Good morning. This is Laura with CoachmeLaura.com and At Your Service Mobile Notary.
Today I want to talk to you about one particular topic called ‘Success is in the Details.’ The specific area of detail I’d like to talk about today is identification of the signer.
I took care of a loan signing appointment this last weekend and it should have been easy peasy. No problem. It was close to my house. It was a small refinance package – it all looked good. The problem I had, when I got there, is that the ID he handed me, although it was valid and on my list of IDs, did not have all the requirements for that card to be acceptable for notarization. Now I have to say this guy was shocked. He was upset because he purchased his house using that card, and any refinancing as well.
And now here I am, the third notary to come along and I’m telling him no, it wasn’t a valid ID to begin with for notarization. And he’s probably thinking, well, ‘who’s telling me the truth? The first two notaries or this one?’ Of course, I let him know my credentials and that I teach notary law in the State of California, and I’m confident about what I’m telling him! I went through the alternatives.
His driver’s license was expired, issued more than five years ago and he was waiting on the renewal. So that’s why he was using the military ID. And you know what, here’s what’s disconcerting for me, and something that I hear frequently. Not only do I experience it where a card that’s on the secondary list, and I am addressing California at the moment, is on the list, and the notary stops and says, ‘okay, it’s on my list, I’m good to go.’
And what the notary is NOT doing is they’re NOT verifying the four elements. There are four that need to be on that card in that secondary list. And that includes a photograph, a physical description, a signature, and a serial number. All four must be present for that secondary list to be utilized. So the most common issue that we have with cards on that secondary list that don’t meet the requirements are the military ID – because there are several formats. The retirement card and the dependent card have all four elements. However, the active military card and the common access military card do not. They are missing one or more of the elements, so we cannot be using those for identification. Now in California, particularly every notary has to take a six hour course. Every notary has to pass a state exam and yet I still come across where they’re not using the appropriate ID.
So I encourage you, please, please, if you don’t know the complete list of IDs and the four requirements, take it out of page (I think it’s eight) out of your handbook! Tear it out or copy it – paste it on the inside of your journal. And that way when they’re not using the most common, which is California driver’s license and non-drivers ID or the passport – those don’t have any other requirements. But then now you’re looking at a secondary list. And in that secondary list, please check that it has all four elements, not only for the signing that you are taking care of, but for future signings or future notarizations. This signer will become educated about what they need to have for a successful notarization. You know, identification is the single most important thing that we do in the notarization process. There are two things that can go wrong that overturn a notarization quick – and one is I didn’t identify them properly – because I’m certifying that the right guy signed the document.
So what if you don’t happen to have your handbook? If you have hotline service through the national notary association, call them. They are open Monday through Friday, 5:00 AM in the morning till 7:00 PM at night, and Saturdays 5:00 AM to 5:00 PM. If you don’t have that, maybe you have a law primer and that would have all the IDs in it.
If you need a handbook, see if there’s any 2018 – actually you can download it now that I think about it, you can download it right off the Secretary of State’s website. And that’s sos.ca.gov and then you’ll pick notary as the icon and then handbooks. And they have the previous handbooks there. There were no law changes in 2020 – so they don’t have any new 2020’s yet. Probably by March, those will be available. But keep using the 2019 because all of that information is valid.
And do you know what my signers love? When I can pull out my handbook and say, here it is right here in the law. This is telling me why I can or can not use an ID that you’re giving me.
If you want any followup help, I do have coaching videos called the “Laura Biewer Presents” replay video library. It’s on my website at CoachMeLaura.com – on the notary resources page.
Until next time,