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August 17, 2019

The Signature Name Affidavit: what is it and its purpose…

I am posed with questions concerning this document quite often. So let me tell what it is and what it isn’t. For those of you that are unfamiliar; this document is one of the documents found in 95% of all of loan packages.

The signature name affidavit represent names that have appeared on an individuals credit report(s). When a person applies for a loan, the lender runs a persons credit using all 3 of the credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax). These reports will usually include all of the names an individual has used in their lifetime; examples would be; marriages, maiden and name given at birth. The signers are required by the lender to sign the form and the form typically needs to be notarized.

At other times there will be clerical errors consisting of misspelled names and occasionally where the names are quite different. Sometimes in the case of the latter the signers will have an objection to signing the form and one can hardly blame them. So, if the signers have an objection to signing a name that is not their own, I have them strike it and initial. To date that has been acceptable and I haven’t had a document returned because of this action. (I suggest however, that you always bring this to the attention the company (or person) that hired you while-at the signing table if it is an issue. Never take matters into your own hands. ALWAYS ask).

There will be other times when the ID doesn’t match the documents exactly; say for example, a middle name is missing or the maiden was used previously and now they are married but they have no ID with these variations, you may be asked to add this name variation to the signature name affidavit in lieu of having ID. This is a big NO.NO. We must have current government issued picture ID. (or credible witnesses if they are allowed in your state). You CANNOT add names to the signature name affidavit that you DON’T have ID for. This is fraud and you will be on BIG trouble, if it ever comes up in an investigation or court case. I hear notary excuses; “But Carmen, they swore to me that that was their name.” Not good enough. Just imagine how this would appear to law enforcement or a judge. You must protect yourself and the signer. If you unfortunately find yourself in this situation always ask the signers if they have other acceptable ID that has all their names on it or use credible witness if allowed.

Now, I have actually added names to the signature name affidavit that I had ID for, but that is another blog story. 🙂

Until next time, be safe!

You might also like:

What constitutes a signature?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22173

The Signature Name Affidavit
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16298

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December 13, 2018

What are some typical types of affidavits?

Filed under: Affidavits — admin @ 9:42 am

There are various types of affidavits out there. As a former Notary Public, I encountered certain types of affidavits on a regular basis. Here are some of the ones I saw.

Signature Affidavit and AKA Statement
This one shows up in loan packages on a regular basis as signers sometimes have variations in their signature or names.

Occupancy Affidavit and Financial Status
This document typically makes the signer swear that they will move into or reside in a particular property and that they have not incurred any sudden changes to their finances.

Name Affidavit
An Affidavit where you swear to your name.

Identity Affidavit
An Affidavit where you swear to your identity.

Affidavit of Citizenship
An Affidavit where you swear to be a citizen of the USA or a particular other country.

Affidavit of Support
An Affidavit where you swear you will support a particular person who wishes to enter the United States.

Affidavit of Small Estate
Used when a family members dies without a will and property matters need to be dealt with.

Affidavit of Heirship
When a family member dies, the assets must be allocated to the right individuals.

Affidavit of Residence
This document requires the signer to swear to where they live.

Affidavit of Name Changed
Used if you have changed your name.

Affidavit of Death
I’m tempted to say this document makes you swear that you authentically died, but that doesn’t make any sense. It is used to notify financial, legal or other institutions that a person has died.

Identity theft Affidavit
If a person’s identity has been compromised, this document could be filled out and sent to credit bureaus, etc.

Affidavit of Service
Requires an individual swear to the fact that they delivered documents to another individual

Affidavit of Consent
Requires an individual to swear to the fact that they consent to a particular action or activity, etc.

Affidavit of Domicile
Similar to an affidavit of residence.

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You might also like:

Affidavits – what do you need to know?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=6685

Index of posts about commonly notarized documents
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20258

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December 12, 2018

Notarized Affidavit

What is a Notarized Affidavit?
An Affidavit is simply a document that requires being notarized in a way that requires an Oath. The signer or affiant (who is the same person(s)) signs and swears to the truthfulness of the document in the presence of the Notary Public for this type of document as a general practice. The type of Notary act used customarily would be a Jurat.

How do you get a Notarized Affidavit Notarized?
The affiant needs to personally appear before a Notary Public commissioned in the state where the notarization is taking place. The affiant normally needs to be identified with some identification card, or passport that is acceptable in the state where the procedure is taking place. The affiant signs the instrument and swears to the validity of the content of the document in the presence of the notary. The affiant might have to sign the Notary’s journal depending on what state you are in. Normally Notaries charge a state-specific fee for their service.

Who is the document custodian for a Notarized Affidavit?
Please consult your Attorney. That depends and is on a case by case basis.

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TECHNICAL TERMS:

Signer — one who signs a document.

Affiant — someone who signs a sworn statement or swears or affirms to the truthfulness of an oral statement.

Notary Public – someone commissioned by their state to notarize documents and administer Oaths and perhaps do other tasks depending on what state they are commissioned in.

Identification – normally a driver license, state ID, military ID, or passport, but some states allow for other types of identification as well. Consult your state’s notary handbook online.

Jurat – a notary act traditionally used with affidavits that involves signing a written statement and swearing or affirming under Oath.

Document Custodian – the person or entity who holds on to a document and stores it or saves it in their files.

Instrument – a notarial technical term which means document

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You might also like:

See our string about Affidavits
http://blog.123notary.com/?tag=affidavit

Read about Jurats in Notary Public 101
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19500

Compilation of posts about Notary fraud
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21527

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KEYWORDS:

How do I get a notarized affidavit?
How do you notarize an affidavit?
Who can notarize an affidavit?
How much is a notarized affidavit
What does a notarized affidavit cost?
Notarized affidavit of citizenship
Notarized affidavit of consent
Notarized affidavit of support
Notarized affidavit of domicile

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December 5, 2016

Affidavit of Support

What is an Affidavit of Support?
The Affidavit of Support is a common immigration document. This document needs to be notarized with a Jurat (a common Notary act which involves a sworn oath.) The purpose of this document is typically for one family member to promise to the government that they will financially take care of the individual who they are trying to bring to the United States.

Where can I learn about Affidavits of Support?
For official information about this document, please consult an Immigration Attorney or the Department of Immigration. Please do not ask immigration questions to a notary as they are not authorized to answer these types of specialized questions unless they have some type of official authorization.

How do you notarize an Affidavit of Support?
Please make sure you have the document in your hand, and fully understand it before calling a Notary. The Notary will have you swear under Oath and sign in front of him/her. Next, the Notary will will in the Jurat certificate verbiage (notary wording) in the form and stamp the document in at least one place. When I was a Notary, Affidavits of Support required two stamps. There is also a problem that the document doesn’t leave ample room for the Notary Seal, so try to squeeze it in or attach a separate Jurat form if the client chooses for you to do so.

My personal experience with Affidavits of Support.
I had fun notarizing Affidavits of Support. I had lots of clients from around the world who treated me to tamales, dim sum, Thai coffee, and other international treats. Notarizing for Chinese people is the best as they are much more likely to feed you than other nationalities — plus, I love Chinese food.

What are some other commonly Notarized immigration documents?
The Affidavit of Citizenship is a commonly notarized immigration document. The Affiant commonly drafts his/her own statement and then has the Notary notarize the statement which normally includes a sworn Oath and normally requires the signer to sign in the presence of the Notary.

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You might also like:

Affidavit of Citizenship
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2028

Modern Family: An Affidavit of citizenship & affidavit of domicile Notarized
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=10989

Affidavit of Support & Direct communication with the signer
http://blog.123notary.com/?tag=affidavit-of-support

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November 5, 2016

Affidavit of Citizenship

Filed under: Affidavits,Popular on Facebook (some) — Tags: — admin @ 9:52 am

What is an Affidavit of Citizenship?
The Affidavit of Citizenship is a common legal form that is required by immigration services in some cases. Many people need to get an Affidavit of Citizenship Notarized. This document is normally notarized using the Notary act called a Jurat which requires a sworn oath.

Terminology:

Jurat — a type of Notarization that involves a Sworn Oath where the Notary must sign before the Notary Public.
Affiant — the person or individual who swears under Oath perhaps before a Judge or Notary Public.
Affirmation — For those who do not believe in swearing under Oath, many states allow them to Affirm that information is correct while under Oath.
Oath — a solemn Notary act where the signer (who is also the Affiant) raises their right hand and swears under Oath to the truthfulness of the document, or just makes up their own Oath wording for a particular official purpose or commission.
Affidavit — a document (perhaps a legal document) which requires an Affiant to swear under Oath before a Notary to have it notarized.

Drafting an Affidavit of Citizenship
Most Notaries are not authorized to draft legal documents. It is prudent to contact an Attorney or or someone authorized to draft documents. If you appear before a Notary and ask for a notarized Affidavit of Citizenship, the Notary will ask you to present the document to him/her. If you don’t have a document and expect the Notary to write it, you are wasting the Notary’s time. It might not even be legal for a Notary to draft such a document as they are not an Attorney in most cases. So, have a professional draft up a quick document for you, perhaps at a low-cost legal center. After the document is complete — then contact a notary.

Notarizing an Affidavit of Citizenship
A sample wording for an Affidavit of Citizenship might be —

“I, Joe Smith solemnly swear that I am a citizen of the United States of America, so help me God.”
Signature of Affiant _____________________

The Notary could attach a Jurat certificate to the document with this statement. The Notary would ask the signer to raise his/her right hand and swear under Oath to the truthfulness of the statement. Then the Notary would fill in the Jurat form, sign it, and stamp it with his/her official Notary Seal. The Notary needs to be paid whatever the state regulated Notary fee is for a Jurat. Additionally, many Notaries engage in traveling Notary work and should be paid a travel fee, plus waiting time if applicable.

Can the Affidavit of Support be in Spanish?
Official legal documents filed in the United States should be written in English unless you have written permission to write it in Spanish or another language.

Giving Legal Advice
A non-Attorney may not give legal advice. Most Notaries are not Attorneys and therefore may not give legal advice. Additionally, Notaries Public are not authorized to assist in the immigration process or give advice regarding immigration. If you have a legal quesiton or an immigration question, do not ask a Notary, rather, ask an authorized person such as an immigration official, Attorney, or perhaps someone authorized in a legal support profession at a law office if applicable.

What are some other notarized immigration documents or regular documents?
The Affidavit of Support is another commonly notarized immigration document. It states that a particular individual will take care of the sponsored individual in financial and other ways. Basically, a family member can attempt to assist another family member enter the United States by signing an Affidavit of Support. In addition to immigration documents, it is common for Notaries to notarize permission for minors to travel outside of the United States with an adult. Deeds, contracts, Power of Attorney, other types of Affidavits, Name Affidavits, Titles, and other types of documents are regularly notarized as well.

Where can I find a Notary to notarize my Affidavit of Support?
Right here on 123notary.com’s advanced search page! You can find a Spanish speaking Notary by using the language filter on the upper right corner of the search results after you have searched by zip code.

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You might also like:

Modern Family – an affidavit of citizenship & affidavit of domicile notarized
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=10989

2011 version of Affidavit of Citizenship
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2028

Index of information about documents
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20258

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April 26, 2016

The Signature Name Affidavit

The Signature/Name Affidavit
It is most likely that you are not processing this simple form properly. First, the good news; of all the forms in various loan packages this one is probably one of the most uniform. There really is little variation in how this form is structured. I will get to where most “go wrong”; but first a bit about the purpose and structure of the SNA.

The package comes from many sources. There are bank docs, title docs, escrow docs and perhaps some from other sources. It’s a virtual certainty that the borrower name will have some slight variation on documents. Of course the key name is the one on the ID and that is the name that you will notarize; we all know that. But, how about the name variations present in the package? This form is used to state, under oath, that the affiant is “also” known as. It’s a one way form. It can only be used to add variations to the notarized name as proven. It cannot be used to “prove”, for notarization purposes a name that does not match the ID presented.

The first entry is the legal name, which I define as what is on the ID. Thus, if the middle name is on that line it must be on the ID. If, for example the middle name is NOT on the ID, it should be redacted from the top line (proven name only) and that name “demoted” to an “also known as” line in the second area. Yes, the 3 part name is their legal name, BUT – as it was not proven to me I cannot notarize it. If the ID has only the middle initial, that is the “first line” entry. They can “acquire” the middle name in full as an “also known as” in a subsequent entry.

All subsequent entries (AKAs) should include variations, including but not limited to maiden names. The most common variations are the inclusion and omission of middle initials. One approach to completing the form is to keep it on the table while processing other documents. Add to the AKA section each name variation as noticed. Ask the borrower to print and sign the AKA in parallel to processing the bulk of the package. The printed name on the left will have the variation; usually the “matching” signature on the right will be the same for each entry.

The SNA can be used in court, along with a handwriting expert; to determine a signature is authentic on a document. As the signatures were witnessed by a notary, they can be accepted as valid when comparing to a different document. For this reason it’s a good practice to N/A any unused AKA lines; so subsequent names / signatures cannot be added; do you do that?

At the start of this entry I said you probably are not processing this properly, now to prove that statement. After the AKAs there is usually a statement “and that (usually filled in with the preprinted AKA(s)) are one and the same person”. However, you probably added one or more names to the AKA entries, and had the borrower sign on the right. What you might be overlooking is the need to ALSO put the added AKAs to the statement at the bottom! Take a look at an AKA form; there is a reason that they left plenty of room. That section is often overlooked!

It’s a signing, not a closing for most of us. We are there to collect signatures and initials. It’s rare for ALL the docs to have precisely the same name; rarer still for that name to be exactly what is on the presented ID. Proper completion of the SNA is mandatory, and avoiding a redraw will mark you as both a hero and a skilled professional. But don’t go overboard; adding your own SNA is probably not a good idea. If you need one and it was not supplied, call for “what to do”!

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You might also like:

Ken’s tips for the Closing Disclosure
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=17116

A comprehensive guide to Deeds
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16285

The Signature Affidavit – what it is and its purpose!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22541

What defines what a signature is?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22173

Index of information about documents
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20258

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March 22, 2015

Point (12) Cross-Outs; Marcy & The Flood Affidavit

Filed under: Loan Signing 101 — Tags: — admin @ 10:06 am

Our friend Marcy is very flustered by now. Everything she does is just plain wrong. But, she has no other way to make a living, so she just continues to, as her friend puts it, “Go out there!”

MARCY: Hi, I’m Marcy, and I’ll be your Notary tonight.

SALLY: Thanks for coming Marcy. Let’s get this signing started.

MARCY: Sounds like a song the way you say it.

SALLY: I listen to a lot of music. I’ve looked over the documents, and everything looks good except for the Flood Affidavit. I refuse to sign this no matter what.

MARCY: Oh boy. I’ll call the Lender. (ring-ring) Nobody answers. I’ll leave a message. “Hi, this is Marcy the Notary for the Rodriguez Signing. Sally Rodriguez is refusing to sign the Flood Affidavit.

SALLY: And one more thing. I don’t like one of the names in the Name Affidavit.

MARCY: Well, in my first Signing Agent course it teaches us to just cross-out any wrong information. Not sure what my second course says as I am only half-way through reading it.

SALLY: How reassuring. I hope it was not the part that was crossed out. I’ll just cross it out.

MARCY: Great. I’ll send these documents back with a note.

Marcy made several more mistakes here. Her self-esteem must be zero right now. Poor Marcy. But, it is her fault for not studying more! First, she did not put the unsigned flood affidavit on the TOP of the package. It was not found until after it was too late. Sally lost her lock as a result and had to pay an extra half a percent interest which cost her $20,000 over the life of the loan. This is partly Sally’s fault for refusing to sign, but partly Marcy’s fault for not putting the note on the top of the package with the document, so whoever opened the package would know there was a problem right away.

The second mistake Marcy made was allowing a cross-out. As a general rule, you cannot make cross-outs on documents. On Notary Certificates you can cross-out, although recorders don’t like it and might reject a Deed with a cross-out. But, on Legal documents crossing something out is as good as shredding the entire document in most cases. White-out is even worst — never use white-out no matter what.

However, there are times when Notaries can and should use cross-outs, so read the text!

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Point (12) Cross-Outs

Notaries are often too happy to cross-out and initial.
Some signing courses teach notaries to cross-out anything which is wrong and have the borrower initial. There are many Lenders (Provident Title being the most famous) that will not allow any cross-outs on any documents no matter what. You will ruin the loan by crossing anything out. So, ask your contact person for permission to cross anything out. If a contact person is not available, read the LETTER OF INSTRUCTIONS. In any case, cross-outs should be done as a last resort if done at all. If the signer won’t sign the document in any case, and you can not find out if the lender will permit them, maybe it is worth the risk to cross something out, if the signer will at least sign the document.

Wrong Names?
If a signer needs to sign his name differently than typed (with permission of the Lender) do NOT cross anything out. The processor will make the necessary changes, just sign as instructed.

The RTC
If the dates are wrong on the right to cancel and there are no borrowers’ copies with the dates left blank, you can cross-out and have the borrowers initial the change in dates. If the borrower signs where it says, “I wish to cancel” and there is no borrower copy, you might be forced to cross-out and have the borrower initial, and hope for the best as there is no other alternative.

Acknowledgment & Jurat Certificates
If a date or county is wrong in a Notary Certificate, it is better to start with a fresh certificate. But, if it is not possible or permitted by the Lender to use a new certificate, you are forced to cross-out and initial. On certificates it is the Notary, not the borrowers, who does the initialing.

County Recorders
The County Clerk is likely to reject a notarization if there are cross-outs in the notary section. For Deeds, be extra careful not to have any smudgy seals, cross-outs, or anything else wrong. Each County Clerk is different and some are pickier than others. As for those who insist on calling a tomato a fruit, don’t even get me started!

The 1003
Borrowers can usually get away with cross-outs on the 1003 as this is not a final document in the loan process. It is still unadvisable to cross things out as the Lender might reject the loan. Lenders often want to sell loans, and if there is anything wrong, then the 3rd party buyer might decline not only that loan, but all of the loans in the package from that particular Lender. So, try to avoid making a mess.

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You might also like:

30 Point Course Table of Contents
http://blog.123notary.com/?cat=3442

30 Point Course (13) Call The Lender?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14421

Cross-out and initial?
http://blog.123notary.com/?tag=cross-out-initial

Cross-out happy; Not a good idea
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4449

Common mistakes on 1003 and crossing out, RTC, TIL & APR
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4553

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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.

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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.

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You might also like:

The 30 Point Course Table of Contents
http://blog.123notary.com/?cat=3442

30 Point Course (11) Following Directions
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14379

The Signature Affidavit
http://blog.123notary.com/?s=signature+affidavit

The Signature Name Affidavit: Not a substitute for an ID
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3823

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January 20, 2015

The Signature Name Affidavit

The Signature Name Affidavit
An extension of the simple signature affidavit (this is my signature), is the signature / name / AKA affidavit. Here it becomes a little bit more complex for both the notary, and the affiant. Understanding what are probably the two most frequent uses for the form helps to jog my memory as to their importance, and how they should be processed.

Both the single name format and the multiple name formats generally use Jurat wording. As, when you think about it; an acknowledgement kinda violates the basic purpose. It would be useless. That routine notary statement “Subscribed and sworn (affirmed) before me…..” is the key. This document contains, under oath, a notary witnessed (after checking ID) signature sample. Experts can compare the “known to be authentic” sample against the signatures on the questionable documents. Both formats, if ever used, will probably see a courtroom. Always use your embosser on these.

The multiple name section has the affiant making an additional statement “I am also known as”. Generally this provides a means of processing slight variations in signatures. For example, they may miss a middle initial on one of their signatures. But only if it’s completed correctly. I am looking at a signature name affidavit that has first middle and last at the top. In the “also known” there is one entry preprinted, that one uses the first and last name. But, what if they sign first, init, last? That very likely situation is not covered by preprinting. However, there are a few blank lines for the astute notary to use. Printing (generally on the left), first, init, last; and having them sign on the right using those name components. Now if they sign first init last; on **ANY** document, that document (per their own sworn statement) has their legal signature. This catch might make the closing go smoothly. And, let us not forget; eliminate the need for a free correction trip!

Now for the hard part. The above paragraph was just a warm-up; prepare for some grief. There are AKA entries that raise the eyebrows of the affiant. Very few of them will object to adding or subtracting variations possible of the middle name; they will sign off on that. However, when there are one or more entries that are vastly different from the legal name there is a problem. The root of the problem will never become known to you. They want “confirmation” of the extreme variation to deal with a situation that might have started as a clerical error. This blog entry makes no attempt to deal with the issue of fraud issues related to AKA entries.

I have had affiants, often in their attorney’s office; hand add the term “have never been known as” to a line item, adding proper initialing. They then proceed to sign the rejected name. It’s their sworn statement, and their lawyer wisely wants their statement completely truthful. It is possible that the processor of the signature name affidavit just glances to see that “the boxes are full”. I don’t know the odds, but the few modified ones I notarized did not bounce back. How could they? The affiant modified the form to reflect the truth, sworn under oath.

You can’t suggest the “never been known”, unless you are an attorney. So, lacking a parachute; the affiant will sometimes refuse to sign. If possible call “upstream”, and let them work it out. When nobody was reachable, I accepted them signing only at the top. It’s a fine line between making something available to sign; and exerting influence to sway their sign, no sign decision.

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You might also like:

The Signature Name Affidavit (2016 version)
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16298

Ken’s tips for the Closing Disclosure
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=17116

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November 4, 2014

The Affidavit of Occupancy

An affidavit of occupancy is a simple document (sometimes notarized), that offers the borrower generally three choices. The first option (generally by making initials) is to have the property as a Primary Residence. This option typically requires the borrower to occupy the property, usually within 60 days; for a minimum of one year. The second option is to acquire the property as a second home, while maintaining a primary residence elsewhere. The third major option is to declare the property as Investment Property, not to be occupied by the borrower; but to sell or rent for rental income. It is unlikely that the borrower cannot accurately choose the correct option.

Care should be taken by the borrower to initial the correct choice. The wrong choice can result in financial and even criminal penalties at a later date. If the borrower is buying to live in, there is really no issue. However, when the intent is speculation or rental; it’s accurate disclosure or risk problems. Lower Mortgage Rates are available for owner occupied. This is why the intent to rent or speculate must be disclosed.

Affidavits of occupancy are especially relevant for small-time or independent real estate investors. If a borrower were to select “investment property” then choose to move in permanently – there probably would be no problem. Of course they would be paying a higher mortgage rate, lenders are rarely annoyed by such activity. It is the reverse, claiming to move in; getting a lower mortgage rate, then renting it out that causes problems.

Since affidavits of occupancy are not heavily regulated or governed by formal, industry-wide guidelines, they’re often originated in-house by the mortgage lenders or other real estate professionals. Thus, unlike the standardized HUD, there really is no uniform structure to the Affidavit of Occupancy. Actually it might just as well be called an Occupancy Certification, or similar. The only aspect that seems to appear with regularity is the need for the borrower to specify how they intend to utilize the property. This is generally done by initialing a specific paragraph, but some variations may call for a complete signature.

This form is a redundancy to similar assurances that appear in the Mortgage, namely, how the borrower intends to utilize the property that secures the loan. The occupancy statement contains strong language, 30 years in prison, fine of a million dollars, etc., per Title 18 US code Sec. 1001, and others. They are a separate document that the borrower cannot ignore, often notarized; and help the lender to charge a higher rate for loans that have greater risk. Typically, rental or investment property has greater risk. The difference can be half a percent that will be several thousand dollars or more over the life of the agreement.

They serve as an extra layer of protection against mortgage fraud and provide lenders with a clear chain of evidence that can be used to expose and prosecute such fraud. Whereas a homeowner might be able to make a plausible if unconvincing argument that he or she misunderstood the intent of the “occupancy question” that’s often buried within the structure of a mortgage settlement document, he or she has little chance of avoiding penalties for breaking an affidavit of occupancy. The affiants who “break” these (often) sworn statements risk being charged with mortgage fraud. At the very least the lender can demand full payment of all money due.

In processing this document care should be taken to be sure that all borrowers initial/sign the section that specifies the intended use of the property. Some lenders might require a non-obligor to also sign/initial. It’s probably a safe bet to have any signatory to the document also initial/sign the selection section.

It is the real intent of this document to curb the activities of those who wish to obtain property at a low mortgage rate for speculation or to become “little” landlords. Sometimes it takes years for the housing authorities and the lender to discover the fraud. Those false statements can and do incur harsh civil and criminal penalties. In addition to the mortgage fraud; housing violations are common. The form is simple and easy to understand. There really is nothing for the notary to “explain”. A notarized false statement is exactly that; in addition to being a crime.

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You might also like:

The Signature Name Affidavit
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16298

Ken’s Guide to Deeds of all types
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16285

The Compliance Agreement
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15828

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