The State of Florida requires notaries to purchase a notary bond. A notary bond is a surety bond that protects the public against any wrongdoing on the part of a notary. The notary bond will compensate an individual harmed as a result of errors or mistakes performed by a Florida notary.
The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act (GLBA) was enacted by Congress to protect consumers' sensitive private information. To comply with this law and the Interagency Guidelines that have been set, the mortgage industry has begun to require background screening for all persons — including Notary Signing Agents — involved in the lending process who have access to borrowers' private financial information
What was the value of your last closing? A fraction of the payout could be devastating. Lawsuits involving loan closings and notaries are rapidly increasing, and the notaries involved in these transactions are paying the price.
A notary signing agent completed a loan closing and was responsible for returning the documents via expedited mail. However, the notary accidentally threw away the wrong envelope and the documents were never sent.
A signing agent completed a closing, put the document in the mail, and completed all required assignments. However, the title company never received the documents and accused the signing agent of never sending them and delaying the closing.
A mortgage lender sued a signing agent for failing to provide customers with copies of documents, which resulted in a change in rescission date.
All signing agents were held liable for damages in the above examples. Traditional notary errors & omissions insurance does not protect you in these cases - only signing agent errors & omissions insurance can.
Don’t put yourself at risk! Make sure you are performing your notarizations as a Florida notary public correctly and with confidence. Below are the steps for performing a lawful notarization in the state of Florida.
1. Require physical presence of the document signer. NEVER make an exception!
2. Identify the signer, either through your personal acquaintance of the individual or some type of satisfactory evidence, such as a valid driver’s license, passport or another form of acceptable identification listed in the Florida notary law.
3. Examine the document to ensure it is complete – no blanks or missing pages – and contains a properly formatted notarial certificate. The document date should be earlier or the same day as the notarization, never later.
4. Enter the transaction into your record book. Although Florida notarial law does not require it, the Governor’s Office recommends you keep an official record of all your notarial acts.
5. Perform the notarization ceremony. You must communicate verbally with the signer to perform the notarial act. The document must be signed in the notary’s presence if the notarial act is an oath.
6. Complete the notarial certificate. Make sure the information is correct and complete. Do not forget to sign and seal the certificate.
Notarial terminology and phrases can get confusing especially for a first-time notary. To make it easier for notaries joining the business and a refresher for the veteran notaries, we have created a list of terms and their definitions.
Notarize a signature: common phrase in the notary business although it often gets misconstrued. Notaries do not witness signatures, but administer an oath, affirmation, or take an acknowledgement.
Notarize a document: another common phrase that is often interpreted wrong. The act of notarizing is actually for the person not the document.
**although both of these phrases are not technically correct it is okay to use them as long as you and your client know what they mean.
Notarial Certificate: The paragraph following the person’s signature. It includes the notaries name, the venue, and a sworn statement. It is not the act but a record of the act.
Oath: a pledge made by a person signifying he or she is responsible for telling the truth. It can be oral or written.
Affirmation: in lace of an oath because of a religious objection or not religious at all. Just like an oath, it can be oral or written and has the same legal impact as an oath.
**If an oath or affirmation is false it is an act of perjury which is punishable by the law.
Acknowledgment: declaration that the person has signed the document voluntarily.
Of course, everyone gets confused from time to time, so if you feel you need a refresher or are still confused, look into the Florida Education Course, contact our Customer Care line, or re-visit your Florida Notary Handbook.
You finally hand in your resignation.
You start your new job Monday and can’t wait.
As you gather up your belongings, you notice your notary seal and record book, you go to grab them and a coworker chastises you for taking company property.
Maybe put the company stapler back (as we know from the movie, Two Weeks Notice, that can cause problems), but the seal and record book are all yours. Even if your previous employer paid for them—you are commissioned under the state of Florida, not the company. An employer cannot cancel your commission once you leave their office– you are commissioned by the state. Only the state of Florida can relieve you of your notary duties or you can submit your resignation.
Furthermore, when you are employed and your company commissions you as a notary, you are free to complete notarial acts after business hours, and any acts completed not on company time for fees are yours to keep. You are your employer’s notary during your normal working hours, though, so your employer does have the right to limit your customers during that time—but once again, after you are off of work, you can complete as many notarial acts as you wish.
So ignore the coworker and grab your notary seal!