How Not to Sign Important Documents


By Martha Robards 8-13-10

Okay, the time has come for the signing. You have given your title company the appointment date, time and place that you would like for your courtesy signing. You have been told you will receive a call from your signing agent confirming the appointment time and place and you are to provide her with your approved I.D. You made the appointment at the end of a work day so that it wouldn’t interfere with your work. You think, “After this is over, I can relax and enjoy my weekend.”

As you wait for the call, you review in your mind what has transpired and are glad that the culmination of months of phone calls, emails and documents going back and forth is approaching. You know that upon the signing of these documents, the loan will close and this new transaction will be in effect. Your payments will be lower and you will actually receive some cash back.

You’re tired and want to get this over.


Don’t rush your signing. We’re all busy. Rushing through important documents is a recipe for disaster.

Don’t drink alcohol before or during your signing. Yes you’re tired and yes you want this over with and yes, you would like to be relaxed through the signing. Don’t do it with alcohol. (You will make your signing agent faint!) These are important documents and you should have full access to your thinking abilities and judgment.

Don’t allow distractions. Schedule your signing at a time and place where there will not be distractions that can cause you to lose your focus.


Allow time. Signing documents with a lot of legalese are difficult for all of us. We want it done. But taking the time to understand what you are signing is critical to the success of the transaction, now and in the future.

Relax. Give yourself time BEFORE the signing to relax, whether that be by enjoying a cup of coffee, taking a nap or chatting with your mate. Whatever helps you not be stressed out, do it to help prepare for the signing.

Make it convenient but focused. The purpose of a ‘courtesy signing’ is to help you get your documents signed at a time and place convenient to you. This may mean that the signer will come to your home, work or other convenient place to you. However, it is also important that you realize that mistakes can happen if you are distracted during the process. Inform your children and family members that you will need about an hour (depending on the type of transaction) of quiet time in the living room or dining room to sign some important documents, and you would appreciate it if they would respect that.