Category Archives: Getting Legal

Notarizing Online

Although I didn’t receive one of those stimulus checks this year since I’m married to an ITIN holder, I did get a small tax refund for my 2019 taxes. Unfortunately, depositing the check into my U.S. based Capital One 360 account was an exercise in futility. Although Capital One has a banking app where theoretically I could deposit the check, it won’t work on a Mexican phone. 

So I asked my friend in Tennessee who had the check to deposit it into her account. Her bank told her they would need my fingerprint to do that. Not gonna happen. I decided that I needed to give her the Power of Attorney over my assets, such as they are. 

To do that, I’d need to have a Power of Attorney document notarized by a U.S. notary. I was going to do that when we went to renew my son’s passport in May, but then COVID happened and that trip didn’t materialize. The consulate in San Miguel de Allende still isn’t up to full service potential yet anyway. So I look at other options.

Believe or not, I learned about online notaries from a Facebook discussion thread. I didn’t end up using the notary recommended because they never answered my message, but I did find One Notary. I wrote and asked and they said yes, I could create a Tennessee Power of Attorney through their service. 

I found the document through eforms.com and downloaded that. It was $45 for the document. Then I set up an appointment with a notary at One Notary. 

Six hours before my morning appointment, I could go through the verification process. The first set of questions was easy peasy. Then I needed to take a picture of my U.S. ID (which in this case was my PA driver’s license I was able to renew on my visit last year) with my smart phone. Well, I actually enlisted my son and his new phone for this part. The verification process wanted me to enter a valid U.S. phone number, which I didn’t have. Fortunately, it also gave me the option to have the secret code emailed to me, which I could then access via phone. So I had it sent to my gmail account and my son opened the document, entered the secret code, and took the pictures. 

The app decided it still wasn’t sure I was who I said I was, so asked me a few more questions. I failed the verification since I couldn’t remember the house number of the apartment building I lived in for 6 months nearly 30 years ago. I couldn’t go through the verification process again for 24 hours, so I had to reschedule the appointment. 

The next attempt went pretty much the same. I had taken the time using Google Street view (and some assistance from my son) to find the apartment building across from the Revolutionary War cemetery in Greencastle and the other address I wasn’t sure of, the house next to the church in Lincoln. But I still failed. I rescheduled the appointment.

They say the third time’s the charm, right? Well, I got verified and made the payment of $25 for the notary service. Then I waited for the notary to arrive for our 10:00 am appointment. And I waited, and I waited. Finally at 10:30 am, I sent two messages, one to One Notary support and another to One Notary customer service. There is no chat option on the page. 

I received an email telling me that of course the notary was not signed in at 10:00 am because my appointment was for 10:30 am. I double checked the time and time zones to be sure. No, my appointment was at 10:00 am in both locations (Texas and Mexico). The person then snarkily informed me that he/she could see that the notary was now in a session with me–although that wasn’t true.

A few minutes later, I was promoted to join a notary session. The woman who appeared was not the woman I had made the appointment with, but I didn’t care. She downloaded my document and started doing what she needed to do. While she was doing that, she and I both received emails that said I would be taken care of by yet a different notary. I asked the woman not to transfer me and to finish what we had started, so we did. It took about 10 minutes. I signed the document with my mouse, initialed where I needed to put my initials and voila, finished!

I downloaded the document, which still had one blank page for my friend in Tennessee to accept the Power of Attorney. I then sent the document to her via email. She printed the document and had set up an appointment to have the acceptance notarized. My luck seemed to transfer to her. The first two appointments with the notary in Tennessee were canceled by the notary. But again, the third time’s the charm. Then, my newly empowered friend took my tax refund check and POA document to the bank. My check was promptly deposited without a hassle. The amount nearly covered the notary and document service. YEAH!

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Filed under Economics, Getting Legal

Going to IFE–New Procedures

My son turned 18 in May and I had all sorts of plans of getting his IDs (both US and Mexican) but we were in the middle of a pandemic and well, that didn’t happen. In August, the IFE (Instituto Federal Electoral) opened back up by appointment only. I managed to get a slot for my son for October 1 using the online booking site.

In order for him to receive his first ever voter’s registration card through IFE, he needed to present his Mexican birth certificate, a proof of residence like a water or electric bill, and two people who could vouch for his identity. 

Although my son was born in the US, we were able to register him in Mexico as the child of a Mexican citizen. His Mexican birth certificate is mostly blank because it only listed what was on his US birth certificate (parents’ names) rather than including grandparents and witnesses. On the back, there’s a whole bunch of writing about the apostille and translation of his US birth certificate. Even though it looks a little odd, it’s a perfectly legal document. 

We always have an issue with proof of residence because we have no public utilities. There is no electricity, no sewer, no water lines and no road names in La Yacata. So he asked to borrow the most recent bill from his aunt, who was also one of the witnesses he brought (the other being my husband). 

Along with these items, he needed to mask up. Since no one would be allowed in without a mask, in the bag of documents, I included two more for his dad and aunt just in case they didn’t have one.

My son balked a bit at having to go with dear ol’ dad, but I don’t have an IFE and wouldn’t have been allowed to vouch for his identity even though I’d given birth to him. My federal identification is in the form of a permanent residence card which doesn’t allow me to vote. 

The gang all rolled out to the appointment in plenty of time. I elected to stay home since I wouldn’t be of any use. From the way my son told it, everything was fine. He explained how we didn’t have an address and were using his aunt’s. He verified his birthday and that he was born outside of the country. His two vouchsafe companions had to wait outside and just send in their IFE cards. He had his fingerprints taken. 

He did have to remove his mask and glasses for the picture and said that not one person in the building was wearing their masks correctly. Some had noses but not mouths covered, some had mouths but not noses covered, and some had chin warmers on. That seems about right. 

After the picture, he was given a phone number to call on the 12th to see if his card was ready for pickup. It wasn’t. But finally by the 15th, it was. He felt confident enough to schedule his own appointment online to pick it up. He even picked a Wednesday so that I could take him if need be since I don’t have classes on Wednesdays. Unfortunately, the earliest slot was November 11. 

I felt so pleased that we were able to successfully complete this transaction, that I made the attempt to schedule an appointment to pick up the new license plates Guanajuato was issuing. It didn’t go as smoothly. But that’s another story. 

So on the fateful day, my husband and son headed to IFE only to find that even after having called and confirmed that my son’s ID was ready before making the appointment, it wasn’t. So he’ll have to call again next week and make another appointment some weeks down the road. But seeing how we are fast approaching the Guadalupe-Reyes holiday season, it might be 2021 before this process is finished. 

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Filed under Getting Legal, Parenting Challenges and Cultural Norms

Off to Ministerio Publico

Well, this story starts about a year and a half ago.  Rita purchased 3 lots, 2 for her brother and one for herself, from an aging colono (member) of La Yacata.  Super Prez being busy and all, delayed the certificates printing for some time and Rita was having none of that.  She stopped by at least twice a week at my house, twice more at SuperPrez’s office.  She even camped out by the office back door hoping to catch Super Prez leaving.  Insistent is an understatement in her case.  Eventually, her certificates were ready for pick-up and she picked them up.

I had hoped that would be the last I heard of her.  However in August of last year, I was coming home from the morning shopping trip, lo and behold, there she was again.  She had this long drawn out story of how someone who she had confidence in had taken her certificate along with some other papers.  I said that we kept a copy in the files and that if she wanted, she could have a new certificate made up, voiding the now missing certificate.  All the appropriate paperwork I forwarded to Super Prez and figured he’d let me know when it was ready for my signature.

Then in January of this year, Sal, brother of Rita showed up with this lost certificate. Storytelling must run in the family.  He had a long convoluted story of how his sister said the association (which is pretty much me and only me) had made an error because the certificate should be in his name.  So she ceded the property rights (he showed me her signature) to him and he wanted a revised certificate reflecting his status as owner. He said his sister wasn’t often home so it wouldn’t be easy to find her, besides he had the certificate and the signature and that should be enough.  I said I would take the paperwork and turn it into Super Prez and that he should check at the office in about a month so see if it was ready for pickup.

After he left, I started to get suspicious about the whole thing.  Why would Rita have told that long and emotional story about being betrayed and robbed earlier if she didn’t have any legal right to the property in the first place?  Why wouldn’t Sal be incensed, like most people are, when there is a mistake on the certificate?  You wouldn’t believe how bent out of shape some people get over a typo on these certificates.  And yet, good ol’ Sal shrugged and said it was a mistake.

So turn in the paperwork I did, however, I did not write up the order for a new certificate.  I attached a note listing my concerns and requesting that Super Prez contact Rita.  I also sent him an email to the same effect.

Much to my surprise, Rita herself showed up at my door the following Sunday with yet another long story session.  I don’t know exactly what her purpose in coming was, maybe just to have a new audience for her latest tales of woe.  From what I gathered, her brother Sal had pushed their mother down the steps then called the women’s abuse shelter.  Lawyers came from Guanajuato to investigate the assault against his mother.  Then there was some testimony by the mentally challenged boy that lived there, I never did figure out whose child he was, that named Sal as the instigator of the investigation, saying that his purpose was to take possession of the house where his mother and sister lived.

Furthermore, there was some alleged extortion over the pet cat.  Apparently, Sal kidnapped said animal, much to the mother’s distress.  Well, cats won’t go where they don’t want to go, so it eventually found its way back home, but it was all very emotional to hear Rita tell about it.

So when she had finally wound down enough, I told her about her brother showing up with that lost certificate.  She didn’t seem to understand what I was I saying, so I repeated the story to her silent husband.  Then he explained what I said to her.  Her mind was still in the story she had told apparently.  I told them that if she hadn’t signed that certificate, then good brother Sal was guilty of fraud and that she should take this up with the Ministero Publico.  She wanted immediate possession of the certificate.  Of course, it was already in Super Prez’s office.

So I sent off an email telling Super Prez she was coming for the certificate.  He didn’t give her the certificate.  He said he would hold on to it until asked to turn in it to Ministerio Publico for the demanda (lawsuit).  Seems reasonable to me.

I thought I was finished with all this until Rita showed up yet again at my house.  She wanted to know why I hadn’t gone to Ministerio Publico for my declaration.  What?  No one told me anything about that.  Apparently, the Ministerio Publico messenger had gone twice to the school where I work to deliver the summons, but couldn’t find me.  What? How was that possible.  I’m there every day from 7 am until 2 pm.  So the next day I asked the front office if anyone of the legal persuasion had been looking for me.  Negative.  All righty then.

Two days later, the director came up to my office and said that someone from Ministerio Publico came looking for me, but had been knocking at the side door.  What?  Couldn’t that person see the GIANT open entrance to the school?  Anyway, he didn’t even have the papers to deliver.  He said he’d be back with them.  Why would you go to deliver a summons but not take the summons?  Who knows!  I didn’t stick around.

Monday morning the secretary came to say that men in suits were at the entrance asking for me.  This must be it then.  I braced myself and went to receive the summons.  There were 2 copies, one for me and one to sign and return.  I squawked a bit about having to work, but the guy was unflappable.  He said I could use the summons as a justification for missing work–try telling that to my online students.  Well, I would just hope it would be quick.

Armed with my official ID, I set out for the Ministerio Publico directly after work.  I entered and there was an open book but no attendant.  I peeked around the corner and asked if I was supposed to sign the book, this being my first visit to the MP and all.  Yep, I was.  Reason for my visit–citatorio (summons).  I asked where I should go–upstairs.  Well, that was a little vague, but up them stairs, I went.

On the first landing, there was nothing but a bunch of chairs.  Ok, second landing then.  There were 2 offices.  As my letter didn’t specify which office, I tromped in one, eeny meeny miney moe style.  There were two fully armed police officers.  Have I mentioned that police officers carry large weapons and wear full bodysuits here? So I asked the nearest police officer who I was supposed to see. He gestured toward this younger, rounder guy with a tie on.  I handed him my paper and he said yes, I should be here, but could I wait downstairs until he finished with the current issue.  Ok.  I wandered back downstairs.  A little while later, those police officers and a guy in handcuffs came down and exited the building.  And still later, the guy in the tie came down.  He said he’d be right with me–called me maestra (teacher).  Well, I suppose that’s easy to determine as the summons went to the school and I was still in my uniform and he’d probably already talked to Rita who would surely leave no detail of my life out in her declaration.

While I was waiting, my sister-in-law L and her newest squeeze waltzed in.  We were both a bit startled to see each other.  I can’t wait to see what story she concocts to explain my presence there.  Perhaps I’ll be trying to steal her father’s house or some such nonsense.

It was about 40 minutes after I first arrived that I took the seat at the tie guy’s desk.  He didn’t start right away.  Seemed there were some things he had to finish up on other cases.  He also was very distracted by the goings on at the other 2 desks in the office.  Twice he said something and I thought he was addressing me, but he wasn’t.  

Eventually, he began with name and address type questions.  Apparently, my name was too common for all the drama involved because Rita or somebody had rechristened me.  I was now C. de las Flores along the same vein as Maria de la Santa Cruz, Maria de Nuestra Soledad, Maria de la Luz, Maria de los Angeles, and so on that are so popular here.  I whipped out my driver’s license and explained that the name listed there was my legal name.

The certificate in question was in the file, so it seems Super Prez had already made his declaration.  I recapped my interaction with Sal.  The guy with the tie typed it up.  He was amazingly adept at 3 finger typing.  He printed it out.  I signed and was free to go.  

My son had patiently waited in el centro for an hour for me to be released.  He said he had passed the time by helping out of towners find places.

Having done our good deeds for the day, we headed home.  I can’t say if this is the last thing I’ll have to do for this issue or not.  I hope so!

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This post was proofread by Grammarly.

 

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Filed under Getting Legal, La Yacata Revolution