Dear Members,

Hello and welcome to the January/February/March 2018 edition of the INM newsletter. You’ll find a table of contents just below this introduction with links to each article.
Download this issue for printing: (PDF version)

Table of Contents

01. April 26, 2018! INM Annual Meeting and Educational Conference
02. INM President’s Message
03. Happy 25th Birthday INM!
04. Acknowledgement Act
05. Notaries and Marketing: Active Marketing for Success
06. Handling Certified Copies Of Public Records And Other Unusual Notary Requests
07. What is E-Signing?
08. How to Administer an Oath or Affirmation

09. How to Handle Name Discrepancies
10. Copying Borrower’s ID’s? Don’t do it.
11. The Unique world of Annuity, Debt Consolidation Loans, Reverse Mortgage Applications and Law Settlements, Signings
12. Welcome New Members

April 26, 2018! INM Annual Meeting and Educational Conference


Attention all Maine Notaries Public:

We are delighted to announce the location of this year’s Annual Meeting and Educational Conference! It is at a venue we have used in the past, with much success.

We will be at the Seasons Event Center at 155 Riverside Street, Portland. The Ramada Inn is attached to the venue and there will be rooms available (at a discounted rate!) for the night of April 25th, for those of you coming in from out of town.

We are finalizing our Agenda now and will be ready to take Registrations online, very soon. (Informed Notaries of Maine/).

This will be INM’s 25th Anniversary Annual Meeting and we are very excited. We have adjusted our prices a bit, to reflect even better opportunities to join INM at discounted rates, when attending the Annual Conference.

Although not set in stone as yet, the Conference topics being tossed around are:

  • E-Signings: Not Legal in Maine but………so many Questions about how it actually works!
  • Immigration Issues that a Notary May Encounter
  • How to Prepare an Appropriate Affidavit
  • INM Notary Public Review Course

Please let us know if there are topics that interest you and we will find a speaker! What we CAN promise you is a great day of worthwhile education to help you continue to practice safely as a Notary Public. MARK YOUR CALENDAR TODAY!!!!!

Gweneth E. Cole
INM Vice-President

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President’s Message


January 2018

As we work through the winter with lengthening daylight and our annual conference and meeting planning in full stride, we are again facing our greatest challenge: Recruiting new board members. Our board typically needs eight members to operate the association. Operation consists of planning and presenting several workshops throughout the year and culminating with the day-long annual meeting and conference. During the annual meeting, new members are elected to the board to staff the association for the coming year. This April, we have two members retiring from the board, leaving the board strength at five. Our need is to add at least three new board members to make the workload manageable for all board members.

When and how often does the board meet? Board members meet not less than six times each year, and not more than twelve. Our current schedule is to meet on the 4th Tuesday of each month from 6 PM to 7:30 PM to conduct business. Meetings are currently held at the Offices of R J Grondin & Sons, 11 Bartlett Road, Gorham. Attendance in person is encouraged, but where necessary, board members can attend via the internet using GoToMeeting.

What do board members do? As indicated above, the board organizes and carries out several educational workshops during the year, and plans the annual meeting and conference which takes place in April of each year. The membership director tracks and records membership applications and renewals. As part of the process, member e-mail addresses are collected and entered into a database used to e-mail newsletters and announcements. The treasurer reviews and reports financial results and balances to the board based on information provided by our bookkeeper who deposits monies received and pays our expenses as directed by the board and communicated by the Treasurer.   The Secretary records and distributes the minutes of the board meetings and the annual association meeting. The communication director collects the quarterly articles submitted and after organizing them submits them to our publisher who e-mails them to members. The IT committee updates the INM website with announcements of upcoming events and reports all issues to our website hosting company.

There are two projects we would like to carry out over the coming months: we are looking to upgrade the membership database to a more user-friendly format, and we are exploring the development of a series of self-directed on-line training courses which would extend the reach of our educational offerings to Maine Notaries over a wider geographic area and in greater numbers than we are able to service currently.

In order to carry this vision forward and continue to carry on the mission of INM, we will need INM members who believe in the mission of the association to step forward and volunteer to help carry the load. If you wish to join with us and make a difference to the education of our Maine Notaries Public, please contact us via e-mail to President@informednotariesofmaine.org or call and leave your contact information on our voicemail system at (207) 619-0806 and we will call to discuss your possible involvement. Be sure to indicate the best time to return your call. Thank you.

Warm regards,

Mike Richard, President
Informed Notaries of Maine

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Happy 25th Birthday INM!


The office of Notary Public was formally established in Maine in 1821. The Informed Notaries of Maine was formed in 1993 in response to the growing need for informed and educated notaries. Today, there are approximately 30,500 notaries in the state. INM’s mission is to facilitate the education of all these notaries.

History of the Informed Notaries of Maine Organization

Recognizing a growing need in the state for informed and educated notaries public, The Informed Notaries of Maine (INM) was founded in April of 1993.

At the urging of the Secretary of State and with the help of that office, a letter of interest was sent to a random group of commissioned notaries seeking a level of interest in the formation of such an organization, a small group of notaries responded.

Richard Billings, a retired Certified Life Underwriter for John Hancock Insurance Company worked with those notaries who volunteered to organize such a group. The initial meetings were held, a mission statement and bylaws were created, officers were named, and the organization began to function.

Geraldine Mountain, one of the five members at that first meeting, chose the name of the Association. She thought since the mission was to educate, the group should call themselves the “Informed Notaries” and that has been the name ever since.

There were five founding members who signed the original articles of incorporation. They were: Lester Carrow, Fred Robinson, Geraldine Mountain, Gary Smith and Richard Billings.

Lester Carrow was elected as the first President, Fred Robinson as the Vice President and Gary Smith was the Treasurer. Geraldine Mountain was the first paying member and has the designation of being member #1, and Richard Billings was hired as the first Executive Director. Mr Billings passed away on November 15, 2007 in Montville, Maine, at the age of 83.

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Acknowledgement Act


1013. Certificate of person taking acknowledgment The person taking an acknowledgment shall certify that: [1969, c. 364 (NEW).] 1. Appearance. The person acknowledging appeared before him and acknowledged he executed the instrument; and [1969, c. 364 (NEW).] 2. Person known. The person acknowledging was known to the person taking the acknowledgment or that the person taking the acknowledgment had satisfactory evidence that the person acknowledging was the person described in and who executed the instrument. [1969, c. 364 (NEW).] Section History: 1969, Ch. 364, § (NEW). §1014. Recognition of certificate of acknowledgment The form of a certificate of acknowledgment used by a person whose authority is recognized under section 1011 shall be accepted in this State if: [1969, c. 364 (NEW).] 1. Laws of the State. The certificate is in a form prescribed by the laws or regulations of this State; [1969, c. 364 (NEW).] 2. Laws of state where acknowledged. The certificate is in a form prescribed by the laws or regulations applicable in the place in which the acknowledgement is taken; or [1969, c. 364 (NEW).] 3. Certain words. The certificate contains the words “acknowledged before me,” or their substantial equivalent. [1969, c. 364 (NEW).] Section History: 1969, Ch. 364, § (NEW)

Here is an example of an Acknowledgement commonly found in real estate closings:


Formal declaration before a public official that one has signed, a document prior to recording real estate documents such as security instruments and deeds.

A Notary Public acknowledges the persons signature on the document and verifies the identity of the signer(s).

Most documents that require notarization contain the acknowledgement on the document itself, however there are times when it will be necessary for the notary to attach a separate acknowledgement to a document.

NOTARIAL Acknowledgement



The foregoing instrument acknowledged before me__________________________________Notary Public this date_____________________ by __________________________________________name of person acknowledged.

I certify under the penalty of perjury under the laws of the state of ___________________________

that the forgoing paragraph is true and correct.

Witness my hand and official seal


Notary Public

Description of Document in the Notarial Certificate

Type/Title _________________________

Date of Document_____________________

Number of pages _______________________

Additional Signers _________________________


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Notaries and Marketing: Active Marketing for Success


Whenever someone asks about getting more work as a notary, the first answer usually given is sign up with lots of companies. That’s a good first step, but it’s not the only thing you can do — and it is not enough if you want your business to be a success. Sure, repeat business and referrals from doing great work is wonderful — but that is hard to generate when you are new or times are slow and business is not repeating or referring

So, when you don’t have the referrals and the repeat business or when you need to grow your income by adding more assignments, what do you do? You have to engage in active marketing.

Many people don’t understand the difference between passive and active marketing. Signing up with one or more potential clients and having profiles on all the usual directory sites, even having a website that has great SEO — these are passive marketing. They depend on the customer to take the time to find you.

Back in the earlier years of the notary signing agent industry, passive was good enough.

Now, you need active marketing if you’re going to survive as an NSA. Simply signing up with potential clients is not enough; they will only call someone new if their old hands are busy OR if you’ve made yourself available to them when they have an assignment.

You make yourself available by active marketing. Go to the library and get some books on marketing a service business and how to prepare a marketing plan.

Studying marketing for service businesses and developing a marketing plan are the best things you can do if you want to move from working for lowball firms who pay slowly if at all and who will wear you out with their demands to working for good clients who pay well and on time with minimal issues. Study what the marketing experts say about passive and active marketing and develop a marketing plan for how you will do both. Those two steps will work wonders for you when you need more business or just want to keep the same level of income during times when overall work is slow.

I’m not saying to skip the passive marketing (the signing up and the having a website with good SEO results), what I’m saying is, it’s just not enough.

Researched and compiled by Marilyn Amoroso

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Handling Certified Copies of Public Records and Other Unusual Notary Requests


By David Thun on September 22, 2016 in Best Practices

Updated 9-25-17. Many Notaries have had a signer ask, “I need this birth certificate notarized. Can you do it?” But when it comes to notarizing birth certificates, marriage certificates and other public records, the answer isn’t simple. If you’re asked to notarize these documents, you first need to know these important facts.

Vital Records: Birth, Death And Marriage Certificates
Notaries are often asked if they can certify copies ​of birth, death or marriage certificates. As a general rule the answer is no because these documents are vital records — public records that cannot be certified by a Notary Public. In the United States, an original vital record is kept by the appropriate public record office, which is normally the only authority allowed to issue certified copies of the vital record. In fact, states including ArkansasColoradoConnecticutKansas and Texas explicitly prohibit Notaries from certifying copies of vital records though they permit certifying copies of other types of documents. California Notaries may only certify copies of powers of attorney, or copies of the Notary’s own journal entries if requested by the Secretary of State or a court.  

Can Copies Of “Recordable Documents” Be Copy Certified?
A trickier issue is certifying copies of recordable documents — that is, a document that may be filed with an official agency. Whether you may certify a copy of such a document depends on your state’s rules.

Some states, including Arizona and Texas, prohibit certifying copies of any recordable documents. Georgiaprohibits copy certification for publicly recordable documents, such as divorce decrees and university transcripts. Delaware goes a step further and prohibits its Notaries from certifying copies of any official or public records.

If your state prohibits certifying copies of recordable documents, it’s important to know it doesn’t matter whether the copy is actually going to be recorded or not — if the original document is potentially recordable at a public records office, you can’t certify the copy. 

Certifying Copies Of Driver’s Licenses, Passports And Other Forms Of ID
While not strictly public records, sometimes Notaries are asked to certify copies of official identification documents such as driver’s licenses or passports. Again, this depends on your state.

Florida and Massachusetts permit certifying copies of U.S. passports or driver’s licenses. Georgia allows copy certification ​of a U.S. passport but requires the passport holder to provide an affidavit. Texas officials have said that Texas Notaries may not certify a copy of a passport because it is a potentially recordable document (see above). Mississippi prohibits Notaries from certifying copies of driver’s licenses or passports unless the Notary is an employee of the government agency that issued the ID. And some states such as Illinois do not permit Notaries to certify copies of any documents. If you are asked to certify a copy of an unusual document and aren’t sure if it’s permissible, always check your state requirements first, or contact your state Notary regulating office. NNA members can also contact the Notary Hotline for assistance.

David Thun is an Associate Editor at the National Notary Association.

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What is E-Signing?


An e-signing is different from an e-notarization. E-signings are electronic loan signings where the notary visits the borrower’s home or meets the borrowers at a mutually agreeable location. The signer is present before the notary during an e-signing. Some or all of the documents in an e-signing are signed online while the remaining documents might be physical paper documents. The journal used in an e-signing would be a bound and sequential physical paper journal. e-notarizations are different from e-signings because the signer doesn’t actually appear before the notary in an e-notarization, and the journal in an e-notarization is electronic, and not physical. (Information cited from the internet.)


BY JOAN BERGSTROM; of Joan Bergstrom Mobile Notary

I had a call today from a signing company to do an e-signing for loan documents.

E-signing currently involve a lap top and a wireless Internet card.

Some of the loan docs are printed (by the notary-loan signer)  to be signed by borrower(s) and some are signed on the website provided by the lender to be signed by borrower(s). The notary goes to the borrowers home and uses a wireless card to get to the Internet.

The problem most loan signers are having is

1. This is more work not less; all borrowers copies must be printed and some of the loan documents the borrower(s) have to sign, have to printed.  Also you have to haul around a laptop to the home and try to connect to the Internet at their home/ or wherever the signing location is happening.

2.  The biggest problem is the companies don’t want to pay more money for these signings and a wireless card cost $50 per month with a 1-2 month commitment and there is also the cost of the laptop.

3. We will probably be doing these e-signings in a few years and it will be interesting to see what happens.

4. When edocs started in 2003 the companies paid $25 to us to print the docs and no one wants to pay extra for e-signings.


What is a E-Notarization

An e-notarization is a notary job done completely online. The signer would not actually come into contact with the notary. An online journal would be used to record the transaction as well. e-notarizations would never be used for deeds effecting real property since those are very critical and involve high dollar figures. An e-signing is different from an e-notarization. E-signings are electronic loan signings where the notary visits the borrower’s home or meets the borrowers at a mutually agreeable location. The signer would appear before the notary in an e-signing just as they would in any normal notarization. Some or all of the documents would be signed using a laptop with a wireless internet card. However, the actual journal used for an e-signing would be a regular physical journal, while an e-notarization would use an electronic journal.

( the above information cited from the internet)

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How to Administer an Oath or Affirmation


One of the most important duties of the Notary is to administer oaths and affirmations, which are solemn promises of truthfulness made by a signer, witness, or new office-holder.

An oath is a promise to a deity and an affirmation is a pledge on one’s personal honor. Both are legally binding promises to tell the truth and subject the oath-taker or affirmant to penalties for perjury.

Verbal oaths or affirmations may be notarial acts in their own right — as when “swearing in” a new public official — or they may be part of performing a jurat notarization for a signed document.

It is customary for the Notary to ask the oath-taker or affirmant to raise the right hand in a pledging gesture or to place it over one’s heart. Oaths and affirmations should be always be taken seriously by the Notary and the person being sworn or affirmed. (NNA article 2010)

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How to Handle Name Discrepencies

Occasionally, you the Notary will be asked to notarize a document whose signature differs from the name on the signer’s current identification document. This is not an unusual circumstance. People commonly change their names legally due to marriage, divorce or other reasons. Some also use casual or formal variations of their names in different circumstances.

In cases where the document name and ID name do not agree, the Notary must either: 1) determine if the difference is acceptable; 2) have the signer provide additional identification; or 3) have the signer sign by an “AKA” (“also known as”) process.

A discrepancy is acceptable if it follows the general rule of “less, not more.” In other words, the signature on the document can be less than the signature on the ID, but not more. For example, “Kevin J. White” is an acceptable signature on the document if the name on the ID is “Kevin James White.” But the opposite is not acceptable. Nor would “Jane K. Douglas-Smith” be an acceptable document signature if the name on the ID says “Jane K. Douglas.”

Supplemental IDs, as the name implies, may be used to support the primary ID and supply valuable additional information. Supplemental IDs alone, however, should never be the basis for identifying a stranger. A supplemental ID may or may not contain a photograph, but it usually has at least the bearer’s signature. Among the documents that can be used for supplemental ID are Social Security cards, credit cards or other IDs that are not allowed as a primary ID in your state. Another option is to use credible identifying witnesses who know the signer under the name written on the document.

With the AKA option, the individual signs the name as it appears on the ID, then writes “AKA” and signs the name as it is shown in the document. A Notary may not advise a signer to do this since the AKA process might not be acceptable to the receiving agency. The signer should inquire about the appropriateness of this solution.

If none of these solutions is satisfactory, then the Notary may have no choice but to refuse to perform the notarization. (NNA article 2011)

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Copying Borrower’s ID’s? Don’t Do It.


It is quite common for the Signing Company to request that the Notary Signing Agent collect a copy of two forms of ID from the client at a closing. I believe that some of us in the past have taken photos of the customer’s ID with our cell phone, however those cell phone photos leave footprints in your phone that are hard to erase, compromising client’s privacy. Recently I learned the act of copying or specifically taking a picture with your smart phone at a signing is no longer an acceptable practice. It is now preferable that during that initial call to the client, the notary ask the client to make a copy of their passport and driver’s license for them to include in the package that will be returned to the Signing Company. Because of privacy issues it is no longer lawful or acceptable for the notary to take a picture of client’s identification documents with a cell phone. So then, what do you do if the client/borrower doesn’t have a copy ready for you at the closing? Ask them to take a copy of their identification with their cell phone at present, and watch as they email the copy to the signing agent themselves at the time of their appointment.

I find that most people don’t have a problem with either option. But in the event that you meet any resistance please call the signing company about the issue and ask them how they want you to proceed.

Would you like to share your notary experiences? We would love to hear about them..

Drop us a note at:- INM, PO Box 707, Auburn, ME 04212

Compiled by Marilyn Amoroso

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The Unique World of Annuity, Debt Consolidation Loans, Reverse Mortgage Applications and Law Settlements, Signings


Notaries sometimes NEVER know what they are walking into when they are called to witness an Annuity, Debt Consolidation Loan, Reverse Mortgage Application or Law Settlement Signing.

Some Annuity signings may request that you act as there paralegal, for their law firm, by reading a script to the client and based upon the situation, this can make a notary feel like they are helping them scam indigent people out of their money.

Of course as notaries we cannot give our opinion since we are there for one purpose, to witness a signature. Despite this fact, you will find that the Annuity, Law Settlement or Debt Consolidation Loan folks will request that the Notary state to their client that they are a representative of their company. In addition, you may sometimes come across a situation where the client, after most likely being briefed by the company ahead of time, regarding the document and the required signatures needed, will refuse to sign claiming they do not understand the process. This is all part of the unique experiences of dealing with these clients.

The most egregious in my opinion can be the Law settlement companies that take 50% of their client’s money, which makes the notary feel this is unfair to the client involved. However the liability and chance of a law suit against a Notary is not worth the small fees the companies offer.

Furthermore, these signings are sometimes located in some peculiar settings. For example someone shared with me recently her experience at one such signing. She said “A Very Large rat walks into the room, during the signing, and the customer doesn’t even blink at the rat as it jumps onto his lap.” She was startled by the encounter but kept her composure and the customer turned to her as he petted the rat and says this is my pet rat and referred to the animal by name. There are other cases of encountering multiple cats and enduring the smells that come in that type of situation and much more absurdities. This is all part of the unique encounter with the Annuity and other settlement signings. Even so, we love doing notary singings because we go to interesting places and meet interesting people. How fun is that!

Compiled by Marilyn Amoroso

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 Welcome New Members


Matthew Hanly, Bremen

Trevor Hustus, Hollis Center

James McCarthy, Sumner

Manda Boyce, St. Albans

Lesa Ouellette, Buxton

Jasmine Greenman, Readfield

Tracy Dunton, South Berwick

John Dalzell, Waterville

Laurie Carty, Abbot

Jeff Weinstein, Yarmouth

Robin Cyr, Waterville

Christopher Mullins, Bangor

Jennifer Himmer, Eliot

Douglas Fortin, Owls Head

Eva Leavitt, Turner

Cynthia Wheeler, Camden

Anne Hersom, Westbrook


On behalf of the membership and the board of Directors, we welcome you to the INM, and congratulate you on making a commitment to your future as a notary in the state of Maine! INM has as its purpose:

  • to educate Notaries about the legal, ethical, and technical facets of performing notarial acts,
  • to develop and promote the highest ethical principles for Notaries,
  • to act as a center to promote uniform laws and regulations, and
  • to increase the public awareness and understanding of the Notary’s role.

Please consider getting involved as a member of a committee or by serving on the Board of Directors.
See more at: http://www.informednotariesofmaine.org/about-us/board-of-directors

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