Monday, January 5, 2015

About Writing Utensils

Pens, Pencils, Highlighters, Sharpies®, and Markers

The Tools of My Trade: Lamy Safari Fountain Pen, Padrino Ballpoint,
Sherpa Camo Pen shell w/Red Sharpie
What are you using as your primary and back up writing utensils?

It doesn't matter what you do and where you do it, all of us need writing utensils to get us through the day.

Your writing utensils are the tools of your trade. CEO, COO, Doctor, Lawyer, Manager, Front line staff, it does not matter what position you hold or what job you do, you will always need writing utensils.

Why not get the best tool that you can to do your job?

Oh sure, everyone wants a MONTBLANC fountain pen but at $755.00 for a Montblanc Meisterstuck LeGrand Platinum Fountain Pen it may be a bit cost prohibitive for many of us. However, there is nothing that says you must settle for a BIC pen?

While there is nothing wrong with a BIC, remember most of those pens are mass produced and offer only utility service (think sign-in sheet at the Doctor's office). They are not built for comfort or long term use.

That's why you must take the time to find what works and feels good to you. I recommend you heading down to your local office supply store and spend more than 10 minutes looking, holding and feeling the pens and pencils (mechanical or otherwise) they offer. Some office supply stores offer a place to test drive the pen and if your local store does not offer at least a scratch pad then ask to speak to the store manager and see if they can set something up for you.

When find the one or two you feel good about, make the leap and go for it. Remember, it does not have to be a MONTBLANC or CROSS but it should be something that not only fits your budget but allows you to get refills at a reasonable rate and most of all feels good to you.

The pen you use says a lot about you, who you are and what you stand for. So why not pick the what is best for you and show them.

Monday, October 6, 2014

about Records Retention Schedules

Are you in a regulated industry? Are there documents (paper or electronic) that you are required to maintain?

If you answered "yes" to either one or both of the previous questions then you need to follow a records retention schedule.

What is a Records Retention Schedule?

It is a fixed period that you or your organization is mandated to follow regarding the maintaining of  PAPER RECORDS, MICROFILM RECORDS, and/or ELECTRONIC RECORDS. After the time expires you or your organization can DESTROY BY SHREDDING, DESTROY BY PULVERIZATION, and/or by DELETION.

The schedule is approved (usually by governing entities) to limit the space and resources committed by the individual or organization to store and maintain those records over the lifetime of the entity required to follow a retention schedule. Imagine a medical practice that has been in business for over twenty years. Now imagine that same medical practice that has kept paper records for over twenty years. Yep, that is a lot of paper and space. However, by following a retention schedule that practice will have what it is required to have to meet compliance thus the space and amount of paper is kept to a respectable amount of space.

In the state of Texas:
• Medical Records have a Minimum Retention Period of 7 years past the last date on which service was given or until the patient's 21st birthday, whichever occurs later.
• Dental Records have a Minimum Retention Period of 5 years
• However, Master Patient Index has a PERMANENT retention.

 Of course, other rules and regulations apply to unique situations and circumstances. Thus, it is advisable to check with your governing commission, agency, or organization to have the latest information available and to remain in compliance.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Something to Talk About: Notarizing Death Certificates?

The other day we had a client walk in the office that needed some Notary Public service done.

Specifically, they were looking to have an official death certificate notarized.  As soon as they told me what they wanted, a red flag started waving in my head.  Something about that request was just not right.

I asked, "Why do you need this death certificate notarized?"

They responded that they were trying to close out a family member's personal business account.  It seems a family member passed away not so long ago.  I understand you have to close out those accounts.  Not wanting to seem too intrusive but something was still not jiving, I asked, "Who is requesting this notarized death certificate?"

The person responded they were trying too close the family member's account with a third party electric company. 

If you are not too sure, what I mean one estate third party electric company, I hope this works: electricity runs to your home over a wire.  The primary electric company in your area owns that wire.  They are typically the ones that send you your first electricity bill. Over the years, other companies have contracted with those primary electric companies to sell you (the consumer) electric service at a reduced rate.  There is nothing wrong with that it happens all the time.  In most cases, those third party electric companies will want to lock you into a one, two, or three your contract.  Getting out of that contract is a little difficult.  Apparently even when you are dead.

I explained to the person that there is no space on a State of Texas Death Certificate for a notary to sign and place his seal.  Additionally, the State of Texas seal is the certification and that is displayed prominently on the certificate itself.

She was not buying my answer.  I continued to explain that there are some forms and certificates that cannot be notarized because again they already official documents.

They still were not buying it.

I then headed on over to the Secretary of State of Texas website and found exactly what I needed.  A death certificate is an Apostille. An Apostille is "form of certification set out in the 1961 Hague Convention, to which the United States became a subscriber in 1981. It is a form of numbered fields, which allows the data to be understood by the receiving country regardless of the official language of the issuing country."
"The object of the Apostille is to 'abolish the requirement of diplomatic or consular legalization for foreign public documents'. The completed Apostille certifies the authenticity of the signature, the capacity in which the person signing the document has acted, and identifies the seal/stamp which the document bears."

Here is where I found exactly what we were looking for: "The Hague Convention defines 'public documents' as: those originating in a court, clerk of a court, public prosecutor or process server, administrative documents, notarial acts, official certificates placed on documents.
These types of 'public documents' would include birth/death certificates, marriage licenses, divorce decrees, school transcripts and diplomas/degrees, among others."

It was a legal document on its own (without notarization).

However, after showing her this and explaining why this document did not need to be notarized she still did not accept the answer. 

I then proceeded to telephone the Bureau of Vital Statistics to get a verbal confirmation of what I just read to the customer and what I was trying to explain.  While I was waiting (on hold), I tried to explain why this was not sitting well with me.

If I had proceeded with the notarial act on this certificate, I would be, putting me in a situation that I do not intend to put myself into.  As the death certificate is an official state document, it is a recognized legal certificate there is no need for the notary, and a question of fraud would then come into play.  Why would I willingly notarized and already legal document?

At this point, I think she started to understand.  When the clerk at the bureau of vital statistics answered, I explain the situation, and the clerk reconfirmed what I had said I then asked the clerk if she would be willing to repeat that answer to the customer that is in my office?  She said yes and did so.

The client accepted the answer.  She expressed that she was sorry for taking up all my time.  There was nothing to be sorry about as we both learned something today and that is a very good thing.
To sum it up, check your documents and your certificates, especially death and birth certificates.  If you do not see a spot specifically for a notary, then document does not need to be notarized. 

FYI: What does need to be notarized is the form you use when you want to make changes to a birth or death certificate.  That is for a different blog post.

I hope this helps.  Thank you for your time.

Monday, March 10, 2014

What We Do: We Help With Your PAPER problems/issues/concerns

It is 2014, where are the flying cars? where are the weekend trips to one of Jupiter's moons? Seriously, where is the automatic vacuum cleaner or the portable handheld communication device? Oh wait a second, we do have those.

Do you know what else we have? We still have PAPER. Weren't we supposed to be doing everything electronically by now?

A harsh reality is that PAPER is here to stay. No matter how much we want to get away from it, paper is has always been here and will always be here. Unfortunately, it is here that most organizations become inundated with so much paper that they feel they cannot get control of the paper records their company has created, no matter what they do.

You know you have to get your paper under control. You know you want to move to a near all paperless operation. You know this. I am not saying anything new. So do we just throw our arms up in the air and say "I surrender"?

Most certainly not!

You cannot surrender. You can never surrender. You have to step up and say enough is enough and wrangle your paper into something manageable and something you can function with.

Sure you can put everything in a shredder and now you have enough confetti for a Super Bowl celebration. Yet, as Murphy's Law dictates "the moment you need something is the exact same moment you dispose of it."

What can you do? First, don't worry. There is a solution. There is help.

Next, It is up to you and your organization to decide that NOW is the time to get a firm grip on your paper issues. You can sit there and think, we can do it later when so and so goes on vacation or we can do it when the slow season comes around. Then when so and so goes on vacation or the slow season starts you realize that you did nothing to prepare to address your paper concerns. In essence, later never comes and the paper problem grows.

There will never be a good time to launch a project.

If not now, when? The cold hard reality is that WHEN is almost always an unanswered question.

If you and your organization are ready to say "damn the torpedoes" and now is the time to get control of your paper records you are going to need a little help. Find someone who knows how to address these unique issues. The sooner you start to addressing these issues, the sooner you can start reclaiming your sanity and office space by eliminating those boxes and boxes of paper.

Rio Records Service, Inc. can help. If you want more information please email or call us at 956-687-8439

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

What We Do #4: Full Service Notary Public

Rio Records Service, Inc., offers full Notary Services to not only our clients but to the General Public, as well.

According to Wikipedia, "A notary public (or notary or public notary) in the common law world is a public officer constituted by law to serve the public in non-contentious matters usually concerned with estates, deeds, powers-of-attorney, and foreign and international business. A notary's main functions are to administer oaths and affirmations, take affidavits and statutory declarations, witness and authenticate the execution of certain classes of documents, take acknowledgments of deeds and other conveyances, protest notes and bills of exchange, provide notice of foreign drafts, prepare marine or ship's protests in cases of damage, provide exemplifications and notarial copies, and perform certain other official acts depending on the jurisdiction. Any such act is known as a notarization. The term notary public only refers to common-law notaries and should not be confused with civil-law notaries.

A notary public may also certify documents to be true copies of the original. In some jurisdictions, a notary public can also draft contracts, promissory notes, wills, mortgages and other legal documents. Almost always, the powers of a notary public in each province or state are derived from provincial or state legislation.

That may be a lot to remember but for the most part the majority of what Notaries Public do is what's mentioned in the second sentence of the definition. We mostly, administer oaths and affirmations, take affidavits and declarations. The other stuff is few and far in-between but it does happen.

At Rio Records Service, Inc., we have Notary Agents under contract to provide all the mentioned Notary Services across the Rio Grande Valley area of Deep South Texas.

Each Rio Records Service, Inc., Notary Agent is PROFESSIONAL, INSURED, and BONDED. This is to ensure that you get the highest quality service. Of course, all Notaries Public in the state of Texas must be insured and bonded for your protection Rio Records Service adds service and value to each signing.

How do we do this?
We add service and value to each signing by bringing our vast knowledge of notary signing to you at no cost and we do not know an answer, we will not stop until we find someone who knows the answer or can put us in contact with someone with knows the right answer. We would rather not have you sign any document until you were completely satisfied with the notary process and why it is important to have any document notarized.

Here are a few of the documents we can Notarize:
• Affidavits  ---//---  • Acknowledgements
• Affirmations  ---//---  • Oaths
• Jurats  ---//---  • Notarial Record
• Automobile Title  ---//---  • Automobile Bill of Sale
• Affidavit of Ownership  ---//---  • Identification Affidavits
• Small Estate Affidavits  ---//---  • Signature Affidavits
• Vault Inspections  ---//---  • Property Inspections
• Annuities  ---//---  • Structured Settlements
• Debt Consolidation Agreements  ---//---  • Amendment to Birth Certificates
• General Bill of Sale  ---//---  • Business Partnership Agreements
• Business Contracts  ---//---  • Promissory Notes
• Attorney / Client Agreements  ---//---  • Power of Attorney (General Durable Healthcare Financial)
• Name Change   ---//---  • Divorce Agreements
• Paternity Affidavits  ---//---  • Separation Agreements
• Child Custody Agreements   ---//---  • Wills / Trusts
• Translator Certification  ---//---  • Translation Affidavits
• Document Custodian Affidavits  ---//---  • Health Affidavits
• Physician Statements  ---//---  • International Adoption Papers
• Local/State Government Documents such as:
          Bid Forms • Grantor / Grantee Affidavit • Lien Releases
 ....................and so much more

If you do not see your document listed above, please call us or email because in most cases, we can notarize it!!!

Monday, October 14, 2013

What We Do #3: CD/DVD Duplication Services

As part of its ALWAYS BE PREPARED mantra Rio Records Service, Inc. offers CD/DVD Duplication Services.

Rio Records Service, Inc. offers fast and reliable affordable secure and professional service when it comes to CD and DVD duplication, transfer, and conversion service in the Rio Grande Valley and throughout South Texas. The process is fast, reliable, affordable, secure, and professional.

Say you have an old VHS cassette tape and it is getting difficult to find someone with a functional VHS player.  Imagine never having access to your wedding videos, quinceanera video, old vacation videos, school concerts, sporting events, college recruitment videos, and so on and so on.  You cannot imagine never seeing those videos again but it is fast becoming a reality.  Rio Records Service, Inc., through its service can ensure that your most valuable assets and memories are protected and preserved for a long time.

There will be times when you want to share a home video with family members that are far away and uploading a 4GB file just will not do, or you are in a band and want to mass-produce an audio CD then Rio Records Service, Inc., can help you get what you need. Whether it be 1 copy of home movie DVD or 2,500 copies of an audio CD we are here to help.

As mentioned, we do VHS to DVD conversion service all files are converted to DVD grade video from the original VHS format.  One thing to remember is that the older a VHS tape gets the more oxidized the physical tape gets.  This means that the metal that is on the VHS tape starts to "rust" thus creating a blurred look to the video that is being played back or recorded.  This happens to every VHS tape, as it gets older.  Additionally, as the videotape has been played multiple times over the years the physical tape starts to become stretched because of the pushing and pulling along the path the actual tape takes while it is in the VHS player.  This can cause tapes to crumble, stretch, and at times break apart.

When a tape breaks, it is no cause for alarm.  However, please understand that that part of the video is gone forever.  What can happen is that the video can be cut to remove the bad tape, and then reattached to the cassette, and recording can resume.  That is why it is imperative that you find a solution provider that will convert your old VHS tapes to digital format as soon as possible, if you have not done so already.

Rio Records Service, Inc., also does audio-cassette to CD conversion service.  Taking the same principles and understanding of VHS tape and how it can degrade over time the same applies to audio cassettes and audio micro cassettes.  Old are they are the more fragile they become.  Therefore, if you want to preserve those long memories the sooner you get them converted from audio format to digital format the sooner you can stop worrying about them and whether you will be able to hear your grandfather's voice again.

Do you have a VHS tape or audio cassette that you want to preserve or have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to call Rio Records Service, Inc., at (956) 687-8439 or email us at

Thank You,
David Guerra

Monday, October 7, 2013

What We Do #2: Professional Development and Training Service

Rio Records Service, Inc., believes that only way to be prepared for the unexpected to always be training. This is something that I have carried with me since my time with US Army. Always Be Training.

That's the ABCs of it.
A for Always
B for Be
C for cTraining (the c is silent)

We also firmly believe in the following quote: "The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war." I am not too sure who said it first, some say General Patton said it others say it is a old Chinese Proverb. It does not matter who said it, what does matter is that it is very true.  The more one prepares the more one is ready to deal with any new situation that arises.  By now, in a professional lives we know that new situations can and do arise at almost any time with little to no warning.  Typically, no warning.

When any new situation arises it is best if there is at least one person in the organization who has a clue on how to handle it.  Now it may be something that arose a long time ago and has now taken a new form but the core is still the same then solving it should be relatively easy.

However, more times than not the situation is new and has to be dealt with immediately and a unique solution has to be found and put into place.  By training and more training, individuals and organizations can greatly reduce the fallout of any unknown that may occur.

Therefore, Rio records Service Inc., has taken the lead in developing professional development and training services for organizations, agencies, and course, individuals.

Currently, we offer "Professional Etiquette in Healthcare", "Business Etiquette and Personal Skills", "Etiquette in a Professional Setting", "Release of Medical Information", "The Do's and Don'ts of Social Media in Healthcare", "The Do's and Don'ts of Social Media in a Professional Setting", and our latest offering: "Protecting your Information and your Client's Data".  More training offerings are due to come on line in early 2014.

The following workshops are CEU eligible for State of Texas Licensed Professional Counselors and Certified Social Workers:

1.  Protecting your information and your Client's the Data
2.  Professional Etiquette in Healthcare
3.  Release of Medical Information

The scope of all the training sessions may appear to be towards the health and human services professionals however, the true focus of the training sessions are geared towards any organization that deals with customers, clients, or patients.  This means that all individuals, groups, companies, and organizations can benefit from any of the training service offerings by Rio records Service Inc.

Our training calendar is prepared in a manner that helps any individual or organization to plan properly.  The training calendar is set up in a way that even those individuals that have difficulty obtaining " time off" to attend regular daytime training sessions.  When a training session is scheduled on the Wednesday rest assured that the start time of the training will be at 6:00 PM.  Additionally, we offer training sessions every other Saturday starting at 10:00 AM and depending on the workshop the ending time there be 1:00 PM or 2:00 PM.  Of course, Rio records Service Inc., can adjust its start time when training is conducted at your location.

You want to schedule training with Rio Records Service, Inc., or have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to call (956) 687-8439 or email us at

Thank you
David Guerra