The nick name syndrome 😡

I don’t know if any other of you notaries is dealing with this. It has happened to me more than once this week. He’res a fake example: The documents all have “Bob” as the signers name
but his id says “Bobbie” or “Thomas” The signer says "Everyone calles me ‘Bob’ so yeah my name is Bob NOOOOOO!!! What is wrong with these people? If you don’t like your name as an adult then go change it the official way. Do not tell title companies your nick name and then try to sign that way. NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! I will not allow it. What is wrong with adults these days. rant over thanks for listening :wink:


If I were talking to friends, and they were just starting some process, I would suggest they not use nicknames. But if I’m acting as a notary and talking to a signer, it’s not my place to give legal advice. Of course, I can say that their ID documents are not sufficient for me to notarize the document if the name on the document isn’t close enough to the name on the ID.

If it’s further along in the process, for example, Barbara bought property 10 years ago and allowed the seller to put her nickname, “Bobby” on the deed, and now she’s selling it, it’s up to her lawyer to write the deed in a way that it will be legally effective and at the same time have her signing a name that is backed up by ID. In most states, if the name on the deed where the person acquired the property doesn’t match the name on the deed where the person is later selling it, and there is no special wording to account for the mismatch, it’s a problem.

Of course, hiring a lawyer for a real estate transaction is the intelligent thing to do, and once the lawyer gets to know her, he can notarize the deed on the basis of personal knowledge, or have his paralegal notarize it.

The commentary with the Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts, which was passed in my state, has this to say:

Identification of an individual based on an identification credential requires some flexibility. For example, it is not uncommon that an individual’s name as used in a record may be a full name, including a full middle name; however, the name of the individual as provided on the identification credential may only use a middle initial or none at all. The inconsistency may be vice versa instead. The notarial officer should recognize these common inconsistencies when performing the identification of an individual. However, if a notarial officer is ultimately uncertain about the identity of the individual, the notarial officer should refuse to perform the notarial act (see Section 8.)


wow that is really interesting. Thanks for the information :slight_smile: So the best thing to do is
tell them their id is not sufficient and contact the title company and that’s it.
There was a situation with someone where they signed an incorrect name
and then later the county would not let them sell the property because
of the name discrepency. It is a big deal.

1 Like

I would tell them their ID is not sufficient, if I am not reasonably certain the person signing is the person described in the deed. If the document says “Bobby” and the ID says “Barbara” and I don’t have anything else to go on, it wouldn’t be sufficient for me, in part because “Bobby” is a somewhat unusual nickname for “Barbara”. But if the document said “Bobby”, the ID said “Robert”, and there were several other documents to support the idea that Robert owned the property, I’d probably go ahead, in part because “Bobby” is a very common nickname for “Robert”.


Interesting. Common sense tells me this makes sense, but goes against everything I have read and have been “taught”. I’m a new notary, so still learning how/when/where judgement comes into play versus the laws and rules. I’m in AZ, so not sure this would apply in my state.

1 Like

See MV Realty from Florida post I just dropped for more on "judgment. Hope it helps, newbie.


now I don’t feel like I’m being overzealous :wink:

There is a famous essay by Patrick McKenzie named “Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Names”. I think this pretty much applies to notaries for two reasons:

  • We are offered rules in computer forums and notary-related websites that are nearly as rigid as instructions in computer programs.
  • Many of the IDs we rely on are generated with computer programs.

Notably, rigid rules are generally not to be found in the laws that govern us, nor in the official administrative rules made by whichever state agency regulates us.

I haven’t run into any cases where someone was using the wrong name. When it comes to using judgement to prevent shady deals, probably the biggest thing I’ve done is just refuse to work with any debt settlement firms.


As far as what applies in Arizona, there is another page at the Uniform Law Commission website which shows Arizona has passed the 2018 version of RULONA. So the commentary I gave above is connected to Arizona’s law. However, states don’t usually pass the law word-for-word as recommended, so there could be some difference in Arizona.

I will tell the signer to sign their name the way it shows on the signature line. If they refuse, stating “This is how I’ve always signed my name and I’m not going to sign any other way” I will tell them to go ahead and sign however they want, but there’s a fair chance that it may be rejected and the documents will have to be re-signed. Fortunately, I’ve never had one bounced back because of bad signatures.


What we’ve been discussing so far is the name on the ID is, for example, Richard Jones and the name in the document is, for example, Dick Jones. So the notary has to decide if the notary is willing to proceed. Lets say Mr. Jones shows some other documents that persuades the notary to proceed.

So now Mr Jones signs, and it’s a nice legible “Dickie Jones”. Since virtually any mark the signer wants to make is a lawful signature, that’s not going to make me refuse to notarize. But like steves11, I’d warn him that somebody else involved in the transaction might reject it. I’d be much happier if the signature is an illegible scrawl.

1 Like

I totally agree about preferring an illegible scrawl. It’s only in rare cases where you can actually read the signatures that this becomes a potential problem.


Wait until you get the “symbols” signatures. Those are interesting as well.


You need to look at the name affidavit page. If the name is listed as one of their alias names contact title and let them know. That is what the name affidavit is for. It will have all their alias names on it.

1 Like

I agree with the concept of notifying title if there is anything about the name affidavit that doesn’t seem right. I’ve never worked in a title company so I don’t know the exact use of this affidavit; I’ve read that its to connect names that appear in credit reports with the name used in the loan package.

There’s lots of situations where the name affidavit doesn’t help. It doesn’t help the notary identify the signer because the signer is the only one who is certifying the contents of that affidavit. If the county or other office where the deed is recorded isn’t satisfied with the version on the deed or mortgage, they can’t rely on the name affidavit because it doesn’t get sent to them. And if a court deems the deed or mortgage invalid because of the version of the name used, they generally go only on what has been recorded in the land records; since the name affidavit hasn’t been recorded, it doesn’t count.


I’m pretty adamant about IDs docs must match state authorized ID if not no closing. I’ve had to notarize countless quit claim deeds fixing peoples names. Most lenders ask for copies of IDs so this should not be a problem.

1 Like

This is not uncommon.
When this happens, I contact the lender to confirm approval to proceed with the signer signing as name is on signature line (nickname).
And on my notarial certificate, I write in the name that is indicated on the ID presented in addition to the name on the signature line. If the signer present satisfactory evidence that they’re also known as the nickname, I proceed to close.

1 Like

That’s the reason there’s the Signature/Name Affidavit. I think it’s interesting to see people look at that and say, “Really? That’s one of my AKA’s? I didn’t know that.”

1 Like

I disagree with a blanket statement that a signature/name affidavit can take care of all name variations. I already explained why in my earlier post.

This is something we should all use cautious judgement on. A few actual examples of situations I encountered should suffice. I had a closing where the husband insisted on checking the documents before signing because he wanted to make sure that SR was on the signature after his name. It turns out he had to legally add SR to his name after JR took out numerous credit cards in his name and he didn’t know about it until the collection calls started coming in. On further investigation, JR was also trying to sell the house for the money. He is currently in federal prison for fraud.

In the second example, I was doing a closing where the signature line for the wife was “Margaret Jones” but her ID showed “Margaret Thompson”. I told the couple that I could not continue because her ID didn’t match the signature line. Her response was, “But I’m telling you that my name is Margaret Jones”. She then offered to bring the neighbors over to confirm that that was her name; which I said was not allowable. She then said that she had always signed as Margaret Jones and signed that way when they bought the house and were currently on their 4th refinance. I was the first notary who refused to let her sign that way. Finally, in frustration, she said, “Well, when we got married, I kept my maiden name and after a few years started signing using my husband’s last name for convenience.” I then asked her, “So, you’re not really legally known as Margaret Jones then?” She said, “That’s correct.” I replied, “Based on this information, I am ending the closing and will let the lender know that they will have to make some legal arrangement for you to be able to sign as Margaret Jones.” I called the lender to let them know the situation. They wanted me to leave the package with the signers because the wife had a friend who was a notary who might be able to do the signing, if she could be reached. I let the lender know that I would be shredding the copies I had because I was uncomfortable leaving the documents with the signers. I then packed everything up and left the signing.

In the third example, the wife’s ID did not match the signature line. It turned out she her husband bought the house together when they were single. Once they married, she legally changed her last name to her husband’s last name. They changed all of their accounts to reflect her new married name but neglected to do a change on the Deed. It only came to light on the day of the closing.

Based on these examples, I always call the title company to let them know they will need to get an AKA done up with the signer’s identification name listed on the AKA signature line. The AKA in the package will not suffice because the signature line on the AKA will not match the signer’s ID. I have never had a problem with the title company on these requests.

I hope this helps us all to not feel pressured by signers, lenders, or title companies to do things that may cost us our commission.