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Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 5,660
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

A question for notary publics a

My husband is currently in UVA Medical Center with a brain   Tumor.  He owns his own business and is the only employee.  He will begin chemo on Friday.  I need to be able to sign checks for bills that are due and deposit checks that come in.  With the brain tumor sometimes he is pretty clear minded and sometime he is not of clear mind.  He can hold a pen and scrawl a signature even though it doesn't look like his signature.

My daughter is a para legal and one of the family law attorneys in her firm drew up a durable Power of Attorney giving me the ability to handle  his affairs including the business .  The form must be notarized.  The attorney who drew up the form told my daughter that the notary was not there to judge whether someone did or did not understand what they were signing just that the notary  saw them sign it.  Since my husband's mind is sometimes not clear I don't want want to get the notary here in his room and then have her/him say they cannot notarized it because he might not understand what he is signing. So, is what the attorney told my daughter correct information?

Honored Contributor
Posts: 20,648
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: A question for notary publics a

I believe the attorney was right.  I was a notary for eight years and haven't dealt with this TYPE of scenario.  But to think to what was expected of me, within the law, it would be about verifying that it was indeed HE who signed the document.

 

I'm not sure how I'd feel if I thought either - 1) it appeared that somebody was making him sign it; or 2) he had absolutely no idea what he was sigining.

 

But I think that my only responsibility would be to verify to my own satisfaction that it was he who was signing his name.  I might feel compelled to ask if he wanted to sign it and knew what the document was that he was signing - not sure, I guess, until I find myself in that type of situation.

 

Those are my thoughts, though, FWIW.  Smiley Happy

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 6,475
Registered: ‎03-14-2015

Re: A question for notary publics a

I have gone to the notary several times in my life, and never once did they, the notary,  sign anything declaring that anybody involved with the document was of a sound mind, and knew what it was that they were signing.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 18,415
Registered: ‎11-25-2011

Re: A question for notary publics a

[ Edited ]

#SundayPositiveChallenge

 

Here's some guidelines.  I would bet you personally know someone that's a notary whom could help.  They would understand the situation & not question. 

 

http://members.usnotaries.net/news.asp?AssetID=413

 

Honored Contributor
Posts: 17,767
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: A question for notary publics a

All a notary does is witness that a person signs the paper. No worries about state of mind or compos mentis.

☼The best place to seek God is in a garden. You can dig for him there. GBShaw☼
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 5,660
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: A question for notary publics a

The link to the website seems to directly contradict what my daughter was told by the Family law attorney in her firm The web site says that the notary must be confident that the signer is mentally competent and fully understands what they are signing.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 20,648
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: A question for notary publics a

I think if the question is strictly about the law, there would be no way for the law to expect a Notary to determine the psychological health or state of the signor.

 

If it came down to it, the Notary just has to verify that the signor is the person s/he is representing him/herself to be.

 

Now, to get into ethics - and I'm not speaking directly to THIS scenario - if I were to feel like something just isn't kosher here, like the signor is being forced or the signor is clearly  not properly conscious I might feel some concern about becoming a part of that.

 

So, I think there are two very different issues.  If they are just concerned about the law, the Notary has very specific responsibilities which, by the way, vary by state.  You are only commissioned to the state that commissioned you.  Just an FYI, as different states have different laws.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 25,929
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Re: A question for notary publics a

My father was horrifically injured in a car accident and could not give me his POA so I consulted an attorney and he went to a judge who declared my Dad was incompetent and appointed me as his guardian and gave me the legal right to write checks and pay his bills etc.The attorney had everything all taken care of in a couple hours after I originally saw him.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 4,206
Registered: ‎08-08-2011

Re: A question for notary publics a

I had to notarize several documents when I worked as a legal secretary.  You might want to make sure you have your husband's drivers license with you when the notary comes. We were told to check picture ID's to make sure the person was who they claim to be before we notarized a signature. 

Honored Contributor
Posts: 11,126
Registered: ‎06-20-2010

Re: A question for notary publics a

[ Edited ]

The Notary will probably verify his identity - yes, have his DL available.