As a notary, it is always important to show professionalism in any notarization that you take part in. Some notarizations, though, present a higher liability issue than others. When these instances occur, it is important to be alert and make sure you check off every step in the notarization process. Here are a few scenarios that present a high risk of fraud.
Real Estate Documents
The reason these are labeled high risk is because you are dealing with homes and land which are usually a person’s most valued property. To avoid con artist make sure you thumbprint all signers, take time checking their ID’s, and always make sure their name matches the one in the document. These steps will help prevent someone from forging a document and selling a property that is not theirs.
Just as imposters try to cash in on real estate property, the same can be said for family and friends that are left out of a person’s assets at death. These people left out will sometimes go after a notary who notarized the signature. Having an improperly notarized signature can lead to headaches that can be prevented. Always make sure you not only verify your signer’s identity, but it is also essential that you make sure they are acting on their free will and understand what is happening. Also, It might be a good idea to have a credible identifying witness who knows the signer.
Power Of Attorney
This is one of the highest risk notarizations you can make because it deals with giving a person control over another. A power of attorney has authority over the bank accounts, property, and medical issues of another. What makes it even riskier is that it has become more common for a con artist to forge these documents. Remember to follow the same steps you would take as in the documents above. Make sure you are alert and have the signers understand what they are signing. Do not give advice unless you are an attorney, because you could be held liable.
With any notary, remember to record your journal entry and complete the notarial certificate. Although some notaries do present a high risk, following your required steps properly and staying cautious when dealing with high-risk documents should help you through any notarization.