Loan documents usually contain three dates: the dated date, which is usually the day the documents are drawn; the signing date, which can be the same as the dated date and is usually the same as the date being notarized; the recording date, which is the date the recordable documents are recorded in the proper county recorders office.
As a Notary Public, you are responsible for making sure the documents are completed, therefore, if a date is requested, it must be filled in. In many states, you must also record the dated dates of the documents in your notary journal. All Jurats and Acknowledgments must be dated the day that the parties are appearing before you … no exceptions !!!
What if the documents are post dated? What if the dated pre-dates of the documents are later than your signing date?
The Secretary of State of California and the National Notary Association have both stated very clearly that it is not illegal to notarize a document prior to its pre-dated date. As a Notary Public you are, in addition to other duties, responsible for the documents completeness, the borrower’s competency, identity, and that they appear before you on the date as shown on your Jurats or Acknowledgments. There is nothing that says you can not notarize a document prior to its pre-dated date.
From an escrow and lenders perspective, however a document signed prior to its dated date is unacceptable and can cause costly delays and even the loss of the entire loan.
What do you do? Always check the pre-dated date on the Note and Deed of Trust when you receive a loan package. If you notice the dates are for a later date, contact the signing service or escrow company that contracted your services. If you are already at a signing, adjourn the signing right away, contact the applicable parties and set up another appointment for the date that the documents have been dated. There is a significant difference between the pre-dated date and the effective date. If the documents say “effective” or opposed to “dated” a certain date then it is okay to proceed.
Are you a notary public who only points and signs, or are you a professional Signing Agent who specializes in the signing of real estate and loan documents? Look at the papers and know what you are asking the parties to sign and the consequences of not doing it correctly.