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.