What is a Paralegal?
A Paralegal is a person qualified through formal education, training, or work experience who is employed or retained by a lawyer, law office, corporation, governmental agency, or other entity who performs specifically delegated substantive and procedural legal work for which a lawyer is responsible. The legal responsibility for a paralegal’s work rests directly and solely upon the lawyer, and Paralegals adhere to ethical standards and rules of professional responsibility.
There are a variety of services available to the general public that a contract/freelance Paralegal can do depending on your State of Residence. Paralegals can assist the general public as Court Document Preparers or Court Forms Providers preparing court documents for a variety of issues such as Uncontested Divorces, Paternity, Expungements, Custody, Modification of Child Support, Name Changes, Wills, Power of Attorney, Quit Claim Deeds, etc. If you do not have the ability to remedy your situation because of the high cost fees of any attorney, a Paralegal can help you save money if you want to represent yourself in a legal matter but want to pay someone to create the required documents.
If problems arise in the legal case, however, the person who hired the contract/freelance Paralegal services needs to understand that there is typically no legal liability on the part of the Paralegal service and that such institutions or cannot be sued for legal malpractice. Again, the philosophy is that the person utilizing such service is representing himself or herself in all legal matters and merely hiring a document preparer.
What is a Notary Public?
A Notary Public is a “ministerial” official appointed by a Governor, Lt. Governor, or Secretary of State to acknowledge and witness the signing of documents, administer oaths and affirmations, take verifications, and certify copies.
The Notary’s two basic job functions are 1.) Witness or verify the signing of documents; and 2.) Administer oaths when they are required by notarizing text, committing the signer, signatures and certificates. A false statement made to a Notary, under Oath, is Perjury; exactly the same as a false statement made under Oath in a Court of Law.
A Notary Public is not responsible for verifying truth or accuracy of the contents of a document. Vargas Paralegal & Notary Public Services, LLC is not a law firm or attorney licensed to practice law. Vargas Paralegal & Notary Public Services, LLC may not give out legal advice or accept any payment for legal advice.
What is “Proper ID” & how does a Notary Public identify a signer?
Proper ID is a photo ID that is current or issued (not expired) within the last 5 years
- Driver’s License
- ID Card issue by any state
A Notary Public identifies a signer by carefully examining the identification presented by that person and comparing the signatures the person has made on the document with the signature on the identification. It also is considered sufficient identification if, under oath, a credible witness personally known by the notary identifies the person.
What Services do Vargas Paralegal & Notary Public Services, LLC provide, and to what areas do you travel?
Vargas Paralegal & Notary Public Services, LLC provides contract/freelance paralegal services nationwide. If you need legal research done; assistance in filing expungement papers; drafting legal memos and appearance letters, extra hands with an upcoming trial; assisting with client intake and correspondence; assistance in filing uncontested divorces and more, we are available & can travel nationwide to your location.
For Notary Public Services, we are only Commissioned in the State of Maryland and the District of Columbia, and service the Greater Baltimore and Washington, DC Metropolitan area. Vargas Paralegal & Notary Public Services, LLC, provides professional mobile notary services to private parties, celebrities, high profile executives, corporations, law firms, banks, those that are bedridden, sick, in the hospital, and to inmates behind bars. Services are provided anywhere from private homes, offices, hospitals, senior centers, jails, hotels, coffee houses, and more.
- Service Fees, Mileage Fees, and Travel Fees apply
Why do you have travel fees?
It is part of doing business with a contract/freelance Paralegal or Mobile Notary Public. This fee covers the costs associated with travel time and expenses.
When does Vargas Paralegal & Notary Public Services, LLC State of Maryland Notary Public Commission expire?
- March 29, 2020
When does Vargas Paralegal & Notary Public Services, LLC District of Columbia Notary Public Commission expire?
- August 14, 2018
What is the Maryland Secretary of State’s contact information?
Maryland Secretary of State
16 Francis Street
Annapolis, MD 21401
(410) 974-5190 Fax
What is the Virginia Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s contact information?
Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth
1111 East Broad Street, 4th Floor
Richmond, Virginia 23219
(804) 371-0017 Fax
What is the District of Columbia’s Office of the Secretary contact information?
District of Columbia of the Secretary
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 727-3582 Fax
Where are the State of Maryland Apostille/Certification offices?
For more information, please visit the State of Maryland website at http://www.foreigndocuments.com/apostilles/maryland.html
Where are the District of Columbia Apostille/Certification offices?
For more information, please visit the District of Columbia Office of the Secretary’s website at http://os.dc.gov/service/document-authentication
Does Vargas Paralegal & Notary Public Services, LLC carry E&O Insurance or a Surety Bond?
Yes. Vargas Paralegal & Notary Public Services, LLC carries both E&O insurance and a surety bond as set forth by the State of Maryland and/or District of Columbia statutes. You may verify this through the State of Maryland or District of Columbia Secretary of State’s Office.
Can Vargas Paralegal & Notary Public Services, LLC notarize documents that originate from out-of-state?
Yes. Documents originating from another state may be notarized as long as the notary performs the notarial act in the State of Maryland or the District of Columbia.
Does Vargas Paralegal & Notary Public, LLC notarize documents outside the State of Maryland or the District of Columbia?
Vargas Paralegal & Notary Public Services, LLC only has jurisdiction to perform notarial acts in the State of Maryland and the District of Columbia, but we can refer you to a Notary Public that is commissioned in the State of Virginia.
What are the liabilities and penalties for Notary Public misconduct?
A Notary Public who fails to carry out notary duties correctly may be subject to civil liability for any damages caused by the failure or error. If the Notary’s error enables a forgery, false writing, or other crime to occur, the notary also may be held criminally liable as an accessory to the crime. The Secretary of State also may revoke the notary’s commission.
As a State of Maryland and District of Columbia Notary Public, is Vargas Paralegal & Notary Public Services, LLC allowed to take a person’s Acknowledgement in another state, then return to Maryland or the District of Columbia and complete the Notarial certificate?
No. Our Notary Commission authority extends no further than the geographic boundaries of Maryland and the District of Columbia. A Notary Public cannot perform one part of a notarial act outside the state and the other part inside the state. Both parts must be executed at the same time and the same place inside Maryland or the District of Columbia. If the resident of another state cannot come to Maryland or the District of Columbia, they should find a notary public in his/her state.
A person whose identification indicates a first name of “Robert” has asked me to take his acknowledgment on a document he has signed as “Bob.” Should I insist that he sign as “Robert?”
Not necessarily, as long as the name that is printed on the document matches the name that is printed on the identification of the signer, the signature does not have to be legible or identical to the printed name.
Does Vargas Paralegal & Notary Public Services, LLC give legal advice?
No. Vargas Paralegal & Notary Public Services, LLC is not a law firm, nor are we attorneys. We are not allowed to give out legal advice or accept fees for legal advice.
For example, if a document does not contain a notarial certificate, we cannot advise as to the proper type of notarization. An attorney should be consulted as to the proper notarization that is required for the document (Acknowledgment, Jurat, Witnessing, or Verification).
Is the Notarial act required by law?
A Notarial act is required for many documents. The determination whether a document is required to be notarized cannot be made by the Notary Public or Vargas Paralegal & Notary Public Services, LLC as we are not attorneys.
How does Vargas Paralegal & Notary Public Services, LLC determine the competence of the person signing a document?
Vargas Paralegal & Notary Public Services, LLC are not licensed doctors or attorneys in determining the competence of the person signing a document, or to the proper notarization that is required for the document (Acknowledgment, Jurat, Witnessing, or Verification).
Vargas Paralegal & Notary Public Services, LLC has an ethical duty to determine the person’s competency in regards to the person’s ability to understand the contents of the document that he or she is signing. Our firm can make a quick assessment by asking the person if he or she understands the document they are signing.
We reserve the right to refuse to notarize the signature of a person who unquestionably has no ability to understand the document he or she is signing (unconscious, mentally disabled).
Must the person sign the document in my presence?
If the document is an Affidavit, Verification or other document requiring an Oath, the person must be properly sworn-in and sign the document in the Notary Public’s presence.
If the document requires Acknowledgment or requires a witness, it is sufficient for the person to appear before the Notary Public and acknowledge execution of the document and for us to personally see the person sign the document. Vargas Paralegal & Notary Public Services, LLC never notarizes an unsigned document, and will never notarize a document outside the presence of the person.
More specifically, Vargas Paralegal & Notary Public Services, LLC does not notarize a document in which the notarial certificate contains untrue statements, nor does our firm take a notarization over the telephone (because the person has not appeared in person before the notary). We are not allowed by law to notarize a document just because someone else assures us that the signature is genuine.
Does Vargas Paralegal & Notary Public Services, LLC provide references?
Vargas Paralegal & Notary Public Services, LLC has done work for some of the leading lawyers and law firms in the area, “mom and pop” businesses, employees of Federal Government agencies, as well as private parties. Our clients expect and demand confidentiality, and by law we are obligated to respect that confidentiality. In short, Vargas Paralegal & Notary Public Services, LLC will not violate client confidentiality to provide references.
What are your service fees or minimum retainer?
Vargas Paralegal & Notary Public Services, LLC doesn’t have a minimum retainer. Our services fees and retainers are based on items to be notarized or projected costs of your particular case.
Is my initial consultation free?
An initial consultation over the phone is free. If Vargas Paralegal & Notary Public Services, LLC has to travel to meet you, our charged time for travel/mobile notary fee, mileage, or the time we meet discussing your case or notary public services will be invoiced.
I don’t have the money to pay you a retainer, but will you take a client or law firm on a contingency basis?
No. Vargas Paralegal & Notary Public Services, LLC does not accept clients or law firms on a contingency basis.