Notary Public & Legal Support Network Blog

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Why should affidavits be notarized?

An affidavit is a written sworn statement of fact voluntarily made by an affiant or deponent under oath or affirmation administered by a person authorized to do so by law. Such statement is witnessed as to the authenticity of the affiant's signature by a taker of oaths, such as a Notary Public. The name "affidavit" is Medieval Latin for he has declared upon oath. An affidavit is a type of verified statement or showing, or in other words, it contains a verification, meaning it is under oath or penalty of perjury, and this serves as evidence to its veracity and is required for court proceedings. Not all affidavits require a Notary Public for execution.

An affidavit that will be presented as evidence in a court of law should be notarized because the Notary Public verifies the following:
  1. that the affiant (person making an affidavit) is who he says he or she is;
  2. that the affiant took an oath or affirmed under penalties of perjury that the statements contained in the affidavit is the truth, to the best of the affiant's knowledge and belief;
  3. that the date of the signing and oath/affirmation is correct.
If, for example, the affiant is a witness, the notarized statment will be useful to you in your court case. If the witness later changes his or her story, you can use the affidavit to show that the witness isn't credible as he or she swore to different facts before. This will usually get the witness impeached. In addition, if the witness admits that he or she lied in the affidavit taken before a notary public, perjury charges could be pressed against the witness.

A Notary Public is a public servant commissioned to perform certain official acts prescribed by law. A knowledgeable Notary Public can be very useful to you, especially if you have a court case pending.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mobile Notary Public

A Notary Public is an official of integrity appointed by state government—typically by the secretary of state — to serve the public as an impartial witness in performing a variety of official fraud-deterrent acts related to the signing of important documents. These official acts are called notarizations or notarial acts. Notaries are publicly commissioned as “ministerial” officials, meaning that they are expected to follow written rules without the exercise of significant personal discretion, as would be the case with a “judicial” official.

It is the foremost duty of a Notary to screen the signers of particularly sensitive instruments — such as property deeds, wills and powers of attorney — for their true identity, their willingness to sign without duress or intimidation, and their awareness of the general import of the document. Some notarizations also require the Notary to put the signer under an oath declaring under penalty of perjury that the information contained in a document is true and correct.

Impartiality is the byword of the Notary office and the foundation of its public trust. Notaries are duty-bound not to act in situations where they have a personal interest. The public trusts that the Notary’s critical screening tasks have not been corrupted by self-interest. And impartiality dictates that a Notary never refuse to serve a person due to race, nationality, religion, politics, sexual orientation or status as a non-customer.

As official representatives of the state, Notaries Public certify the proper execution of many of the life-changing documents of private citizens — whether those diverse transactions convey real estate, grant powers of attorney, establish a prenuptial agreement, or perform the multitude of other activities that enable our civil society to function.

In this modern era when business transactions between complete strangers are the norm rather than the exception, Notaries engender a trust that the critical signed documents we rely on are authentic. Such trust enables the sensitive documents of commerce and law to be exchanged between strangers with full confidence in their reliability.

Notaries Public in Massachusetts are authorized to execute the following authority:

  • Issue Subpoenas
  • Issue Summonses for Witnesses
  • Take Acknowledgments
  • Administer Oath/Affirmation
  • Witness Signatures
  • Certify Copies of Documents (Copy Certification)
  • Open Safe Deposit Boxes/Vaults
  • Jurat (Affidavit)
  • Take Testimony (Depositions)

Massachusetts Notaries Public may issue subpoenas in all cases pending before courts, magistrates, arbitrators, or other persons authorized to examine witnesses. Failure by any person to obey a subpoena can result in a fine or jail sentence.

When you appear before a Notary Public and take an oath or affirmation, you can be charged with perjury if you are found be lying. Perjury is a serious criminal offense.

A Mobile Notary Public is a Notary Public who will travel to you. Whether you need a document notarized at your home, or at the Dunkin Donuts down the road, a mobile notary will travel to your designated location to notarize your important paperwork.

Need a Mobile Notary Public
Call: 978-877-2536    or visit:

Massachusetts Subpoena

What is a Subpoena?
A Subpoena is an order that commands a person to do any of the following:

>> appear in court to testify at a hearing:

>> appear in court to testify AND produce tangible evidence (photos, payroll records, etc.);

>> appear before a government agency to testify and/or produce tangible evidence (photos, documents, records, etc.) for a hearing being conducted by the agency. Such agencies include the Department of Children and Families (DCF), Division of Administrative Law Appeals (DALA), Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA), etc.;

>> appear at a deposition to testify and/or produce tangible evidence. A deposition is sworn testimony taken out of court before a an officer authorized to administer oaths. Such officers can be a Notary Public, Justice of the Peace, or someone appointed by the court to take a deposition.

How can a Subpoena help me?

For example, if you're going through a divorce and need to see how much your spouse makes, you can get a Subpoena and order your spouse's employer to produce payroll records. You can get copies of his/her weekly paystubs, W2 Forms, 401k information, etc. You can also subpoena more information from the employer such as health care plans, available plan types, commissions paid, etc.

Or, you can simply Subpoena a person to appear at a hearing or trial to offer his testimony.

I want a witness summoned to testify about what he knows. Can a Subpoena help me?

If you have a witness that you need at your hearing or trial to testify, you should always subpoena them to appear even if they agree to show up voluntarily. Let's say, for example, that Steve is a witness. He tells you that he will appear at your trial to offer his testimony. Your trial date comes and Steve decides he doesn't want to get involved and doesn't appear. What can you do? Nothing! You didn't summons him so there is no legal recourse you can take. It is your responsibility to summons your witnesses.

If you had subpoenaed Steve to show up and he failed to show, you could ask the court to issue a warrant to bring him into court. In addition, if his testimony is important to your case and he fails to appear after being subpoenaed, you could ask the court to continue the hearing or trial to another day because the witness failed to appear.
Always subpoena your witness!

What is a Witness Summons?

A Witness Summons is the same thing as a Subpoena. In Massachusetts, they are used interchangeably. Usually in a civil case, the word "subpoena" is used. In a criminal case, "witness summons" is used.

How can I get a Subpoena issued?

In accordance with Rule 45 of the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure (Mass.R.Civ.P.), a notary public may issue subpoenas. All you have to do is fill out the Online Subpoena Request Form and give us basic information about your case. This form will ask you for information that will enable us to properly draft and issue a Subpoena.

You may also request a subpoena by fax. All you have to do is fill out the Subpoena Request Form and fax it to: (978) 882-0234.

After we draft (type out) the Subpoena, one of our notaries public will issue it. Then it will be directed to a Constable or Process Server who will serve it on the witness in accordance with the law.

Our subpoenas hold the same weight and authority as if they were issued by the Court. In fact, the subpoenas are issued in the name of the Court or agency.

I read on another website that I can use a fill-in-the-blank form and take it to a notary public to notarize.

Some websites offer fill-in-the-blank forms. Are you willing to jeopardize the outcome of your case by drafting a subpoena yourself? Unless if you're an attorney or paralegal experienced in drafting subpoenas, I advise you not to use fill-in-the-blank subpoena forms.

Besides, most notaries public will refuse to issue a subpoena and will direct you to a judge or law office. Most notaries have never seen a subpoena because they don't work in the legal field. The majority of notaries public work in banks or other financial institutions.

Also, the wording used in a subpoena can invalidate it and make it unenforceable. It is very important that your Subpoena complies with the law and applicable court rules in order for it to be enforceable. Do you really want to take the chance in filling out a generic, fill-in-the-blank form?

Visit our Massachusetts Subpoena Services webpage at:

Do you serve Subpoenas and/or Witness Summonses?

Yes, after we draft and issue a subpoena, one of our Constables or Process Servers will serve the subpoena in accordance with the law. It is best to have an experienced official serve your court process (paperwork) because if it isn't properly served, the improper service is invalidated and unenforceable.

Be sure to visit the
Massachusetts Subpoena Services website!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Great Process Server Tool!!

Today I purchased a Vupoint Magic Wand Portable Photo and Document Scanner for $99 at Wal-Mart. I have to admit, it's awsome! This tool is something that will come in handy time and time again!

When I am serving court documents, I always try to get a copy of the Driver's License, or other I.D., of the person I am serving. This ensures that I will have "ultimate proof" that a person was served in the event that the service is contested (which rarely ever happens). I used to snap a photo of the person's I.D. with my cell phone camera and it would come out crappy. Not anymore! This cool device enables me to easily take a very clear copy of the person's identification.

Also, as a paralegal and notary public, I am constantly dealing with records and other important documents. Many times I would like to retain copies of some of the completed documents; however, since I provide mobile (traveling) services and am usually sitting at the client's home or office, there is no copy machine available. Now with this portable scanner, I can quickly and easily make a copy of the completed documents for my files.

I have played with this device several times now and it works great! It runs off of two AA batteries. The "wand" is cordless. The scanned images are stored on a Micro SD card that you must purchase yourself. When ready to put the documents or pictures on your computer, you simply plug in the USB cord and connect it to the computer. THAT'S IT!

You can purchase a Vupoint Magic Wand Portable Photo and Document Scanner by clicking on the link.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Deposition of Witness For Out-of-State Court

If you have a case pending in a court outside of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and need to take the deposition of a witness who resides in Massachusetts, then we can help.

In accordance with Massachusetts General Law,
chapter 233 section 45:

"A person may be summoned and compelled, in like manner and under the same penalties as are provided for a witness before a court, to give his deposition in a cause pending in a court of any other state or government. Such deposition may be taken before a justice of the peace or notary public in the commonwealth, or before a commissioner appointed under the authority of the state or government in which the action is pending. If the deposition is taken before such commissioner, the witness may be summoned and compelled to appear before him by process from a justice of the peace or notary public in the commonwealth."

This legal support network may issue subpoenas in accordance with M.G.L. ch. 233 sec. 45 to compel the witness to appear at a deposition that you must arrange with a deposition service company.


>> 1.) Obtain permission from your court or government where the case is pending. For a court, you simply ask the court to issue a commission. The commission should: (a) appoint a specific person or deposition service company to take the deposition and (b) authorize any notary public of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to issue a subpoena.

>> 2.) You should arrange a date and time to take the deposition with a deposition service company. We like
Esquire Deposition Solutions located in Boston. Or, you can contact Phillbin & Associates, Inc. out of Springfield.
Important things to remember:
  • If you require the production of documents at the deposition, you must allow 30 days for compliance. In other words, when the witness is served with a subpoena, the witness must be given at least 30 days notice to produce the records/documents you need.
  • A witness does not have to attend a deposition that is more then 50 airline miles from his home or place of employment.
  • The specific person or deposition service company you choose to take the deposition must be mentioned in the commission you obtain. This person or business becomes the "commissioner".

>> 3.) After you arrange for the deposition and obtain a commission, you should contact us and ask that one of our notaries public issue a Deposition Subpoena. We will need a certified (attested) copy of the commission you received from your court. After we get a copy, we will (a) draft, (b) issue and (c) serve the Deposition Subpoena on the witness.

>> 4.) Finally, you should provide us with a Notice of Deposition that we will serve with the deposition subpoena. The Notice of Deposition should be sent to us along with a copy of the commission and payment.

Go here to request a deposition subpoena for your out of state case:



Does a case have to be opened up in a Massachusetts court in order to get a subpoena to depose a witness in Massachusetts? ~~ No. If you follow the four steps above, then, in accordance with M.G.L. ch. 233 sec. 45, you may ask a notary public or justice of the peace in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to issue a subpoena to compel the witness to appear at a deposition and/or produce documents.

I called the court in Massachusetts. The clerk is telling me I must open a case in order for him or her to issue a deposition subpoena. Is this true? ~~ If you would rather go through the court to get a deposition subpoena, then you must file a petition with the court and request that a subpoena be issued. A Massachusetts lawyer can file the petition for you in accordance with M.G.L. ch. 223A sec. 11. The clerk of court was correct when he or she told you that he or she couldn't issue a subpoena without opening a case. A clerk of court can only issue subpoenas for the specific court he or she works in. A notary public or justice of the peace, however, has the unique authority to issue subpoenas for all cases, including cases being heard by government agencies such as the Division of Administrative Law Appeals (DALA) or Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA).

Who can take a deposition in Massachusetts? ~~ A notary public, justice of the peace, court reporter, commissioner appointed by a court, or any person authorized to administer oaths, may take a deposition.

Must I provide your office with a Notice of Deposition? ~~ Yes. Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure requires a Notice of Deposition be given. Your office can issue the Notice of Deposition and ask us to serve it with the deposition subpoena and any other paperwork you want served. In the event you want us to issue a Notice of Deposition, there is a cost of $25 per notice. It is best if you draft the Notice of Deposition to comply with your local rules of court.

I need documents and other tangible evidence to be produced at the deposition. Are there any special rules I must follow in order to get a subpoena duces tecum? ~~ The witness must be allowed 30 days to comply with the records request. This is commonly refered to as the "30 Day Rule".

What the heck is a subpoena duces tecum? ~~ A subpoena duces tecum is the type of subpoena used to order a witness to appear and produce documents and other evidence.

What if I only need the documents and records of a company? ~~ You should still obtain a commission and attach a letter to the subpoena that we serve advising the deponent that he or she can send certified copies of the records requested in lieu of appearing at the deposition. In this case, we can use our address as the location of the deposition and can waive the appearance of the witness.

What are our fees? ~~ Our office (1) drafts, (2) issues and (3) serves the deposition subpoena. The total cost depends greatly on how far we must travel, round trip, in order to officially serve the subpoena upon the witness. The 'service of process' fee also includes the required witness fee that the process server must tender to the witness when he or she is served with the subpoena. Cost is usually between $150 - $350 per subpoena. The most common cost is $225. --- Our fees are much cheaper then obtaining a subpoena from the court!

What happens if the witness fails to obey the subpoena and doesn't show up for the deposition? ~~ In the rare event this happens, either your office or the commissioner can file a Contempt Complaint in the Superior Court in jurisdiction. The witness could be fined or even put in jail for failing to obey a subpoena.

Can you provide a copy of a valid commission that I can use as a reference in drafting my own commission? ~~ Yes, please click here to review a sanitized copy of a valid commission.

Do any other States follow this same, simple procedure? ~~ Yes, a few other States have similiar laws. For example, you may follow the same procedure in the State of Connecticut. Click here to see their similar procedure.


All questions regarding the drafting and issuance of subpoeans for out-of-state cases should be directed to Korey Humphreys via email.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Convicted Felons acting as Process Servers

A NON-MEMBER OF THE NETWORK ASKS: You declined to accept me as a [Process Server] member of your network because I was convicted of a felony three years ago. Why can't I serve as a Process Server?

ANSWER: A Process Server is someone, authorized by law and court rules, who serves various types of legal process usually issued by a court of law, or an official authorized by court authority to issue process on behalf of the court (i.e.: justice of the peace, notary public).

In accordance with the law, a Process Server has to be a person of high standing and character. In fact, in Massachusetts, an experienced person can be appointed as a Special Process Server under a "4(c) Motion" {Mass.R.Civ.P. 4(c) }. A "4(c) Motion" is a litigants written request (motion) to appoint a special process server for service of process in a specific case. The person asking (motioning) the court to appoint a special process server is swearing, under penalties of perjury, that the person he/she wants appointed to serve process is (1) credible, (2) honest, and (3) of high standing and character. Obviously if a person has been convicted of a felony less then 10 years ago, that person is presumed to be dishonest and non-credible in a court of law.

Can a covicted felon become a police officer or constable? The answer is no!

Hypothetically, lets say a convicted felon is going around pretending to be a credible process server. The "wannabe process server" hides the fact that he is a convict from lawyers and members of the public and serves court process. Then, in one case, the opposing party(ies) investigates the case against him/her. They decide to check every aspect, including the technicalities involved with service of process. (Attorneys for litigants check nearly 95% of the time)

They obtain the paperwork that was legally served and look up the process server's name. Next, they do a simple background check on the process server by looking through old court records. Shockingly, they learn that the process server is a convicted felon who has been incarcerated in the past. Additionally, they learn that the person who served them has an extensive criminal record. What do you think is going to happen?

The opposing party(ies) would motion the court and contest service of process. Who do you think will win? The convict who is impersonating a credible court process server? Or the opposing party?

There have been cases where judges have permanently banned a person from acting as a process server. In fact, go here to review one such case:

IN CONCLUSION, if you are a convict, don't go around pretending to be a credible process server. One day your credibility will be questioned and your convict status will be exposed! You'll find yourself in a lot of hot water civilly, as well as criminally!


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Cops v. Process Servers, Constables, Deputy Sheriffs

As a process server and provider of court services, I’ve encountered the police on several occasions. I’ve encountered "city cops", "state cops" and "little town cops". The demeanor of the police has taught me a lot, as I am about to explain in this blog.


I have been serving court paperwork in Massachusetts for nearly seven years [2002 – present]. Many times I had to serve process in a city with the assistance of "city cops". Each time the police officer who stands by to keep the peace is helpful, patient and more then willing to protect and serve. They never question my services and actually understand the role of a "process server".

"City cops" don’t seem intimidated or act ignorant towards other career fields that are closely related to law enforcement. I’m sure there are a few "city cops" out there who feel that they are the only ones who can ‘do what they do’; however, I’m sure they eventually learn throughout their law enforcement career that they’re not the only ones.

I believe that "city cops" have the proper legal education and know the role each legal professional plays in criminal law, as well as civil law.


Every State Trooper, hereinafter, "state cop", that I have encountered while engaging in court services [not just process serving] has been respectful. They’ve asked questions about my duties, but have accepted the answers given to them. "State cops" have always treated me, and other process servers that I know of, with respect.

"State cops", like "city cops", have a lot on their agenda and don’t concern themselves with petty bullshit. A "state cop" obviously has a legal education and/or the experience to comprehend the fact that there are others like them who work in the criminal justice/legal fields who aren’t necessarily "police officers".


The demeanor of "little town cops" is different then that of "city cops" and "state cops". When I encounter a "little town cop", he/she is usually uncooperative, rude and sarcastic – especially when the "little town cop" is accompanied by another "townie".

From what I experienced during my seven years of service to the judicial system, the "little town cop" acts like I am "stepping on his toes" and/or hindering his/her authority.

They never understand my duties as a process server and automatically assume I’m impersonating a police officer. The "little town cop" and his partner[s] make sarcastic comments to one another over the radio and in-person and literally harass the process server. [Been there, experienced that!]

"Little town cops" don’t accept the fact that there are other people out there who provide the same services as law enforcement officials. They believe that a person has to be a cop in order to (1) serve court process; (2) make arrests; and (3) enforce the law.

"Little town cops" lack the legal education necessary to comprehend the roles of other legal professionals who are only doing their jobs.

"Little town cops" assume that everyone wearing a badge is a police officer. And, if you’re wearing a badge and aren’t a police officer, you must be a "whacker" and must be trying to convince the public that you are a police officer even though your badge and credentials clearly state that you are a process server.

Even though every piece of credential I carry (picture ID & badge) reads "process server", and not "police officer", "little town cops" automatically assume that I am impersonating a police officer. I’m not kidding!

"Little town cops" act like they feel threatened by Sheriffs, Constables and Process Servers. In fact, "townies" refer to them as "whackers" or "police wannabes".

In reality, however, most deputy sheriffs, constables and/or process servers are happy doing the job that they do. Nearly every deputy sheriff, constable or process server I’ve dealt with NEVER acts rude and childish when dealing with "little town cops". We don't poke fun at them and make sarcastic comments about their wannabe Robo Cop attitude. We don't minimize their roles in the criminal justice/legal fields. >>>>> So, why should they be rude and sarcastic to us?

They should do a case study on this topic. It would be interesting to read! I would like to know if "little town cops" have:

(1): Jurisdictional issues;
(2): Ego issues;
(3): Are insecure about their career outlook in small towns;
(4): Have frequent "power trips", etc.

I’m seriously thinking about writing a field guide for all the process servers of my network that will explain to them what they should do if they encounter a "little town cop".


I seriously believe that we should all work together and hold no animosity towards other legal professionals who do the same job. By working together, we can all easily perform our jobs. Furthermore, we all play a vital part in the pursuit of justice. For example:

~ Process Servers [includes deputy sheriffs and constables] are needed by law. Why? Because no case can commence without service of process. Without process servers, no court would have proper jurisdiction.

~ Police Officers are needed to protect and serve. Why? Because without them, no one is safe.

We should all do our jobs and do them with sincerity and integrity.