Saturday, February 28, 2015

Choosing a Guardian for Your Children

If you are a parent and you are considering estate planning, one of the most difficult decisions you will have to make is choosing a guardian for your minor children.  It is not easy to think of anyone else, no matter how loving, raising your child. Yet, you can make a tremendous difference in your child’s life by planning ahead.
The younger your child, the more crucial this choice is, because very young children cannot form or express their own preferences about caregivers. Yet young children are not the only ones who benefit from careful parental attention to guardianship. Children close to 18 years old will be legal adults soon, but, as you well know, may still need assistance of a parental figure after the fact.
By naming and talking about your choice of guardian, you can encourage a lifelong bond with a caring family. The nomination of guardians is a straightforward aspect of any family’s estate plan. It can be as basic or detailed as you want. You can simply name the guardian who would act if both you and your spouse were unable to or you can provide detailed guidance about your children and the sort of experiences and family environment you would like for them. Your state court, then, can give strong weight to your expressed wishes.
There are essentially four steps to this process. First, make a list of anyone you know that might be a candidate for guardian of your children.  It is important to think beyond your sisters and brothers and consider cousins, aunts and uncles, grandparents, child-care providers and business partners. You might also want to consider long-time friends and those you’ve gotten to know at parenting groups as they may share similar philosophies about child-rearing. Second, make a list of factors that are most important to you. Here are some to consider:
  • Maturity
  • Patience
  • Stamina
  • Age
  • Child-rearing philosophy
  • Presence of children in the home already
  • Interest in and relationship with your children
  • Integrity
  • Stability
  • Ability to meet the physical demands of child care
  • Presence of enough “free” time to raise children
  • Religion or spirituality
  • Marital or family status
  • Potential conflicts of interest with your children
  • Willingness to serve
  • Social and moral habits and values
  • Willingness to adopt your children
You might find that all or none of these factors are important to you or that there are others that make more sense in your particular situation.  The third step is to, match people with priorities. Use the factors you chose in step two to narrow your list of candidates to a handful.
For many families, it is as easy as it looks. For others, however, these three steps are fraught with conflict. One common source of difficulty is disagreement between spouses. But, consensus is important. Explore the disagreements to see what information about values and people is important to one another and use all of your strongest communications skills to understand each other’s position before you try to find a solution that you can both feel good about. Step four is to make it positive. For some parents, getting past this decision quickly is the best way to achieve peace of mind and happiness. For others, choosing a guardian can be the start of an intensive relationship-building process. An attorney who understands where you and your spouse fall on that spectrum can counsel you appropriately.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Information on a Notary Signing Agent profession.

I often receive inquiries from people changing careers or
 looking to start a new one.  They saw my Notary information
 online and want to gather data to determine if that type of
work is feasible or not.
Looking at the forum in Notary Rotary I found some interesting
 notes from Notary Signing Agent Christine Oldham:

I am regularly approached by people who want to become a 
notary signing agent. Many of them will start by asking about
 who my clients are . . . Some will suggest that they’d like to
 ‘pinch hit’ or ‘fill in’ or me when I’m too busy for signings. 

This is also for Shannon Blue Mtn. Notary and others who
 have posed questions about starting out . . . 

In general, most think it will be a great way to supplement 
their income and keep their day job as well. On the other hand, 
some are seeking a change in their career and are looking for
 schedule flexibility. As I find myself sharing the same information
 repeatedly, I’m simply adding this to my website and I’ll refer
 them to it now for additional information. 

Here is the unadulterated truth (from my perspective) of
 becoming a notary signing agent. This is as a result of my 
experiences and it may (or may not) represent the 
experiences of others in this business sector. 

1. For starters (no pun intended), understand that this
 is a business. You should treat it as one and do the 
research and determine if there is a good fit for you
 to perform this type of work because it’s not the proverbial
 ‘cake walk’ that some companies advertise it to be. 

Now, don’t get me wrong – I enjoy being the President
 & CEO of my own company and performing the role of a
 notary signing agent. Please do understand that starting a 
business, operating it, and maintaining it is not a task meant
 for every individual. One of the major requirements is that
 you’re a self starter. 

Be prepared to have little, if any, net profit over the first 
2 to 3 years as it is in any business. Why you might ask?
 Because most companies don’t want to be your ‘learning ground.
’ Most of the companies that will consider hiring you
 (with little-to-no experience) will not pay well (or you may have
 to chase the fee to be paid). Be sure to research Signing
 Central in for the Signing Service
 listing and the remarks by experienced NSAs as this will
 help you learn about the good companies and the ones
 to avoid. Be sure that you cover your expenses (for more
 info, see item 12 below). 

2. Since you’re starting a business, it’s a good idea to reach
 out to SCORE (service corps of retired executives) online or 
in-person. There are many free workshops online to start your
 business and help you determine if starting your own
 business is something that you should do. The SCORE mentors
 are volunteers and are either currently employed executives or 
retired. Their time is valuable and if you take up their time, but
 don’t do the research and ‘homework,’ you’ll quickly find yourself
 without a business mentor. Appropriately, they take starting a
 business seriously. 

3. Part of starting a business it to check out the competition. 
There are a variety of ways to research how many notaries public
 are in your region and notary signing agents as well. This part of
 your research is integral to your success in ANY business, but 
especially in this business. Good Luck!

4. Be professional. Take all the training that you possibly can! There are two training regimens that I strongly recommend taking. First is the Notary2Pro training. There are three certifications available (Loan Document Signing Specialist, Professional Signing Agent, and Reverse Mortgage Specialist). There are many benefits to taking this training in addition to the material in the training program. There is mentoring available as well. All of the costs associated with this training are very reasonable. Second is the Direct Closers training (Certified Master Closer). Their cost is also reasonable; however, I do recommend taking at least the Loan Document Signing Specialist training with Notary2Pro training BEFORE going through the Direct Closers training program as you’ll need the baseline information to keep pace with the presentation of material. 

Of course, there are other companies that market notary signing agent training and I have successfully completed a myriad of courses as well and held those certifications and compared the training side-to-side. The Notary2Pro and Direct Closers training programs are well worth spending your time and hard-earned cash to learn the proverbial ropes of being a notary signing agent. 

5. Practice! Practice! Practice! After you invest in yourself/your business by putting in the time with SCORE and going through the training programs recommended in point #3, talk to your friends about doing some role play and asking them to help you become familiar with the documents and presenting them and directing signers to the correct location to answer their questions. Please don’t ask a notary signing agent if you can ‘shadow’ them. Most clients will not approve it due to privacy protection laws. 

6. Toughen yourself up! If you don’t already have thick skin, figure out how to develop it. You will be spending lots of time, energy, and money marketing yourself/your services. You may find that those notary signing agents with years of experience are receiving the signing engagements. Again, don’t quit your ‘day job’ for the first several years because the business sector is cyclical and can be slow (especially right now). In addition, the competition is tough! 

7. The time-proven adage “You must spend money to make money” is true in this business as well. A person will usually spend thousands of dollars to create any business. You will probably do what every new notary signing agent does... spend lots of money and usually it’s spent on the ‘wrong’ things. This lesson is simply part of the School of Hard Knocks in starting up a business. 

8. Be prepared to have a schedule that is unpredictable with last-minute changes. 

9. Superglue your smart phone to your right hip as it will become your most valuable ‘companion.’ Learn to appreciate interruptions, because in this business there are a LOT of them. Of course you don't have to manage it this way, but if you want to retain clients, it will help you to be successful. As you may have already picked up on, you do get out of it what you put into it. You can ignore a call from the client and it may cost you that signing, or that client may choose to take you off their preferred list. It’s your business, so it’s up to you to decide. 

10. Be prepared to be treated like a second-class citizen at times that is questioned, looked down upon, and sometimes scorned (depending upon the types of signings you accept). In general, people have developed their own concepts about attorneys, doctors, mechanics, law enforcement officers, and yes, the role of notary public as well. You may even discover that after you have achieved years of experience, there will still be clients that question your credibility and knowledge. Be prepared for it, because it will be with you throughout the life of your business. 

11. Just about no one will respect your time or your expenses. You must do your own research regarding the costs to perform the service, the overhead expenses, and set your fees to charge for your professional level of service. 

12. Some clients will demand that you charge the same as Suzie Q down the street, but her fees are calculated regarding her expenses, not yours. Your professionalism, certifications, insurance, etc. are part of the expense of running a business and that is why they’re calling YOU, because they want your service. Stick to your fees. You deserve it. Your phone is YOUR cost. The internet use is also YOUR cost. While we’re at it, so is the paper, toner, printers, pens, and everything else! Now you're running a small business and it's your company and YOUR costs. Don’t forget about the Error and Omission insurance. Yes, the list does go on and on . . . 

Calculating your fees is a challenge and I offer this quote from Laura Vestanen who also authored the book titled “Marketing Your Non-Loan Notary Services” that is available on Amazon for under $25. 

“Arriving at the minimum fee you will accept as a newbie -
2.5 hours of your time @ $20 per hour = $50
Car - let's say 10 miles each way. 20 x 75c = $15
Computers and other equipment. 1 hour at $15 = $15
Cell phone - let's say you only get 6 signings a month when you're new. So $12 per job.
Commission & supplies savings acct at 6 signings a month = $2 per job.
Tax and licenses $5
Minimum fee for you to accept: $99 
Which is $50 for you and $49 for expenses.

So never accept a job for less than $100. If the SS or TC says they can find someone for less, let that person have it. You have a business to run.

Best of luck with your notary career,

NOTE: The above example is not intended as price fixing. This is an example of typical overhead expenses and how to ensure profitability in this business. 

13. Also, some clients will tell you that if you drop your fees, they’ll send you lots of VOLUME. Don’t buy into that logic. Volume works in their favor, but if you do the math, this is not a winning proposition for you because you have out-of-pocket expenses for each and every signing regardless of the volume. 

14. Make sure that you pay Federal and State estimated taxes quarterly. You will pay both sides now as there is now no ‘employer’ to pay the other half (as when you’re working in ‘Corporate America.’), that is, unless you kept your ‘day job.’ Keep diligent notes, retain all receipts, maintain a log of your mileage and trip itemizations, etc. 

15. Advertising is important and is costly! You must do it though if you want to succeed. There are several top companies to list your service with that will actually send business your way. The others are just generating revenue for themselves. Send me a PM if you’d like to know who have been successful for me. There are many who will want to separate you from your money in a variety of ways, and not just for advertising . . . Caveat emptor. 

16. Of course, you’ll pay need to purchase your own health and life insurance now, too. There is no vacation time, paid holidays, employer retirement plan, etc. You’re an independent contractor with all the ‘bells and whistles’ that go along with that role – positive and negative. 

17. This business is like any other; it’s hard work. You can’t be thin-skinned or naive. If you are, you’ll be eaten alive, proverbially. In your first several years, you may work your tail off and not generate much revenue after covering expenses. Just know that going into it. If you happen to live in an area where there are only a few Notaries Public, consider yourself lucky, but check first that there is not a business reason why there are not many around. Big Smile

18. Always remember to stay safe. Let someone know the address of the signing location. Don’t speed en route to the signing to be on time. Your safety is more important. You may find yourself in questionable neighborhoods occasionally, so learn the art of self-defense, carry some type of protection, etc. It’s important to always be alert and concerned about your own safety.

19. Be prepared to have a client become upset with you for something that is not within your control. Be professional and respond appropriately. Clients may sometimes do that, but you’ll discover that good clients are always respectful. Remember that you get to choose the clients that you retain. Just another ‘perk’ of being an independent contractor. 

20. Expect and plan for signing engagements to be scheduled and possibly cancelled. It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes the Settlement Statement simply is not completed in time (or some other viable reason) and a signing reschedule is required. 

21. With each signing, there are a myriad of people that you’ll need to interact with in order to successfully complete the signing engagement. Be professional. Be reliable. Provide service with a smile. 

22. Always remember to protect your business by leaving the professional opinions to be addressed by those that are licensed to provide legal advice, etc. 

23. Your family can sometimes become annoyed because to them it seems that you’re always on the phone!

24. If you make an error, fix it. No questions asked. No additional fees charged. It can happen. We’re all human. 

25. It’s important to drive a well maintained care and to wear professional clothes. This speaks for itself. 

26. Each region of the country is different. You have a better chance of wining the Mega Lotto than you do working as a notary signing agent PART-TIME and being successful. It takes additional time, dedication, and most of all money to be a part-time notary signing agent, than a full-time one. Remember that being a part-time notary signing agent means that it can be even more challenging as you must schedule the signings around your other obligations. 

So you may ask yourself, “Why do notary signing agents do this type of work?”

Well, being an independent contractor has many positives to it. If doing this full-time, you’ll be the master of your schedule. No matter how ‘bad’ your boss (client) is, it’s a short-term engagement. Fortunately, you‘ll regularly get new ‘bosses.’ Being a notary public/notary signing agent enables you to provide a valuable service for others. Oh, and there are times that the money can be good in this business. Best Wishes for Success to All!


About Christine:

Christine does General Notary Work AND
Real Estate Loan Documents!
(Vehicle Titles, Bill of Sale, Wills, Field Trip Permission, Power of Attorney, National/International Adoptions, Divorce, Affidavits, Acknowledgement Documents, Estate Planning Documents, Relinquishment of Parental Rights, Settlement Agreement, Prenuptial Agreement, etc.)
Also notarize the American Institute of Architects documents including the sworn,
statement on important aspects of the contractor’s qualifications.  

Call today!
Your loan document package will be professionally completed and shipped for overnight delivery the next business day.
Christine is a seasoned professional Notary Public and Certified Notary Signing Agent who holds Notary2Pro/NNA/123 Notary certifications and is both NNA & NPBC background screened. She regularly works with title offices, various lenders, escrow companies, signing services for loan signings and performs General Notary work as well. Her quick wit, positive customer service demeanor, attention to detail, and prompt document delivery turnaround times will please you as well as your client! She is successful with all clients, but especially with your high-end clients.Christine ensures each signing is a success as well as an enjoyable experience for your client!  Often, she's told by clients that she is very pleasant, considerate, punctual, friendly, diligent, & professional.  It is simply wonderfulfor her to hear that feedback!  In everything she does, she strives to be the very best especially when facilitating mortgage signings. 
Trained by a national title company, she has successfully completed over 2000 loan signings with numerous highly satisfied customers [Escrow/Title companies & Signing Services].  Christine works directly with lenders daily [Citibank, Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Everbank, Embrace, TFCU, and others], brokers, title companies, signing services, escrow, and settlement companies with optimum communication to ensure successful signings. Last-minute signings are ok. Documents are dropped after signing and Chain-of-Custody is honored(Christine will only handoff the document package to the shipper staff member).  Ask about Holiday Pricing.  Serve 22 counties; multiple certifications including international PMP certification.  
** NOTE ** All work performed by Christine with Notary Stamp & EMBOSSER at     
Broken Arrow Mobile Notary
(a subsidiary of Oldham Communication Group LLC)

Service area includes counties: TULSA, ROGERS, WAGONER, CREEK, OKMULGEE, OSAGE, Muskogee, McIntosh, Cherokee, Sequoyah, Mayes, Oklahoma, Washington, Pawnee, Payne, Lincoln, Nowata, Logan, Adair, Delaware, Ottawa, and Craig for an appropriate travel fee to cover time and expenses.
See detailed information & written reviews provided with permission by clients at:  
Background checked via the National Notary Association, Notary Rotary, and Oklahoma Secretary of State.
- Notary2Pro - Professional Signing Agent & Loan Document Specialist & Reverse Mortgage Specialist
- National Notary Association [NNA] - Certified Notary Signing Agent
- Direct Closers - Master Closer
- 123 Notary - Certified Notary Signing Agent
- PMI Institute: Internationally Certified Project Management Professional
University of Texas at Austin Alumna - Bachelor of Science degree.
Specialize in National/International Adoptions, Refinance, Purchase, Seller Packages, Piggyback, HELOC, Second Homes, Investment Properties, Short Sales, and Reverse Mortgage loans (detailed, thorough, and patient with clients).
  • Deed
  • Refinance
  • FHA /HUD
  • Cash Purchase
  • Home Purchase
  • Quit Claim Deed
  • Property Tax Lien
  • Investment Property
  • Purchase
  • Release of Payment
  • Vacation Home Purchase
  • Home Equity Line of Credit
  • National/International Adoptions
  • Wills
  • Divorce
  • Affidavits
  • Power of Attorney
  • Acknowledgement Documents
  • Estate Planning Documents
  • Relinquishment of Parental Rights
  • Settlement Agreement
  • Prenuptial Agreement
  • Annuity Contracts
  • Auto Titles

BEST PRACTICES INCLUDE:  Confirmation of scheduling immediately with borrowers, on-time arrival, documents presented in a logical and orderly manner, summarize critical information, direct client to appropriate sections to address their questions, documents thoroughly checked prior to leaving signing table, and promptly return document packages after signing.   Excellent knowledge and proficiency as a mobile notary signing agent and 'courtesy closer' that specializes in real estate loan document signings. Professional appearance and demeanor in all signings.
Service is available 24/7/365 - Call for Availability - including Holidays. Service area includes appropriate travel fee to cover time and expenses.

Reliable executive-level business professional for over 25 years in corporate business sector.
* Registered, Bonded, E & O Insured $100,000.
Professional-level member:  National Notary Association, Notary Rotary, Notary Cafe, 123 Notary, Direct Closers, American Society of Notaries, and PMI.
* GLBA compliant.
* Multiple Notary Signing Agent Certifications & multiple organizational background screenings.


You also can find Christine at:

123Notary: To find a notary public, mobile notary, traveling notary, signing agent, or notary services in your area to get your documents notarized and get your notary jobs done.

Notary Rotaryprovider of products and services to notaries public nationwide. Centrally located in Des Moines, Iowa, we offer the Internet's most advanced notary search engine, discussion forum, signing agent and agency resources, notary education and a notary supply store. 

ActiveRain:   community of real estate agents, brokers, lenders, home stagers, home inspectors, contractors and other real estate professionals who are committed to learning one from one another to improve their business, their lives, and the industry.

                                                  Create a Video from Text

Sacramento Yellow Pages Spanish Mobile Notary Public Signing Agent |
Sergio Musetti, Spanish Sacramento Notary.
Apostille in California 
Sacramento Spanish English Translation
Servicio de Apostilla y traduccion.

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Sacramento Spanish Mobile Notary Public Apostille Translations

Monday, February 2, 2015

Estate Plan, Inheritance/Disinherited child

If your estate plan and related documents are properly and carefully drafted, it is highly unlikely that the court will disregard your wishes and award the excluded child an inheritance.  As unlikely as it may be, there are certain situations where this child could end up receiving an inheritance depending upon a variety of factors.
To understand how a disinherited child could benefit, you must understand how assets pass after death.  How a particular asset passes at death depends upon the type of asset and how it is titled. For example, a jointly titled asset will pass to the surviving joint owner regardless of what a will or a trust says. So, in the unlikely event that the disinherited child was a joint owner, that child would still inherit the asset because of how it was titled.
Similarly, if you left that disinherited child as a named beneficiary on a life insurance policy or retirement plan asset, such as an IRA or 401k, that child would still receive some of the benefits as the named beneficiary even if your will stated they were to take nothing. Another way such a "disinherited" child might receive a benefit is if all other named beneficiaries died before you.
So, assume you have three children and you wish to disinherit one of them and you state you want all of your assets to go to the other two, and if they are not alive, then to their descendants.  If those other two children die before you and do not have any descendants, there may be a provision that in such a case your "heirs at law" are to take your entire estate and that would include the child you intended to disinherit.
If you wish to disinherit a child, all of these issues can be addressed with proper and careful drafting by a qualified estate planning lawyer.

Law Office of Joan Medeiros Sacramento Estate Planning Attorney