what a correct notarization certificate looks like. If two or more people are signing a document, the notary certificate should could contain all the names.The alternative is to have each person have each individual notary certificate and this does increase the cost of notarization. In the absence of hardship cases, I think clients can afford this best option. Walk away if the client thinks he /she can boss you around. One notary told me of client who became very belligerent when the notary correctly refused to notarize a birth certificate!!!!!!Get all major jobs in writing or collect from each individual signer

Client has Aunt Jill 's Power of Attorney

The client says I have Aunt Jill's power of attorney but it is in a safe box in Florida and the notary and client is in Springfield VA. No notarization!!!!!!The notary would personally see the power of attorney. If Aunt Jill is available, competent and has government id, Aunt Jill can sign and be notarized!!!!!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Breach of Contract Non Payment of Notary Fees

Facts:A representative of an extremely wealthy homeowners association in Fairfax County contracted with me to notarize their member homeowners on documents to be filed in Fairfax County.The rezoning may create a thousands of dollars of profit when the wealth homeowner sell their homes!!!!! The agreement was $5 notary act and $25 travel. I completed 27 notary acts. I also agreed to be there between3pm-7pm In many of these cases I had to check 2 people's government id since they were signing as joint owners.I told the representative my bill was $160. This fee is consistent with guideline of the VA notary handbook She presented me with a check substantial lower and I have decided to not process the check.
Discussion:This has not happened to me personally in the past. Notary signing agents regularly complain that they are not being paid by mortgage companies. Clearly, there is a situation that needs to remedied. Unfortunately, the remedies are limited. Exhaustion of Administrative remedies is limited to contacting the attorney or registered agent of the corporate wealthy homeowners association The agreement of representative of the wealthy homeowners association can easily be imputed to the wealthy homeowner association. Fairfax County will be disinterest in the dispute. The only other remedy will be the Fairfax General District Court since a wealthy corporate homeowners association may not be sued in Small Claims Court. Limited discovery is allowed in General District Court. Notary signing agents may want to explore this link
The Commonwealth of Virginia will not get involved with notaries collecting fees. In the future each person should pay the individual notary fees since I can no longer trust very wealthy home owner associations to pay my fees nor should any other notaries working in zip code 22151. You can collect you travel fee on arrival from the entity that requested your services.
Conclusion: While I do have written communication via emails, I think a more formal contract for multi-notarizations is a good idea. However, a better idea is to collect the notary fees from each signer. Legislation needs to be passed to make it a crime to assault, threaten or defraud a notary. Notaries are public official who need to be protected from the occasional errant adult juvenile delinquent!!!!! Clearly this very wealthy homeowners association needs to be given a major legal message.