Split signings often cause confusion for Notary Signing Agents. A split signing is when loan documents need to be signed by multiple borrowers, such as partners or spouses, but only one of the borrowers is available at one time.
In these situations, settlement services often arrange for two signing agents to process the loan documents during separate signing appointments, or for the same NSA to handle both at different times. Sometimes NSAs get advance notice, and sometimes they do not. But handling a split signing is fairly simple. Here’s what you need to know.
One Signature At A Time
If you are handling appointments for both parties, you’ll receive the loan documents, conduct both appointments and return the documents to your contracting company as usual.
If there are two NSAs handling a split signing, the first NSA in the chain receives the loan documents, conducts the signing and witnesses the signature of only the borrower who comes in person and presents identification. Then, depending on what the instructions say, they ship the documents back to the contracting agency or to the next Notary in the chain. The second NSA oversees the signing of the second borrower and then returns the documents to the contracting company.
Whether you are the first or second NSA in the chain, you only notarize documents for the person appearing before you.
If two names appear on one Notary certificate and only one borrower is present, line through the name of the person who is not present and initial and date the correction.
If you receive loan documents and don’t see any Notary certificates, or the certificates are already completed, get in touch with the contracting agency and ask how to proceed. The contracting agency will either will supply you with new certificates showing the signer’s name, or they may ask you to supply your own certificates.
Remember, you must never make changes to a certificate that you are not completing.
A Matter Of Fees
When you handle both signings, you should clarify with the contracting company beforehand that you’ll be expecting to receive a separate fee for each appointment. If you are one of two NSAs handling the split signing, you should ask for the full fee for one signing.