Using trustee verbiage

If you are at a closing where trustee verbiage is on the documents for the signer
and can’t get contact title, do you have them sign their name, trustee
or just their name? The signer’s name is typed underneath with trustee. Thanks

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Well, to be ‘safe’…sign as typed…the whole 9 yards. HOWEVER, this is one thing where I ALWAYS contact hiring party and ask 'how do you want this signed…name only; name/Trustee; name and all other verbiage?

FWIW: Over the many years I’ve been doing this, the ‘preferred signature’ has m/l evolved (no idea why) from sign as typed to signature/Trustee to signature only. BUT it is one of those odd things that seems to be very Lender or Title–maybe even State-specific. That’s why I ask every time.

Interesting story on this: About 5 years ago, had one where name/Trustee was typed but was directed by TC to do ‘name only’. The signers said they had been directed by the lawyer who drafted the Trust, to always sign name/Trustee. We now have a ‘conflict in instructions’ problem! Signers called their lawyer, who insisted ‘name/Trustee’ and said signing just name obligated them as ‘individuals’ and made them obligated more than name/Trustee would. Seemed to me to be splitting hairs, but I’m not a lawyer. Then we called TC, who said NAME ONLY. The end result was signers Lawyer called TC and TC/Lender bent to Lawyer and people signed as typed ‘name/Trustee’.

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@jennjoneis Great question. :crown: There is NO industry standard correct process for this scenario.

Concur :100: percent with @Arichter noted above . . . & especially APPRECIATE the “power” struggle situation identified. :blush: Very interesting.

My technique is to specifically ask each & every time. In addition, I ask in writing and request a reply in writing. Why (one might ask?).

Because of the tendency I referred to recently of SRDH . . . “the PSA/notary is “always the recipient of the blame” regardless of where the true fault originates.”

:swan:

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wow that’s crazy, attorney and title at odds. what a mess! I was told by one title company that it didn’t matter as long as the title was typed underneath. Interesting… Thanks Arichter

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I will make sure to contact title hours before the signing from now on to ask about how they should sign.
This signing happened to be just after title was closed.

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FWIW - my experience has always been if they are signing for themselves, it’s just their signatures…if they are signing on behalf of the Trust, then it’s signature/Trustee. However, the higher powers that be are the ones to tell you what to do - to get bounced around like a ping pong ball between lawyer and title is frustrating…

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It’s very frustrating

I’ve done one of these. And I agree. One must sign “exactly” as each individual signature is listed on each doc. If it says, “Trustee,” sign it as “{name}, Trustee.” If it’s just the name, sign just the name. You’ll see this a lot when a person who created a trust is transferring assets from a trust to their personal accounts and vice versa.

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FYI: This bears repeating . . .

There is NO industry standard correct process for this scenario. At all costs, AVOID making a critical error.

The onus is upon each business owner to ensure each and every document is executed correctly.

As such, reach out to the hiring entity and query each & every time how they need the Trust documents executed.

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  1. The process I utilize is to submit the query in writing.
  2. Identify the execution options:
    A. Signature only.
    B. Signature followed by a comma and the role; i.e., Trustee
    C. Signature followed by a comma, the role, and entire name of the Trust.
  3. Request their reply in writing.

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In my direct experience, even with the same title/escrow company and lender, the instructions vary from file to file.

This clearly has repeatedly demonstrated there is NO industry standard correct process for this scenario.

When a Trust is involved, it’s paramount to success & repeat signing orders [SOs] to specifically ask for instructions regarding the execution by the signers.

If one hasn’t queried and the documents are executed incorrectly, then the return trip, time, documents, etc. for correct execution is financially on one’s own shoulders.

:swan:

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In that situation, just name only. I send them (title or signing co.)an email saying they will be signing name only, if I get NO response from you by the signing time.

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I can safely say that in 9 years of being a signing agent, I’ve never had anyone ask to have the full name of the trust written out with every signature. In most cases, you wouldn’t even have room on the paper to do that. It’s either just sign your name or sign followed by “, trustee”. Even with that, you would think that they would put it in the notary instructions as to which way to sign. Some do and some don’t. I often have to ask. If you can’t get an answer before the signing takes place, I’d probably put in “, trustee” too if I didn’t already know that lender/title company’s preferences. Once you’ve been doing this long enough, you know what a lot of them want without even asking.

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@steves11 Hmmm . . . some would never decide to make that type of assumption, due to the financial responsibility associated with that choice.

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Of interest, with more than a decade of loan signing experience in my region, there have been several occasions wherein the entire Trust verbiage was required. Of course, I accommodated. These types of requests have always originated from local title/escrow companies [T/ECs]. There were no “formal” signing orders, just a phone call with an email followup request.

As such, I’d never presume that I know from a legal standpoint what the hiring entity needs on the document regarding execution.

:swan:

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It depends on who. If you’ve worked with a title company for many years you already know what they want. If it’s a new one or one you haven’t worked with frequently, then you ask. If you want to “default” to anything, default to adding trustee after the signature. That’s the “safe” approach. Realistically, if they give you no instructions and you can’t reach anyone for an answer, what’s a signing agent to do? You can only make a decision based on your experience. The only other choice would be to unilaterally cancel the signing and THAT probably wouldn’t go over well with the lender either!

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It’s actually kind of up to the lender how they want it signed. And in my over 33 years of doing real estate, 16 of that doing closings in florida, I have had numerous occasions where the signers had to sign their name as Trustee of the blah blah blah Trust dated such and such. It was ridiculously long but it has happened

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Okay, I understand that but if you go to a signing and you have no instructions on how the trustee signature should be handled, and you couldn’t reach anyone for an answer…what would be your “default” solution as to how they would sign? Or would you take it upon yourself to postpone the signing until you could get an answer? Personally, I would have them sign “, trustee”.

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That’s a good question. Now that I think about it in that situation I might have the customer sign both of my copies, one with trustee and one without trustee and they can take a picture of that page

That’s an option, but what if there are a couple of dozen places where they are signing as trustee? I’ve done something like that when there were only a few signatures involved but it could get rather cumbersome with some larger packages.

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Me too, Steve…have them sign then “Trustee” …IF the document is being signed on behalf of the trust.

But then…what cert to use?? FL has certs for individual and in representative capacity. Some docs require they sign as both…FUN!!! In that case my cert reads “acknowledged before me via personal appearance by John Doe individually and John Doe as Trustee…”. (And always acknowledged because a representative cannot swear to something for a trust, corporation or in any representative capacity)

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If I cannot get anyone to answer by email, phone or text-I tend to error with “it can be added, but not lined out, when in doubt leave it out”

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I always get everything in writing. I’ve learned from past experience not to trust everyone and to cover myself. In pre reviewing docs, I ask in writing any questions, including how they want it signed, if they want copies of iD, how many copies of right to cancel they want returned when included, etc. pays off as the answers can be different so I don’t assume.

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