Predating documents

Because of the pandemic, I want to minimize the amount of time I am at a signing. One of the things I have thought about is to date and notarize the documents in advance of the signing time. Is this allowed? Is it illegal?
I am commissioned in Florida.

Don’t know if it’s legal in FL, but many fill in names, dates and then just sign/stamp when with signer.
I do this, too.


Illegal in my state, NJ…

It’s illegal in Texas. You’re supposed to date an notarize in front of the clients. What if you date and notarized prior and then the signing is postponed or cancelled and documents have to be returned?

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Exactly! That’s why I’ve been taught and talked constantly… all signatures and date at same time and place If not, you can lose your certification.

Illegal in Nevada. I’d steer clear, frank.

Florida notary here - and you absolutely cannot notarize prior to the signing…you can pre-fill your certs to cut down on time but the actual notarization (your signature and seal) MUST be done in front of the signers. F.S. Section 117.107(9)


Well, Frank, what are you going to do if the client notice you already notarized the document before he signed it?

Would you also pre-fill out the journal too?

Or… the client changed their minds and want to cancel the loan and signed The Right To Cancel and their is already pre-filled and notarized documents.
You cannot shred any documents and replace with new ones, you must return all documents to the person who gave it to you. At that point you would be seriously in trouble🙀
You can’t just be making stuff up all Willy Nilly🤦🏾‍♀️
That’s why there are Laws.

These clients pay close attention to everything.

They can report you to the E.O or state or lender. If you have not, I suggest you take a notary course for your state and get certified.

This is the reason why bonded and E& O insurance is required.

What is the purpose of notarizing documents anyway? To verify via a valid government issued identification that the person or persons personally appears before you.
And…after notarizing you must enter the time, date and clients name and the document in the journal after notarizing.

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FWIW: In over 25 years, have never had anyone want unsigned documents returned. They want 'em shredded.


I have to respond here…first of all there’s no journal requirement here in Florida but it’s highly recommended; time is not required to be entered

The purpose of notarizing “signatures” is that the notary has verified that the person signing, “acknowledging” or “swearing to the truth of…” is in fact the person named in the docs. It’s not just that they personally appeared; here in FL our certs now must contain the phrase “acknowledged/subscribed or sworn to before me ____ via physical presence or ____ via online notarization”.

I have had both scenarios - title says send them back, title says shred them. I’d say this is at the discretion of the hiring party/title company.

I also doubt most signers would even notice that the stamp was already on the docs prior to signing - and the docs left w/ signers don’t contain any notarizations anyway.

Just my .02 FWIW

I apologize for the bold text - don’t know what happened but that was not intended.

Glad you actually found the verbiage. Didn’t have time to write all that but it’s similar here in Texas.
I go by what state laws say here in Texas not the title company regarding shredding and signing in the journal. My journal lists the time and date and type of certificate. The law says in Texas that we must return all documents. So just go by what your state requires.

It depends on what the person wants to do and follow. I follow my state laws to cover myself. I work for the SOS not the title companies.

You have to remember you wear two hats at signings - your notary hat and your signing agent hat…

Certificate completion, issuing oath, acknowledging, journaling - all fall under your notary laws; and title/lender have no say in how you perform those duties - that’s under your control only.

Handling of the loan package along with whether to shred docs or return them to title is up to title/lender discretion - I’m not sure there’s any specific law that covers this and your notary division has no control over this.

You don’t work for the SOS - you’re commissioned by the SOS - you work for yourself and are contracted as an independent contractor by the title company or signing service.

All due respect lrdb42 - I know you’re trying to help - but I do feel your understanding of your role in the process and what exactly governs the duties you perform in a loan signing is a bit blurred.

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I’m not going to debate with you. I am fully aware that I’m an independent contractor but we all are governed by the laws of the our state not the title companies. The SOS gives us our commissions and license so therefore If I want to say I work for them, I can. They have the power to revoke your commission. Unlike you I just have that mentality to not shred anything to cover myself. I may be new to NSA but I’m not new to being a business owner and knowing how to handle legal documents. And… being a business owner I’m not going to let anyone or title company etc dictate to me how to handle documents or run by business.

If you don’t shred when authorized to do so, then you’re holding on to others private financial info for no legal reason.

:woman_facepalming:t5: Let me help you out. I would send All documents back to them and let them shred them.


IMO that’s the best idea and I agree 100% with this practice.


Thanks, Linda. According to my reading of the Florida statute, I can predate and even pre notarize the signer as long as I am the one who witnesses the person signing. What the Florida statute restricts would be my notarizing and then giving someone else the documents to have signed by the signer , but not in my presence. Agreed?

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No, you can’t - notarization must be done in the presence of the signer. Not before and not after. Here are your key words

“(9) A notary public may not notarize a signature on a document if the person whose signature is being notarized does not appear before the notary public either by means of physical presence or by means of audio-video communication technology as authorized under part II of this chapter at the time the signature is notarized.”

And I would ask you - how can you notarize a signature that has not been affixed as yet? You can’t. the following is from the SOS office in a previous handbook they issued, but the statute still stands - it has just been amended to provide for online presence:

"Florida Statutes section 117.107(9) provides that:

A notary public may not notarize a signature on a document if the person is not in the presence of the notary public at the time the signature is notarized. Any notary public who violates this paragraph is guilty of a civil infraction, punishable by penalty not exceeding $5,000, and that conduct constitutes malfeasance and misfeasance in the conduct of official duties. It is no defense to the civil infraction specified in this paragraph that the notary public acted without intent to defraud. A notary public who violates this paragraph with the intent
to defraud is guilty of violating s. 117.105.

Violation of section 117.105 constitutes a third-degree felony for fraudulently taking an acknowledgment or making a false notary certificate.

There is no exception to the presence requirement"

As a final note - Your E&O will only cover unintentional errors made in the process of carrying out your notarial duties - it will not cover intentional acts.