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June 16, 2013

Making family members leave the room

I got a call from a social worker at a convalescent home. Seemed the daughter needed a POA signed for her father. I gave him my fee and asked him all the necessary questions. You know, does the person signing have ID, can they sign their name and are they under the influence of any mind altering medication. He assured me that we were a go on all accounts except for one he needed to let the family know my fee and would get back to me shortly . A few minutes passed and I got the return call and we were a go. We scheduled the day and the time. He let me know that it was going to be 1 signature. A POA. (power of attorney)

I arrived at our scheduled time and I met the daughter and the other family members in the lobby, the daughter let me know that she was not happy with the facilities and wanted to get the POA so that she could move him. He went on to tell me that his wife was mistreating her father and she needed to have him moved out of the wife’s reach. She handed me the POA I looked it over briefly and we proceeded to the signers room. We entered the room and he was conversing with I presumed other family members or friends and at this point I didn’t really know who was who. I introduced myself to him and the daughter began to tell him what I was doing there and what she was planning on doing. One of the persons in the room I found out at that moment was the wife. She asked us both in a cautious tone ‘what is going on here’?. There was dead silence so I took over I explained to the signer that the daughter had asked the facility to call me on his daughter’s behalf. I asked him if he’d prefer me to continue with the others in the room. He said no and then I asked everyone to give a few minutes in private. He wanted only his step-daughter to stay. (Funny, he seemed to like her better than his own flesh)

After everyone else was gone .I told him what his daughter wanted and he became livid. He muttered that he didn’t want to sign anything. He said that he didn’t feel that he needed a POA. After I had spoken with him for a few minutes I also felt that he was in good sound mental health and didn’t need one as well. He asked me did he have to sign and I told him certainly not. He was to say the least bewildered and seemed bothered by the whole thought of it. I let him know that his daughter was under the impression that he was being mistreated (information that she said that he had given her) that she had had documents prepared on his behalf. She had not discussed any of this with him.

After our little chat, we asked everyone to come back into the room and I told the daughter that he has decided not to sign anything at this time and I asked “Now who is going to pay me?”. Everybody looked around (you could have heard a pin drop it was so quiet) but after a minute or two the daughter finally spoke up and said “Of course I will and handled me my travel fee” I prepared a receipt and thanked them all and went on my way.

Now this could have turned a different way a turn for the worse. But I was lucky. I got my fee and I took control and made sure that the signer was either comfortable signing or not. In this case he was not. IMO, I felt the daughter was over stepping her bounds. I know she may have had her fathers best interest (or just maybe his money as a little birdie told me he was loaded) at heart but although I did not say (nor could I say) California is a community property state and the wife has the first and final say. Sadly for the daughter, she probably doesn’t know it but legally she has no rights over anything to do with her fathers affairs. He had been married to the wife for over 35 years. And what she says goes whether any of us like it not….I thought to myself the wife is going to need a good lawyer because I got the impression that the daughter was NOT stopping here.

Until next time…be safe



  1. Hospital, senior care, child care, clinics, schools, prisons, psych centers, etc. present unique difficulties to notaries. Some are: possible lack of ID, patient not rational, patient undergoing a procedure, facility has special rules for patients to sign anything, etc. I cover all the bases with the person who will be hiring me to meet them at the facility and clearly warn them as to the possible obstructions. I also tell them to PayPal to my account prior to my departure. I guarantee (during the phone call booking the job) my best efforts, but cannot assure them I will be able to notarize. They are aware that situations outside of my control do not receive a refund. Waiting time charge is also agreed.

    Comment by Kenneth A Edelstein — June 16, 2013 @ 10:28 pm

  2. Always get your fee first. “Show me the money”.

    Comment by Alan — June 17, 2013 @ 2:47 pm

  3. Paypal? Fees up front? Do you guy actually do this work or are you really just internet tough guys? We’re only talking $50 and besides notary service is public service. If you accept the assignment without thoroughly qualifying the job and that includes not collecting the fees up front then you should walk away empty handed. Better than getting a call from a lawyer after the signer dies.

    There is absolutely a need for this service in fact this why the MOBILE NOTARY exists. Not to do loan signings as most of you think it is. This is the core business of a career notary, someone that will look into the eyes of a dying person and determine their competency in what may very be the last crossroad of that persons life. Come on do you really need your money up front to do that?

    Comment by Joe Ewing — July 19, 2013 @ 5:23 pm

  4. I think to say you are lucky is an understatement! Definitely a smart idea to get the fee taken care of on the front end.

    Comment by National Notary — September 30, 2013 @ 5:41 pm

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