acknowledgment wording Archives - Notary Blog - Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice -

Notary Blog – Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice – Control Panel

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



June 20, 2013

Optional info on Acknowledgment Certificate

So, you are a notary? But:

(1) Do you fill out your certificates thoroughly?

(2) Do you know what the optional or additional information section of the acknowledgment certificate is?

(3) Do you know what a certificate is?

(4) Do you know what the Acknowledgment wording is in your state?

(5) Do you cross out the his/her/their or (s) in capacity(s)?

Most notaries don’t do their cross outs which is illegal to skip. And the Secretary of State is too busy to catch up with all of the notaries in their respective state.

What is in the optional information section, and should it be optional?
(1) Number of pages in the document

(2) Document name

(3) Document date

(4) Capacity of signer

(5) Other signers who signed the document but, were not notarized on that notarization

(6) Right thumbprint of signer

Why is this important?
There are a lot of frauds out there. California law requires notaries to STAPLE (legally, the word used is attach) the notary certificate to the corresponding document. But, do you know how many people detach the staple? Title companies complained about my staples because they detached everything I stapled. They are inviting fraud if you ask me. It looks tampered with if they detach documents. Very sketchy. If I were the Secretary of State, I would investigate anyone who unstapled a notary document and might have them arrested for suspected fraud!

If a fraud wants to take an Acknowledgment OFF one document and attach it to another, it will be hard work if the optional information is all filled out. The number of pages would have to measure up. The document date would need to correspond. The Document name would have to be consistant as well. Most frauds would have not go that far, and might make a mistake matching all of the statistics since they were not trained well (probably). But, imagine if you submit an Acknowledgment certificate that has none of this information? You could conceivably reattach it to ANY document that the signer signed — an invitation for others to commit fraud.

Therefor, I believe that it should be required by law in all states to fill in the optional information section — hence renaming it the required additional information section. Be square and deter fraud today!


January 5, 2012

Can a notary sign an out of state Quit Claim Deed?

Can a notary sign an out of state Quit Claim Deed? 

One of the search terms we found in our blog stats was as follows:
Can a NY notary sign a Florida Quit Claim Deed?
Any notary in the United States can notarize a signature on a Quit Claim Deed from any state.  However, there is a catch!  Quit Claim Deeds have always used Acknowledgment verbiage / Acknowledgment wording in my experience.  Acknowledgment verbiage might differ from state to state.  So, the important point to remember is that the notary wording or notary verbiage should match the state where the document is going to be RECORDED.  If the document will be recorded in Florida, please make sure to use Florida notary verbiage.  If the document is going to be recorded in Texas, then use Texas notary verbiage. 
Another small point is that notary verbiage sometimes gets changed over time, so you need to make sure you are using 2011 or 2012 notary verbiage for the state where the document is to be recorded.  County recorders are the office that typically records deeds of various kinds.  They can sometimes be very picky.  Make sure your notary seals are very clear and not smudgy if you are submitting notarized documents to the county recorder!
(1) Notary verbiage must match the state where the document is going to be recorded
(2) Any notary in the United States can notarize a Quit Claim Deed, Grant Deed, Warranty Deed, or any type of Deed for any state

You might also like:

March phoninar: which documents or deeds are recorded?

How to notarize something that doesn’t have a signature

Can a Georgia notary notarize a Florida property document?


October 7, 2011

Notary Acknowledgment Information

Notary Acknowledgment Information 

The most common notarial act is an Acknowledgment.  Other common notary acts include Jurats, Oaths, and Copy Certification of documents.  Notary law and current notary wording vary from state to state, but certain laws are fairly standard. 
The signer of an acknowledged signature may sign the document BEFORE seeing the notary. The point of having a notary acknowledgment is to prove that you acknowledge signing a particular document, and for the notary to positively identify you. 
Current Acknowledgment wording varies from state to state
Although the wording can vary, the basics include: (1) A venue that should indicate the state and the county where the notarization took place. (2) That the signer APPEARED BEFORE the notary public.  You can not have an acknowledgment unless the signer appears before the notary.  The only notary act that allows the signer not to appear before a notary is a proof of execution, and few notaries have ever completed that act.   (3) The date when the signer acknowledged the signature before the notary should be included in the verbiage. The signer could sign the document five years previous to seeing the notary, but the date the signer appeared before the notary is the date that the signature was acknowledged.  Incidentally, you could have the same signature on the same document acknowledged twice on different dates. (4) There should be wording to indicate that the signer acknowledged signing the document.  Basically, the act of coming to a notary to have an acknowledgment is considered a non-verbal acknowledgment that you signed the document. The document is refered to as an “instrument” in many states. It is also noted that the signer’s name is subscribed within the instrument meaning that the name is written in part of the document. The notary should check the signature on your identification to see if it matches too.  (5) The name of the signer and the notary must be documented in the verbiage. (6) There should be some documentation stating that the signer’s identification was proven.  Sometimes the wording, “Positively identified” is used.  The term “Satisfactory evidence” is often used to refer to a number of ways that a signer could be identified.
(7) The signature of the notary is commonly documented as the “seal” of the notary. This is not to be confused with the physical inked seal which is also a seal (confusing).   (8) Additionally, there should be a place for the notary to affix their official notary seal (stamp).  Some notaries use an embosser which is a type of seal that looks like a clamp and that can leave a raised impression in the paper with or without ink.
Acknowledgment wording should include:
(1) Venue
(2) Appeared before
(3) The date (i.e. 08-04, 2012)
(4) That the signer acknowledges signing the instrument that their name is subscribed to within
(5) Name of the signer and the notary.
(6) Proof of identity of the signer
(7) Signature (seal) of the notary
(8) A place for the notary to affix their official notary seal.
Sample Wording from California
State of California
County of Los Angeles
On 5-15-2011 before me, John Doe, notary public, personally appear Joe Barber who proved to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence to be the person whose name is subscribed to the within instrument and who acknowledged to me that he executed the same in his authorized capacity and by his signature(s) on the instrument the person, or entity upon behalf of which the person acted, executed the instrument.
I certify under PENALTY of PERJURY under the laws of the state of California that the foregoing paragraph is true and correct.
WITNESS my hand and official seal
——————————————                                        (affix stamp here)
       (Signature of Notary)
See some other pages with information about acknowledgments

Interesting and uncommon notary acts

Florida Acknowledgment Information

California Acknowledgment Information

Michigan Acknowledgment Information