Notary Goes to Jail and Gets a Surprise

Nov 11, 2019


Hi this is Laura with and owner of At Your Service Mobile Notary.

Today, I want to talk to you about being a notary.

As the notary, I serve the public. But what makes me a little more special than other notaries, is that I serve my clients whenever and wherever they need me!

As a traditional notary, you usually go to a bank or to a shipping center (during business hours), to take care of their document. With me, I'll go to my clients after hours, on Sunday, I'll meet them wherever it's convenient for them. Now, that could be the mall, their home, their office, it might be a hospital, or it might even mean that I go to jail!

Yeah, I do go to jail, usually a couple times a week. It's a good thing they let me out!

Being mobile gives me some extra ability to serve the public.

You might ask, "what is it that they would need notarized in jail? Well, they might need documents notarized - like a quit claim deed or it might be a permission to for their children to travel . They are unable to appear for a passport for a minor or it could be they are unable to appear to get a marriage license. It could also be a power of attorney for a family member or an affidavit for their attorney. It can even be a tow yard letter that needs to be notarized, so a family member on the outside can get their vehicle out of the tow yard for them.

These are all common documents that need to be notarized -- so I go to jail to notarize them.

But who might ask me to go to the jail? I don't get called by the inmate. I get called by an outside family member, their attorney, or another  professional for some other reason. 

In this case, I'm going to tell you about a real estate agent who asked me to go and  notarize real estate documents in the jail.

This was a seller's package. A seller's package is a group of documents that facilitate the close or sale of a property. The real estate agent meets with me and tells me what he needs.  I say, fine, I'll go take care of it and I go to the jail and wait my 45 minutes. 

I'm taken into an interview room where I'm left with the inmate and I take care of conducting that assignment.

But this guy had a surprise for me! He had his own document, which he had handwritten before I got there. He signed it and had it witnessed and he wanted me to notarize that document.

Now, understand that I bring in the minimum amount of documents to the jail, my journal, my thumbprint or one pen, just the minimum I need to get this job done. I did not have any extra certificates and I did not expect him to have a document. So I'm thinking, "what am I going to do now?"

So, on the bottom third of the paper where there was blank space, I hand wrote out a California certificate. All of it - starting with the box, all the language and then left space to sign and stamp my name!

I got it notarized for him! Took me a little extra time, but hey, sometimes you do what you gotta do.

It's perfectly legal to have a handwritten certificate. The law does not require it to be pre-formatted or pre-typed. So I got that done. I go through the documents, everything seems good -- until I get to the last one. It's a seller's affidavit.

Well, you know, that requires a Jurat, and a Jurat requires an oath. So I asked him, I need you to raise your right hand. I need you to swear that you're going to be truthful to me about this document. He's raises his hand, I raise my hand, and we're eye to eye. And I say, "do you swear that the statements in your document are truthful?" He's looking at me and I'm looking at him and we both smile, trying not to laugh because seriously, where is he?

If he lies to me - he gets locked up! Been there. He's there now! So it was just one of those wild moments. It was at the end of the assignment. And I got it done.

When I took the completed documents back to the real estate agent he was so happy - he'd been sweating bullets. All the other parties had signed and they just needed this guy's signature. But the jail system would not allow the real estate agent in. They said, "No, no, no. Only a notary or an attorney can have a professional visit".  So he needed to find a notary who not only understood real estate documents but was willing to go to the jail to get it done. Thank goodness he found me. I was his hero and I saved the day.

I tell ya, I love my job.

Now, I don't know what my next assignment will be when I go to jail, but I'm sure it'll be an interesting one.

In the meantime, I thank you for listening - and I hope you'll tune in next time.

Until next time.

- Laura





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