Bills Logo

Does a reverse mortgage require a notary public?

Daniel Cohen
UpdatedAug 24, 2010
Key Takeaways:
  • Understand the function of a notary public at a reverse mortgage.
  • Consider the benefits of hiring a mobile notary.

Do I need to have a notary public present at the closing of my reverse mortgage?

This question is from my mother-in-law, age 103,who is obtaining a reverse mortgage from Wachovia. It is this: Is it necessary to have a notary public at the closing?

Reverse mortgages have grown in popularity over the past few years. Some rules that apply to standard mortgages also apply to reverse mortgages. This is the case regarding the requirement to have a notary public observe the signing of documents at the loan closing. Whether a notary is required at a loan signing can vary from state to state, but if your state requires a notary for a standard mortgage then it will also be required for a reverse mortgage. Some states require an attorney to handle the signing of the documents instead of a notary. Your loan officer will to tell you if a notary is required. If so, the costs should be built into the Good Faith Estimate the loan officer provides you regarding the total estimated costs of the loan.

Role of a Notary Public

It is the Notary Public's role to witness, verify, and authenticate the signing of documents and the identification of the signers. This is done to prevent fraud. While even a notary can be fooled by forged credentials, the notary's familiarity with the signing process and the face-to-face interaction act as an important safeguard to the validity of the signature.

Rules vary from state to state on how to qualify as a notary and exactly what roles the notary can fill.

Mobile notary

I sense in your question that you may be concerned about having your parent visit an office to sign the paperwork. If that is an issue here, a mobile notary may be the best idea. A mobile notary will come to the signatory's house and have he or she sign the documents there. While I may be stating the obvious, I recommend that you are present to help facilitate the process. You may also want to see if the mobile notary has experience working with older clients, to make sure the notary has the necessary patience and sensitivity that may be required. There is likely an extra fee for engaging the services of a mobile notary, though it is usually reasonable and in no way should determine whether a reverse mortgage is the right option to pursue.

Regarding your parent's reverse mortgage, because there are differences in fees and costs for a reverse mortgage from lender to lender, it makes good sense to shop around for the best loan. At your mother's age, she can borrow up to 70% of the value of her home, but she needs to consider how much to borrow if she intends to leave you the property as an inheritance.

Reverse mortgage information

It is important that you and your parent understand the pros and cons of reverse mortgages. has written extensively about reverse mortgages. See the following resources to learn more: Reverse Mortgage & Inheritance, Reverse Mortgage and Medicaid, Is a Reverse Mortgage a Good Choice?, Reverse Mortgage Living Trust, Reverse Mortgage Benefits, Reverse Mortgage Refinance,and the reverse mortgage information page.

I hope this information helps you Find. Learn & Save.