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March 8, 2015

Point (10) Signature Affidavit; Marcy Cancels the Signing

Our friend Marcy had screwed up a few signings by now. But, she wouldn’t give up. She was determined. She was unfortunately determined to go out there because her friends told her to have confidence and go out there. What she really needed to do is more studying before she screwed up anyone else’s loan. Maybe after this screw up she’ll hit the books before she accumulates some more bad karma.

ROCHESTER: Hi, you must be Marcy, the Notary.

MARCY: Sure, yes, just call me Marcy. Oh, that’s what you called me. Yes, I usually go by Marcy.

ROCHESTER: So, can I offer you a glass of orange juice before the signing?

MARCY: Yes, that would be wonderful. But, we’ll put it on a separate table or chair. I don’t want to tell you what happened at Starbucks a few days ago.

ROCHESTER: Oh, I love Starbucks. How could anything go wrong there?

MARCY: Oh boy. Let’s not talk about it. Let’s just make sure nothing goes wrong here.

ROCHESTER: Nothing can go wrong. I went over all the numbers with my Lender this morning. Just relax.

MARCY: Okay, no surprises then. Here are the documents. Let’s sign away.

ROCHESTER: Okay, hmmm. Uh-oh. My name.

MARCY: Your name? Your name is Rochester Smith.

ROCHESTER: That’s the whole thing. The docs have my name as Rochester T Smith. I never sign that way.

MARCY: No problem, I have the Lender’s phone number on speed dial, and your ID has your name as… uh-oh!!! (ring-ring) hmmm, he doesn’t seem to be picking up. Typical Lender. Always there to sell you a loan, but never there when you’re at the signing and something goes wrong. I think we need a 3-way appointment next time to make sure they are available. I’ll just leave a message.

ROCHESTER: Well, I can’t sign like this. I never sign with my middle initial.

MARCY: I can’t notarize you with the middle initial anyway since it is not on your ID.

ROCHESTER: Well, we’ll have to end the signing then. I’m so sorry Marcy.

MARCY: Oh, it’s okay.

Little did Marcy know that she could use the Signature Affidavit and AKA statement to write in all of Rochester’s name variations including the one without the middle initial. They could sign the docs as one of the variations such as printed on his ID, and the loan would go through unless the Lender objected. Lender’s often plan on selling the loan, so they don’t want too many (or any) discrepencies. Since Rochester wouldn’t be able to get another ID, the Lender wouldn’t have too much choice in the matter other than to forfeit the loan after his many hours of involvement. Once again, Marcy ruined another loan because she didn’t do her homework. Sounds like some of the notaries on 123notary who didn’t want to take additional certification courses and tests because they didn’t “need” to. Oh well. Perhaps it is really the Lender’s fault for choosing an untested Notary.


Point (10) The Signature Affidavit and AKA Statement

Signature Affidavit
There are many variations to this one. Here are some other names: Name Affidavit, Signature Affidavit and AKA Statement, Signature Name Affidavit, etc. These documents are often sworn oaths; if so, make sure to have the borrower(s) raise their right hand and swear to the correctness of the document or whatever the document asks them to swear to. This document is the one where people have to, or are allowed to, list all of their names including previous names from a long time back.

Generally, the name that the borrower is using in all of the documents appears on the top of the page; they have to sign to the right of that. Then, if they have name variations, those will be listed below. The printed name variations are usually on the left while the borrowers should sign to the right. The spelling of the names on the forms are not always correct. The names are obtained from credit reports that, at times, have the names misspelled. Keep your eyes open. Be sure that the borrower signs the variations exactly as they are spelled. Watch them like a hawk. Borrowers always screw this document up. If the names are not their real names, explain to them that the information came from credit reports. The data entry clerks who work at the credit bureau don’t always have good spelling skills. However on this particular document, the borrower has to sign exactly the way the misspelled name is anyway.

Notarizing the Signature Affidavit
This document is almost always notarized. Be careful doing your acknowledgment wording. If the person has one or more name variations, then the wording should be as follows (this is the California wording, it may not apply in other states, and I’ll skip the beginning wording):

The person(s) [cross out the ‘s’] whose name(s) [don’t cross this ‘s’ out although it is a habit] is/are [cross out the ‘is’] subscribed to the within instrument and acknowledged to me that ——— by his/her/their signature(s) [keep the ‘s’] ——-

It is difficult to remember how to fill out the wording for a single person with multiple names. Please refer to the Signature Affidavit in the sample document section to see how the wording is done.

The most important fact about the Signature Affidavit: If a borrower insists on signing in a way that is different from the name printed on the documents, the loan will often (not always, but often) still go through if that name they are using during the signing shows up in the Signature Affidavit. As always, ask the Lender before you use any name variation that is different from what is printed on the signature area of the documents. But, if the Lender doesn’t answer their phone — and they often don’t, then you are forced to use the skills you learned by learning the ropes! Just be sure not to hang yourself with one.


You might also like:

The 30 Point Course Table of Contents

30 Point Course (11) Following Directions

The Signature Affidavit

The Signature Name Affidavit: Not a substitute for an ID




  1. I disagree. Some loans that I have closed as a Notary do not have the Signature/ AKA Affidavit in them. Now what can you do if the form is not there, & you cannot touch base with the lender, title company, etc. & the BR insists on signing his/her name their way. As a Notary, I am NOT allowed to practice law & can not provide this form from my briefcase.

    Comment by Walter Hertz — March 22, 2015 @ 7:07 pm

  2. I disagree also. According to the NNA you cant use a separate AKA affidavit to verify the identity of someone on a Deed of Trust. This is a big opening for fraud. The proper recommendation is that the person would have to sign each and every notarized document \Rochester Smith AKA Rochester T Smith\. However in the notary acknowledgement portion the notary could only right the name on the ID \Rochester Smith>\ Then its up to the lend to accept it. Another solution is to get the BO to bring in 2 creditable witnesses.
    Another smart thing would have been for Marcy to ask the BO how his ID reads while on the phone for her confirmation call. Then If there were any discrepancies she could have called for precondition beforehand.

    Comment by Harris Perles — March 22, 2015 @ 8:00 pm

  3. Their name on the documents has to match the name on the ID. The ID can have more of their name than the documents, but not less. So, if the ID lacks any middle name or middle initial, and the documents show a middle name or initial, you can not notarize anything they sign using that middle name or initial, because they have not shown you satisfactory evidence that they are that person. In the example given, Rochester Smith is really the only name that the notary could let him sign on anything she is going to notarize for him. He has not provided any evidence that he is Rochester T. Smith. A Signature Affidavit or an AKA Affidavit MAY be considered evidence, but whether it is satisfactory evidence will depend upon the laws in the state where the notarization is taking place. I suspect that the notary would need to have him sign this document first, before he signs anything else, if she is taking it as evidence of his name.

    As far as signing using any variant of his name that appears on the Signature / AKA Statement, every client I have ever had specifies in their instructions that the borrower has to sign exactly as their name appears. If the name appears as Rochester T. Smith and he signs as Rochester Smith without the T, this is not signing exactly as his name appears, so it would not comply with the instructions. I have been an NSA since 2002 and have closed thousands of loans and have never heard of any lender, title company or signing service having instructions that said the signers could sign using any variation that appears on the Signature/AKA Aff. So, this blog post is contrary to my own experience.

    The simplest way to handle this is to refuse to notarize because they have not shown satisfactory evidence of that their name is what the documents show it to be. That will not make your client happy, of course, but they should have made themselves available by way of an after-hours cell phone number if they wanted the option of giving instructions for dealing with unexpected issues at the table. It’s really the LO’s mistake, as they should have vetted the documents to be sure the name matched the ID; and title could have done a Quit Claim Deed to correct the record if they did not match.

    Personally, I would not close this loan under the circumstances detailed. He is refusing to sign as his name appears and he lacks ID that shows the name as it appears and you are unable to reach your client to see whether they would accept him signing as his ID shows (and as he prefers).

    Comment by Tim Gatewood — March 23, 2015 @ 5:05 am

  4. In answer to the question about providing a form. You may want to check with an attorney in your state to get some clarification as to what is and what is not UPL. I did and I was told that giving someone a form is not UPL. Suggesting to them that the form could be used to accomplish a specific purpose MAY be, depending on circumstances. In this case, what you are trying to accomplish is to establish their identity, which is part of the function of a notary. How you do that when their ID does not match the documents is the issue. It is best if the form came from your client (or their client), but it’s the same form in any case.

    Comment by Tim Gatewood — March 23, 2015 @ 5:07 am

  5. Depending on what the instruction indicate….regarding the name variations…if the person has never been known by that name…that is exactly what they sign opposite that variation, “Never known as”….and their ID must confirm what they sign opposite their name above. If the borrower has been known by the name variation…then they sign exactly that way….if any questions….call the company that hired you……

    Comment by A.C. Dye — August 10, 2015 @ 6:19 pm

  6. I disagree you can’t be teaching that in your course when every state has different rules in California you can not do that you have to follow state rules.

    Comment by Maria Brenton — February 25, 2016 @ 1:00 am

  7. None of these responses really address the problem of signing the AKA Statement or the whole document. I have signers who’s signatures are so abbreviated and unrecognizable that they have stated it doesn’t change even if they add an initial or middle name. What are we supposed to do in this case. I has an attorney who responded when I told him to sign same as the documents were printed that then he wouldn’t be signing his name but it would just be cursive handwriting! I tend to agree! Signatures are very specific and in the end we are looking for a bona fide signature! How do we tell them how to sign?I

    I would love to hear everyone’s feedback


    Comment by Alisa Hamilton — December 28, 2016 @ 10:50 pm

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