We provided helpful tips for commissioned notaries each month beginning in January 2017, followed by poll questions. Below are the correct responses to each question.
1. True or False: Anyone can ask to view all pages and entries of a notary's journal of notarial acts at any time.
The correct answer is False! A person may request in writing to view a particular journal entry but not the entire journal.
2. A notary is protected from personal liability through their:
- Surety bond
- Errors & omissions insurance
- Homeowner's insurance
The correct answer is b. Errors & omissions insurance. A surety bond may pay damages up to the amount of the bond for losses caused by a notary's actions, but it does not afford the notary any protection. In fact, the surety company may have grounds to pursue the notary for reimbursement. Only errors and omissions insurance will protect the notary personally.
3. A notary must place the signer under oath when the notarial certificate is a:
The correct answer is c. Jurat. A notary must place the signer under oath when the document states it must be subscribed and sworn to, the notary certificate is a jurat and not an acknowledgment.
4. If the signer is blind the notary must:
- Place the signers hand on the signature line
- Consult their state rules and regulations
- Read the document to the signer
- Refuse to acknowledge their signature
And the correct answer is b. Consult their state rules and regulations. Most states notary laws require two witnesses to a seeing impaired person's mark, but not all. It is the commissioned notary's responsibility to know the laws that govern his/her state.
5. True or False: The Company does not recommend commissioned notaries keep a journal of all their notarial acts.
The correct answer is False! Regardless of whether the state requires it or not, the Company always recommends a commissioned notary keep a journal of their notarial acts.
6. If the signer speaks another language than the notary the notary should:
- Require someone interpret for them
- Decline to acknowledge their signature
- Trust the real estate agent or loan officer explained everything to the signer and acknowledge their signature.
In Arizona, a. Require someone interpret for them is the correct answer. In Arizona, the law allows the notary to communicate through an interpreter which is unique. In other states, b. Decline to acknowledge their signature because the law requires the notary be able to communicate directly with the signer.
7. In all instances a signer must personally _____ in front of a notary prior to acknowledging the signer's signature.
If you answered appear you would be correct. The physical presence of the signer before the notary is required for a valid acknowledgment.
8. In lieu of specific guidelines from a commissioned notary's state, an identification presented to a notary should:
- Be government issued
- Contain a photograph of the signer
- Contain a physical description of the signer
- Be current
- Have a signature for comparison purposes
All of the answers are correct. Positive identification of the signer is the core function of the notary public.
9. True or False: The Company can override notary rules and regulations by requiring a notary to accept an identification which may not be acceptable to the state.
The answer is False. A notary should always comply with the rules and regulations of his/her state regulator in order to protect the notary commission.
10. A notary public is a public official who acts as the unbiased, third party _____ to the identity and signature of the person who comes before the notary for a specific purpose.
If you typed the answer witness, you would be 100% correct! A notary should not be a party to the overall transaction related to the documents they are notarizing.
11. A commissioned notary should never:
- Allow someone to borrow their notary seal
- Allow someone to borrow their journal of notarial acts
- Acknowledge the signature of someone who is personally known to the notary
- Acknowledge a document which has blanks in it
The correct answers are a. Allow someone to borrow their notary seal; b. Allow someone to borrow their journal of notarial acts; and d. Acknowledge a document which has blanks in it.
12. A _____ _____ is required to protect the public from any mistakes or wrong doing of the commissioned notary.
If you typed, surety bond as your answer you would be correct! A surety bond protects the public, not the commissioned notary.
Thank you for participating throughout the year. We look forward to seeing your answers to the "PROPER document execution for recording and insuring" poll questions this year.