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e-Notary Recommendation Wanted

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Hey full-timing friends!

My husband and I are registered Texans and need an e-notary for our estate planning docs. I've never done an online notarization and have no idea who to use (there are tons!). If anyone out there has a service they used and liked, I would love to hear about it. Thanks!

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I'm commenting here not because I know of one but because I never even knew such a thing existed. I thought the purpose of a notary was so you could appear before someone and they could check your IDs and then certify your signature. I'm intrigued and need to do some research it seems.

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Oh yes they really do exist. I didn't know about them either until COVID. Apparently the rules for notarized docs have been relaxed because of the pandemic, and e-notaries have popped up all over. Apparently Texas was the first state to legalize it, you just have to participate via video conference with one of these vendors. 

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I think that I would want to be sure that such is acceptable in the state and for the purpose you have in mind before relying on it. I know that laws about notaries very quite a bit from one state to the next.

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We went to a local bank, with which we had not done any banking, and someone there notarized a document for us. Pre Covid-19 though.

Linda

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Thanks. Yeah our problem is that estate planning docs have to be signed by a notary in the state of which you are residing (at least in Texas, anyways). We aren't in TX right now, thus the need for an e-notary.

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Go online to c2csignings.com and you should be able to arrange for a remote signing through them.  I'm a Realtor as well as a notary licensed in MN and we're using online/remote notarizations more & more IN STATES WHERE IT IS ACCEPTED.  If someone provides you with a valid form of identification and you view it/them online it's no different from them sitting at a table with you. 

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1 hour ago, dogyard said:

Go online to c2csignings.com and you should be able to arrange for a remote signing through them.  I'm a Realtor as well as a notary licensed in MN and we're using online/remote notarizations more & more IN STATES WHERE IT IS ACCEPTED.  If someone provides you with a valid form of identification and you view it/them online it's no different from them sitting at a table with you. 

Just curious; how does the e-notary sign and stamp the document?

Linda

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13 hours ago, sandsys said:

Just curious; how does the e-notary sign and stamp the document?

Linda

How to get something notarized

This has been an educational thread for me too. I guess that I had never considered that such might exist, probably because I have not had need of one. I also found that 36 states have legal provision for enotary services, including Texas. 

Edited by Kirk W

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7 hours ago, Kirk W said:

How to get something notarized

This has been an educational thread for me too. I guess that I had never considered that such might exist, probably because I have not had need of one. I also found that 36 states have legal provision for enotary services, including Texas. 

That was interesting but it didn't answer my question. There must be something in the software they are not explaining. I hope. Because I still don't see how the notary signs and stamps the document.

Linda

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In Texas, wills don't have to be notarized to be valid.  But if a Texas will includes a self-proving affidavit, that affidavit does have to be notarized.

There are different types of notarization.  The kind you get at a UPS store is just the notary verifying the identity of the person signing the document.  The self-proving affidavit in a will requires more than that, including witnesses who also sign the will and swear to certain facts. 

When a lawyer prepares a will, the fee should include the lawyer supervising the will execution ceremony, to ensure that the required formalities are done correctly.  The lawyer will also provide witnesses and a notary.  I'd check with the lawyer who wrote the will and find out what the lawyer suggests for having the wills executed if you're not currently in Texas.  It's not the same as going to the UPS store and showing your driver's license and signing a document.

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1 hour ago, Blues said:

When a lawyer prepares a will, the fee should include the lawyer supervising the will execution ceremony, to ensure that the required formalities are done correctly.  The lawyer will also provide witnesses and a notary.  I'd check with the lawyer who wrote the will and find out what the lawyer suggests for having the wills executed if you're not currently in Texas.  It's not the same as going to the UPS store and showing your driver's license and signing a document.

Oh this is helpful, thank you so much for the details. 

Since we used WillMaker software to do the wills, I'll double check on the self-proving affidavit component (I don't think ours required one).

Thanks a bunch.

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In Minnesota our self-proving affidavit required two witnesses in addition to the notary but all they had to do before signing was see our IDs to prove we are who signed. The witnesses did have to list their addresses which concerned one witness who was about to move. Since she works where we live we decided that was not a problem.

Linda Sand

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On 9/18/2020 at 4:54 PM, sandsys said:

In Minnesota our self-proving affidavit required two witnesses in addition to the notary but all they had to do before signing was see our IDs to prove we are who signed.

If you read the Minnesota self-proving affidavit, you'll see that the witnesses have to be sworn in and make declarations to the notary.  It's more than the notary just verifying the identity of a person signing his name, like on real estate documents. 

(Note that laws about self-proving affidavits vary depending on the state; they work as designed in some states, they have no effect in some states, and they don't accomplish anything unique in some states.)

 

On 9/18/2020 at 3:02 PM, LiveWorkDream said:

Since we used WillMaker software to do the wills, I'll double check on the self-proving affidavit component (I don't think ours required one).

Yikes.  Texas wills don't need a self-proving affidavit to be valid (if they otherwise meet the statutory requirements for a valid will), but a properly executed self-proving affidavit will make the probate process much easier (the main benefit), and might provide some evidence about the testator's mental capability if someone challenges the will (depending on the circumstances).

I'm not familiar with software used to write wills, but I've seen some of the effects.  Like a couple of grandkids being handed hundreds of thousands of dollars on their 18th birthday because their grandfather included them as beneficiaries in his will when they were minors, without setting up trusts for the bequests.  Did he intend to do that (most people would not), or did he just not realize that's what would happen?  We'll never know, but if a lawyer had written the will, we could be pretty sure that grandpa had been warned about how outright bequests to minors work, and he chose to do it anyway. 

But don't think it's just moneyed folks who have problems.  I have a friend whose family was almost torn apart over a washer/dryer that still had payments owed on it.

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2 hours ago, Blues said:

If you read the Minnesota self-proving affidavit, you'll see that the witnesses have to be sworn in and make declarations to the notary.  It's more than the notary just verifying the identity of a person signing his name, like on real estate documents. 

Since our notary and both witnesses work for our apartment complex, they may well have done something like that before we showed up so I missed that part.

Linda

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On 9/20/2020 at 1:56 PM, sandsys said:

Since our notary and both witnesses work for our apartment complex, they may well have done something like that before we showed up so I missed that part.

There shouldn't be anything relating to the signing of the documents taking place outside the will execution ceremony.  There's a reason lawyers supervise the execution ceremony for wills they prepare.  As I said, it's more than just signing one's name to a document.

In fact, this FAQ on notaries by the Minnesota Secretary of State addresses notarizing wills in particular:

Quote

Can I notarize a will?
The Notary should not proceed in notarizing a will unless clear instructions and notarial wording are provided, ideally by an attorney. Wills are such sensitive and important documents that there are certain dangers for Notaries involved with them. Some holographic (handwritten) wills may be invalidated by notarization. And Notaries who make the mistake of helping prepare a will may be sued by would-be or dissatisfied heirs. Often, misguided individuals will prepare their own wills and bring them to Notaries to have them "legalized." They will depend on the Notaries to know what kind of notarial act is appropriate. Of course, Notaries have no authority to offer such advice. And, whether notarized or not, these supposed "wills" may be worthless. In many states, notarization of a will is rarely done and is unnecessary if other witnessing procedures are used. In other states, wills don't need to be notarized at all. Often, it is not the signature of the testator or testatrix (maker of the will) that must be notarized, but the signatures of witnesses on affidavits appended to the will.

 

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