Wednesday, August 31, 2016

"What would Jesus's notary do?"

I described the problem of remote notarization to one of my oldest friends and he quipped in jest:

“If paper notarizations were good ‘nuf for Jesus, they are good ‘nuf for me.”  

I laughed.

"Seriously," I asked him, "are you asking me 'What would Jesus's notary do?' "

Hi friends!

Have you noticed that there is  already a version of this argument out.  

It isn't meant as a joke, but my friend's joke is practically the same.  

“This is how we have done it for 2000 years, and it has been working…”

It’s the same logic, except that it is NOT logic at doesn't work.  

If this was logic, that would mean we should have never started using electricity or indoor plumbing.  I don't think any of us want to raise that argument in a discussion.  So, this isn't really applicable to the remote notary debate that's coming in 2016-2017.   


Are there arguments with merit?

I have recently unearthed a couple.

One is in a law that passed in Texas in 2015..  I just found it the other night.  It gives the impression  that Texas's lawmakers aren't completely ready to put stock in e-signatures. But, that might just be the stepping stone they need to get tighter laws for e-signatures and e-notarizations in Texas.  It's a dual edge sword for sure.

One article that I wrote recently, "No one cares about guns pointed at Grandma," will show you that  decision makers across the U.S.want meat on the bones of arguments.  They aren't impressed.  It's going to take facts, figures, and someone who is smart and knows how to present concepts and communicate to change them back to the arguments that are based on "what if..."

But still... 

"What would Jesus's notary do?"  

Admit it.

It's funny. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Possibly the Most Important Thing that Notaries Will Read This Year

Join the NNN email list!

Dear Friends:

Recently, the Texas Notary Professionals group discussed notary fees.

We noted that notaries have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the successes of  notary companies and associations.

I didn't give it much thought then, but today I have felt upset because this occurred to me:

Not one company that I know of has ever contacted a lawmaker for us  simply to get a bill introduced that would raise our fees. 

It kind of made me sick.  We deserved better than that.  We've been an easy market that's paid off handsomely. 

I am sure they have very good reasons for this, but I don't care right now.  The buzzer says it all!

Maybe you already knew this...if so, feel free to have a laugh at my expense. I don't know why I didn't figure that out before.

What can you do about it?

The gal with all the answers has notta.  I am completely bewildered.

This video ALWAYS makes me laugh, though!  I bought this buzzer for a friend, and had to capture its sage wisdom before giving it away.

Have a great week, 


Join the NNN email list!

PS - This post was much longer, but I think I was just mad and having a rant.

Let it Go! (When experienced notaries give out WRONG INFORMATION on Facebook)

Note:  The beautiful video that I've linked plays "Let it Go!" and the performer is a friend.  

Be sure to read the section near the end on "Tips for Asking Notary Questions and Giving Answers on Social Media.")


I have been  learning to "Let it Go!"

If I don't learn this...if I don't learn to step away from the keyboard and smile, I might as well change this site's name to Mean Notary News!  I will become that unlikable person who is just always trying to make trouble and attacking other notaries.

I'm going to try to make peace with it through this article about my pet peeve, and then, I will let it go!!

Pet Peeve:  Experienced Notaries Giving out Wrong Answers 

When a new notary asks a question about his or her duties on a forum or via social media, an experienced notary usually quips an answer to help out the notary.

That's a great way to get quick help and answers, but..

Too many times the helpful experienced notary is wrong!

It's crazy making.

Tons of notaries read and believe what these helpful long-time notaries say.  It's powerful stuff.

In the past, I would have said something.  Not rudely, but I would do something to create doubt about a wrong answer that was hanging up there reeking like a stinky pair of socks.

Sometimes I shared a  law or other credible source that would clarify the right answer.  But, finally,  I've learned it's bad juju to push it. It makes people feel negatively about me and what I write.

I don't want to hear "She is a Mean Notary Blogger." 

That isn't the reputation I have worked for years to have, so backing away from the keyboard is better. Believe me, these situations can go downhill fast!  I have learned that if I produce the law that gives and accurate answer, the argument is "That isn't the way we interpret it."  If I share that I have talked to an attorney about it (and I have if I say I have), I am told that "Attorneys don't know anything about notary laws."  

The more I have tried to be polite and get the right answer out there, the meaner and dumber I look!  (I know that some of you have had this happen too--you know exactly what I mean.)

I'll just hit the button to publish this article and let it go!  

In the future, I can share this link if I want to make a point!

Tips for Asking Notary Questions and Giving Answers on Social Medial

For the Question Askers (New Notaries)

It's great to ask for help on social media, but you may get bad information.

Follow up on the response when you can. Research your laws and check with your state's notary public administrator.   You are responsible for deciding what you will rely upon to guide you.

Keep in mind that experienced notaries come in several flavors!

  • Many experienced notaries are the real deal and very knowledgeable. They may read their notary laws for fun and quote them like poetry, but everyone makes mistakes.
  • Too many experienced notaries have never have read notary laws or educational materials. They simply go on what "this notary up in Dallas told me." Beware.
  • There are people who have to be the smartest one in the room no matter what the topic.  They don't need to bother knowing what's accurate...they just know they are smarter than everyone else. They are full of bull. Beware.

For the Helpful Answer Givers (Experienced Notaries)

This issue is similar to how terrible parents never read anything about being a good parent!  

If you are reading this, it's unlikely that I have seen you give bad advice.  Those who do it would not know a credible source if it slapped 'em on the rump.  

They are fond of citing Wikipedia's generalized articles, laws other than those pertaining to the notary or her question, random bloggers who write about everything other than notary issues, and a ton of links that have no bearing whatsoever.

If you give answers, you'll be more professional and credible to SNAP  (that is, the Secret Notary Answer Police*) if you follow these guidelines.
  • Make sure you can cite a credible source for your answer. (Cite the credible source  if you have time--it's very helpful.)
  • By credible source, I mean the laws of the notary's state, notary public administrator's office of the notary's state, an attorney and not much else. 
  • Over the years, I have realized that notary companies and notary associations are often thinking more about the laws in California or Florida (for some reason) no matter where they are located. Their web content may be a little too general. Sometimes, you run across junk, but  there IS a lot of good information available there. Refer new notaries to the American Society of Notaries' (ASN's)(1) materials over other choices.  The ASN publishes accurate notary articles and educational materials. 
  • By the way, if you can't cite a credible source for an answer that you give, just say "This is how I do it and I can't cite a good source for why I do it."  To me, that makes you quite credible!!
QUESTIONS ANYONE?  Please send them.  I love questions!

Thanks for reading!


*SNAP doesn't exist!  Just kidding.  I made that up.


 (1)ASN's Kathleen Butler is the Executive Directory of the American Society of Notaries. She is also familiar with notary laws across the U.S. Kathleen writes articles for the ASN and compiles reference materials that are popular tools with the Notary Public Administrator Section of

Friday, August 26, 2016

Triple Gold Notary Marketing Tip

Kick off a Steady Marketing Campaign that Will Make Your Clients Love You and Ensure that They Read Your Emails!! [BELOW, I WILL SHOW YOU HOW!]

Being a content writer for a decade has taught me a thing or two about marketing and giving clients (or audiences) what THEY WANT and NEED.

Don't send clients tired old marketing materials that is all about YOU, YOU, YOU and what YOU are interested in (which is about you, your hours, your years in business, etc.)

Marketing needs to be about your CLIENTS--Marketing materials must provide something the CLIENT NEEDS.

Which would you rather read, a well-crafted article bursting with information that you need to know?  OR,  a list of things that you can buy from a vendor that you already know about?

Obviously, both you and your clients enjoy getting information that you can put to use!

That's why you are reading this sentence at this very minute--I work hard at producing information that YOU can use in your daily notary life.  More than ANYTHING, I want YOU to look forward to READING my blog! 

I create articles that contain information that notaries seem to be interested in reading.  Most of the time, my articles are about how to make more money, how to stay out of trouble, and how to perform duties because I think my readers want to know about these things.  On occasion, I slide in a story about myself or my business, but only if it applies to the interests of my readers.  

This is one of my avatars.  

Me and My Avatar

I have an avatar, a make-believe person, in my mind who I think of when I am writing articles like this one. 

Soon, I will put together an article on avatars and how useful they can be for notaries who are learning to market to clients and communicating with targeted clients.

It's a game changer!

Wow!  Marketing just took on a whole new look, didn't it?

  • Don't send a tiresome list of your business's address, hours, plain ol' attributes; stand out from the crowd! 
  • Provide amazing offers and great information to your targets!
  • Make your marketing materials as valuable as gold to their intended recipients! 

Figure out what your client needs to know about to run his or her business; send them a container of knowledge they need--something they really want to read and will refer to more than once, and they'll read your materials EACH and EVERY time you send an email. They will remember YOU. Why do you think the AAN and the NNA send you newsletters about your notary duties? So you will refer to those organizations for your notary needs!

Notary business owners should develop personalized themes for routine emailed or snail-mailed marketing campaigns that provides their clients (or targeted prospective clients) with information they look forward to receiving.

For instance, several years ago I became known for producing NFL game and other sports schedules. 

My clients looked forward to receiving my emails.


Rather than talking about it, I've created a marketing campaign for you. You are welcome to use it and kick it off TODAY...right NOW!

Read on!  

GOLD MARKETING TIP:  Contact your best clients with this useful and friendly note about passports.  

MANY people travel during the holidays.  Give them a tip that will save them from a tough, mad rush when they need to be shopping.  Try putting together a friendly marketing letter like the information below  Feel free to check the content, see if you believe it to be accurate, and copy and paste it into a document of your own and send it out.

Your subject should be something like:  

Traveling within a year or so? Experts say to get passports renewed ASAP!

August 26, 2016

Dear Valued Client [Or, include the client's actual name.]:


Dear Mortgage Industry Professional [Use for prospective clients, but it is better to use a person's name]:

Don’t delay on your U.S. Passport renewal!

If your passport expires in 2016, 2017 (or even 2018) the sooner you renew, the better.  In 2007, the State Department was overwhelmed with passport applications because of new rules that made passports necessary for travelers visiting Mexico and Canada.  It’s now 10 years later and all of those passports must be renewed. The Department of State admits it will soon be overwhelmed!

Take into consideration, as well, that some countries won't allow you to enter if your passport expires in under six months. If you are like me, you are putting it off because it was a nightmare to get your passport renewed or issued back in 2007.  

However, today, it's  easy to get this accomplished.  Most of the time you can renew by mail and use this easy little schedule to get your passport renewed painlessly!


1) Complete the form.  Questions?  Call 1-877-487-2778
 You can renew by mail using Form DS-82 if your most recent passport:

  • Is submitted with your application
  • Is undamaged (other than normal "wear and tear")
  • Was issued when you were age 16 or older
  • Was issued within the last 15 years
  • Was issued in your current name (or you can document your name change with an original or certified copy of your marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court order)


2) During lunch, go to Walgreens, Walmart, CVS, or to the photographer of your choice to have your passport photo made. You won't be able to pick it up for 15 minutes to an hour. 


3)  Pick up your passport photo and make sure you have an envelope in which to mail the form, old passport and your money order or check to the correct address. Be certain you have adequate postage.  It would be best to include tracking on your package.


4) Figure out how much you will owe.  For instance, here's an example of how my fees were calculated.  My passport was issued in 2007, I have the original, and I want a passport and passport card the next time around.  The card is an additional $30.  The calculator estimates that it will cost $140 for the passport and card and without adding expediting services.


5) Prepare a check or purchase a money order to pay the fees.   Must be made payable to "U.S. Department of State."  


6) Be sure you have filled out the renewal form correctly and have enclosed the right fee amount. See this link and select "#6" to get the delivery address for passport renewal package.  

  • In closing, offer a coupon that expires on September 30.  
  • In October, send a trinket by mail to your best clients that is ORANGE.  Run an ad for teachers to get a discount on notarizations.
  • In November, send a THANK YOU email or card to your clients.  Distributed 25% off coupons to for the seniors in your community.  Drop off your coupons at churches and community centers. 
  • In December, send a little Christmas gift...a pen, a pencil, a card, candy that is homemade, etc. Two to four pieces of homemade candy is plenty to send a message that you appreciate your clients.
  • When January, 2017 arrives, run an ad for newly engaged couples to have 25% off of one notarized item per month until the big day.

Until next time, ladies and gentlemen, happy marketing!

Notary News

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Rushing and Crushing to Produce Content Tonight

I am a blogging fool tonight.  

It's 10:45 p.m. here in muggy College Station, Texas.  I rolled in at 6:00 p.m. tonight after working at my quasi-new job on campus. I took the dogs out and we came back in before I forgot the things I needed to get written for my readers.  For the last six hours, this is where I have been!

Why the rush and crush to pump out articles?

#1 - Three little boys named Creece, Cooper, and Carson.  I haven't seen them for a few weeks and I am going to try to see them before the first Aggie game.
 #2 - The company starts coming when the Aggies have their first game.  I dearly love seeing my family, but I have a lot to do before the first game and company hits my front door.  
 #3 - Whole hawg syndrome.  That means that I never do anything a little bit at a time.  I go whole hawg (aka "hog") on a project once I get it started.
#4 - Cool stuff that I learned over the past week.  Need to get it scheduled on the blog!

My "to do list" is something like:

  1. Write about pogo-ing, narcissism, marketing plan, my opinion on Facebook marketing, and niching.
  2. Get the Holiday Recipe Campaign ready for Texas Notary Professionals Directory.
  3. Set up a budget for next week's advertising for my vision of The BEST Notary Directory in Texas.  
  4. Get the "secret" project underway, or at least plan it.

Next up is "Pogo-ing!"
   [Well, after I grab something to eat.  I just realized that all I have had to day is a Kind bar!]

Avoiding Trouble - Protect Yourself From Liability - a Notary News Toolkit Video

In a previous video, I talked about how easy it is to find yourself in trouble for not notarizing properly when your client sends a document that you have notarized to your commissioning authority for authentication of your signature.  

I also mentioned how many notaries don’t feel like it is important to know about the apostille process because they don’t perform the actions involved with authenticating a document.

If you are one of those, feel free to pass up this video, but for those of you who like to know more than the bare essentials, listen for a few minutes.

All articles that I have produced and mention in this article will be linked on my blog and below this video on my YouTube Channel.

I am posting a link to one of the best sources you’ll ever read on authenticating documents in this blog entry.  I am proud to say that it is the source that I used to define the list of 23 items that notaries do that may cause them to be sanctioned.  Within this handbook, you will find links to more educational material about authenticating documents, a task that is taken care of by a state agency or your jurisdiction's commissioning authority.

As I mentioned, there are 23 points of error that can cause notaries to not only get into trouble, but also cause his or her notarial client to have a document rejected by the notary’s commissioning authority who handles authentications. 

1-Disciplinary actions by the notary’s commissioning authority.  In the case of Texas, the commissioning authority would be the Secretary of State. In other states, the commissioning authority may be someone in the county government or possibly in the court system.
2-Trouble in the form of financial liability for not performing properly—for instance, causing a client to lose money because a notary failed to notarize properly a document that was time sensitive.  When the document is returned to the notary’s client because it was not properly notarized, it delays the notary client’s transaction.
3-Trouble in the form of liability due to other loss—for instance, a failed adoption or other matter that causes both financial loss and emotional or mental anguish.

There are others!!


The best way to protect yourself from liability is to
  •    Be educated about your laws
  •   Be insured with an errors and omissions policy
  •   Be careful not to break your rules
  •   Be familiar with where you can get answers

Texas notaries can refer to this website for links to free education, laws, and phone numbers for Texas Notaries.

Notaries from all states can find direction on getting official, accurate answers in their states from the NPA-Section of  This link provides links to all states’ commissioning authorities.

Here is a list of links here that everyone should have bookmarked!

Don’t risk your reputation as a notary public or lose your commission by not knowing how to perform your duties. 

PLEASE, don’t listen to social media gabbers who can’t give you a citation to the law in question or can't provide a law or credible source to answer your question. 

My heart wrenches each time I see a “long time” notary announce what he or she thinks is an answer to a newer notary’s question.  There are even signing service owners who have no clue about what the law REALLY says and I see them making broad-sweeping remarks on social media just about every other day. 

Be informed.  It is your responsibility to know what you are doing.  If you have to decline to notarize a document because you don’t know what you’re supposed to do, figure it out before the end of the next day so that the next time, you are informed.

Notary Websites that ALL Notaries should have Bookmarked.

Best / Freshest Notary Forum -- Hundreds Post There Daily! Offers Great Listing Service!
Keep this list in your NOTARY TOOLKIT!

Articles You Won’t Read Anywhere Else! Great for Colorado Notaries

Fast and Fresh Social Media Chatter – 2000+ notaries

Most Consistently Accurate Articles and a TRUE non-profit Association

TRUE Non-Profit Association in Ohio - My Good Friend Roger Rill founded this non-profit association.  If you are in Ohio, you should join because it is the best in the state; Roger is a great mentor.

The best in Alabama!!  My dear friend Michelle Riley is making this the PLACE to be for Alabama Notaries!  GET INVOLVED!  You won’t believe what she is about to unfold!

One of the Notary Flagship Organizations (& Most Beat Up for No Good Reason Except that the NNA is a Business. Offers Industry Standard Signing Agent Courses. [One day I’ll write an article about this…yes, I’ve been guilty, too!])  The NNA offers the certification for notary signing agents that is considered the “standard” that title companies and others use

Owned by One of the Nicest Guys I Have Ever Met!!  Listing Service & Forum; Not Sure About Quality of Content in Forum

Terrific Blog/Blogger and Decent Forum

Listing Service & Forum; Not Sure About Quality of Content in Forum

Many Signing Agents Swear by Carol’s Courses

Keep up with my pages and you’ll have a little bit of what’s going on around the U.S. with notaries!  

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Just when you think "I got this!" New Borrower Application Form (1003 / URLA)  always makes my day!  

Friends, like it or not, Notary Rotary has THE BEST forum and you'll learn more for FREE there than anywhere else in the world.  You just have to be willing to read and use the orange search button. It's where I received a great notary signing agent education.

Read about the New URLA Form 1003 Arriving in 2018.

See NotaryRotary's Msg #558949.  Here's a sneak peek of the new  Uniform Residential Application Form 1003 (Form 1003 / URLA):

Samples of the new Uniform Residential Loan Application have appeared and one of my favorite posters has shared with his NR colleagues.  Says Bear, "Just released. Looks much easier but also a separate app for each borrower and different for purchase vs refinance. "

 Visit NR - click here to learn more!!  

By the way, here's what the FannieMae website link looks like.  I am including this screenshot because you'll see there are tons of new links to various presentations of the forms. 

Hope you are all having a great day!  

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Avoid 23 Errors that Can Cause Notaries to be Sanctioned

I've read many times that notaries don’t care about apostilles because they don’t issue them. That's true, but there is a good reason why notaries should care about apostilles.

Did you know that when a notarized document is submitted for authentication, the notary’s certificate is scrutinized for errors? It’s not because the authentications office is trying to have a “GOTCHA” moment. They need to be sure that the certificate is accurate.

For instance, about one-quarter of the documents provided to Colorado’s Secretary of State for authentication of notarial certificates are defective. In other words, the office receives 2,000 documents and around 500 have defective notarizations!

Please don’t think I am pointing fingers at Colorado! I refer to Colorado because their statistics were obtainable. It’s likely that other states have similar instances of errors.


The Notary Public Administrators’ Handbook on Apostilles and Authentications publishes a list of notarial and notarial certificate errors that will cause rejection of a request for an apostille and result in sanctions (penalties) for the notary who made the error.

Causes for Rejection and Sanctions for Documents Submitted for an Apostille

1. Notary certifies as a true copy a vital record. Notably, the notary may execute a certificate on a statement attached to a document of this type. (Vital records are like birth certificates, death certificates, etc.) Although not mentioned, this would likely also apply to a document that has been recorded and bears a clerk’s file mark, and may apply to a document that is recordable like a deed or deed of trust.

2. No notary certificate, just a notary seal and signature on the document (likewise, no certificate, just a notary’s seal or just a notary’s signature on the document)

3.No notary seal, just a certificate and notary’s signature

4.No signature, just a certificate with a seal.

5.Incomplete acknowledgment or other notarial act

6.Notary completes an act that is not allowed by notarial law

7.The date on the notarial certificate is prior to the date the signer signed the document.

8.The seal has an expiration date from a commission that has not yet begun

9.The notary signature on the document does not appear to match the signature on file.

10. The document contains a notarial certificate that contains the particulars of the notarial act but lacks the notary's signature.

11. The document contains a completed notarial certificate, but the document has not been signed by the signing party.

12. The document contains a certificate but has neither a signing party signature nor notary signature.

13. The document contains only a notary seal (no notarial certificate and no notarial signature).

14. The seal on the document does not match the seal for the commission in effect at the time of the notarization.

15. The seal is not legible.

16. No seal on document.

17. The seal does not appear in its entirety on the notary certificate.

18. The seal is not affixed in full on the notarial certificate, but fanned over multiple pages.

19. The notarial certificate states that the attached is a true and correct copy. The notarization is properly executed, but no document is attached and there is no evidence that the notary attached a document to the certificate.

20. The notarial certificate is in a language the competent authority cannot read / comprehend. (But, the notary may execute a certificate on a document where the notarization is in English, but the document is in another language.)

21. The notary name listed on the seal or certificate does not exactly match the name on the record of the competent authority at the time of notarization.

22. The notarial certificate includes language for an act that exceeds the authority of a notary public under state law. For example, "I certify that this is an accurate translation"; "The principal is a qualified CPA"; etc.

23. One problem that isn’t mentioned in the Notary Public Administrators’ Handbook on Apostilles and Authentications  is a notarial certificate that has all the requirements but the required elements aren’t able to be reproduced legibly when copied or scanned. I know of at least one case in which the notary was sanctioned for this.

Click to Join NNN email list

Monday, August 22, 2016

Excellent Texas Notary Secret!

Stars, banners, and music please!!  

Introducing THE BEST Texas Notary Handbook...

Notably, it is certainly missing the latest info about a Texas notary's commission number being on the seal, and the new administrative rules, BUT, otherwise, it's a wonderful tool - get it while it's hot, FREE, and still available!

This is the best notary handbook money can't buy!

It's free, short, to the point, succinct, and not-someone-talking-to-you-like-you-are-five-years-old.

THIS is the notary handbook that I would write for Texans.  Great job Atkinson Brothers!
[By the way,, if you need this updated, I can probably do it in about one day and I won't charge you for it.  I work full-time for a Texas A&M agency and will need a few days to get to it, but it's something well worth doing ----- it is awesome. Thank you.]


Texas Notaries:

Don't miss an opportunity to join THE BEST

Texas notary marketing team. 

DO IT NOW while it's free and get better visibility!

What the Legal Eagles are Reading these Days: Pokemon Go, Kicking the Arses of Plagiarists, and More!! (Humor)

Four picks from a favorite website of mine:

Cootie Carrying Content Thieves

New law proposed to deal with the nonsense of cootie-carrying, lint-licking, stealing, thieving ninnies who use articles, songs, and images without permission.

No Privacy Protection for Sex Biznesses 

Guess what, y'all!  You need to be careful where you buy your finger cots and stuff these days. Businesses that sell sex devices and explicit materials don't have any more privacy than any other businesses do.

Ah, Pokemon...I miss the 80s and the 90s

Pokemon Go article about IP and a lot of important big words that make my head hurt, but gosh darn it, I liked reading about Game Boy...the 80s...were those the days or WHAT?!  I rocked that big hair.

Buy Burial Policies and Cyber Insurance 

Cyber Insurance. Proper precautions are the best at protecting data.  Fortunately, all the companies that are making SECURE VIDEOs about notarial acts have no worries (tee hee--that's what they say!).

But, just for zhitz and giggles, let me just throw this out there: For $200, "What is 'When the Russians get here and take over all of our cyber stuff, it won't matter if we have this?" 

The answer: Cyber insurance because our economy will be gone.  We'll all be wearing gray suits and living in dormitories.

Don't miss an opportunity to join THE BEST

Texas notary marketing team. 

DO IT NOW while it's free and get better visibility!

Texas Notary Marketing Campaign...Free...Don't miss it!!

From the Texas Notary Professionals' Blog

EXCITING NEWS!! Texas Notary Professional Cookbook Entries

EXCITING NEWS!! Texas Notary Professional Cookbook Entries
Greetings members and those who are sitting on the fence!
When I market, I do it right folks!
My first project for guerilla marketing this list of Texas notaries will be producing a fall recipe book that all who are interested will be listed in.  The book will give you GREAT exposure by county, city,  and with your recipes.  Put a few great ones in there so anyone who downloads this recipe book or receives a hard copy will see you often!

Meanwhile, Back in College Station, Texas: One Townie's Solution to the Traffic of 65K Students

As a mobile notary in College Station, Texas, you have to get smart about the fall influx of traffic.

I have been doing this for years and it will reduce 80% of your traffic frustrations, especially on campus.
Image may contain: car and outdoor

-Purchase a coaching whistle

-Drive with your windows open.

-Wear white gloves and a checkered hat of any style or color.

This is where the white gloves work wonders! 

When you leave your home or office, drive slowly through town or campus blowing the whistle and shooing people out of your way.

If there is ANY hesitation, point to the checkered hat and throw up your gloved hands like they don't get it. If they are within hearing distance, grab your collar and say


[p.s. -- Please  remember that this is humor!  It's not meant to be legal advice rofl!]

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Potential Notary Hazards in Affidavits

I wrote this article for a former client who rejected it saying it was "too complicated" for notaries to understand and they would not read it because there is too much "lawyer stuff" in it.

What??  That's nuts!  I don't agree with that at all!  This article is fundamental and all notaries I know will be interested.  They sure don't need it to be simplified.   Let me know what you think, please!

Sign up for regular updates.  Get special offers and free tools. You can unsubscribe ANY TIME.  Just click here

Affidavits are Low Hanging Fruit!!

Potential Notary Hazards in Affidavits

The practice of attacking the construction of affidavits has been a popular strategy for over 100 years and is frequently used to unravel binding agreements and to dissolve financial or personal obligations.

Affidavits are powerful documents that impact the lives of their signers and financial decisions of business owners.  Notarial certificates associated with affidavits are low-hanging fruit when a lawyer seeks ways to nullify a notarized document for a client that has buyer’s remorse or has been charged with a crime.

Today’s article will alert you of potential hazards that the improper notarization of an affidavit can cause. 

Descriptions of Affidavits and their Importance 

  • Affidavits are written sworn statements that include certification in the form of a notarial certificate that includes a notary’s official signature and/or seal of office.

  • Business transactions, legal matters, and trial procedures routinely require written testimony of an involved party. When sworn written testimony is a requirement in a transaction, the law generally says states that an affidavit is required and many states’ laws describe a form of affidavit that must be used.  

  • It’s critical to recognize that affidavits differ from general sworn statements or notarized statements.  State laws and the purpose intended for an affidavit determine which formal elements must be included on an affidavit.   Be on alert when you see the formal elements described below!  It’s likely the document has been crafted carefully to withstand the test of a trial court, if necessary.

Elements of Affidavits

The person making an affidavit is known as the “affiant.” Affidavits that are part of a court case may state court information at the top of the form. Formal affidavits often have titles. Some simply say “Affidavit” while others name the person who is making the affidavit (i.e., Affidavit of John Doe) or may describe the affidavit’s function as shown in this Affidavit for Change of Trustee

Underneath the title, an affidavit may display a venue statement that provides the state and county where Affiant John Doe is giving his sworn statement to a notary public.  When you see a venue statement in this position on a document, that’s a clue that your notarial duties are about to begin!  Alert:  Ensure the venue is stated correctly.

You may see a notary’s formal statement next with words like: “Before me, the undersigned authority, on this day personally appeared John Doe, affiant herein, who, after being duly sworn, stated and deposed the following:” or there may be less formal language stated as in this affidavit. Alert: Make sure if a date is noted in this area, it is accurate. Alert: If you make corrections in your statement, initial them.

After the notary’s statement, an affiant begins to give testimony, describing him- or herself and the qualifications allowing him to make the affidavit.  “My name is John Doe.  My address is …I am of sound mind and over 18 years old…these statements are true.” 

In some states, the words “penalty of perjury” or another form of strong language regarding the affiant’s statements being truthful may be used.  Normally, these statements are followed by the affiant’s testimony that will usually be contained between quotation marks followed by the affiant’s name and signature line, and possibly a date of the affiant’s signature. Alert: If the affiant has to change anything regarding his or her testimony in the affidavit, the affiant should initial it. 

Make YOUR Notarial Certificates Attack Proof!

You will be completing a jurat, often called an “oath certificate” or a “verification upon fact.” Make sure that your certificates are error free and not vulnerable to legal attack by following this procedure when you notarize affidavits.

1.     As always, you must first identify the affiant.
2.     Ensure that all blanks are filled in on the affidavit, and if not, determine who should complete the information. If the blank is in the notary’s statement at the beginning of the affidavit, the notary should complete the information.  If the blank is in the affiant’s part of the text, the affiant should complete the blank. 
3.     Compare the jurat language to that required by the notary’s state and either conform the language in the certificate or attach a loose jurat with the correct language.
4.     Make sure that the jurat is dated and all dates relating to the notarial act and the date of the signer’s appearance before the notary are correct. (Notaries may not execute false certificates.)
5.     Be certain that the name of the affiant is spelled correctly on the jurat and is printed legibly.
6.     Require that that the signer swear or affirm that the statements in the affidavit are true.  
7.     After administering an oath or affirmation, the notary must observe the signer sign the affidavit.  If the affidavit is already signed, the affiant should ask the receiving party if the document should be resigned, or if a fresh copy of the affidavit should be used. 
8.     Complete the jurat legibly with accurate information.
9.     Sign the jurat and print the notary’s official name and commission expiration date under his or her signature.
10.  Place the notarial seal on the certificate in the presence of the affiant so that no text is covered and the seal is not in the one-inch margin of white space on the document.

In the Case of a Conflicting Certificate…

On rare occasions, you may see a certificate of acknowledgment (rather than a jurat) attached to an affidavit.

This presents a conflict between the certificate and the affidavit’s language that says the affiant swore to or affirmed his or her statements. At least one state, Florida, has a law that indicates clearly that a notary must complete an jurat when an oath is required.  However, other states’ notary laws aren’t as clear.

I polled several notaries and have compiled their solutions below. (Note: Don’t hesitate to consult an attorney or your notary public administrator for guidance on this problem if you encounter it.)

1-    Some notaries complete the acknowledgment certificate without additional comment, but notably, this is one of the primary reasons affidavits are attacked easily in lawsuits.  According to one source entitled “Attacking Affidavits", “The mere signing of a statement in the presence of a notary, or a notary’s placement of an ‘acknowledgment’ on a statement, does not constitute a sworn statement or affidavit.” 

2-    Some notaries explain to the affiant that the attached acknowledgment certificate conflicts with the act the notary is required to perform because the affidavit must be sworn. They show the affiant an example of a jurat and let the affiant decide if the certificate should be replaced.

3-    A few said they explain the problem and offer to attach a loose jurat and complete both the acknowledgment certificate and the jurat certificate at no additional charge. By doing this, they have executed the duties required by the affidavit but didn’t disturb the document’s original certificate if intentionally placed there by an attorney. 

4-    Some notaries say they replace the acknowledgment with a jurat without explanation.

Keep in mind that it’s always an option to decline the notarial act and explain to the affiant that the notarial certificate conflicts with the act you are required to perform and suggest that the affiant consult with the attorney who prepared the affidavit, the receiving party, or another attorney of the affiant’s choice.

Attacking Affidavits (an article, 2014)

Was this a helpful topic?   Write me at or find us on Facebook and start a discussion!

Sign up for regular updates.

Get special offers and free tools.

You can unsubscribe ANY TIME.  Just click here

Don't miss a post! Follow along by email!