Friday, July 2, 2010

“It’s not legal if the date is different!”

Yesterday, a contract was returned to the office where I work due to a “notary error”. The sender said it was not “legal” because the acknowledgment date was different that the signing date. I heard my co-worker (my dear friend, Jane) say on the phone, “Well, our notary is a writer for a notary association and she really does know what she is doing.” I was touched by that, but in this case, me being right is certainly not as important as the contract getting signed to the sender’s satisfaction.

I was headed out for lunch and told Jane that there was no need to argue about it. Just send it back and we would re-sign and I would notarize again on THAT date so that the two dates would be the same.

My co-workers know that I write articles for the American Association of Notaries. They know that I pride myself in understanding Texas notary law. My “real” job is naturally ultra-important, but writing notary articles for the AAN is what I get up for before 5:00 a.m. each morning and is what I love. I went home and got my American Association of Notaries’ handbook so I could show my co-workers that an acknowledgment date did not have to be the same date as the date of the contract, or the date that the document was signed.

When I returned to the office, I explained that an affidavit’s certificate, the jurat, would need to show the same date as the signing of the document, but an acknowledgment did not. A document may be signed on January 5, 2010, yet be acknowledged before the notary on December 5, 2010, or even on a date in 2011. In the case of this particular contract, the contract was signed around three days before the signer (my boss) acknowledged the document before me, the notary. When it showed up on my desk, I took the document and went into her office; then, I went through the verbal acknowledgment ceremony, completed the journal work, and then notarized the document.

Jane told me that when she called to follow up with the sender of the rejected contract, she (Jane) was put on speaker phone. Then, the sender/rejecter announced to a roomful of key players on the other end of the conversation that she was a notary and she knew it was incorrect…that the other notary (me) was wrong and didn’t know what she was doing. (I’m sorry you had to go through that, Jane!)

I don’t argue my position where it does not matter. If someone such as this sender/rejecter/notary wants something different, and it is legal for me to do, then I do it. The way this will be handled is that I will assure that the boss signs and I notarize on the same date. The notary expert on the other end gets to be “right”…this time.

1 comment:

  1. There are certain basics that every notary should know from the very beginning. One of those basics is understanding the difference between an acknowledgment and a jurat. Among other things, a jurat has to be signed in front of the notary, an acknowledgment does not. It just has to be, um, ACKNOWLEDGED in front of the notary (cool how the name makes sense). I've never put any actual thought into the dates not matching, but it's just so obvious that the dates wouldn't have to match. So of course you are 100% correct and she is loudly and proudly and boldly 100% not so correct.