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Duties & Obligations of a Document Preparation Service

Does a registrant need to display his or her Certificate of Registration?
 
Yes. Each registrant must display conspicuously in his or her place of business a copy of his or her certificate of registration and a written notice. The notice must:

  • Be not less than 12 by 20 inches in size, and each character of text in the notice must be not less than 1 inch in height and 1 inch in width. 
  • Be written in English and in each other language in which the registrant transacts business with the registrant’s clients. 
  • Contain a statement that the registrant is not an attorney authorized to practice in this State and is prohibited from providing legal advice or legal representation to any person. 
  • Contain the full name of the registrant or, if more than one registrant is providing services at that place of business, the full name of each such registrant. 
  • Contain a list of the services provided by the registrant and the fee charged for each such service. 
  • Contain a statement that the registrant has filed with the Secretary of State a cash bond or surety bond, stating the amount and any identifying number of the bond.

Does a registrant have to display the state business license?

Yes, each registrant must display conspicuously in the place of business a copy of the State business license issued to the registrant or the registrant’s employer, as applicable, by the Secretary of State and any business license issued to the registrant or the registrant’s employer, as applicable, by a local government in this State.

Are there any conditions under which my registration can be suspended or revoked?

Yes. The Secretary of State can revoke or suspend the registration of any person who violates a provision NRS 240A or a regulation or order adopted or issued. A suspension or revocation may be imposed only after a hearing. However, the Secretary of State shall immediately revoke the registration of a registrant upon the receipt of an official document or record showing: the entry of a judgment or conviction; or the occurrence of any other event that would disqualify the registrant from registration pursuant to subsection 2 of NRS 240A.100.

Is a document preparation service required to enter into a contract with a client?

Yes. NRS 240A.190 requires that be a registrant provide any services to a client the registrant and client must enter into a written contract. The registrant must provide the client with a copy of the contract.

What does the contract require?

The contract must:

  • Be written in English and, if different, in the language in which the registrant transacts business with the client, and be printed or typewritten in not less than 12-point type. 
  • Explain the services to be performed by the registrant and state the total price to be paid by the client for all such services. 
  • With respect to any document to be prepared by the registrant:
    State the estimated date by which the document is to be completed; identify the court or agency with which the document is to be filed or submitted; and if applicable, identify any associated deadlines or hearing dates of the court or agency with which the document is to be filed or submitted. 
  • Include on the first page of the contract a statement in boldface type that the registrant is not an attorney authorized to practice in this State and is prohibited from providing legal advice or legal representation to any person. 
  • Include a statement that any complaint concerning the registrant may be directed to:
    (1) If the complaint involves an alleged violation of this chapter, the Secretary of State; or
    (2) If the complaint involves an allegation that the registrant is engaged in the unauthorized practice of law, the office of Bar Counsel of the State Bar of Nevada, with the toll-free telephone number and Internet address for making the complaint. 
  • State the date of the client’s signature on the contract, if the client agrees to the terms of the contract.

What is the toll free number for the Secretary of State that must be printed on the contract?

The toll free number is 1(800)450-8594 (Option 6).

What is the toll free number and Internet address of the State Bar of Nevada required in the contract?

The State Bar’s toll free number is 1 (800) 254-2797. The internet address is www.nvbar.org.  

Is a contract ever voidable?

A contract between a registrant and a client that does not comply with any requirement of NRS 240A.190 is voidable by the client.

Is there a standard contract or contract template a registrant can use?

No. The State does not provide a standard contract or template. It is the responsibility of the document preparation service to develop a contract that meets the statutory requirements. It is recommended that a registrant consult with legal counsel to assist in the development of a contract that meets the statutory requirements.

What are the consequences of not complying with the contract requirement?

If the Secretary of State obtains information that a provision of this chapter or regulation or order adopted or issue has been violated by a registrant or another person the office may conduct an investigation of the violation. The violator may be subject to the penalties prescribed in NRS 240A.260-290.

As a document preparation service, do I need to provide any information on documents prepared for the client?

Yes, NRS 240A.200 requires that any document prepared by a registrant for a client must contain the registrant’s name, business address and telephone number and registration number and should be placed below any required signature of the client.

As a document preparation service, am I required to make any disclosures to the client before engaging in service?

Yes. Before providing any services to a client or presenting a client with the required contract, a registrant must provide the client with a written form of disclosure containing the following the requirements:

  • The full name, business address and telephone number and registration number of the registrant. 
  • The name and business address of the registrant’s agent for service of process, if any, in this State. 
  • A statement that the registrant is not an attorney authorized to practice in this State and is prohibited from providing legal advice or legal representation to any person. 
  • Unless the registrant is an attorney licensed to practice in another state or other jurisdiction, a statement that any communication between the client and the registrant is not protected from disclosure by any privilege. 
  • A statement that the registrant has posted or filed with the Secretary of State a cash bond or surety bond, stating the amount of the bond and any identifying number of the bond. 
  • The expiration date of:
    • The state business license issued to the registrant or the registrant’s employer, as applicable, by the Secretary of and any business license issued to the registrant or the registrant’s employer, as applicable, by a local government in this State. 
  • The disclosure must be written in English and, if different, the language in which the registrant transacts business with the client.

Does the client have to sign the disclosure statement and do I as registrant need to provide the client a copy?

Yes, the client is required to read and sign the disclosure, acknowledging that he or she has read and understands it. The client must be provided a copy to retain.

Are there certain things that registrants are prohibited from doing?

Yes, NRS 240A.240 specifies prohibited acts. These include:

After the date of the last service performed for a client, retain any fees or costs for services not performed or costs not incurred.
2. Make, orally or in writing:
(a) A promise of the result to be obtained by the filing or submission of any document, unless the registrant has some basis in fact for making the promise;
(b) A statement that the registrant has some special influence with or is able to obtain special treatment from the court or agency with which a document is to be filed or submitted; or
(c) A false or misleading statement to a client if the registrant knows that the statement is false or misleading or knows that the registrant lacks a sufficient basis for making the statement.
3. In any advertisement or written description of the registrant or the services provided by the registrant, or on any letterhead or business card of the registrant, use the term “legal aid,” “legal services,” “law office,” “notary public,” “notary,” “licensed,” “attorney,” “lawyer” or any similar term, in English or in any other language, which implies that the registrant:
(a) Offers services without charge if the registrant does not do so; or
(b) Is an attorney authorized to practice law in this State.
4. Negotiate with another person concerning the rights or responsibilities of a client, communicate the position of a client to another person or convey the position of another person to a client.
5. Appear on behalf of a client in a court proceeding or other formal adjudicative proceeding, unless the registrant is ordered to appear by the court or presiding officer.
6. Provide any advice, explanation, opinion or recommendation to a client about possible legal rights, remedies, defenses, options or the selection of documents or strategies, except that a registrant may provide to a client published factual information, written or approved by an attorney, relating to legal procedures, rights or obligations.
7. Seek or obtain from a client a waiver of any provision of this chapter. Any such waiver is contrary to public policy and void.

In advertising a document preparation service are there any specifics requirements? What are they?

Yes. Any advertisement for the services of a registrant which the registrant disseminates or causes to be disseminated must include a clear and conspicuous statement that the registrant is not an attorney authorized to practice in this State and is prohibited from providing legal advice or legal representation to any person.

This statement required must be included in any printed material, social media account, television broadcast, Internet website or other electronic media which contains a promotion or advertisement of the document preparation services or related services provided by the registrant. Statement must be

  • in the same language as the rest of the advertisement;
  • sufficiently large as to be read easily; 
  • printed in a color that allows the statement to be clearly legible, including, without limitation, black or blue on a white background; and 
  • contain the number of the certificate of registration issued to the registrant

If an advertisement for the services of a registrant is conducted in a purely verbal form without any visual component, the statement must be clearly articulated and the advertisement must provide the name of the registrant and his or her registration number.

A person shall not disseminate any advertisement or other statement that he or she is engaged in the business of a document preparation service in this State unless he or she has complied with all the applicable requirements of NRS Chapter 240A.

What are the duties of a registrant with regard to the client’s documents?

The registrant shall take reasonable measures to safeguard from loss or damage any document provided to the registrant by a client in connection with services rendered by the registrant. The registrant shall immediately return to a client any original document provided by the client:
(a) Upon the request of the client;
(b) If the contract required by NRS 240A.190 is not signed or is cancelled for any reason; or
(c) If the document is no longer needed for the services rendered by the registrant.

An exception to the above is that if a copy of any original document provided by a client is sufficient for the purposes of a legal matter, the registrant can make a copy of the original document and must immediately return the original to the client.

If there is a dispute over fees or costs between the registrant and the client, can the registrant retain the client’s documents?

No, the duties of a registrant as they pertain to a client’s documents are not affected by a dispute existing between the registrant and the client over the registrant’s fees or costs.

Is a registrant allowed to provide legal advice?

No, a registrant cannot provide legal advice unless the person is a licensed attorney in the State of Nevada.

Can a document preparation service/registrant use or advertises services as a Notario?

No, not unless the person providing the document preparation services is a licensed attorney in the State of Nevada.

I am registered as a document preparation service and also hold a current notary public appointment in the State of Nevada, can I use the term Notario?

No, not unless you are a licensed attorney in the State of Nevada. NRS 240.085 states that a notary public who is not an attorney licensed to practice law in this State shall not use the term “notario,” “notario publico” or any other equivalent non-English term in any form of communication that advertises his or her services as a notary public, including, without limitation, a business card, stationery, notice and sign.

As a document preparation service/registrant who is also notary public appointed by the State of Nevada, can I advertise my services as a notary in a language other than English?

NRS 240.085 requires that any notary public who is not an attorney licensed to practice law in this State and who advertises his or her services as a notary public in a language other than English by any form of communication, except a single plaque on his or her desk, shall post or otherwise include with the advertisement a notice in the language in which the advertisement appears. The notice must be of a conspicuous size, if in writing, and must appear in substantially the following form:

I AM NOT AN ATTORNEY IN THE STATE OF NEVADA. I AM NOT LICENSED TO GIVE LEGAL ADVICE. I MAY NOT ACCEPT FEES FOR GIVING LEGAL ADVICE

Are there penalties for violating the above provisions in NRS 240.085?

Yes, if the Secretary of State finds a notary public guilty of violations in NRS 240.085, the notary public’s appointment may be suspended for not less than 1 year or his or her appointment revoked for a third or subsequent offense. A notary public who is found guilty in a criminal prosecution for violating NRS. 240.085 shall be punished by a fine of not more than $2,000.

What if a complaint is filed against me as a document preparation service?

You will receive a letter from the Secretary of State’s office detailing the allegations and will be provided an opportunity to respond. You will have 15 days to respond and provide any documentation in your response. Based on your response or failure to respond, the Secretary of State’s office will determine whether further investigation is warranted or if the complaint is dismissed, you will be notified.

Last updated: 2/28/2014 5:04:27 PM