April 24, 2017

California Notaries Happily Receive A Raise

california notaries can now charge $15

Effective January 2017, the California notary per signature fee increased from $10 to $15 for the first time in over 20 years! That's a 50% increase which is the highest raise I have ever received; when I worked for Corporate America my largest increase was only .35!

Hopefully, other states will follow suit because across the country the notary fee varies widely, as it can be as little as $2 per signature. I am not sure how anyone can make a living on $2 a signature, but that is the fee in several states such as Arizona, Idaho, and Georgia.

Thankfully, California recognizes the value that notaries provide and the liability we take on. As a notary, you are personally responsible for your errors. Anytime you perform a notarization you open yourself up to litigation. Even though you are an officer of the state, the state does not provide any protection against lawsuits.

Personally, I have never been called into court though some of my colleagues have. With that said, law enforcement and attorneys have contacted me over the years about a few notarizations that ended up in their hands.

A fellow notary was sued after someone illegally copied his stamp and forged his signature in a real estate transaction. It was only due to his personal errors and omission insurance that prevent him from being dragged into court.

With the personal liability that's involved in being a notary plus the cost of doing business, the increase came at a perfect time.

How much do notaries in your state charge?

March 13, 2017

Easily Market Your Business With Top Design Apps

A lot of times being a solopreneur means that you're the boss and the employee, so everything falls to you. You're it, you're the social media manager, the marketer, and the graphic designer. So when you need impressive graphics to market your notary business where do you turn?

Thankfully, technology has blessed us with apps and websites to make creating print-worthy graphics much easier without the need to learn Photoshop. Now you if you have the time and desire to learn Photoshop then be my guest, but I leave that kind of stuff to real graphic designers.

Because I have a tendency to be a collector of apps, I have more than a few photo/graphic apps on my phone, but today I will narrow it down to the best of the best.

Great designs made with WordSwag
WordSwag Design

WordSwag is fabulous. I love WordSwag because it makes me look great with minimal effort. All I do is open the app, choose a picture or upload one, determine the type of graphic I want to create, whether it's for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, ect., then add my own text or choose from one of their many quotes. I love that it's super easy and that they have over 30 font styles to choose from with hundreds of color combinations. 

Typorama makes creating graphics a breeze. It shares many similarities with WordSwag with some additional capabilities like the ability to adjust the opacity of the picture, they are more filters, and they have overlays which are absent from WordSwag. Typorama also makes it more convenient to add watermarks.

Typorama makes design easy
Sample Typorama Design

Spark Post from Adobe is totally free! Both WordSwag and Typorama are free to use, but they have paid upgrades whereas my next favorite Spark Post, is entirely free! The great things about this app are that you can remix one of their designs and you can animate it which is an excellent option. Spark Post also saves your designs, so you are always able to go back and edit or reuse a design.

Spark Post is a free design app
Spark Post Album

Canva is BFF. Because they're awesome Canva has a website and an app to make life easier. You can create a look from scratch with your own design or redesign one of theirs. Your designs are always saved and if you upgrade to their paid plan, Canva for Work, you have access to their Magic Resize which automatically resizes your artwork to fit any of the popular social media platforms and more. They have automatic resizing for YouTube covers, business cards, posters, flyers, etc. You are even able to upload your own fonts and brand identity settings that allow for continuity in your creations. I design on my laptop, but I like having access to my designs through the app.

Canva is one of the top design softwares
Canva App

And there you have it! I've spilled all my graphic design secrets. WordSwag, Typorama, Spark Post, and Canva are top notch in my design arsenal.

What's your favorite graphic design software?

August 26, 2015

How to Find a Local Notary

Well, you've already found me, so your search for a notary is over! Lol, But if you are looking for a notary in a city outside of the Long Beach area what do you do then? It depends on what you are looking for.

If you are looking for a notary to travel to you in your city, there are a few notary directories such as Notary Rotary and 123 Notary or you can always Google "notary" and your zip code or city. I also have a few notary friends around the country on my website. If you are looking to avoid the travel fees of a mobile notary and you would rather walk into a location, you can try your local UPS store as most of them have notaries on staff.

Mobile notaries, such as myself, come in handy when the signer is in a hospital, convalescent home, jail, at work, or they just want the convenience of a notary traveling to them. Mobile notaries can accommodate your schedule by setting appointments late night, weekends, and holidays.

Please contact LaShon, The Document Diva, at (562) 314-4319 if you need a mobile notary in Long Beach, Lakewood, Carson, Wilmington, Bellflower, or other surrounding cities. 

February 18, 2015

New Year, New Notary Rules 2015

A new year usually means new notary laws in California and 2015 was not any different. I would love to be a fly on the wall when the lawmakers in Sacramento decide to enact new notary laws. They come across as arbitrary because there is little communication between the Secretary of State and California notaries. Instead of being notified by the Secretary of State about new laws I tend to find out via notary forums.

This year the California legislators decided to add additional wording to all acknowledgment and jurat certificates. The new certificates must include a disclaimer in an enclosed box before the venue information of state and county. There was no reason given as to why the change was necessary, but I was forced to throw out perfectly good pre-printed forms that are now useless.

2015 California Notary Disclaimer

To be ready for January 1, 2015, I created my own form and printed about 50 to keep in my notary bag. I also purchased a stamp with the new wording to use when applicable.

If you are a California notary be sure to use the latest notary certificates, and if you need a document notarized make sure your notary uses the correct acknowledgment or jurat or you run the risk of your document being rejected if it is being recorded or Apostilled.

October 2, 2014

Celebrating 10 Years as a Notary

It really is amazing how fast time passes. I was not aware that I have now been serving as a California notary for 10 years until I started receiving notifications of congratulations from LinkedIn.

I decided to become a notary after I was injured on the job and subsequently laid off. From that moment on I was determined to never work full-time for anyone else again. At that time I acquired my tax preparer's, insurance, and notary license. I never would have imagined that being a notary would become my career.

Working as a public notary has allowed me to meet hundreds of people and travel thousands of miles. It is never a dull day as each day brings its own unique set of experiences. It isn't always easy because the need for a notary cannot be predicted, and competition has increased over the years, but I have stuck it out. I enjoy working with clients who value my services and like the convenience of a traveling notary, so I look forward to continuing my work as a mobile notary.

May 13, 2014

Parental Permission to Travel Abroad

notarized parental permission to travel form
Are you traveling abroad this summer?
The summer months are upon us. Soon children will be out of school, water parks will be open, the malls will be invaded by teenagers, and the beaches will be overrun by sun worshipers looking for the perfect tan. 

Summer also brings the summer travel season. During summer travel children may be traveling with their parents, one parent, or a relative out of the country. If the child is under 18 and traveling without both parents, there are special travel rules you need to be aware of.

Due to the increase in child abductions in disputed child custody cases and as possible victims of child pornography when a child is not accompanied by both parents it is strongly recommended by the U.S. Border and Customs Protection that the traveling adult has a note from both parents acknowledging that the child is traveling abroad with their permission. It is also suggested that the note is notarized.

The recommended format is:

 "I acknowledge that my wife/husband/etc. is traveling out of the country with my son/daughter/group. He/She/They has/have my permission to do so."

We all know that Google is our all-knowing best friend so googling "parental permission to travel" will enable you to find many free forms ready for download and use. Because travel requirements can change, it is always a good idea to check the latest information about document requirements on the US State Department website.