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October Poll Results: Best Practices Help Resolve Notarization Complaints

Though nearly 40 percent of Notaries who took our October 2010 poll said they’d had their work questioned or rejected at some point, many reported simple solutions such as keeping detailed journal records were enough to fix the problem.

Clayton Dixon of Tustin, California, was sued by a signer claiming his signature was forged on a real estate document Dixon notarized. But Dixon kept a record book that included the signer’s thumbprint. Once attorneys confirmed that the print in Dixon’s entry matched the signer’s, Dixon was dropped from the suit.

Eighteen percent of respondents reported they had an official act questioned due to an unclear seal impression. Several said they were able to resolve the problem by affixing a second, clear impression close to the first one, taking care not to cover any text or printing on the document.

Errors in notarial certificates were less common among survey participants (7 percent of all problems listed), but some Notaries surveyed said they were more challenging to fix. Nancy Recek of Yucaipa, California, who manages an escrow company, says she often receives documents notarized out of state with certificate errors, resulting in rejection by a county recorder. To solve the problem, she said she has to send out new documents to be notarized, which in some cases adds additional costs to clients.

Sometimes, a receiving agency rejects a document even when the Notary follows proper procedure. Kathy Fletcher of Glendale, Arizona, recently had a document rejected by a receiving agency because she corrected an error in the certificate venue. Eventually, the agency later accepted a new document that was prepared with the correct venue. Fletcher reminded other Notaries that if an error is discovered in notarial wording, the Notary must correct the error before completing the notarization.

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