Author Topic: No, I will not notarize your blank document  (Read 20870 times)

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geordicat

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No, I will not notarize your blank document
« on: March 31, 2011, 01:52:54 PM »
I am a notary for the state of Washington.   There are certain documents I can notarize, and some I can't (like a copy of a birth certificate).   I can notarize a will, but that does not make it legal and valid, it is just an acknowledgement that you signed it in front of me.  I can notarize copies of passports. 

I notarize a lot of documents for people at work.  It only takes a few minutes and my employer has paid for me to become a notary just for this purpose.  It saves co workers from having to go to the bank, stand in line, wait for the notary... etc. etc.  They can come to my desk, get something notarized and be on their way in just a few minutes.

Yesterday "Sean" wanted a paper notarized.  I scan it (not to be nosy, but just to ensure that it's something I can legally notarize) and he just wanted me to "Sign and stamp!  No need to read it!"  And he tried to cover it up.  Sorry, I have to know what I'm notarizing. 

I can not notarize a document if there are blank signature blocks.  I must put a big line through them.  This is to prevent people from having their document signed and notarized, then taking it to someone else and filling in a signature after the fact.  You would be stunned at the sheer number of people who say "Can you notarize this saying I can take money out of my 401k for a boat?  My wife/husband isn't here to sign it, but I will take it to them later.  You can trust me."

No, sorry, I will not.  ALL members must be present for me to sign.  Period.  No exceptions.  "Must be present to win"

So.. back to Sean.  It was some insurance form and he had signed the third of five signature blocks.  I explained I about not signing a page with blanks, and put a big X through them.  I thought it was unusual that he had signed the third of five blocks, leaving the first two and the second two blank.  He said he understood, and agreed to putting the x through the blocks.   I signed and stamped.  All is good.

Today he comes back and tells me "My insurance company didn't like the blank lines. You have to do it again, and this time leave those blank."     

"No, I'm afraid I can't do that.  By notary law, right here on page 15, I can NOT sign a page with blank lines."   

"But you have to!  My insurance wants it clean!  You can trust me!"

"No, I'm afraid I can't do that.  By notary law, I can not sign a page with blanks."

He tried a few more times, going with the "But we're in the same group!  You can trust me!" angle.  No, I can NOT.  If he, or someone else has signatures added after the fact, I can be held accountable and be in SERIOUS trouble.  He repeated his plea a few more times until I said "Perhaps you should have someone else notarize your document, because I will not budge on this issue.  So, what did you think about yesterday's staff meeting, when the boss said blah blah blah?"

He didn't bring the page to me to notarize, and I know that no other notary is going to sign that with blank lines. 

Thank you, ehell, for teaching me this simple yet effective phrase!!  I no longer feel GUILTY about saying no!
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Poirot

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Re: No, I will not notarize your blank document
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2011, 02:08:00 PM »
I cannot POD this enough!! I am a notary in PA, and just last week, a client wanted me to notarize a unsigned Power of Attorney for his father's estate.  :o No way, Jose!

The kicker is, this SS client is an attorney, and knows better.
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Ms_Shell

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Re: No, I will not notarize your blank document
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2011, 02:11:40 PM »
Good for you, Geordicat.  If you can't do it, well, that's that and Sean is just going to have to suck it up and accept it. 
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magiccat26

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Re: No, I will not notarize your blank document
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2011, 02:26:19 PM »
While Notary law varies from state to state, that rule seems to be universal!  I work for a Bank and we send all our notaries through training and give them tips for how to politely refuse to notarize a document if they are asked to do something that does not meet our state guidelines/rules.

Great job!
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geordicat

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Re: No, I will not notarize your blank document
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2011, 02:48:57 PM »
I have my little 'Notary Laws' book handy and will gladly show people what I can and can not notarize. 

The only down side to being a notary for my co workers?   I can't charge the $10 per signature.  OUTSIDE work, if they are not an employee of this company (or married to one) I can charge $10.

I have employees who are going through paper work to become US Citizens.  That is really wonderful and cool.   But there can be pages and pages and PAGES of documents to sign, and if they have family, MORE documents.  I did one stack of 75 pages for one gentleman.    No charge.   Just imagine if I could have charged.  75 stamps, at $10 a stamp... $750.00   

I've been a notary for going on 3 years now and all services have been free.
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Shiraz_Much?

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Re: No, I will not notarize your blank document
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2011, 03:37:20 PM »
You can charge?  Hmmm...I never knew that.  I have never been charged for getting anything notarized before.  Interesting.

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Poirot

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Re: No, I will not notarize your blank document
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2011, 04:02:00 PM »
In PA we can charge up to $5.00 per signature to be notarized.
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ddawn23

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Re: No, I will not notarize your blank document
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2011, 04:49:47 PM »
You can charge?  Hmmm...I never knew that.  I have never been charged for getting anything notarized before.  Interesting.

They can charge in Illinois.  Oklahoma absentee ballots must be notarized and actually come with a notice that the notary public cannot charge for it.  I guess it would amount to a poll tax.  My dad thought it was VERY rude of me to present the notice and refuse to pay when the notary asked for the fee.

Lynnv

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Re: No, I will not notarize your blank document
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2011, 09:58:32 PM »
You can charge?  Hmmm...I never knew that.  I have never been charged for getting anything notarized before.  Interesting.

They can charge in Illinois.  Oklahoma absentee ballots must be notarized and actually come with a notice that the notary public cannot charge for it.  I guess it would amount to a poll tax.  My dad thought it was VERY rude of me to present the notice and refuse to pay when the notary asked for the fee.

I don't know what the limit on the fee was, but we charged non-customers for notary services in Colorado (about a dozen years ago).
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geordicat

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Re: No, I will not notarize your blank document
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2011, 05:40:42 AM »
Laws vary from state to state,  so fees will be different.  Notaries have to know what they are signing, as not all documents can be notarized.  The birth certificate is an example.  I can not notarize a birth certificate or a copy of a birth certificate.  I can notarize copies of passports and drivers licenses.   

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/wac/default.aspx?cite=308-30-020

It was interesting once I started reading up on all the ins and outs of being a notary.

I did ask Sean why he signed in the middle of those signature blocks.  He just said "I guess I'm a middle of the page kind of guy."

Still not signing with blank areas. 

http://www.asnnotary.org/?form=basicduties

The document presented for notarization must be COMPLETE.
The notary cannot perform a notarial act over a document that is missing pages, or that contains blanks that should be filled-in prior to the notarial act. If missing pages cannot be presented to the notary, or if the signer does not know how to deal with the blanks in the document, the notary cannot proceed. (Note: some blanks are clearly intended to be filled-in later, such as “Office Use Only” blanks. These are acceptable at the time of notarization.)

I love being a notary.  My commission expires next year, and I definitely want to continue this.
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still in va

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Re: No, I will not notarize your blank document
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2011, 11:05:18 AM »
I did ask Sean why he signed in the middle of those signature blocks.  He just said "I guess I'm a middle of the page kind of guy."

Still not signing with blank areas. 

i must be very cynical, but i'm not thinking Sean is a middle of the page kind of guy.  i'm thinking Sean wanted it notarized, and then some other top of the page kind of people would be signing.   ::)

Twik

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Re: No, I will not notarize your blank document
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2011, 11:38:28 AM »
He needs to have his evil genius license revoked, if he tries to cover up things while you're looking at it!  >:D
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geordicat

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Re: No, I will not notarize your blank document
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2011, 01:21:15 PM »
I did ask Sean why he signed in the middle of those signature blocks.  He just said "I guess I'm a middle of the page kind of guy."

Still not signing with blank areas. 

i must be very cynical, but i'm not thinking Sean is a middle of the page kind of guy.  i'm thinking Sean wanted it notarized, and then some other top of the page kind of people would be signing.   ::)

Yep.  This is why we don't notarize blank pages.  He came in this morning and said "You've been vindicated.  I talked to 2 other notaries and they, too, refused to sign a blank page."

Funny.  That's what I said, and I even showed him the rule in the book.

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Fleur-de-Lis

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Re: No, I will not notarize your blank document
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2011, 01:28:40 PM »

Yep.  This is why we don't notarize blank pages.  He came in this morning and said "You've been vindicated.  I talked to 2 other notaries and they, too, refused to sign a blank page."

Funny.  That's what I said, and I even showed him the rule in the book.


How magnanimous of him.  (wryly). 
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sparksals

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Re: No, I will not notarize your blank document
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2011, 02:15:29 PM »
I did ask Sean why he signed in the middle of those signature blocks.  He just said "I guess I'm a middle of the page kind of guy."

Still not signing with blank areas. 

i must be very cynical, but i'm not thinking Sean is a middle of the page kind of guy.  i'm thinking Sean wanted it notarized, and then some other top of the page kind of people would be signing.   ::)

Why would he want to have people sign after the fact?  What am I missing?