What are the implications for the Notaries?

The S & P 500 and NASDAQ Composite rallied today to notch record closing highs. The rally was driven from by cheered stronger-than-expected quarterly profits from some of the largest publicly traded U.S. companies, including home building stocks, financial institutions and mortgage lenders.

Today’s move toward an all-time closing high comes less than six months after a sharp decline in late December, which led the S&P 500 to its worst annual performance since 2008.  Many investors were fearful that the economy was headed for a slowdown which would affect many industries and companies. But stocks quickly turned around as the Federal Reserve reversed course on monetary policy while the tone around U.S.-China trade talks improved.

It seems like the economy is once again firing all on cylinders and that creates lots of new business across a variety of industries for the need for mobile notaries and mobile notarizations. Let’s take a look at two of those opportunities.

Home Building Companies

The stocks of new home builders rose dramatically today. Companies such as Hovnanian Enterprises, KB Homes, NVR and D.R. Horton have been rapidly rising as the demand from buyers has increased. An increase in new home sales means lots of business for notaries to help close the purchases, new loans and sales.

Real estate transactions include complex paperwork and multiple documents. A real estate closing notary — more correctly called a notary signing agent — is specially trained to facilitate the process. Without the notary signing agent, the borrower and lender cannot complete the transaction.

Trust and Wills

As household’s net worth increase, so does the need for proper estate planning. Setting up a trust has been a popular estate planning tool, especially if you want to leave properties, stocks and other assets to your loved ones without the hassle of undergoing the probate process. In a trust, the creator or trustor transfers his property under the care of a trustee, who can be a trust lawyer, in favor of the beneficiary.

Setting up a sophisticated trust is complicated and can have serious implications for generations of families. Typical trust documents require many signature notarizations.

The trust lawyer is held responsible for drafting an effective plan for the protection and distribution of the properties of the trustor after his death so as to maximize the benefits that the beneficiaries may receive. The trust attorney’s tasks also include drafting documents intended for the protection of the assets against lawsuits and taxes.

According to the Stork Law Firm, here are the basic steps to setting up living Trust in the State of Missouri:

“To establish a living trust under Missouri law, you must do the following:

  1. Create the trust document, typically with the assistance of an experienced St. Charles estate planning attorney.
  2. Decide who will inherit the trust property
  3. Name yourself as the trustee (i.e. the person in charge).
  4. Sign the trust document in front of a notary public.
  5. “Fund” the trust, which basically means you transfer your property to the trust (since you are trustee, you maintain control over your assets).”

I was the notary last week for a very prominent family in St. Louis. The family hired a large law firm headquartered in Chicago that specialized in Trust and Estate Law to prepare the trust documents. It took several months to get all of the documents prepared. There were countless books of bounded documents that needed notarizations. I had to complete over 100 separate notarizations to finalize all of the documents

When we finally completed the signing, the Grantor of the Trust had a perfectly prepared estate document, properly notarized, that not only protected he and his wife, but his children, grandchildren and yet-to-be born great grandchildren.  This was not a typical estate in that the total assets in the trust exceeded $1.0 billion.

The trust document not included the information about the distribution of the assets, but of course included the last Will and Testament of the Grantor. A last will and testament is a legal document that communicates a person’s final wishes pertaining to possessions and dependents. A person’s last will and testament outlines what to do with possessions, whether the deceased will leave them to another person, a group or donate them to charity, and what happens to other things he or she is responsible for, such as custody and management of accounts and interests.

Of note, unlike trust and estate documents whereby there are many copies of the same document, there can only be one copy of the Last Will and Testament. Typically, there can be only one original last Will and Testament (regardless of whether or not other \”copies\” bear original signatures).  Only the first instrument signed by the testator and the witnesses can legally constitute the original Will.  Signed or executed copies, conformed copies, xerographic reproductions and unexecuted copies are all considered to be copies.  They may be admitted for probate in lieu of the original but only upon clear and convincing evidence that the original was lost or destroyed without having been revoked by the\” testator\” (maker).