Memorandum to Newly Commissioned Notaries Public
When notarizing motor vehicle and / or watercraft titles, it is important that all blanks on the assignment and/or application are completed by the seller or buyer prior to affixing your notary seal and signature. The back of the title contains two separate documents. You need to ensure the completion of the section dealing with the individual whose signature you are notarizing. Failure to do so could result in you becoming part of a lawsuit and/or criminal activity. The assignments and applications are sworn affidavits of the person signing in your presence and all blank areas must contain the proper information or indication that this area is not applicable. You could unknowingly become an accomplice in aiding and abetting title fraud, tax fraud and/or odometer fraud by notarizing an incomplete affidavit.
Please review your notary manual if you have any questions. Pay particular attention to the section on "Liabilities of the Notary Public and Penalties Which May Be Enforced Against a Notary." You need to be aware of the court ruling in "Keck vs. Keck" in which a notary was ordered to pay monetary damages for not properly performing their duties.
You should never allow another person to sign for the buyer or seller unless they have an authorized Power of Attorney. Spouses are not permitted to sign for each other without a notarized Power of Attorney. Powers of Attorney are to be attached to the assignment and become part of the evidence retained by the Clerk of Courts.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call the Clerk of Courts' office. We are here to help you. If someone is trying to rush you and asks you to just notarize their signature, odds are that they are trying to involve you in aiding them in fraud.
Protect yourself and use your notary wisely.