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Appointment Tips & Requirements

1. Please be on time to your appointment, have the correct and valid, unexpired form of identification available, and have the room or area free from distractions and possible disruptions. We will check all forms of ID’s and we will date the document(s) as of the date of signing. We do not pre-date or post-date documents. Please do NOT sign the document prior to our arrival, or the document may not be able to be notarized. Please note that if you do not have the proper form of ID available at the time of signing, the notarization will not take place and you will be responsible for payment of the cancellation fee and/or travel expenses. The costs will be determined at the time of scheduling the appointment.

2. The Identification (ID) must include the signer’s photograph, signature, identifying number, and a physical description that includes height, weight, color of hair and color of eyes.

3. Forms of ACCEPTABLE identification (ID) include:

      a. An unexpired Driver’s License or Identification card issued by a State or Territory of the United States;

      b. An unexpired United States Passport issued by the United States Department of State; 

      c. An unexpired United States Military Identification Card that is issued by any branch of the United States Armed Forces;

      d. Inmate identification card issued by the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation if the signer is in custody;

      e. Any other unexpired identification card that is issued by the United States Government or a State or Tribal Government that contains the individuals photograph, signature and a physical description

4. Examples of UNACCEPTABLE forms of identification (ID) commonly presented are as follows:

      a. U.S. Military Common Access Card;

      b. Green Cards – Permanent Resident and Border Crossing Cards;

      c. Social Security cards;

      d. Credit cards with or without photographs;

      e. Temporary Driver’s License;

      f. Driver’s License without photograph;

      g. Marriage license;

      h. Birth certificate;

      i. Organizational membership cards.

5. If you do not have valid identification, you may be identified by either one or two credible identifying witnesses who must produce acceptable identification. Only one credible identifying witness is required provided that individual is personally known by the Notary, and is able to produce acceptable identification. Two credible identifying witnesses are required if neither of them are personally known by the Notary. The two credible witnesses must both produce acceptable identification. The witnesses must personally know you and take an oath attesting to your identity. The witnesses may not have an interest in or be named in the document. A witness must swear or affirm that the following is true:

      a. The document signer appearing before the Notary is the person that is named in the document;

      b. The document signer is personally know to the witness;

      c. The document signer does not have any acceptable identification;

      d. The witness believes that it would be difficult or impossible for the document signer to obtain acceptable identification, and;

      e. The witness has no financial or beneficial interest in the document and is not named in the document.

 

6. Regarding name variations on the ID and on the document to be notarized when they do not match:

If the name on the document does not match the signer’s identification the Notary may accept “less of a name” than appears on the identification:

If the document reflects less of a name than what appears on the signer’s (ID) identification, the Notary may proceed with the notarization. For example, if your identification reads “John Edward Smith,” and the document reads “John E. Smith,” the Notary may accept your identification for that document because the “E.” is defined.

However, the Notary may not accept “more of a name” than appears on the signer’s identification and may not proceed with the notarization. For example, if the signer’s identification reads “John E. Smith,” but the document reads “John Edward Smith,” the Notary may not accept your identification for that document because it does not define the “E.”.

If the signer’s identification reflects their maiden name but the document states their married name: Please note that the name on the identification must either match what is on the document or follow the “less but not more than rule” (see explanation above). If you cannot present acceptable identification, you may also be identified by one or two credible identifying witnesses (discussed above). Please note that a marriage license, social security card, temporary driver’s license, or credit card (with or without a photo), are not included in the acceptable forms of identification.

 

7. If a signer is disabled and unable to sign his/her name by regular signature then the signer may sign by marking an “X” in the presence of two witnesses who personally know the signer and who have no interest in, nor are named in, the document.  The witnesses must present acceptable identification.

 

8. By focusing on the documents and the signing, you will have the best results. Please avoid distractions and keep your talking to a minimum to others in order to efficiently proceed through the process. Please keep anyone not involved in the transaction out of the signing area if possible and be sure to remove uninvolved family members and visitors. Please remove or secure any animals away from the signing area for safety purposes and in order to prevent disruptions. If you are unable to remove or secure a large or aggressive animal, or an animal that may cause harm or fear to anyone, the notary will be unable to work and you will be held liable for the full amount of notary transaction fees. Please turn off TV’s and loud music.

 

9. For real estate loan closings, please allow an average of one hour to complete a loan closing assignment. However, we schedule an appointment for 1-1 ½ hours to 2 hours to allow time for any questions and/or phone calls to title, escrow or loan officers if needed. Our goal is to be efficient and help guide you through the transaction. Please keep in mind that we cannot provide legal advice and if you require answers specific to your documents or to your individual transaction we can only answer any questions that require general information. We will try to help you find information that may answer your questions if contained in any document in your document only if you need help locating the information. We will be happy to place calls to your loan officer or the escrow or title officer for you during the [closing] process if you need any information of which we cannot, or are unable to, answer.

10.  The person who will be signing must be present at the time of signing* and is required to be mentally competent to sign, must have the ability to read and must be of legal age to sign the document. The person requiring notarization must be alert, conscious, aware and willing to sign the document(s). 

*Presence of the signer is required for all real estate closings. However, regarding all other document notarization transactions, the signer’s presence is mandatory except for notarization of an Acknowledgment. If you require an Acknowledgment in a situation where the signer is not able to be present, please contact us for details/requirements prior to scheduling an appointment.

11. If the person requiring notarization is unable to sign due to physical handicap, necessary arrangements must be made in advance and prior notification given to the notary at least 24 hours in advance of the day of signing. 

12. If you require translation from a language other than English we will be happy to recommend a different notary. We do not speak fluent Spanish, Mandarin, French, German, or any other foreign language that is not English, so we will not be unable to notarize documents for you in that situation and cannot notarize documents that are written in a foreign language. 

13. A Notary Public is not an attorney and may not give legal advice or assist a signer to draft, prepare, select or complete a document or transaction. A Notary Public is a person of honesty, credibility, truthfulness and integrity appointed by the State to service the public as an impartial witness in performing a variety of acts related to the signing of important documents, taking oaths and affirmations and performing other acts authorized by law. 

14. Notaries are not responsible for the truth, accuracy or legality of documents they notarize. Similarly, a “notarization” does not attest to nor mean that a document is true, accurate or legal. As public officials, Notaries serve an important role in the prevention of fraud and protection of the parties involved by following strict procedures in identifying a person and by acting as an official, unbiased witness for certain documents. 

15. An incomplete document cannot be notarized. Notaries are prohibited from notarizing any document that is incomplete. Any blanks should be filled in by the signer, lined though or marked as “not applicable”.

16. A Notary Public may decline to provide service. Notaries must perform all lawful and reasonable requests for notarization. However, circumstances under which a Notary my decline service include:
      If the document signer is unable to produce proper identification;
      If the document signer is unable to produce credible identifying witnesses
      If the document is incomplete or contains blank spaces;
      If the document does not provide notarial wording and the signer is unable provide instructions as such;

      If the Notary is uncertain of a signer’s willingness, mental awareness or has cause to suspect fraud.

 

17. As Notary Signing Agents we have satisfied the educational requirements of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) and submitted to the GLBA background screening. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) regulations require organizations to protect themselves against unauthorized access, anticipated hazards and risks threatening the security or integrity of consumer financial information. To comply with this law and the Inter-agency Guidelines that have been set, some financial and lending institutions have begun to require regulatory compliance training and background screening for all persons involved in the lending process and who render real estate settlement services. Since Signing Agents have access to consumers’ private and financial information, many lenders now require notaries to receive regulatory compliance training and to submit to a background check. In the State of Texas a notary who renders real estate notarial services as a Notary Signing Agent is required to satisfy the GLBA regulations.

 

18. A Notary Signing Agent cannot provide documents and cannot assist in the completion of your documents. 

19. Important: We are not attorneys licensed to practice law in Texas and may not give legal advice or accept fees for legal advice. See Texas Administrative Code 87.43.

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