My experience grappling with personal feelings and the law —
I had a reverse mortgage assignment yesterday.
This assignment came to me on a rush basis… I needed to be there within 2 hours and I had not even received the documents yet.
I was offered a very generous fee.
No mention that it was a reverse mortgage and no mention that the documents would be 175 pages long (not including the borrower’s copy).
Called borrower and the daughter answered. Daughter said father was not at home but she knew they were expecting a notary. I asked when dad would be at home… she finally said I am the wife and he is here and we are waiting for you. She said Jim will also be here.
I have had many borrowers expecting the realtor or lender to be there so I automatically thought she was mistaken. She gave me the telephone number to the Jim person who confirmed he would attend and he said he always attends his own closings. I agreed to call him when I was on my way. When I called to tell him I was 10 minutes away, he said I am already here. In hindsight, I could hear trepidation in his voice. Just thought he was concerned that I did not call him earlier (since he said he was 20 minutes away). I told him I would just get them sworn in and wait for him.
When I arrived, borrower’s wife greeted me kindly. I walked in and greeted them. A gentleman who I first met also greeted me and it was clear that he was having some health issues. He shook my hand, smiled at me and proceeded to pronounce the words DaDa over and over. I said to myself, he must be the grandfather. So I proceeded to greet the others.
Wife, daughter and “Jim” greeted me and then I was introduced to the borrower. Imagine my surprise!
Control is everything.
I proceeded to ask borrower if he knew why I was here. He did not answer. I asked him for his full name, he gave me his first name. I asked what is his last name, he did not answer. I asked if he knew what a reverse mortgage is, he had no idea. He kept saying I built this house. I asked him what is the date. He looked at his watch and said 14. I asked what year, he said 1981. I asked him who is the president, he could not answer. Wife said, who didn’t you vote for… he could not answer. Wife said, we are trying to save our house.
During this time, daughter said she is a notary and it is not my job to ask about what is being signed but to only witness the signing, Broker said borrower went through reverse counselling and they approved him and I have never seen him like this, and wife said he was just not having a good day (after his triple bypass). During all of this, borrower continued saying DaDa – over and over.
I informed everyone (as well as clarified with Notary daughter about notary law and directed her to Secretary of State notary laws and rules) that I could not close this reverse mortgage loan when I do not feel borrower understands what he is signing.
Wife finally said, I do have a Power of Attorney. I suggested to broker that if I am directed to have her sign as POA, this could be done. He reached out to someone who told him they could not go forward with the closing at this time.
I politely apologized and excused myself.
Long story short, I feel soooo bad… but so good… about what it means to be a knowledgeable notary, to understand the laws and rules, and to apply them where necessary. Learn your notary laws and rules.