Sunday, April 22, 2018

Know your limitations--seriously.

This is no joke. You must know your limitations as a notary public.

I am astounded by the many questions that show up in Facebook groups like: 

"My friend has a problem -- how can I help? I know I can't give legal advice, but have you ever faced this so I can tell my friend how to solve their problem?"

No!  You don't need to do that.  

Notaries notarize.
"I just got a call from a person who needs a quitclaim deed prepared. How do I do that?"

You cannot do that. 

Notaries notarize.

End of story.

Notaries notarize.

You know absolutely nothing about law if you are not a lawyer.  Lock that jaw!

Unless you are working in a law office and being trained by an attorney, do nothing except take acknowledgments and administer oaths until you have been trained fully.  

Notaries do not fill out documents for clients--ESPECIALLY clients with immigration forms.

Notaries do not tell clients what goes in the blank.

Notaries do not prepare statements for clients.

Notaries do not help clients find forms on the Internet. 

Notaries do not stamp a document without a certificate.  

Notaries do not stamp a seal by a signature just for good measure!

Notaries do not help clients, friends, strangers, relatives, bosses, coworkers, or anyone else figure out what they need to do about any kind of situation. Every situation is a legal situation.

Your notary seal is only for one purpose. 

Apply it to a certificate--always on a certificate--to show that someone appeared before you and signed a document. Of course, some states' notaries are allowed to do certified copies of non-recordable documents. That's a very specific procedure and it will be outlined in your laws if you are able to do this type of act.

You say that you want to be helpful to a caller...

About the only way that you can help anyone out is to charge them less or waive your fee for notarizing.  

Some states are allowed to type a document for a client as long as the client prepares it, but I would not advise it until you understand your notary laws perfectly.

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