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National Notary Blog

Happy National Flag Day!

In the notary community, we have a patriotic sense of duty that our red, white and blue pride and joy represents. Here are 5 ways you can celebrate National Flag Day in your own way.

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How do I improve the air quality in my office space?

Most notaries spend a significant amount of time indoors – either in the home or office – where gas, chemicals and other pollutants can cause headaches, eye irritation, allergies and fatigue. Not to worry! Our list of air-purifying plants can help you clean the air in your work environment.

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Trotec Recognizes Notary Public Underwriters

Recently, Notary Public Underwriters was recognized as one of Trotec Laser's innovative and tech-savvy customers that uses a Trotec laser engraver.

Our president, Chris Chee, provided his perspective on how Trotec lasers have been able to provide fast and friendly service. "We recognize that speed, accuracy and quality are what markets demand today and we take pride in providing our customers with the best experience possible," Chee says.

Chee adds "During the past 2 years, we have exponentially improved the productivity and efficiency of our production team, therefore allowing us to manufacture in larger volumes. The introduction of these lasers has widened our company’s scope for manufacturing, by allowing us to diversify our core product offerings. We feel these factors ultimately lead to better customer satisfaction."

To review the article and a behind the scenes video of stamp manufacturing, please click here.

Keeping Up With Your Notary Commission Part V

Notaries perform their duties with unlimited liability and responsibility for any financial loss that may occur from an improper action. This exposure has the potential to leave you vulnerable to a lawsuit and can lead to disciplinary action like loss of your commission. While providing notary services comes with inherent risk of liability, there are measures you can take to help minimize your exposure.

Errors and Omissions Insurance

Your notary bond is designed to protect the public from financial harm that results from any negligent mistake or intentional misconduct you might commit while performing a notarization. In the event that your actions cause a party to experience monetary loss, your bonding company will pay for that loss up to the limits of the bond, while holding you financially responsible. Any notary bond that is paid out because of a judgment must be repaid to the bonding company. Mistakes do happen, regardless how careful you are, and your notary bond is not insurance protection for you. If you want personal protection, you need to purchase Errors and Omissions insurance from your bonding company. E&O coverage ranges from $10,000 to $100,000, lasts the entire length of your commission, and can help pay for damages resulting from an expensive judgment. (E&O insurance will not pay when there is an intentional violation.)

Education

Learning and practicing proper notary procedures, and following your state’s notary laws, are the best ways to protect yourself. It is also essential that notaries keep their finger on the pulse of their industry by regularly checking for law updates and seeking refresher training. Maintaining a membership in a professional organization for notaries, like the American Society of Notaries, will help keep you informed and up to date.

Reasonable Care

The general legal meaning of “reasonable care” is, the degree of care that a prudent and rational person would use in same or similar circumstances. This means that notaries who are sensible and obey the law will act in a reasonable manner when performing their duties. Presence and identification are the two most important aspects of preventing fraud and forgery, and a notary using reasonable care should never perform a notarization without the signer being physically present at the time of the notarization. You must also be satisfied with the identity of the signer. Another example of exercising reasonable care to reduce liability would be refusing to make exceptions for friends, family, coworkers, or employers.

Keep Records

If kept accurately, the notary record book is a tool that can provide a reference should a particular notarization come into question at a later date. An accurate entry may show your compliance with the law by demonstrating the following:

  • the person for whom you notarized personally appeared before you
  • that you took every reasonable step to verify their identity as provided by your state’s notary law
  • the signature you notarized is genuine and belongs to the person who claims to own it.

Keeping up Pt IV. - Conducting Your Notary Business Ethically

Whether you are an experienced Notary, a first time commission holder, or simply serve as the Notary for your workplace, you can expect your signers and coworkers to see you as the go-to expert on notarization. Therefore you have an obligation to conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the office you hold. Upholding your state’s notary laws and conforming to professional notary standards will help you remain an ethical and responsible notary throughout your career.

 

Act With Total Impartiality

Notary laws provide certain prohibitions against conflicts of interest. The aim of these laws is to protect the public by ensuring the Notary remains an unbiased, disinterested party who stands between the signer and anyone who would defraud that signer. Best practices for remaining neutral and avoiding conflicts of interest include the following:

  • Never notarize for a family member- While some states specify that you may not notarize for a relative, or any person related by blood or marriage, select others are silent on this issue. Generally, a notary should refrain from notarizing for family members, to avoid any questions about impartiality.
  • Don’t notarize if you’re a party to the transaction- If you are connected to the transaction, or if you stand to gain from the transaction, you cannot be neutral.
  • Don’t notarize if you have a financial interest-Financial interest” is present when the notary will receive any financial benefit that is contingent upon completion of the transaction. This benefit does not include the fee for notarial service or your salary as an employee. 

 

Ethical Conduct

Most business professionals and public officers have codes of conduct that they must adhere to. This is no different for notaries. Here are three fundamental principles of ethical Notary Conduct:

1. Observe Client Confidentiality.

By observing client confidentiality, a Notary will never divulge the contents of any document nor the facts of any transaction. They will not use the information for their own benefit or as a source of gossip.

2. Avoid discrimination among customers.

Ethical notaries treat each individual fairly and equally, with kindness and respect. The United States Constitution strictly prohibits discrimination of any kind. It goes without saying that you may not discriminate in performing notarizations for your customers

3. Advertise your notary services properly.

Advertising is an active way to increase your business. Be aware, however, that many states have specific restrictions on advertising Notary services. You must never translate the words, “Notary Public,” from English into any other language. The term, “Notario Publico,” may be very misleading to persons from foreign countries where “notarios” have considerably more powers that U.S. Notaries Public. Additionally, if you are not an attorney and you advertise in another language, you should specify that you are not an attorney, cannot give legal advice nor can you charge fees for legal services. Producing misleading advertisements or violating these restrictions could lead to sanctions such as the loss of your notary commission.

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