Monday, September 6, 2010

When NO meant NO

A notary colleague was confronted with a client who only could communicate by squeezing the notary's hand. When asked if he did not want to sign, the notary's hand was squeezed very hard. Clearly no meant no. My notary colleague left and collected his travel fee. My colleague made the correct decision. The case illustrates the need for all our clients to get all necessary wills,medical directives, powers of attorney document, and/ or living trust while they are well. Waiting to a time when the person is not well can create major problems.

I declined to go to a hospital ICU when advised that the patient was not competent to be notarized. Due to a recent divorce, I got my will and medical directive properly notarized. I did not want my now ex wife to be directing my medical care if I was ill. Notaries ,who are not lawyers can not draft legal document or give legal advise. There are software and internet sites one can go to get legal document. However,I strongly recommend that a licensed VA lawyer reviews the document before you sign.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Client is making a telephone appearance in FLA from VA

Florida allows for a party to a Florida Court action to make a telephone appearance from VA provided a Va Notary is present. The Court will request the Notary's name id number and address. This becomes part of the public record. The notary then administers the oath. The notary is free to leave and does not need to stay for the rest of the proceedings. Federal Bankruptcy Courts have a similar procedures for a person who is disabled and can not appear in Court. In both cases, the Notary is free to leave after the Court says the Notary can leave. I make sure I get paid before the Court proceeding begin so I can leave promptly.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Faulty Notary Information

Faulty Notary Information
I received an electronic newsletter from a notary organization stating that Va notaries do not a seal. This is not true and has been untrue for at least two years. VA requires all notaries to use reproducible seal or put carbon paper in a crimp.

Note: The notary organization has corrected the error on August 18,2010!!!!

Another organization stated you could renounce or negate or recall a notarization after you have finished a document and handed the document to the client.There is no statuary basis for this idea in VA. This means do not notarize if you have any question on the id or any aspect of the notarization. Always have an exit strategy if you find yourself in a hostile environment. Do not believe everything you read in print or on the internet. Refer to your VA notary handbook. If you are still puzzled, email me.

What does the Notary do if the client might be having a stroke

By Mayo Clinic staff

Watch for these signs and symptoms if you think you or someone else may be having a stroke. Note when signs and symptoms begin, because the length of time they have been present may guide treatment decisions.

* Trouble with walking. You may stumble or experience sudden dizziness, loss of balance or loss of coordination.
* Trouble with speaking and understanding. You may experience confusion. You may slur your words or be unable to find the right words to explain what is happening to you (aphasia). Try to repeat a simple sentence. If you can't, you may be having a stroke.
* Paralysis or numbness on one side of your body or face. You may develop sudden numbness, weakness or paralysis on one side of your body. Try to raise both your arms over your head at the same time. If one arm begins to fall, you may be having a stroke. Similarly, one side of your mouth may droop when you try to smile.
* Trouble with seeing in one or both eyes. You may suddenly have blurred or blackened vision, or you may see double.
* Headache. A sudden, severe "bolt out of the blue" headache, which may be accompanied by vomiting, dizziness or altered consciousness, may indicate you're having a stroke.

When to see a doctor
Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any signs or symptoms of a stroke, even if they seem to fluctuate or disappear. Call 911 or your local emergency number right away. Every minute counts. Don't wait to see if symptoms go away. The longer a stroke goes untreated, the greater the potential for brain damage and disability. To maximize the effectiveness of evaluation and treatment, it's best that you get to the emergency room within 60 minutes of your first symptoms.

If you're with someone you suspect is having a stroke, watch the person carefully while waiting for emergency assistance. You may need to:

* Begin mouth-to-mouth resuscitation if the person stops breathing
* Turn the person's head to the side if vomiting occurs, which can prevent choking
* Keep the person from eating or drinking"

The mayo clinic staff did an excellent job of discussing the symptoms of stroke. The big question is what happens when the client postpones going to the hospital or refuses to got to the hospital. Building consensus with the client immediate peer group and stress the irreversible nature of a stroke would be an effective plan. If the client still has cognitive understanding of what the notary is doing, the notary may go forward with notarization cautiously.

If the person's cognitive ability fails leading to a failure to communicate, the notary should cease the notarization and call 911!!!!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Notary 's Name is legally changed

Notaries can get married or divorced during their term of office. The VA Notary Handbook has a procedure for this:

"Occasionally it is necessary for the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth to certify that a notary is properly commissioned to serve in Virginia. A notary whose name is legally changed during his or her term must indicate in writing the name in which the commission was issued.
For example, if Mary Jane Smith, a notary public commissioned on July 1, 2001, changed her legal name to Mary Smith Jones, she must indicate on all notarial acts the original name in which her commission was issued. Therefore the following language should appear:

“My commission expires, this ___ day of ___, 20__.
I was commissioned a notary public as Mary Jane Smith.”

By using this additional language, Mrs. Jones will avoid confusion over her ability to serve as a notary. When she reapplies for a commission, she may do so in her new name. If you have a notary seal issued in your old name, continue to use that seal until your notary commission expires.*

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mother Giving Up Child Custody ; Relinguishment of Custody of a Child

When a mother gives up or relinquished custody to a private out of state adoption agency, there is no current requirement requiring the notary to be presented with a birth certificate. I am working at making this a requirement. If the birth certificate states the father's name this should alert the notary to a problem; especially if the mother denies knowing the name in a jurat statement. Furthermore, if the child is only a day old, the mother maybe still under the effect of medication given her during delivery of the child and not be competent to do a jurat or any other notary procedure. In my opinion, notaries should call child protective service, VA State Police, and local authorities if they detect any issues during custody relinquishment. A competent VA court can then sort out custody of the child in VA. I am strongly advocating all VA notaries insist on seeing a birth certificate during a relinquishment of a child by either parent.

According to the Washington Post. a child was removed from Virginia without permission of the father and adopted by a Utah family. A VA court awarded custody to the father. The case is being litigated in Utah under the Federal Parental Kidnapping Act. The case is going to the Utah Supreme Court. Based on news articles, proper resolution of the case consistent with the application of Federal Parental Kidnapping laws will only occur at the US Supreme Court or in Federal Court.

I think adoptions are great and I work with adopting families regularly. I am also impressed with a Census co working who kept her baby and the thoroughly integrated parenting plan she has with the father and the grandparents that allowed her to be a full time Census Enumerator!!!!!!She is going to NOVA in the Fall and will do an RN major a radiological technician degree or both.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What happens when the notary finds you lied

Lying to a VA notary is a serious matter. Notaries are authorized to do a jurat which includes asking the client to affirm the truthfulness of statements in the document. As stated earlier in the blog, notaries are not Dick Tracy, Perry Mason, or Trag. VA Notary office stated today they do not have jurisdiction over the perjury issue; law enforcement has jurisdiction. Va State Police or the police in the jurisdiction of the alleged perjury would have authority to investigate perjury. As stated earlier in the blog, the former Mayor of Detroit went to jail because he lied to a Michigan Notary. Clearly, if a notary discover perjury after the jurat, a report to the parties effected needs to be made. However,it is the sole responsibility of the parties to contact authorities such as the Va State Police or magistrate.If the offense were to trigger a federal crime, it is the sole responsibility of the parties to contact a federal magistrate.

Stating opinion not endorsed by the majority of citizens is not perjury. If President of the Flat Earth Society were to appear before a VA Notary and do a jurat stating the earth is flat, this would not be perjury. Clearly the client honestly thinks the world is flat.

If a person brings a document claiming ownership of the Brooklyn Bridge, this document should not be notarized.

Is the notary an imposter if VA refused to issue an Apostle

Va may decline to issue an Apostle for any given notary act if they find any defect in the notarization or if the notary is not a notary of record. Normally Apostles are only applied for notarization going overseas and Va charges only $10 Consequently, if a client wanted to have VA review a critical notarized document for notary correctness, requesting an Apostle is an option. However, notarization does not necessarily make a document legal and VA can not review the legality of the document.Their review is limited to the notary certificate and whether the notary has a valid notary commission at the time of the notarization.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Notary Error and Ommissions or Not

A respected west coast lawyer was busily signing several documents and the very able and competent notary was busily notarizing documents and was with him notarizing documents he presented to her. Unfortunately, one document was not presented to her for notarizing. When the lawyer left for an international trip, his very competent lawyer daughter discovered the document was not notarized . She transmitted the document to me with detailed instructions and emailed her father's cell phone. I met him at Dulles Airport and notarized the three documents and sent them via Fedex to the west coast. The west coast notary can not faulted since the documents were not presented to her for notarization.
Once a document is presented to a notary, the notary is responsible for quickly looking for blanks. An 80 year old lady presented a will to me which had many blanks. When I pointed the blanks out to her, she told me this was the wrong document; she filled in the blanks on the right document. She located the correct document and the will was notarized. Besides checking the government photo id, the notary needs to make sure all the elements of the notary certificate are compete and on the same page as the signer's signature. If the certificate is on a second page,I have the person sign the second page and add a notary certificate to the page they signed first. This is best practice and avoids the issue of losing the second page which has the notary certificate. On client said they appeared before a notary and allege the notary did not return the second page with the notary certificate. They went on to allege that the notary denied notarizing the will. I notarized the document. This was a strange case.!!!!!

You lost your notary seal or notary stamp?

There is no guidance in the notary VA handbook for this isssue. A notary friend misplaced his notary stamp which had been found after he left the site where he was notarizing. The social worker picked it up and placed the notary seal in the safe. My notary friend noticed the notary stamp was missing when he got back to his home office. He notified both the local police & VA Secretary of the Commonwealth. He was very happy to report the recovery of the lost notary stamp to both offices.

I personally keep my notary supplies under lock and inventory all items used after I finish notarization once more when I get back to my car. I try to be polite to the customers but limit myself to one task at a time in order to be distracted and misplacing my notary equipment.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Procedure for getting a VA Driver License or Photo Indentification Card

Besides the traditional va driver's license with photo, VA offers a photo identification card. One need to provide the following 1}Proof of identity Primary and Secondary Document 2Legal Presence Proof 3) Proof of Virginia residency 4) Proof of Social Security Number. I f your name has been changed you need to show proof that the name has been changed. For more information go to or call1-866-368-5463

Friday, March 12, 2010

Photo Government ID Insufficent for Notarization

When the signer is totally unable to communicate with the notary in any manner, the photo Government is insufficient for notarization even if the individual can make an x. The notary needs to see either a power of attorney or guardianship appointment so that another person can sign for the individual. The notary needs to communicate with the individual in some manner in order to notarize the signature.

Notary Presentment

Some states may authorize the notary to be an independent witness to a person putting document in an envelope. Va notaries are barred from notarizing their own signature. Consequently, I have concluded Va notaries cannot do notary presentments. Va notaries can do jurats for affidavits but the person signing the affidavit has to be someone other than the notary or the notary's spouse.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I am now a notary instructor

I was hired to to teach some potential notary students the abc of the Va Notary Handbook and related items. New notary candidates and current notaries seeking re-appointment can down load the application, fill it out, and go to any notary to get a jurat and send the application and the check in with the application. You select what Court you want to pick up your appointment. In the application it made very clear what is good notary practice. You are required to do a jurat at the time of the application and you are again sworn in when you pick up your commission. All notaries to read the application very carefully!!!

A Brave new world Email appointments

I had a recent experience with the brave new world. A client emailed me for a notary appointment. He told where he wanted me to go via email and we confirmed my travel fee via email. I went to the location and notarized the client signature. You still need to see the person even when you do electronic notarization!!!!!!However, the ssignment was a tradition notary assignment.

Electronic Notarization Has Arrived in VA

Electronic notarization has arrived in VA. You need to be a Va notary and need to apply for a separate appointment and need to buy from suppler equipment. I have decided not to apply for the following reasons: 1)no demand and 2) an expense with no known return. The client still needs to appear before the notary. The notary is required to have an electronic record and back up. None of the notaries see a demand for this at this time. Virginia .gov has the Frequently Asked questions and application questions