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Signing Agent tip: How to handle date issues on loan documents

Two people signing a document with notary present

Updated 11-29-22. One of the most common questions Notary Signing Agents encounter is about dates on loan documents. Document dates can indicate the date the document was drafted, or in some cases they may indicate the date the actual loan signing takes place. Either one is different from the date on the Notary certificate, which always indicates when the signer appeared before the Notary and the notarization took place.

Loan documents lacking dates

What happens if a document has no date? This is a common document date issue for NSAs. You can still notarize a document with no date; you are responsible only for entering the date of notarization in the actual Notary certificate wording. The Signing Agent does not attest to the date the document was created or takes effect.

When completing a journal entry for a document with no date, the Notary Signing Agent can write, “no date on document” or “undated.”

If the document has a blank space for a date, NSAs may be tempted to enter the date of the signing in it. However, you cannot do this except in one case: a Patriot Act form. The Patriot Act customer identification form is one of the few that a Notary completes as a Signing Agent without notarizing. 

The Right to Cancel form included in certain real estate transactions has two dates required, the date of signing and the rescission period of 3 business days. The NSA is responsible to ensure these two dates are correct and if not, have the signer strike the incorrect date and initial the correction. Again, this document is not notarized.

Can post-dated loan documents be notarized?

A post-dated document may be notarized, since the date appears within the text of the document. A different “effective date” on a document than the day of the signing is also permissible; this indicates when the document takes effect, and may be dated in the future or in the past.

What if someone asks me to change the date on the Notary certificate?

This date can never be changed; it represents the day the signer appeared and you notarized, and so cannot be pre- or post-dated. The date you enter on the Notary certificate must be the day the signer personally appeared before you. 

What if more than one person is signing on a different date?

What if the document indicates there are two or more signers, but only one is appearing before you at this time? It’s common in loan signings to have multiple signers appear on different days before the Notary, or even before different Notaries.

In this situation, remember that you may only notarize for the signer who is physically present before you. You would enter that signer’s name and information in the Notary certificate only.

You cannot notarize the signature of an absent signer. If you need to complete a Notary certificate that also includes an absent signer’s pre-printed name, you would need to line through the name of any signer who isn’t physically present and initial and date the correction.

In some cases, the document may have more than one Notary certificate attached for each signer. If so, you may use one certificate for the signer who’s present, and leave the other Notary certificate blank to be used for other signers at a later time. You should note in your journal entry that you only notarized for a single signer.

When in doubt, you can always contact the preparing or receiving agency or the NNA Hotline for more information, or for guidance when dealing with blank, confusing or wrong dates. 

Laura Biewer is founder of and owns At Your Service Mobile Notary in Modesto, California. She also teaches seminars for the National Notary Association and is a regular presenter at the NNA's annual Conferences.

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Add your comment

18 Apr 2024

The borrowers wanted to backdate their signatures (to the date the original document was drawn, which was over two weeks old) while signing in the presence of the the notary. Is such backdating of signatures by borrowers permitted?. (I am in Virginia).

National Notary Association

25 Apr 2024

Hello. Backdating signatures is not permitted for notarizations.

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