Was I too picky?

I was assigned to a signing job for tomorrow morning (Saturday, May 25th). I didn’t realize until I received the docs late this afternoon that it is a “post-closing” to correct mistakes that were made by the original notary on April 29, 2024. My first clue was when I noticed there was no Note. I called to inquire and found out about the “post-closing.” Okay…no problem. Or so I thought.

As I continued to review the docs I came to realize there were dozens of places where the date was pre-filled with 04/29/2024. Still not a big deal I supposed. But then I noticed most, if not all, of the acknowledgements had April 29th in the acknowledgement wording. Example: “The foregoing instrument was acknowledged before me this April 29, 2024, by…”

If I had been the original notary, I might have been okay with signing that statement. But, as mentioned, I was not the original notary. So, I didn’t think I could lawfully sign that statement. I called the title company and they stated I could not change any dates that were pre-filled. So, if I was “uncomfortable” with proceeding as is they would need to re-schedule.

Was I too picky to not sign an acknowledgment that had an earlier date than the date they were appearing before me?

You were right, completing a notarization with the wrong date in the notarial certificate is wrong. The only remaining question is whether you should write down the name of the title company in your no-no list and refuse all future appointments where they are the title company.

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@kromedome42303 Excellent question :partying_face::raised_hands:

In my direct experience, I’ve encountered that scenario on more than one occasion in the past.

Here is how I have managed the communication in writing via email:

  • I reached out to the title company regarding the past dates on the documents within the Notarial Certificates.
  • They promptly responded clearly that I was not to alter any dates that were pre-printed on any of the documents.
  • I replied that I understood their request.
  • I added that according to state law I would need to alter the dates within the Notarial Certificates.
  • They replied after a 30-minutes lapse of time with: "Oh, yes. Of course, please do alter the dates to the date of the signing within your Notarial Certificates in this document package.

NOTE: I presumed the lapse of additional time in the title company communication (30 minutes) was the time they needed to float this trial balloon past their legal beagle team . . .

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So, the clarification was in writing & the title company concurred with the alteration of dates within the Notarial Certificates. My concerns were assuaged & I chose to move forward with the signing engagement at that point in time.

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I will generally focus laser-sharp in on the area of contention that is the specific objective of my concern . . .

I hope this helps you with future discernment and the communication efforts @kromedome42303 :blush::beach_umbrella:

:swan:

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Not sure where you’re located, but in FL (and other states as well, I believe) the date in the cert must reflect the date the people are in front of you - so, IMO, no, you’re not being picky - you’re probably following your state’s laws, which is what you’re supposed to do. Title needs to understand that.

I know I"m late to the party with this but…how did it go? Did you go or was it reassigned?

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You did the right thing by questioning the assignment. I agree with the other posters. If title instructs to not change any of the pre-filled dates on the docs, that’s fine. However, they have to realize that the notarial certificate is the notary’s purview and they cannot dictate the verbiage for that cert. They can only tell me which cert (Jurat or Acknowledgment) they want. Other than that, it’s up to the notary to follow notary law in the notary’s state of commission.

In California, we have specific verbiage for each cert AND we are NOT allowed to pre-date or post-date any notarial certificate. It’s against the law.

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This might be off subject just a bit…it amazes me how differently states view competency and common sense when it comes to preventing fraud within the notary world. The other day I had an out of the state of CA title officer ask me to photograph an id for a seller doc., I said I couldn’t, and the client also refused. In CA it’s frowned upon if not illegal to photocopy id’s. Anyway, I explained, and the title person said …“well ok, did he at least show me his id!!!” Are you kidding me…? There were 6 notarizations and 6 journal entries…did he show me his id? wtf

I don’t do real estate signings. My last several notarizations were oaths of office and similar town-related oaths for people I knew. Vermont doesn’t require ID for an oath unless it is a verification on oath. Even if it were a notarial act that required I identify the signer, I don’t have to see an ID card from someone I know.

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So, from what I understand, they sent you a loan package that had been signed a few months ago. All the Notary acknowledgments were done except for your signature and seal, is that right? If I were the original notary, I suppose the signer could confirm the acknowledgment, but he would still need a current acknowledgment with the date he appeared before me. I would likely void the old acknowledgment and add a new, accurate acknowledgment to the document. If you were aware of this beforehand and you weren’t the original notary, why didn’t you just advise them to find another notary and not participate in their scheme?