ID has maiden name

HI there. I am new I have done about 6 signings. I have a signing today and borrower has informed me that he is recently married and his wife who is the co-signer has a license with her maiden name on it. They have a marriage certificate that he said he will have at the signing. What should I do at this point?

You may find this thread from the Notary Café database helpful: Different names

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Always reach out to who gave you the assignments for instruction is the rule I always follow.

Oh Okay. Thanks for you help.

Follow your notary handbook as to how to handle this - I disagree with reaching out to hiring party because they only care about getting the loan signed…the ID portion for YOUR notary cert is under the purview of your state notary law.


You have not said what state you are in. (Where YOU are, which could be different from where the property is.) Your notary laws will indicate what methods you can use to identify a person. To take an acknowledgement, you will have to identify the signer in a way that follows your state laws, even if the title company or lender is willing to be more lenient.

A big question is what names appear on the documents. If the borrowers are buying a new home, or the wife who previously was not on title now will be, it’s likely the name on the documents will be the wife’s new name. If this is a refinance and the wife is already on title and on the existing loan, the documents might be in the old name, the new name, or a mix.

Another thing you might run into is the lender or title company might be more stringent than the state law. For example, your state law might allow you to use a credible witness to identify the wife’s new name, but the title company or lender might not go for that. So you’ll have to make sure whatever method you choose satisfies the law and also make sure it is OK with the company that hired you.

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I apologize for leaving that info out. Iam in California. This is a refinance. The couple is recently married so the wife is being added to the loan and the name that appears on the documents is her new married name.

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@breyesnotary then you follow your notary laws as to what you can do to ID her and how to complete your cert; in CA you cannot use “A/K/A” or “Who Took Title As” in your cert (like we can here in FL and in many other states) - so it’s going to depend on this - did she take her husband’s surname when they got married or did she keep her maiden name? Again, it’s up to your state how you handle it.

Good Luck


She took her husbands surname. She just does not have her new Drivers License yet. My state does allow using two Credible Witnesses. Am I correct in assuming that if I used two Credible Witnesses and the Title Company was ok with this that it should be fine.

No - I don’t believe this qualifies for CWs - check your notary handbook as to the conditions under which a CW can be used.


The CA notary handbook (p. 10) indicates that two credible witnesses must swear

  1. The credible witness reasonably believes that the circumstances of the signer are such that
    it would be very difficult or impossible for the signer to obtain another form of identification;
  2. The signer does not possess any of the identification documents authorized by law to
    establish the signer’s identity;

So it comes down to whether the credible witness believes that having a driver license in the old name does not count as having an identification document authorized by law to establish the signer’s identity.

If I were the witness, I would take the view that an identification document authorized by law to establish the signer’s identity is one that will be accepted by a notary as establishing the identity of the signer under the signer’s current name. Since the old driver license will not accomplish that, it doesn’t count as an ID for this purpose.

I’m curious - is she on title? How is her name on title? Or is there a Grant Deed in the package?

I think a redraw is the easiest solution here - but that’s just my guess. @breyesnotary, you might try calling the SOS for guidance.


As others stated, I recommend reaching out to the entity that gave you the signing and/or the loan officer. Such a case may or may not be state specific. At a minimum, regardless on how they tell you to proceed, I would note the name discrepancy on the Patriot Act form in the “comments” section (by displaying their name as it appears on their ID). Hope this helps.

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Speaking for myself, In my state of Nevada, A marriage license is not a valid form of ID here.
The ONLY name I notarize is the name listed on the current ID. Sometimes closings have to be delayed while signers obtain proper ID and that is OK, remember its you that is liable for Identity verification.

ALSO! Even if a signing company or title agent saying its OK to do so, does not make it OK to do so! its not legal, proper or ethical, because its your responsibility to know better than to notarize a name not confirmed by proper ID


Please realize that if a signing company or title agent saying its OK to do so, does not make it OK to do so! its may not be legal, proper or ethical, because its your responsibility as a licensed notary to know better than to notarize a name not confirmed by proper ID


Of course we want to always do what the State guidelines dictate, that is a given. I have been given instructions to do something that was not in line with the guidelines and told the SS company that I could not do what they asked and told them what I could do as an alternative. They appreciated it and all went well. Communication is key.


:white_check_mark: . . . :sparkles: . . . :crown: . . . :wink:

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You are correct. If one gets married, they may have not updated their ID yet. However, some states do have DMV laws that state a timeframe to update names/address on their DMV records. In my state, one has 30 days to update their name/address from the date it was assumed. If witnesses are required in such a case, it should ask for them on the doc. I wouldn’t “assume or volunteer” the need for witnesses if the doc doesn’t specifically ask for it. Again, communication is the key on this, call who gave you the assignment (or the LO if contact info is provided), and ALWAYS note the name discrepancy on the Patriot Act form if they tell you its OK to proceed with the signing. Don’t be surprised that if you do have to make that call, that the lender will ask for a marriage (or divorce) certificate, especially if the event occurred after applying for the loan.

Ok so just want to give an update. The Signing service basically told me that other notaries will notarize documents with an ID with maiden name and marriage license. I have talked to other notaries and also called the NNA and they said I may be able to do this with witnesses. The instant I said that I can with two witnesses I could tell the representative was done. She asked if I would do it or reassigned to another notary. I chose to reassign. I know that signing services just want to get things signed and funded. I am just disappointed that it had to happen that way. Really what is the point of getting anything notarized if we just bend or outright break the rules. Also if anything went south on the transaction it could come against me and my commission.


I just did one of these today, but I am proactive, as it happens often, especially since COVID and DMV delays. When I call to confirm with the borrower and tell them ID’s are required, I ask them if their name/address is different than what they put on their application. In my state, they even gave a grace period on expiration dates. So a lot of homework there to keep up with. Like I stated in a previous post, it’s commonly OK as long as the ID is VALID and you notate it on the Patriot Act form (AND you are convinced the pic on the ID matches the person in front of you). You ask for a witness ONLY if the state requires it, and that should be on the forms if need be. Signing services may want to “get things signed,” but they are not the lender. When the package gets back to the underwriters, they just want to “fund the loan” and if the ID issue is going to prevent it, you will get a phone call. I use NotaryAct electronic notary journal, which scans the barcode on ID’s to confirm. Hope this helps!