Verifying willingness is a big deal in the notary world. But, how often do we bring this topic up in conversations, blogs, or tutorials. We take for granted that the signer is willing to sign. But, let’s think about some scenarios where they might not be willing and how to spot those situations.
1. The signer doesn’t speak English.
If a signer does not understand what is going on, they might also not be completely willing to sign. They might be confused, coerced, or desperate. The document might be in English or in their language. As a notary, you must have direct communication with the signer in all fifty states. So, ask them if they understand the document and are willing to sign. See how they react.
2. The signer is elderly
If the signer is in a nursing home, be careful. The loving family members might not be real family and they might be ripping off a senile person. Make sure the signer understands the documents and is willing to sign. Ask open ended questions about what they document means. Be prepared to walk away if you get a wishy washy answer otherwise you might end up in court for God knows how long without pay.
3. The signer is being forced by the mafia or their spouse.
There have been cases where a husband makes the wife sign something. This is more true with foreigners who haven’t been blessed with the feminist movement. Women in other countries actually obey their husbands from time to time. Women don’t obey much in the USA which is why most men no longer want to get married — but, that is a story for another blog entry.
4. The signer is insane
Sometimes insane people appear normal — I know, because I am one myself. Just kidding. And so am I. We both are kidding. You might not see the signs, so make sure all of your signers know what they are signing and are willing.
In my personal experience, the only time I have had issues with signers was in nursing homes, hospitals, and once with a case where someone said they were kidnapped, but were not running. I had to decline a notarization for a dying Chinese man who could not say yes or no, but could squeeze my hand once for yes and twice for no. I broke their heart and tole them to get an Attorney and that I could not help them. Don’t get in trouble. Say no if the request is questionable.>