Is My Notarized Document Genuine?

It is surprising how often clients ask this question, especially since the real estate controversy surrounding “robo-signing” of refinance documents.  A client brings a copy of what looks like an official document wondering how in the world a Notary could verify what appears to be a forgery.

Evidently, it is a common misconception that besides verifying the identity of the signatories, the Notary Public is responsible for verifying that a signed document is truly what it is purported to be. NOT SO.

A Notary Public is a representative of the Secretary of State. Her job is to verify the identity of the signatory and assure that the signer understands the contents of the document he is signing and is doing so of his own free will. Secondarily, she confirms that the document(s) is filled out in full.  A Notary Public is not responsible for the integrity of the document.

For our purposes, let’s assume that the Notary has done her job – she has obtained the proper ID and assured that the documents are in order.

So, back to the original question… (How in the world can a notarized document be “forged”?) The key to the answer may be the word, “copy.” Chances are that the document you possess is a copy of the original; the original has already been submitted. You would think that a photocopy of a document is a reliable representation of the original document, but that isn’t necessarily what ends up happening. Any part of the document could have been altered and recopied. Sometimes the alteration is done so well it takes an expert to sort out the changes.

This calls for the services of a Forensic Document Examiner.

We welcome all kinds of calls to our office. No question is stupid unless you don’t ask it. What is particularly stupid is to assume that things will work out, or that your attorney will take the problem off your hands.
Call me first and I will help you understand where a document examiner fits into the picture and why the fees you pay for determining if there has been a forgery can save you lots of time and money in the long run.
Attorneys, if you have never before used the services of a document examiner, I like to make the process as professional and efficient as possible. I am happy to help you understand how you can use my expertise in strategizing your case.

For more information or help with your handwriting signature analysis or forensic document examination you can contact me at ALLIANCE FORENSIC SERVICES in Escondido, CA. 888-760-0339

2 Responses to Is My Notarized Document Genuine?

  • Lyn Fisher says:

    It would appear my aunt’s (Barbara) signature was forged on a notarized document in 1971. Her mother, in 1969, quit claim deeded her home and an adjacent property to my aunt Barbara and another aunt Harriet. Barbara was not aware of this quit claim process occurring. Harriet died in January 2014, and Barbara has found she is the owner of the adjacent property (virtually worthless due to its size) and suspected she might also have been on the quit claim deed to the property the home is on. I called the Somoma County (CA) Tax Assessor’s office and found that the property with the house had been indeed in both aunts names and had been sold in 1971. The woman in the Tax Assessor’s office told me Barbara’s signature was notarized. Barbara absolutely says this is not true, as she just found out about this property a month ago. So it appears the propoerty was fraudulently sold by Harriet.

    Question. How is this possible? What do we do next? How do we investigate/prove this? What are the ramifications?

    Thank you so much!

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