This is a simple question that throws Notaries off that I like to teach. John and Sally’s names are inscribed in an Acknowledgment for a Deed that the Lender pre-filled out. Sally cannot make it to the signing because she works the night shift. What do you do?
Notarize the form as is. Commentary — unfortunately, that is illegal, because you cannot perform an Acknowledgment for someone who does not personally appear before the Notary Public.
Another Wrong Answer
Just cross out Sally’s name and proceed. Commentary — unfortunately, forms have wording in the boiler plate section with he/she/they, capacity(ies), signature(s), etc. If you do not make sure the standardized wording and cross outs are consistent with how many people are there and of what genders, you have created falsified information in a certificate which is a crime.
A Messy but Acceptable Answer
You can cross out Sally’s name, check the wording below and make sure it is consistent with single man and a single signature if indeed there is only one signature on the document (better check to verify.) However, this is messy. Fraud could be suspected after the fact. If you cross out a county, that does not affect the transaction in any way because the loan would still be legal (I’m guessing & assuming) if you signed it in another county of the same state. However, if there is a debate as to whether Sally was there or not, or someone used the initial to add a third name fraudulently, you the Notary are in trouble. By having initials on legal documents and forms, you are opening up a can of worms and will have only your journal as evidence of what actually happened.
A Clean and Correct Answer
The best way to rectify the John and Sally issue is to either drive to the hospital where Sally works and get her to sign before midnight. That is not always possible. But, the forms could be stamped after she signs.
Or, use a fresh Acknowledgment form and just put John’s name on it, and notarize John’s signature as is. Another Notary can deal with Sally and do what James Bond calls — Notarize another day.
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Cross out and initial, or use a fresh form?
Filling in your journal before the appointment?
The ID says John Smith.