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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 doens’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!

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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

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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 sig name aff 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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