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Living Trusts And Mentors: How One Notary Found A New Way To Make Money

Shelly-Kitchen-resized.jpgWhen Fresno signing agent and business owner Shelly Kitchen saw her loan signing assignments go from 25 to 35 a week to about 10 a month, she wasn’t surprised — it’s a reality of the cyclical mortgage industry, after all. Still, she knew she had to find ways to diversify her Notary business in order to keep afloat. That’s when she discovered the value of having relationships with other Notaries in her area.

Looking for some guidance, she turned to colleague Laura Biewer, who introduced her to a lucrative revenue stream notarizing living trusts and referred her to a company that hires Notaries for these assignments.

A living trust is a legal estate-planning document detailing exactly what the grantor wants done with his estate, assets, healthcare and legal affairs, both after, and in some cases, during, his lifetime, should he become incapacitated.

Living trust signing appointments typically take two to three hours — longer than most loan signings by a couple hours — and can include heaps of paperwork.

The company Kitchen was referred to provided her comprehensive over-the-phone training and scripts to follow. She also studied sample trusts and accompanied Biewer on signings to see how they were done. “Mistakes might not be discovered for years, and might come back to bite you,” says Kitchen, who triple-checks every document.

“I remind signers of everything they will need when first making the appointment, then I call them on the day of the appointment to remind them again,” says Kitchen, explaining that elderly signers can sometimes require extra time and patience.

Ensuring signers are aware of what they are signing is paramount when it comes to end-of-life documents or those requiring powers of attorney. That sometimes means speaking a little slower and a little louder, should elderly signers require it.

“Talking about death is comfortable for me,” says Kitchen, who often draws upon her past job experience as a funeral arrangement planner. “I tell my signers that this is the time when you want to discuss these issues, when you are healthy and happy.”

“Whether you are delivering a loan document or a living trust, the experience should be a happy one,” says Kitchen, whose humor and positive attitude have helped her build lasting client relationships. “They’ve generally already talked to the lawyers or bankers and have done all the hard work. I’m just the final step in the process. Why not make it a happy one?”

Kitchen’s ample training, attention to detail, and overall positive attitude — along with the helpful nudge from Laura Biewer — have all helped her to expand her long-standing Notary business. “I sent Laura a thank you gift,” says Kitchen, who continues to pay it forward by mentoring others in the field.

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


Add your comment

26 Jun 2014

I would like to know more about this income opportunity. Please forward me the information to my email Thank you

Ingrid LeMasters

10 Jul 2014

It's great that you've found a way to help people with this. Because of some recent situations, I've started reminding (urging) people to consider doing their trusts. Shelley is part of a really important process.

Genevieve Nieto

11 Jul 2014

I really would like information regarding not notarizing trust, living trust, etc. Sincerely

National Notary Association

14 Jul 2014

Hello Genevieve! We'd be happy to answer any specific questions about notarizing living trusts you'd like to ask. You can contact our Hotline team at 888-876-6827 or for assistance. If you have any questions regarding the article itself, please email us at Thanks for your interest and have a great day.

Debbie Anderson

15 Jul 2014

I would also like to learn more about this area. Any information you can provide would be helpful.

Pauline A Fernandez

24 Jul 2014

Hi, Shelley, I would like to have more information on the business of signing Living Trusts. I have often been asked about this but didn't know who to ask. I also Live in the Fresno/Clovis area. C: 559-360-4940. Ques: should I change my E-mail address to fit my notary business?

Teresa Villanueva

29 Jul 2014

please send me information on how to get started

National Notary Association

30 Jul 2014

Hi Teresa. We'll be happy to forward your information to Laura and ask if she can get in touch and help you with your questions. Please email your contact information to us at and we'll forward it to Laura. Thanks and have a great day.

Audrey Newson

31 Jul 2014

I too, would like to receive more information on notarizing living trust income opportunity. Please forward info to my email at Thanks!


31 Jul 2014

Hi. I have never notarized a Living Trust before and have an appointment for one in 2 days. Ive been doing alot of research on them, but still some of my questions were not answered. After reading your Bulletin, and seeing that it may take upto 3 hours, I am really nervous!! I had no Idea it would take that long. Why does it take that long? I think I will refer them to a more experienced notary.

Tim Bodle

04 Aug 2014

That was a good article on Living Trusts and Mentors. Please send me more information on how to get started and what else to read. Many thanks!

National Notary Association

04 Aug 2014

Hello Mr. Bodle, Thanks, we're glad you found the article helpful! If you'd like to contact Laura Biewer or Shelly Kitchen, please email your contact information to and we'll let them know you are interested in getting in touch.

Juanita Chirikas

11 Aug 2014

Please send me more info on notarizing living trust & trust income opportunities. Thank you

Linda J. Panzo

12 Aug 2014

I too would like more information regarding this income opportunity. TIA

National Notary Association

18 Aug 2014

Thank you to everyone who contacted us regarding this article! We're glad you found it interesting and helpful. We received so many queries about this that Laura and Shelly have been flooded with messages! At this time, the company that Laura and Shelly work with in CA is not looking for new Notaries. However, Laura suggests that any Notaries that are interested in working with living trusts can get started by contacting estate planning attorneys in their area to see if they need mobile Notary for their clients. Best of luck to everyone who contacted us!

National Notary Association

18 Aug 2014

To all of our readers who have contacted Laura and Shelly asking for more information about working with living trusts, thank you for contacting us regarding this article! We're glad you found it interesting and helpful. We received so many queries about this that Laura and Shelly have been flooded with messages, so I’m helping them answer queries on this topic. Unfortunately, at this time, the company that Laura and Shelly work with in California is not seeking any new Notaries. However, Laura suggests that Notaries can get started by contacting estate planning attorneys in your area to see if they need mobile Notary for their clients. We wish you good luck with your search! Sincerely, David Thun Associate Editor, NNA

21 Aug 2014

I would like to learn more about the different job opportunities Please

National Notary Association

22 Aug 2014

Hello, In addition to the information in the article, here's a link to information on more possible alternate income avenues for Notaries:

Jackie Lynch

25 Aug 2014

Can you let us know how much these notarizations pay per living trusts? Thanks for the great information!

National Notary Association

26 Aug 2014

Hi Jackie! Fees will vary depending on the company that hires the Notary. Laura Biewer has suggested that you can get started by contacting estate planning attorneys in their area to see if they need mobile Notary services for their clients. Good luck!

Dmitriy Binyaminov

01 Sep 2014

Please sent me the link/article about how to properly notarize living trust

National Notary Association

03 Sep 2014

Hello Dmitriy, Here is a link to a related Hotline Tip on living trusts:

Laura whitney

25 Nov 2014

I would like any information you could send me please. I'm new notary and very eager to learning more.

National Notary Association

25 Nov 2014

Hi Laura! If you are interested in additional articles on building business as a Notary, more articles are available here: You can also read more about alternate income opportunities here: You may also wish to join our Notary General Discussion group on LinkedIn, where you can ask questions and have discussions with other Notaries from around the U.S. Link is here: Please contact us at if we can be of further assistance. Have a great Thanksgiving!

National Notary Association

17 Mar 2015

Hello Bonita! We have some articles with tips on building your Notary business here: I hope they are helpful to you. Best of luck with your business and please let us know if we can be of further help to you.

Bonita Palmer

17 Mar 2015

I too am brand new and want to maxamize and diversify my business. I will appreciate any and all advice you can provide. Tv

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