Top Five Notary Signing Agent Mistakes

Humans make mistakes. We just can't be right 100% of the time. With repetition and sound practices, however, most mistakes made can be eliminated. Here are the top mistakes notary signing agents make so you can be on the lookout.

1- Missing Signatures. If you are lucky enough to receive the package ahead of time, tab the pages that require signatures, so you will be less likely to miss a signature. Check, double check, and triple check every page before you leave the signing and once more before you drop.

2- Acknowledgment filled out incorrectly. Make certain you have filled in the county, state, date, and borrower's name. If you need to make a correction, make one line through the error and initial it. Check that you have spelled the borrower's name correctly, used any middle initials or suffixes, and any additional language such as trustee or power of attorney, as well.

3- Font is shrunk down. Having a dual tray printer eliminates this mistake. If you don't have a dual tray printer, legal paper is usually an acceptable alternative, but you will want to check with your customer first. Shrinking your documents to fit letter-size paper alters the size of the font, and many counties have a minimum font requirement. This mistake usually causes the county to reject the document for recording, and then a return trip to the borrower needs to be made.

4- Notary stamp is illegible. Always make certain your notary stamp is inked and carry a bottle of ink with you just in case. If your stamp and the entire seal isn't legible, you need to find a way to correct it. Swapping your copy for the borrower's copy and starting from scratch is the best alternative. If a copy isn't available, you can cross out the illegible notary stamp impression and stamp again or add an acknowledgment to the document.

5- Additional items weren't collected. Be certain you have checked your instructions and verified if anything additional is required. Items such as copies of ID, credit card statements, death certificates, and powers of attorney may need to be returned with the package. If funds are due, verify if a personal check is acceptable or a certified check is required and confirm to whom it needs to be made payable.

-- Marcy Tiberio is a Contributing Writer with the American Association of Notaries

Legal Disclaimer: The American Association of Notaries is committed to providing accurate and up-to-date information. However, it is important to note that the information provided on this page is for general informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. We do not claim to be attorneys and do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information provided. It is your responsibility to know the appropriate notary laws governing your state. You should always seek the advice of a licensed attorney for any legal matters. In no event shall the American Association of Notaries, its employees, or contractors be liable to you for any claims, penalties, losses, damages, or expenses, howsoever arising, including, and without limitation, direct or indirect loss, or consequential loss, out of or in connection with the use of the information contained on any of the American Association of Notaries website pages. Notaries are advised to seek the advice of their state’s notary authorities or attorneys if they have legal questions. 

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