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Notary Bulletin

Dispelling Common Misconceptions

misconception.jpgLike many service-oriented careers, the proper role and responsibilities of a Notary can be confusing to signers or others that rely on them. While some misconceptions are easily dispelled or dismissed, others can become downright dangerous if not corrected. Here are a few common myths and the truths behind them.

MythBeing a Notary isn't a "real" career.
Truth: When a stranger behind a desk told mobile NotaryLa Sheenlaruba Tyacke that a notarization "can be done by the banks" and that being a Notary "isn't a real career," Tyacke had a bone to pick. Many Notary professionals have made lucrative, full-time careers for themselves. Some have built their businesses by working with other Notaries to create signing companies covering multiple zip codes, or have found innovative ways to expand their offerings and supplement their incomes such as becoming a virtual assistantconducting field inspections or serving court documents.

MythIf the title company is late in getting you paid, you can approach the borrower directly for payment.
Truth: Awaiting payment can be one of the most frustrating parts of the job, but going after borrowers can get you in hot water because they're generally not the ones who hired you. The entity responsible for paying you is the one that offered you the job, generally a title company or signing service. Asking a borrower to pay loan signing fees may violate the federal Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), which prohibits certain service providers, such as mobile Notaries, from charging unlawful fees, and the signing fee is usually included in the closing costs.

MythA Notary bond is the same thing as Errors & Omissions insurance.
Truth: Don't make the mistake of thinking that a state-mandated bond provides you personal protection from liability costs. A surety bond is designed to protect the public in the case of a Notary error, not the Notary. The best way to protect yourself is by carrying an active Errors & Omissions policy, designed to protect the Notary in the case of an honest mistake or false claim. In fact, many employers require their mobile Notaries to carry E&O insurance. If a claim is made against you, the E&O policy typically pays legal fees and losses up to the policy limit. Unlike a surety bond, any costs incurred by an E&O claim do not need to be reimbursed by the policy holder.

Kelle Clarke is a Contributing Editor with the National Notary Association.

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