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. Always check the pre-dated date on the Note and Deed of Trust when you receive a loan package.
There are well-established guidelines for how the signature and date sections should look on a legal document.
A party (or parties) should find credible, reliable witnesses to authenticate the signatures and date. "Uninterested Objective Party" Legal documents can be statements by one party (affidavits) or more complicated agreements between two parties (contracts). The ideal legal document would have each page time-stamped with the signature and date of both parties; but most agreements have plenty of pages in-between the first and last page.
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.
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.
Witnesses have two primary purposes: 1) authentication and 2) arbitration.
The witness must verify that the signer of the legal document is not an imposter.
Another good example of how this works is in a business sale when the parties go back and forth and make changes, say to the inclusion of a particular asset or assets.
All such changes must be lined out then signed and dated by both parties.
In many states, you must also record the dated dates of the documents in your notary journal. What if the dated pre-dates of the documents are later than your signing date?