Friday, December 29, 2017

Bar Associations in the U.S. (Resource Guide)



If you hear of a notary practicing law without a license and feel you should report him or her, or if you have trouble getting paid by a law firm, these links might be of help.


Alabama Center for Professional Responsibility, Alabama State Bar
Alaska Attorney Grievances, Alaska Bar Association
Arizona Lawyer Discipline Process,State Bar of Arizona
Arkansas Office of the Committee on Professional Conduct, Arkansas Judiciary
California Attorney Discipline System, State Bar of California
Connecticut Statewide Grievance Committee
Colorado Colorado Office of Attorney Regulation
Delaware Delaware Office of Disciplinary Counsel
District of Columbia District of Columbia Office of Bar Counsel
Florida Dept. of Lawyer Regulation, The Florida Bar
Georgia Georgia's Attorney Discipline
Hawaii Office of Disciplinary Counsel, Supreme Court of Hawaii
Idaho Idaho's Attorney Discipline
Illinois Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission
Indiana Disciplinary Commission, Indiana Supreme Court
Iowa Attorney Disciplinary Board, Iowa Supreme Court
Kansas Office of the Disciplinary Administrator, Supreme Court of Kansas
Kentucky Office of Bar Counsel, Kentucky Bar Association
Louisiana Louisiana Office of the Disciplinary Counsel
Maine Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar
Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland
Massachusetts Massachusetts Office of the Bar Counsel
Michigan Michigan Attorney Discipline Board
Minnesota Minnesota Office of Professional Responsibility
Mississippi The Disciplinary Process, Mississippi State Bar
Missouri Missouri Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel
Montana Montana Attorney Complaints - Lawyer Discipline
Nebraska Nebraska Counsel for Discipline
Nevada Nevada Office of Bar Counsel
New Hampshire Attorney Discipline System, New Hampshire Supreme Court
New Jersey Office of Attorney Ethics, Supreme Court of New Jersey
New Mexico Commission on Client Protection, State Bar of New Mexico
New York New York Attorney Grievance Committees
North Carolina Grievance Committee, North Carolina State Bar
North Dakota Disciplinary Board, Supreme Court of North Dakota
Oklahoma Office of the General Counsel, Oklahoma Bar Association
Ohio Office of Disciplinary Counsel, Ohio Supreme Court
Oregon Disciplinary Counsel's Office, Oregon State Bar
Pennsylvania Disciplinary Board, Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
Rhode Island Disciplinary Board, Supreme Court of Rhode Island
South Carolina South Carolina Office of Disciplinary Counsel
South Dakota South Dakota Disciplinary Board Counsel
Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility, Supreme Court of Tennessee
Texas Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel, State Bar of Texas
Utah Consumer Assistance Program , Utah State Bar
Vermont Attorney Discipline Information, Supreme Court of Vermont
Virginia Disciplinary System, Virginia State Bar
Washington Office of Disciplinary Counsel, Washington State Bar
West Virginia West Virginia Office of Disciplinary Counsel
Wisconsin Wisconsin Office of Lawyer Regulation
Wyoming Ethical Violations Complaints, Wyoming State Bar

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Free Course - How I notarize wills in Texas.

How to Prepare a Will (for Citizens --  this is not directed at notaries public)

ARE YOU INTERESTED in information on how to prepare a will?  I found this article to be clear and easy to understand.  Frankly, I had a lawyer prepare my will, but if you aren't going to do that read "Self-Proving Wills" by Judon Fambrough.  After over a decade of seeing how people screw up their wills and squander half of their fortunes on lawyer and court fees after they are gone and various interested heirs (or non-heirs) fight over it, I know it is incredibly bad to prepare your own will.

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Dear Notaries - I'm Introducing a free course for Texas notaries on how I notarize wills in Texas

This seems to be the most lacking type of notary knowledge there is.  I get MANY calls from Texas notaries asking for help on notarizing wills.
Rather than put up with the gawdawful accusations of "You may be practicing law--oh my!"  I am only sharing how I handle wills.  And, it's free.  So, no UPL HERE!
(Any notary may participate!  But, you must understand this is a Texas notary's course.)

Be careful who you're learning from.

Courses are coming out of folks who have less than a year's experience of being notaries public. They are giving out advice like candy, setting up courses, mentoring, and have become part of the "How-to..." explosion.

Check out the trainers before paying for the course.

My resume:
  • 10 years writing and training professionally for other companies.
  • 25+ years as a notary
  • 10+ years working as a legal assitant in mortgage, lending, and title positions

My favorite teachers (besides me!)

Seriously, folks, the notary writers and trainers you are running into might have LESS experience than you!
Please do not be offended if you have not been added here.  These are the teachers I have never had the slightest disagreement about training with.  If you think I have left you off in error, contact me on Facebook!
Take care, warmly, 
Brenda Stone in Texas

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Live Notary Porn - Shown in Texas - Holiday Gift



Merry Christmas!  This wasn't my planned holiday message to you, but this is more important than anything I can tell you at this juncture our history.

Your income is in peril.


I hope that the title of this article made you wonder what the the crazy Texas Notary is up to now.  There's no notary porn here--- I lied.

But, you really need to see this.  There's something scary happening that few folks are noticing...or maybe no one wants to think about it.  Whatever it is, it could be quite detrimental.  


Please take note:

Jennifer Glover is trying to get your attention about a problem that she has identified on the SnapDocs platform.


According to Jennifer, in their Terms of Service, SnapDocs advises that they use data  found in participating notaries' histories to suggest low fees that notaries will accept.

It stands to reason this is one way to drive fees down, down, DOWN.

Jennifer has posted this in several different groups and few people seem to understand.  Or, they are ignoring it.


Please do not ignore this. 

Yes, of course, I will publish the other side of this coin if SnapDocs wants to publish it here.  I'm not doing a hatchet job on them, I just want to know what's going on.  DON'T YOU?


To find out more and discuss with Jennifer, you can go to Notary / Notary Signing Agents Group -- moderated by me and Robert Owens (owner) -- and talk to her there.  Or, to Jennifer's own group, Professional Notaries Network.


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

What do you do if you Move? Have a Name Change? Are tired of Being a Texas Notary?

The SOS in Texas REALLY wants you to keep them informed of your current address.


Have you moved?  Notify the Secretary of State of any Address Changes Immediately

If your address changes, notify the Secretary of State.  Go to their website and complete the address change form immediately.  This has to be done within 10 days after your address changes.

When notaries move out of Texas...

Once you no longer live in Texas, your commission is terminated.  If you move back, you’ll need to start the process over again.

New Name? Notifying the Secretary of State for a Name Change is Optional

If your name changes due to marriage or for other reasons, you may continue to use your old name if you’d like.  If you want to change your name on your commission and notary seal stamp, you’ll need to complete this form and once your name change is approved, you must purchase a stamp in your new name. 

Winding Up

If you no longer wish to be a notary, move out of Texas, your commission is revoked, or even if you die during your commission term, you still have an obligation to the State of Texas to wind up all business related to being a Texas notary.

Voluntary Surrender

The Secretary of State has prepared a form that you may use to voluntarily surrender your notary commission. (See Figure 2- Voluntary Surrender of Notary Commission.) If you can’t obtain the form for some reason, write a letter to the Secretary of State that contains the following information.
VOLUNTARY SURRENDER OF COMMISSION
IDENTIFYING INFORMATION:
My Social Security number: _________________             Commission expiration date: _________________
My commissioned name: _________________                   Commission number: ______________________

I voluntarily surrender my notary commission. I understand that I am no longer authorized to perform the acts of a Texas notary public.  
Include one of the following statements:
My original notary public commission is enclosed. -OR- I no longer have my original notary public commission.
Execution Date: _________________
Signature of Surrendering Notary               Email: ______________________
Printed or typed name of Surrendering Notary                                Phone: ______________________
In addition, you must send your notary journals to the county clerk’s office in the county of your residence.  

Moving Out of Texas

Before you move, submit a voluntary surrender form as explained above. Send your notary journals to the county clerk’s office in the county where you live.
Include a note on the form that shows your new address.  This must be done within ten days of your residence change.


Texas Notary Directory


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Brenda's List | Notary Product & Service Providers 

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[1] RULE §87.50       Change of Address - (a) A notary must notify the secretary of state in writing of a change in address within 10 days of the change. To notify the secretary of state of a change of address, the notary should complete and submit form 2302 (Notary Public Change of Address Form). This form is available on the secretary of state web site at www.sos.state.tx.us/statdoc/statforms.shtml.
(b) The secretary of state sends all official notices, including notices of complaints, to the notary at the address on file with the secretary's office. Requests to obtain copies of or inspect the records in the notary record book are also directed to the notary at the address on file. Failure to change the address may, consequently, result in a revocation of the notary commission if the notary fails to timely respond to a complaint or to a request for public information.
(c) A notary public who removes his or her residence from Texas vacates the office of notary public and must surrender the notary commission to the secretary of state.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Why I think the NNA Conference is beneficial

I was not a fan of the conference or the biggest notary company in the U.S.A. for a number of years.
But, one day, you look up and you see that there is very little not to like about the NNA and there is a great deal to appreciate. 

The NNA puts on a nice conference every year and there are tons of notaries who enjoy it.  
If you are new, take the sessions on learning HOW to do the work of being a notary and a signing agent. You will advance your confidence level considerably!  

Here are my reasons for going back this year....

























Tuesday, December 12, 2017

About Texas Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs) for Texas Notary Signing Agents


PUBLISHED INITIALLY ON 2/15/16.
REPUBLISHED WITH UPDATES ON  12/12/17

/
 /There are two rules that Texas notary signing agents must know about Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs) secured by a homesteaded Texas property. /
  1. The documents must be signed in the office of the lender, an attorney at law, or a title company.  
  2. After the documents are signed, the borrowers may expect to receive a copy of all signed documents and the loan application. Some lenders push that instant delivery, and some say it is not necessary.  Keep an eye out for those instructions within the documents OR  in another document.

12/12/17 - HELOC UPDATE - Lenders & Mortgage Bankers also sought changes this year in the 87th legislative session!  The results can be read in a sweet little summary by Independent Bankers of Texas -- link is right here!



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Become a Member of the Texas Notary Professionals Group

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These rules come from the Texas Constitution and have been simplified in the Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 153.  You'll find both of those below, if you are interested in seeing why signing agents are plagued by these requirements.

Home equity lending in Texas started in the mid-1990s.  
Bankers weren't even sure how to handle the loans and most refused to do them.  It took several years to get the processes, rules, and lender penalties worked out.  Finally, it was established that if a lender didn't do something right, it could pay a $1,000 penalty to the borrower and all would be forgiven.

Until this type of loan was approved in Texas, Texans could not take loans out on the equity in their homes.  This is probably one reason why Texas has always had a strong economy.  Until then, all Texans strived to pay off their mortgages and be debt free.

If you are interested in the history of  HELOCs in Texas, you can poke around on the Wayback Machine to view the old website of the Texas Finance Commission.  I read many hours on the old website in the years 2004 - 2006.
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Texas Notary Resource Page

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As I recall, the reason for the borrower having to sign the documents in a title company, law office, or at the lender's office is because members of the Finance Commission (so they said) were concerned about predatory lending and that homesteaded property not be easily foreclosed upon.  Requiring borrowers to forego the ease of a signing agent visiting their homes was supposed to create a situation in which predatory lending wasn't welcome. However, I remember signing many equity loans in the offices of one of the most aggressive and predatory lenders Texas has ever seen, Beneficial Finance that has since been bought out by HSBC and closed all the offices that issued those types of loans.


Laws on Home Equity Lending that are Applicable to Notary Signing Agents



ARTICLE 16. GENERAL PROVISIONS
Sec. 50.  HOMESTEAD; PROTECTION FROM FORCED SALE;MORTGAGES, TRUST DEEDS, AND LIENS.

(a) The homestead of a family, or of a single adult person, shall be, and is hereby protected from forced sale, for the payment of all debts except for:

(6)  an extension of credit that:

(N)  is closed only at the office of the lender, an attorney at law, or a title company;
and
(Q)  is made on the condition that:

(v)  at the time the extension of credit is made, the owner of the homestead shall receive a copy of the final loan application and all executed documents signed by the owner at closing related to the extension of credit;

(g)  An extension of credit described by Subsection (a)(6) of this section may be secured by a valid lien against homestead property if the extension of credit is not closed before the 12th day after the lender provides the owner with the following written notice on a separate instrument:
"NOTICE CONCERNING EXTENSIONS OF CREDIT DEFINED BY SECTION 50(a)(6), ARTICLE XVI, TEXAS CONSTITUTION:
"SECTION 50(a)(6), ARTICLE XVI, OF THE TEXAS CONSTITUTION ALLOWS CERTAIN LOANS TO BE SECURED AGAINST THE EQUITY IN YOUR HOME.  SUCH LOANS ARE COMMONLY KNOWN AS EQUITY LOANS.  IF YOU DO NOT REPAY THE LOAN OR IF YOU FAIL TO MEET THE TERMS OF THE LOAN, THE LENDER MAY FORECLOSE AND SELL YOUR HOME.  THE CONSTITUTION PROVIDES THAT:

"(N) THE LOAN MAY CLOSE ONLY AT THE OFFICE OF THE LENDER, TITLE COMPANY, OR AN ATTORNEY AT LAW;

"(Q) LOANS DESCRIBED BY SECTION 50(a)(6), ARTICLE XVI, OF THE TEXAS CONSTITUTION MUST:

"(5) PROVIDE THAT YOU RECEIVE A COPY OF YOUR FINAL LOAN APPLICATION AND ALL EXECUTED DOCUMENTS YOU SIGN AT CLOSING;

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