Is a Notarization Just a Notary Stamp on the Document?
Wouldn’t that be simple, having a notary just stamp your document that requires notarization? Some calls I receive people say, “I just need a notary to stamp my document.” A couple of days ago, I received a crisis call for grant deeds that were notarized incorrectly. Several properties were involved in the transaction. The buyer flew out from the Midwest to meet with the seller here on the San Francisco Peninsula to complete the transaction. The seller was a client of a well known national bank, so they decided to have one of the national bank’s notaries notarize the grant deeds. The buyer flew back home thinking the transaction was complete.
The County Recorder office returned the grant deeds to the seller, since they were notarized incorrectly. Both parties were unhappy. The seller said, “My whole trip out there was a waste. The reason I flew out there was to notarize the grant deeds and they were done incorrectly….”
The seller was leaving the country for over two months, so the buyer needed the notarizations of the grant deeds completed ASAP.
You may be wondering how were the grant deed notarizations executed incorrectly? (“You mean it’s not just a notary stamp on them?”)
1) The notary added the buyer’s name as a signer and notarized him on each grant deed. With grant deeds, only the seller (grantor) signs it and is notarized.
2) The grant deed had an outdated notary acknowledgement. The notary law for this matter changed a couple of years ago.
3) Write in changes were made on the grant deed and were not initialed by the seller. This deters fraud. Otherwise, someone can make changes after the seller signs without the seller’s knowledge.
4) The notary didn’t log the grant deeds in the Notary Journal. This is important for both the buyer and seller, as it is proof the notarizations occurred. If they ever needed a copy of the journal line item, they would not have it. The notary law changed a couple of years ago, requiring each notarization have its own journal entry.
I met with the seller to notarize all of the grant deeds. After we finished, he left for the airport for his trip. Both the seller and buyer were relieved to have the grant deeds notarized correctly before the seller left.
Just stamping your document with their notary stamp is far from what a professional notary public provides to you. When you are in need of a notary public, be sure to choose a professional notary public. They are up-to-date on the notary laws, provide knowledge, experience and deter fraud to make your notary transaction smooth.
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