A mistake in the notary world sometimes feels like it might come with the lack of experience. This is a misconception. Anyone new or experienced can slip up and end up doing something that causes costly errors. Here is a compiled list of some of the most common issues that a notary may run into and how to avoid them.
Meet with Signer face-to-face
When you go out to notarize someone’s signature, you should always require that the person who is signing the document be present with you, in the same room. This is the only sure-proof way that a notary can verify a signer is who they say they are. Remember to make sure they are signing with free will and are aware of what they are signing. Things start to get tricky when a notary is asked to make an exception of some sort, or that they will arrive beforehand or afterward. If these cases arise, make sure to stay firm and professional and not proceed with the notarization until you can verify the signer face-to-face.
Know how to identify
The first step here is to understand what constitutes an acceptable ID in the state you are doing the notarization. Get familiar with the guidelines and reference your official Notary Handbook for answers. Once you have mastered the identification requirements, look at the signer’s ID and make sure their description matches. Be attentive to eye color and height, and don’t feel rushed when looking over the identification.
Whether you are a new notary starting out or an experienced one with a few years under your belt, anyone can get overwhelmed when in a hurry or dealing with a lot of signatures by a signer. Part of being a notary is to be in control of the situation at hand. Take your time, be alert, and don’t let a signer hurry you at any point. Rushing a notarization can cause you to miss a necessary step, invalidate a notarization, and even lead to legal consequences.
Complete The Certificate
When you complete the certificate, it is always a good idea to scan through the documents to make sure the information you need is there. When you are scanning the documents, a good idea is to go through them in order. This will help you catch errors more efficiently if any. Also, check for blank spaces as some states require that there are no blanks on a document. Finally, make sure to note any details that you should record in your journal entry.
As a notary, you have been or will be in a few stressful situations at times. This is more common in documents such as deeds, mortgages, power of attorney, and trusts. These are all high financial and personal transactions and can make signers very emotional and upset if something doesn’t run smoothly. In these notarizations make sure you slow down and allow everyone to get comfortable. Make eye contact and listen to the signer throughout. Acknowledge a client’s emotions. Some situations might occur where a parent might become ill, and the children become desperate to notarize paperwork before it is too late. Even though this is a terrible, yet understandable situation, if the parent is unable to understand or communicate you must refuse to complete the notarization. Remember always to communicate calmly and openly about any confusion and try to listen through to help reach a successful notarization.