It has never occurred to me to wonder about some of the questions borrowers have asked…then again there are the questions you can anticipate like the questions concerning interest rates. No matter what the question is the Notary Signing Agent (NSA) needs to be careful what she says. The thought of “Unauthorized Practice of Law” (UPL) should always be present. After all, loan papers are legal documents!
A NSA can open herself up to not only criminal charges but also civil charges, monetary fines and loss of her notary commission by answering the wrong questions and possibly offering incorrect information. If a question cannot be answered by merely pointing out where the information might be found within the document package or simply by giving a general explanation of what a document’s purpose is, then the best option may be to explain that you do not have information on each individual loan and are not a licensed attorney, qualified tax advisor, etc. Then refer the borrower to their loan officer or other appropriate person.
Remember, UPL not only includes providing advice and opinions regarding issues and matters but also providing advice and opinions regarding forms and documents. Direct any questions you may have relating to UPL to the state office governing notaries public in your state or call the National Notary Association information hotline.
© 2005 Lynnette A. Phillips
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