Summer is Split-signing Time for Notary Signing Agents!

Vacation time is here, school is out, and families have started traveling. Notaries will see a few more split-signing appointments than usual.

If you are new to the notary signing agent business, the term "split-signing" may be unfamiliar. A split-signing is when two borrowers (usually spouses) need to sign documents, but they aren't in the same town, most often because one is traveling.

If loan documents have to be signed while borrowers are not in the same town, schedulers arrange for two notary signing agents to accommodate them on two consecutive days, if possible.

The first notary receives the package electronically or by courier, conducts the first half of the signing with the first borrower, and ships the partially signed documents to the next notary by courier. The second notary will oversee the final half of the split-signing and return the fully signed documents to the lender or title company.

Split-signing appointments aren't difficult; the problem is that the first notary frequently uses all of the original notarial certificates, and the other notary must attach a loose notarial certificate for each page that must be notarized.

My first experience with a split-signing package several years ago was a little unpleasant. The title company prepared the notarial certificates correctly for a split-signing; the borrowers' names were on separate notarial certificates. However, the first notary marked out my borrower's name on all the certificates in the package and initialed the changes and drew big blue Xs through them! Fortunately, I saw the problem before I left for the appointment and tucked a folder full of loose certificates in my briefcase.

Notaries should make changes only to the certificates they are signing and should not mark on notarial certificates that the other notary must complete.

If you wonder how many loose certificates you should carry in your briefcase for split-signings, a minimum of 15 certificates of acknowledgement and 10 blank jurats should get you through a loan signing.

Brenda Stone is a Contributing Editor with the American Association of Notaries

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