Stacking order question

I’ve had three jobs just in the last week that had a notary instruction on which documents to place at the top of the stack on return and that I may be penalized if they are not properly stacked. My question is, “If the stacking order is so important to them, why don’t they send them to me in that order???”

Has anyone ever actually been penalized for not returning documents in the requested stacking order? I might make an effort if it’s only two or three of the most common and well-known documents. But a job I got last week had something like eight documents on the list and I wasn’t even sure what some of them were (i.e. they were not well-known to me at least).

Another factor is many times the documents are received until the last minute. So, I don’t have time to re-stack them before the closing and time’s always a factor after the closing.


That’s a good question and one I have had as well. However, I do not know the answer.

@kromedome42303 Excellent question. :sparkles::crown: In my extensive experience in this business sector (many years) I’ve yet to receive the type of instruction that you received for the Signing Order identified.

NOTE: I regularly receive instructions to keep the documents in the order provided upon receipt of the document package (all docs in 1 PDF file). No requests to ever re-order the stack of docs prior to return shipment.

In the unusual instances where the document package is sent via multiple PDF files, no stacking order preference has ever been requested.


As such, I’m unable to speak from direct experience in your instance other than to state that if my client submits a request (that is legal to provide), then I usually honor the request. Hope this is of some assistance.


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Yes, I too regularly receive instructions to return documents in the same order as received. To me, that should be the default position. If a particular TC wants them in a specific order, then they should send them to me in that order. They try to bid jobs down to the lowest possible cost and then ask us to do some of their work for them. Each package is a little different. The TCs know the order of their package(s). So, they should be able to locate specific docs much more quickly and easier than I.


I always just return in the order received, though I frequently present them to the signers in an order that makes sense, ie CD first, etc. When I first started, I did have on TC that separated the letter page docs from the legal page docs, then included a stacking order instruction page. I’m sure it was so that docs were printed on the correct size page. It was way more trouble than it was worth. Seriously, just put them in the order you want then and trust me enough to print on the correct page size. I’m smart enough to figure out my tech!


I may be wrong here, but I believe the stacking order document is meant for the Settlement officer once they receive the documents back, and before they send the fully executed document over to the title company. I always ignore those alternate instructions and send all documents in the order received.


@Tisino I, too, initially had that thought as those documents are regularly within the Lender Instructions segment usually about halfway down into the document package.

However, as @kromedome42303 's post clearly identified =>

I had to re-think my response!


Having been both a closing paralegal and working with document packages for a large mortgage lender, the stacking order really wasn’t a huge deal. I always stacked my packages the way I wanted them for flow…as someone mentioned above having the CDs first because if the figures are wrong, no need to sign anything else until that’s resolved. And having had to go behind attorneys, getting them back in the order I wanted was routine. :laughing:

From a lender perspective, the order they printed was dictated by the system we generated the docs in and while we may have preferred them to come back in a certain order, we were very used to having to sort through and fix them ourselves. The much bigger issue was getting them back with staples, paperclips and binder clips. THAT was a huge pain.

And I do feel like this is a ridiculous reason to penalize a notary, I usually just print them in the order received and never been penalized for sending them back that way.


I will not restack or reorder the documents. Also, about 75% of the real estate signings I have are scan backs and I scan back 100% of the documents even if they are just asking for the signatures as I refuse to pull the signature papers out and then scan and then place the signature papers back in order. I have a high speed 80 page ADF and so much faster than pulling pages.


The request for Notaries to pull the documents and place them in a particular stacking order has started to pop up again. Those instructions are usually for the Settlement Officer. I print the documents as presented and do not pull them out of order until the scan or shipping. It helps to show the signers the ALTA before recording their IDs, if there is something glaringly wrong I ask them to check with their Lender before proceeding. There is no need to sit for an hour with a document set that will require a redraw. Ninety percent of the time it suffices to say the ALTA is still an estimate and any things that weren’t recorded as paid (mortgage installments, credit cards etc)will be adjusted with the final ALTA statement. I have missed the restacking request before but have never been called out for it.

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Now that’s smart :grinning: We (the notaries) should not be asked to rearrange the package
especially because we don’t necessarily know the package as well as the closer, the settlement agent, or the title company

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If the package isn’t too large I sometimes pull the critical [one’s needing notarizing] documents to the front, followed by document requiring signatures [no notarizing], and the fluff to the end. I’ve found that separating things this way I can have the singers place their signatures on the second group while I proof the first. This becomes very time consuming with large packages.

If the package is large, I pull the CD and Right to Reascend to the front, the proceed as the package was sent.

I’ve never been “dinged” for returning a package out of order.

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Same process I generally follow.

Same here and it’s clearly stated as “Notary” instructions. It has happened many times and, I too, wonder “why am I not receiving them in the order they want returned when it is industry standard to keep the docs in order received?” I figure there has to be a reason I am not aware of, so I’m glad you asked and I hope someone knowledgeable answers :slightly_smiling_face: Furthermore, if the docs containing the numbers are incorrect and may cause a redraw, why aren’t they ALWAYS first, followed by ID docs?

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Remember that this is an EXTRA

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Since i have to transfer the file from the signing order site to a printable pdf for my printer, I always have a reference file for order. BTW, i use bullzip print to pdf. Itvopens in adobe.

That’s Title’s stacking order. It’s not the notary’s stacking order. I’ve never been penalized for not returning in that order. Sounds like a Timios order. You won’t get fined.

None of the three order were Timios. And they were all Notary Instructions…not Title’s.

I just ignored them and returned in the same order received. Haven’t heard a peep out of them.


I wouldn’t worry either.


I understand why staples are a problem and probably paperclips. But, why binder clips? I send my packages back with a binder clip to help keep the documents together during shipping and never received a complaint. It seems to me that the one binder clip I use on the whole package is easy to see and remove.