Don’t learn this rule. It is interpreted backwards as often as it is interpreted correctly, or scrambled completely.
BAD RULE: “It can be more but not less” rule.
APPLICATION: You can SIGN more but not less…
QUESTION: More but not less than WHAT?
More but not less than what it says on the ID or the document?
This stupid quick rule does not elaborate what you can sign more than and also misses a very critical point. If you cannot prove the name on the document using a photo ID, then you are taking a huge risk as a Notary.
Different states have different standards for identification. Georgia requires you to look at the ID but doesn’t mention whether the ID should match (might be outdated information, but that was what I read a few years ago.) California requires the name on the document to be proven based on the ID and also requires thumbprints for powers of attorney and deeds affecting real property (smart move.) But, regardless of the state, taking precautions and keeping thorough records can keep you out of court and shorten the length of investigations.
BAD RULE: “You can always sign more.”
QUESTION: More than WHAT?
Don’t use rules that leave ambiguities otherwise you will miss critical points due to an omission in the logical process.
JEREMY’S RULE: “The ID must prove the name on the document.”
Interpretation: The name on the ID can be matching and identical or matching but longer than the name typed in the signature section of the document. Additionally, the name you put in the Acknowledgment section should be provable based on the ID. It is possible to put a shorter name on the Acknowledgement than the name signed or printed on the document.
If the ID says John Smith
But, the document printed name says John W Smith
You could notarize this person as John Smith even if the person signs John W Smith.
Would the title company get mad at you? Would the county recorder record the notarization? Not sure, but at least you would not be breaking notary law by notarizing this way!
JEREMY’S RULE #2: “You can sign more than how the name is printed in the signature section, but not less.”
COMMENT: This is a more elaborate and thorough version of the more but not less rule. If you memorize incomplete rules, you will make logic mistakes and could end up in court as a consequence. It doesn’t happen often, but it could eventually. Why take chances and why be a bad notary? Understand all of the aspects of notarization and yes — it is a lot more complicated than you thought and requires intricate thinking.