I receive several request for my services regarding inmate #notary visits & or jail related #notarizations not necessarily to enter the prison to #notarize the signature of the inmate but to guide the inmate's families on how to handle certain #notary requests from the detainee. I received a call from a woman who's brother is detained, through California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation system, she said her brother asked her to "go to a #notary so that his kids can go see him". Her request was a bit unclear so I needed some information in order to assist her. Asking a few questions regarding the inmate such as: √Inmate Name DOB √Booking / Register number √Facility name and location , helps to determine, what the visiting rules of the specific detention facility are & necessary documents required for visitation. In this particular case this is what she was referring to:
With this information I was able to download the form titled "Written Consent for Minor Visitation", which needed to be signed and authorized by the legal parent (in this case the minor's mother) . The detainee did not provide this document & she had no idea where to look to find this document causing my customer a bit of confusion on how to proceed and because this document needs to be signed and notarized the detainee requested she "go to a notary"
As a Full Time Independent Notary Public, customers have the expectation that I should and must know what needs to be done when the word "notary" comes up. I inform my customers that I am not an attorney and cannot give legal advice or accept fees for legal services. However, I do explain while I am downloading documents for them, I am simply providing a secretarial service and not acting as a Notary but as an Independent contractor. That way there will be no miscommunication regarding my role as a Notary Public & the Ancillary Services provided. I do feel it is my responsibility & top priority to go over & above the call of duty to assist my customers in meeting their needs, without the Unauthorized Practice of Law particularly drafting of documents and giving advice.
Information regarding detainee's in the California Department of Corrections is available to the public at their website: https://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Visitors/index.html-
Effective January 1, 2018, in order to fund the State’s Affordable Housing & Jobs Act, (SB-2), Government Code section 27388.1 requires that documents accepted for recording at the County Recorder’s Office be charged an additional seventy-five dollars ($75) fee as follows:
“…a fee of seventy-five dollars ($75) shall be paid at the time of recording of every real estate instrument, paper, or notice required or permitted by law to be recorded, except those expressly exempted from payment of recording fees, per each single transaction per parcel of real property. The fee imposed by this section shall not exceed two hundred twenty-five dollars ($225)…”
Only an expressly limited number of statutory exemptions exist regarding the collection of this fee. When an exemption is applicable, a valid declaration of exemption must be placed on the face of each document prior to depositing with the Recorder, otherwise the fee will be assessed and collected.
Following are samples of applicable statutory exemptions to be used on the first page of each document:
1. Exempt from fee per GC 27388.1 (a) (2); recorded “in connection with a transfer subject to the imposition of documentary transfer tax”.
2. Exempt from fee per GC 27388.1 (a) (2); recorded “in connection with a transfer of real property that is a residential dwelling to an owner-occupier”.
3. Exempt from fee per GC 27388.1 (a) (1); fee cap of $225 reached.
4. Exempt from the fee per GC 27388.1 (a) (1) not related to real property.
5. Exempt from the fee per GC 27388.1 (a) (1) payment of recording fees expressly exempted by law.
Failure to include a specified statutory exemption will result in the imposition of the $75 Building Homes and Jobs Act fee. Fees are collected on behalf of the State and are deposited with the State for funding of the State program. The County Recorder only collects the fee on behalf of the State.
Cover Face Sheet
Document Title(s): __________________________________
Documents believed to be exempt from paying the $75 Building Homes & Jobs Act fee
GC 27388.1(a)(1): The fee cap of $225 reached previously in the following document(s) which were recorded
must cite a valid exemption on the face of the document. The following exemptions may apply:
Failure to include a valid exemption will result in the imposition of the $75 Building Homes &
Jobs Act fee. Fees collected are deposited to the state and may not be available for refund.
GC 27388.1(a)(2): Recorded in connection with a transfer subject to the imposition of documentary transfer tax;
GC 27388.1: Recorded in connection with a previous transfer of real property that was subject to documentary
transfer tax, recorded on _________________, in document __________________________________;
GC 27388.1(a)(2): Recorded in connection with a transfer of real property that is a residential dwelling to an
GC 27388.1(a)(1): Not related to real property.
owner-occupier; a Preliminary Change of Ownership Report (PCOR) is required with submission;
GC 27388.1(a)(2): Recorded in connection with a previous transfer of real property that is a residential dwelling
to an owner-occupier; recorded on _________________, in document __________________________________;
GC 27388.1(a)(1): The fee cap of $225 reached;
Below is a link of the County Recorder Bulletins
One of the documents included in a loan package is the Signature & Name Affidavit this form lists variations of the borrowers name such as “AKA’s” that the lender may have located when checking the borrowers credit or when the title search was completed.
The name variations may differ from their name as it appears on the lender’s loan documents as those appearing on the credit report, are or maybe included in the affidavit.
What is a Signature & Name Affidavit?
Signature Affidavit document is generally combined with the Name Affidavit & is a document in which a person certifies that the signature provided is the true and correct signature used by the person; Name Affidavit allows a person to give a declaration that they are the same person as another name. This might be necessary in the event the person may have been known by or used different names in the past. Sometimes they are given under oath while other times they are given before a notary public.The person can enter into a contract using the signature provided. It is similar to providing a signature card when open a bank account.
The purpose of the Signature Affidavit is to provide a sample signature that can be used to establish if the borrower signed a document or not. This document is mainly for the protection of the lender who will verify that the name of the borrower against the signature provided is correct. The legal documents (Note, Deed, etc.) are signed using the same signature as in the Signature Affidavit.
During a Loan Signing some borrowers have as much as 3 pages of AKA's and others may have just one page with one name. I compare this form with the Driver LIcense or ID presented to me at the beginning of the signing, and often time their legal name ( as listed on the ID) is not included in the AKA form so I write it as it appaers and make sure they sign accordingly.
Those borrowers with multiple pages often ask ,
"Where did all these names come from?"
"Your credit report! Which could contain different versions of and maybe even misspellings of your name. For example, your first and last name might appear along with your first and last name with your middle initial. Your credit report is compiled using information from the creditors and lenders you do business with. The name you put on your applications (the one that appears on your credit card or your statements) is the name that appears on your credit report, so be consistent. Also, if creditors have misspelled your name, that misspelling will appear on your credit report.
This document sparks up a conversation regarding the various names showing up because clients are surprised to see so many name variations, which they have no knowledge of, So recommend they pull their credit report, which is available for free once a year, and dispute any minor credit reporting mistakes with the credit bureau because if those names -- and any un recognized accounts could be the work of an identity thief
Completed a Conference Call Closing today; the property is in [SC] and closing in [CA] and requires an attorney to be present via a Conference Call.
What is a Recorded Conference Call Closing?
Recently I received a call from a woman, requesting information about “Medallion Seal or “medallion notarization,” She was looking for a Mobile Notary to come to her location, for a Medallion Seal. Her elderly’s caregiver was donating a bond that required a “Medallion Seal”
Exactly what service is being requested?
a “medallion signature guarantee,” is a special signature guarantee required for the sale or transfer of securities. The most common use for a signature guarantee is to authenticate the right to sell or transfer securities. It protects the person who owns the stock or certificate and makes it more difficult for someone to forge a signature. To be able to affix the signature guarantee stamp or imprint, financial institutions join a signature guarantee program, the most widely used being the three Medallion Signature Guarantee Programs. Like a notary service, a representative of a participating financial institution reviews your paperwork, witnesses your signature and then, in applying the signature guarantee stamp, guarantees that your signature is genuine. The stamp uses a bar code, special ink, and other security features to make it more difficult to copy or counterfeit.
This is different than a notary’s purpose in performing an acknowledgment or oath/affirmation notarial act. A Notary determines that the person who signs a document in her presence is in fact who that person claims to be. When appearing before a notary proper identification is presented, the notary compares your appearance, name and signature to the identification, & verifies the signature matches and applies a seal to the document. The notary, in effect, acts as an impartial witness and implements requirements that deter fraud.
A medallion signature guarantee is the issuing financial institution’s certification that a signature related to sale or transfer of securities is authentic. Medallion signature guarantees have a completely different purpose from notarization, & should not be confused with notarization, and cannot be performed by a notary unless he/she is a certified participant in a financial institution’s medallion signature guarantee program. Any requests for a “medallion signature notary” or “golden medallion notarization” or similar should be referred to a bank. The requester may contact any local bank and ask if the bank can issue a “medallion signature guarantee.”
The frequency of mail-away closings is increasing. In an industry, when buyer or seller conducts a real estate transaction in absentia, it is called a “mail away and have become increasingly popular, to the point where it is a rarity for buyer and seller ever to meet, ever to communicate directly, or ever to sit down together at the same closing table. If you are involved in a closing that requires the mailing of documents below are some tips that can help avoid delays.
Connecticut: Two witnesses required (one witness may be the notary)
Florida: Two witnesses required (one witness may be the notary)
Georgia: One witness required (can’t be the notary)
Louisiana: Two witnesses required (neither can be the notary)
South Carolina: Two witnesses required (one witness may be the notary).
If you're not sure, just call the phone number for your closing company, contact information is listed on the instruction page included in the loan package. if any questions arising during the signing, they would rather talk you through every little step than to re-do everything later because something was unclear.
There really is a reason!
As Notary Signing Agents, conducting mobile loan closings we often encounter The Statement of Information form, which is often found in the loan packages we print and courier to the borrowers for signatures. This form sparks up conversations which borrowers look to us for answers regarding their sensitive information & its purpose. We (Notaries) are left to answer questions related to the document to which we provide as much information as possible to put the customers at ease. Although our main role as Certified Notary Signing Agents is to Identify borrowers, witness their signatures & notarize affidavits, Deeds & Mortgages Whether it be a refi, sale, or purchase property, borrowers often expect us to know what they are signing & the purpose of certain documents, the Statement of Information is one of them. We (notaries) try to provide as much information as possible on the forms but sometimes it can be a little tricky.
I provide the following information regarding this form to my borrowers and point them to the right direction to where more information can be found ie *California Land Title Association their Loan, Title, or Escrow officer.
When a title company seeks to uncover matters affecting title to real property a completed Statement of Information is required for the title company to use to distinguish the buyers and sellers of real property from other similar names, in fact the new CAR Residential purchase agreement calls for a Statement of Information to be provided by the seller to the escrow holder within 7 days of acceptance. To help better understand this sensitive subject, the California Land Title Association has answered some of the questions most commonly asked about the Statement of Information. In searching titles to real property, judgments, bankruptcies, divorces, income-tax liens against persons with similar names may be encountered. These matters cloud the title to the property unless eliminated by information showing that the parties in the real-estate transaction are not the person(s) involved in these difficulties, considering California’s community property laws, something about the spouse, too, if married -- so that matters not directly affecting the borrowers may promptly be ignored, as all matters not directly affecting the property being searched.
What is a Statement of Information & What does it do?
A Statement of Information is a form routinely requested from the buyer, seller, and or borrower in a transaction where title insurance is sought. The completed form provides the title company with information needed to adequately examine documents to disregard matters which do not affect the property to be insured, matters which apply to some other person. Every day documents affecting real property – liens, court decrees, bankruptcies are recorded whenever a title company uncovers a recorded document in which the name is the same or like that of the buyer, seller or borrower in a title transaction, the company must ask, does this document affect the parties we are insuring? Because, if does it affects title to the property and would therefore, be listed as an exception from coverage under the title policy
A properly completed Statement of Information will allow the title company to differentiate between parties with the same or similar names when searching, documents recorded by name. This protects all parties involved and allows the title company to competently carry out its duties without unnecessary delay.
What types of information are requested in a Statement of Information?
The information requested may include, but is not limited to full name(s) last 4 digits of your Social Security number; driver’s license number; year of birth; date of marriage if applicable; any previous marriage(s) if applicable; residence(s) for the past 10 years and place(s) of employment for the past 10 years
What happens if a buyer, seller, or borrower fails to provide the requested statement of information?
At best failure to provide the requested Statement of Information will hinder the search and examination capabilities of the title company causing delay in the production of the title policy. At worst failure to provide the information requested could delay the close of escrow. Without a Statement of Information, it would be necessary for the title company to list exceptions from coverage judgments, liens or other matters which may affect the property to be insurance. Such exceptions would be unacceptable to most lenders whose interest must also be insured.
This information is meant for general information only and is not to be construed as legal, tax or investment advice. The information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable. Situations may vary, therefore professional should be consulted.
Commercial Loan Closing
The one thing I love about being an Independent Notary is the variety.
I meet a variety of clients and perform a variety of notarizations, no two days are the same.
For example, I had the privilege of helping two local developers with the Commercial Loan Closing of the development of a Low Housing multifamily complex for a city called Lost Hills, in Kern County California, located west-northwest of Bakersfield where 75% of the population is engaged in agriculture. This particular complex would house the local farmworkers & their families who majority are low income. The gentlemen found me online through my AdWorks on google which is on 1st page placement.
This was a lengthy signing one that took about 3 hours to complete due to the number of documents that needed to be Notarized. Although I don’t know the exact purpose of each document, a separate journal entry had to be made per page per signer, which is a requirement according to California law.
Documents I Notarized
Tower Line Agreement
UCC Financing Statement
Construction DOT Assignment of Rents
Delivery Assurance Deed Of Trust
Regulatory & Declaration of Rest. Cov
Delivery Assurance Deed of trust Multifamily
Amended & Restated Agreement
Construction & Permanent Deed of Trust
Deed of Trust with Assignment of Rents
Deed of Trust
Assignment of Assumption
The amount of documents may seem small but we had 3 packages to do, Lender Copy, Title Copy and & Housing Authority Copy. We joked about how sore our hand was after this lengthy signing.
Independent Notary Public
Loan Application vs RESPA Signings
There are threads on social media discussing that we as Notary Signing Agents are not to be “doing” loan applications. It appears that a Signing Company told a notary that another notary got in trouble for conducting a Loan Application. That is correct, we are not supposed to be taking a loan application because we do not have an originator's license. (Title V of P.L. 110-289, the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008 (“SAFE Act”)
There is a big difference between taking a loan application and doing a RESPA signing (which is what most of us are being asked to do).
Loan Application; is the part where the loan originator gathers all the information needed from the borrowers in order to get the file into underwriting. The originator will ask the borrower everything that is on that 1003 loan application, enter it into their software system, and upload the credit report to show liabilities, discuss loan products, interest rates, and payment information with the borrower. The loan originator will then most likely upload all this information into some sort of underwriting software that is used by the lender and that in turn will generate a list of items the borrowers need to provide to the loan originator and underwriter in order for the file to close. The originator will then print out the RESPA documents that are to be signed by the borrowers. These RESPA documents are time sensitive as they need to be signed within 3 business days from credit being pulled.
RESPA signing; is where we (Notaries) come in. The loan originator will ask us to conduct the RESPA signing. We are not notarizing, or taking a loan application as that has already been done by the loan originator (not the notarizing part) We are just watching the borrowers sign their RESPA documents and gather up the documents such as bank statements, pay stubs, divorce decree, W-2s, tax returns, insurance information, homeowner's association information, letters of explanation, etc. Whatever underwriting software told the loan officer that would be needed in order to approve the loan. We (Notaries) are not there to give advice, sell a product, we are simply there to watch them sign and gather up the documents needed by the loan originator to give to the underwriter.
Knowing the difference between a Loan application vs a RESPA signing is important so that as Notary Signing Agents, we can make sure we are not doing anything illegal & therefore can expand on the services we provide without worrying about Unlawful Practice of Law or worry.
IMO: we (NSA/Notaries) are Independent contractors not employees, Independent Contractors NOT Loan Originators
Let me facilitate the signing of the RESPA closing documents
Notaries are sometimes asked to “Notarize”, a Copy of a Passport, Green Card, Driver License, Utility Bills, and similar documents for legal process, these requests are routinely refused because not all states authorize Notaries to “Notarize” and not all documents are eligible for a copy certification / attestation by a Notary.
The following will help clarify some of these requests:
Copy Certification/Attestation is different from notorial acts involving a signed document, an oath is not administered to take an acknowledgement from anyone, instead the custodial of record makes the photocopy of the document & or the Notary compares the original to the copy and then certifies or attest that the photocopy is a true copy of the original. *note: only certain states authorize copy certification/attestation of the comparison method. (check with the state’s SOS) . When a Notary makes an attested copy of a document, he/she is not guaranteeing, authenticity of the original document, its contents, or its effects. The Notary is simply stating that the photocopy is a “true” and complete copy of the of the original document presented. The Notary’s certification is made in a notorial certificate worded for that exact purpose.
Process: Original document must be presented for comparison make the witness take photocopy of the document. If the copy has already been made then the original must be presented for comparison. You cannot take some one else’s word that a photocopy is a “true”, not matter how trustworthy that person may be. (depending on the state) A certified copy issued by the official document custodian (example: a certified copy of a marriage record, birth certificate etc. Issued by the county clerk) is NOT an original document – it is s copy. A Notorial certificate is completed for copy attestation or Copy Certification by Custodian (depending on the state) . It is recommended that a Notary Journal entry be made as best practice.
Most commonly presented documents that the Notary might encounter:
Attestation/Certification of Copy by Document Custodian.
Certification of Copy by Document Custodian What if your authorized notorial duties do not include making certified or attested copies of documents? The Document custodian may wish to swear/affirm that a copy he or she made is of an original document is a true copy. The document custodian would make a written affidavit(statement) that a true photocopy was created from the original document and the Notary would take the custodian’s oath/affirmation bout the truth of the affidavit and complete a jurat. This procedure places the responsibility about the photocopies document on the client not the notary, and should be handled responsibly.
Sample Affidavit: (California)
COPY CERTIFICATION BY DOCUMENT CUSTODIAN
I, _______________________________________________________________[name of custodian of original document], hereby swear (or affirm) that the attached reproduction of ___________________________________ [description of original document] is a true, correct and complete photocopy of a document in my possession.
Under penalty of perjury under the laws of the state of California, I attest to the truthfulness, accuracy, and validity of the forgoing statement.
Custodian’s Address: ______________________________________________________
A notary public or other officer completing this certificate verifies only the identity of the individual who signed the document to which this certificate is attached, and not the truthfulness, accuracy, or validity of that document.
STATE OF CALIFORNIA
COUNTY OF ________________ Subscribed and sworn to (or affirmed) before me on __________________, 20_____, by ________________________________________________________________________ proved to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence to be the person(s) who appeared before me.
As Notaries, we cannot speculate that the copy certification affidavit will automatically be accepted by the receiving party, nor can we counsel to whether a relying party should accept this process, the most we can do is ask the document custodian if he/she wishes to make an affidavit about the trueness of the photocopy, show him/her the affidavit language if available, and let the client choose what to do. If the document custodian has any questions about the advisability or effects of the affidavit, custodian of records, will have to consult an attorney or another party relying on the transaction.