Photocopy of ID for a Power of Attorney?
Confession is good for the soul, though sometimes it might land you in the Pokey. With trembling fingers and much trepidation; I relate the following sad story. Before doing so, please understand that I receive many of my blog entries from what happened to me: http://kenneth-a-edelstein.com
It’s a close call, perhaps even a tie. No, I’m giving the Power of Attorney top billing for fraud potential, first runner up will be the Deed. I have heard the Power of Attorney referred to as “the cocaine of legal documents” – strong language indeed! With that, and the first paragraph as background:
The call comes in from a highly distraught caller, the parent is terminal. The sibling needs a Power of Attorney – urgently and quickly. It was difficult to obtain the information I require to determine if the request should be accepted. I don’t have “higher” ID requirements to process a Power of Attorney; to me a notarization is a notarization. Sometimes the methodology differs, but, basically we ID, witness signature, give oath, then complete notary section. In addition to a nice clean, well inked, stamp; it is my custom to emboss every time.
Back to the caller. With hospital situations the ID is often a problem. I managed to learn that both the patient and the sibling have driver license photo ID. Never skimp on the oath with any part of a Power of Attorney. So, I inquire as to the patient’s ability to understand the document, my notary oath; and is able to sign unassisted. OK so far, there will be two copies processed of the Power of Attorney; and both the Principal and the sibling Agent will be notarized. As this was to be done in the room of a terminal cancer patient, I was told I would have to “suit up” to protect the patient.
In a prior blog http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16469 – I had harsh words for notaries who refused a blind affiant. Well, I’m sure many would not want this assignment. Going into a terminal cancer situation is emotionally taxing. Again, I stress the “ground rules” for me to be able to notarize. The Agent wishes to PayPal, immediately – probably assuming that would assure my arrival. She mentioned that the hospital was in possession of the patient’s credentials, and that obtaining the driver license would not be a problem.
Surprise. I am shown a photocopy of the Patient’s driver license. I gently go into my explanation of why a photocopy cannot be accepted. I had to. Unfortunately, the Agent broke down in tears. The Power of Attorney, while not being a Health Care Proxy; was desperately needed for some expenses. I am as empathetic as most, but a Photocopy? Not a chance – not because it’s a Power of Attorney, but because that does not (in my sole opinion) meet the NY State standard of being shown “adequate proof”.
“The Patient Representative just delivered it to me”, “they cannot release the patient’s property unless I have a Power of Attorney”. Verifying with the Patient Representative, who had multiple hospital photo ID tags prominently displayed, “I cannot release any items, but did provide the driver license photocopy, made moments ago”. I accept the photocopy as valid ID, now being “adequate proof” – in my opinion.
I suit up. Face mask, hand washing, rubber gloves, cap and complete cover all gown. The patient cannot talk due to apparatus in throat; but is aware and answers some basic “understanding” questions with head motions. Patient, now Principal on the Power of Attorney, is just barely able to sign. I administer the oath and receive an affirmative series of “nods”. We adjourn to a conference room to process the Agent of the Power of Attorney and complete the paperwork. Another “rough” one, complete with a variance from “standards”.
I’m glad I was called first. I would not want “declining notaries” to exacerbate my client’s mental state.
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Notary Public 101 – Identification
Identification requirements for being notarized
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