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August 3, 2018

Notary Public 101 — Scenarios: Hospital signing issues

Filed under: Technical & Legal — Tags: — admin @ 6:48 am

Have you ever done a signing in a hospital? You should be prepared, because one day you might do it. There are many issues that come up in hospital signings. First of all, it is common to have to decline service because the signer has been medicated, or has lost their mind. As a Notary, you should be aware that you can easily be subpoenaed for hospital signings as it is common for people to not remember what they signed and for people to try to take advantage, so be cautious.

As a Notary you need to be able to gauge the situation over the phone before you commit to coming, and once again gauge the situation once you are in front of the signers. The person who calls you to come to the hospital is almost never the signer, but usually a family member, Attorney, or scam artist.

Confirming the appointment.
Have your contact person read the name as it appears on the ID, and the expiration date (the expiration date of the card, or the patient, whichever comes first). Then, have the contact person read how the name appears on the document. Not only are you checking if names match, but if they even have an ID, know where it is, and have their document all ready. Confirm that they will not be medicated before you come and make sure the nurses know that the notary job is off if they medicate at all.

Once at the appointment.
Get travel fees at the door. Otherwise you will have a beneficial interest (in my opinion) in having the document signed. When you meet the signer, you can ask them questions about the document being signed. Don’t ask yes/no questions. Ask questions that make them explain the document to you. You can also make small talk about how you love what President Clinton did yesterday. If they are on the ball, they will know that President Clinton is no longer in office. You need effective ways to screen out people on morphine and those who have lost their mind. You should also ask if they have been medicated in the last twelve hours.

Comments
It is not your job to decide who gets morphine and when. However, if a signer does get medicated, let the contact person know that you will walk off with their travel fee as you do not dare notarize a medicated person who is not fully conscious, especially on a Power of Attorney.

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August 16, 2016

Hospital Notary Jobs

Hospital Notary Jobs

Hospital visits present the greatest personal risk, even greater than jail visits. When you visit a prison the staff knows your personal safety is their responsibility. At a hospital you are virtually ignored. The passing of infections is an obvious key issue; both ways. If you have the slightest contagious aliment it’s best to avoid hospitals. Two main reasons: your personal defenses are reduced, and you can infect a patient, potentially with dire consequences. Most of the NY hospitals that I go to have both facemasks and hand sanitizer at the entrance. Use both, also press the elevator button with a pen; generally avoid touching things. If you ask someone they will usually give you a pair of thin rubber gloves – additional protection.

Hospital visits should always be prepaid. You should stress the potential problems and frankly inform your caller that the risks are theirs. Your fee is earned when you to go to the facility and notarize if you are permitted to do so. There may be objections by the facility, ID issues, access limitations, ability to sign, ability to understand, etc. There is a good chance your client will be named as Agent on a Power of Attorney. Persons obtaining POA authority are quite willing to pay mobile notary fees; and have a great interest in obtaining the notarized document. Though their interest is irrelevant to your go/nogo decision; it’s worth mentioning. The majority of hospital POA jobs are, in my experience; for loving, concerned relatives who want to help. Of course some wish to exploit the afflicted – it’s virtually impossible to derive their true motivation.

But, your job is to notarize, if you feel doing so would be morally and legally proper. Hmmmm, just where did morally enter into the law? There are (at least in NY State) some “judgment call” aspects. Do I feel that the affiant understands the document and consents to it? Did the ID meet the standard of “adequate proof” – perhaps the photo on the license was a long time ago. Let’s continue with your approval of the situation.

You don’t know and will not be told what their affliction is. Sometimes there will be a “facemasks required” sign on the door. You should be wearing your facemask during every visit. Also take care about having the patient use your pen. Consider leaving it in the room, or at least giving it a good wipe with the hand sanitizer, there are usually several on each floor. Usually someone else is in the room. Show them where the patient needs to sign and stay a few feet away. But, you still need to witness signing a Jurat and need to administer an oath. They can bring the document to the patient while you observe. Just be sure that “they” do not sign for the patient!

Back to your fee. Some make payment on the web site with a credit card. Others prefer to pay with cash. Cash should be collected in the lobby if possible, or call your client out of the room and settle the finances first. Recall that you carefully covered all of the possible impediments to being able to notarize. Your “payment first” policy should have been carefully covered by phone prior to any travel, when accepting the assignment. Similar to prisons, things tend to move slowly in a hospital. You may have to wait while bedding is changed, test administered, etc. My basic notary fee at a hospital is half again what the fee would be for an office or home visit. Stress openly and honestly that all “risk” is on their side – you will do the job if conditions warrant, and total legality.

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When to ask for ID over the phone & fees at the door
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Hospital Signings
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3764

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March 16, 2011

Do you like your job?

Filed under: Hospital & Jail Signings — Tags: , , , , — admin @ 8:43 am

Do you like your job?
 
Once, during a hospital signing, the signers kept me waiting forever while they puttered around, and drafted a document on my time. After keeping me waiting for 45 minutes and seeing my facial expression, the lady asked, “Do you like your job?”. I said, I like it better when my clients are prepared and have the document ready BEFORE they call me.
 
I killed myself to arrive on time for that job.  I had other things to do.   I rushed to the hospital in Pasadena to serve a family of unprepared and unconcerned people whose kids were running around, and parents were casually talking.  I tried to be very patient, so I wouldn’t rush them. The clock was ticking. It was late at night, and there were no other jobs to go to — just my comfortable bed, and television.  I sat staring at the wall and the minutes went by.   In the mobile notary business, you get complaints when you rush people. But, when you don’t rush people, they take all day! 
 
What bothered me most was their casual laissez-faire attitude.  Not one person in the family could care less about how they had wasted my evening.  They took their sweet time preparing the document and having casual conversations while they did it.  Where was the sense of urgency? What prevented them from preparing the document ahead of time?  It is experiences like this, that provoked me to write materials to keep newer notaries out of this type of situation to begin with.
 
Smart notaries announce their terms over the phone.  Here is what the down-to-business types would say:
“I want my travel fee at the door.  I charge waiting time. Its $15 every 15 minutes — no exceptions.  Its $10 per signature to notarize documents.  If the signer is not able to sign for any reason — I’m out the door.  Please make sure they are awake, sober, and conversational.”  But, I was very friendly and relaxed.  I didn’t want people to think I was a hustler, and look what happened to me.  45 minutes down the drain for nothing.
 
I had been very patient for a very long time watching them unnecessarily waste my time.  The lady looked at me and said, “Do you like your job?”.  I didn’t want to be rude, but, this lady really provoked me. 
 
I had another job in Long Beach which was exactly the opposite.  The signers were jazz musicians and stayed up all night.  They needed me to go to a hospital to notarize for a sick relative. They knew the drill and everything was prepared, ID and all.   What a relief!  Not only were they prepared, but they entertained me with their conversation, and made me happy with their friendly disposition. Sure, they had me come at 2am, but for this crowd, I would have notarized them at 4am they were so nice.
 
I wish it were possible for a California notary to notarize across the border in Las Vegas.  Boy, would that be fun.  You could work for a few hours doing signings, and then entertain yourself, get a hotel, and drive back the next day.  A long time ago, I used to do feng-shui consultations for people.  I admit, I was not the best in town, but I met some wonderful people doing those jobs.  A very personable Filipino lady from Las Vegas called me.  She talked me into driving all the way out there to Las Vegas.  She bought me dinner, talked me up, and got me a free hotel room through her connections.  It turns out to have been the most fun feng-shui job I had ever done, and I’ll remember that particular short, but sweet Las Vegas trip forever.

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March 14, 2011

Dragging the person’s arm

Is your notary job a drag?
This job is like dragging arms man!
Are your hospital customers a drag, literally?
 
Dragging the signers arm
It was back in 2000.  I had had a Santa Monica notary job, and then was called from Arcadia.  I was informed that I would be needed to visit an Arcadia hospital to do a hospital notarization signing later that night. They were not sure. The patient would be awake and ready around 11pm, but maybe later… maybe much later.  I explained that I was a night owl, and that its no problem.  Just call while I’m still awake.  Once I’m sleeping, you have lost me. 
 
The phone call
So, I finished my Santa Monica job, got another job in West Covina, and drove back home through El Monte to Monterey Park where I was living at the time.  This was long time ago when I had first started 123notary to advertise my personal notary services to five counties in Southern California.  I was the only notary listed on 123notary at the time.  Ah, the memories of the good old days!  So, I waited at home watching television.  Finally the call came at 11pm.  They said they wanted to meet me at 1am at the hospital in Arcadia.  I said fine.  I’ll meet you in the lobby, I’ll be carrying a small black bag.
 
The lobby
I arrived at the lobby.  My client was early and waiting for me.  Clients always had ESP and always knew who I was without ever having met me before.  I guess my demeanor of looking like I was having the time of my life was what gave me away — NOT!  We went up to the hospital room, and there she was… the signer… and the family.  Fortunately the signer had ID.  It was time to sign.
 
I can’t move my arm!
The signer could barely move their arm.  In situations like this, the daughter of the signer always puts a pen in the elderly person’s arm, grabs the elderly person’s arm, DRAGS it across the page, and attempts to “help” them sign.  I had to stop them.   STOP!   Who is signing here?  You, or her?  The daughter said, “She is signing, I’m just helping her!”.  I said, PLEASE STOP helping her.  Lets have Ethel sit up a bit…there… thats much better.  Lets put the document on a hard surface so her pen doesn’t rip a whole in it.  Hmmmm… Much better!  Now, you can use your arm as a brace to guide Ethel’s arm, but let Ethel do the movements herself, otherwise you are more or less forging her signature even though she is the one holding the pen. 
 
40 minutes later
After 20 minutes, we got the first signature done. That wasn’t so hard, was it?  Then, we did the thumbprint in my journal to prove that the etch-a-sketch “scribble” wasn’t forged.  Elderly people grab on for dear life when you thumbprint them, their tension is like a brick.  Now it was time for the journal thumbprint.  I will bet money, that this won’t take any longer than another 25 minutes.  I was right!  We turned the journal almost completely upside down.  I had to supervise to make sure Ethel signed where she was supposed to and not on the “Name of document” section for Harry’s notarization that had taken place the previous day.  Thank god I watch everyone like a hawk.  The notarization was a “breeze”.  All in a days work.

Tweets:
(1) Doing signings for the elderly in hospitals is like pulling teeth or dragging arms!
(2) Whenever I arrive at a hospital lobby, the clients have ESP and automatically know I’m the notary!
(3) The signer could barely move her arm, so the daughter grabbed it, put a hen in her hand & moved the arm around!

You might also like:

Power of Attorney at a Nursing Home
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2305

Rules for notarizing a bedridden person
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2243

Just say No #2
http://blog.123notary.com/?tag=just-say-no2

Grandma’s notary service & Paralysis notary service
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4231

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January 28, 2011

A tale of four notaries in hospitals

 A tale of four notaries and their adventures at hospitals.
 
Hospital notarizations are very tricky and there is a lot that can go wrong. We have several resource pages regarding hospital notarizations to steer notaries away from pitfalls.  The characters in this story are NOT based on real characters, but each one of them has either a single attitude or attribute that is similar to a real person that I am acquainted with.  This silly story will show how each notary fared and how their way of thinking worked in the long run.  The various notaries include an Arkansas notary, an Illinois notary, a Florida notary, and a Pennsylvania notary public.
 
(1) Jeremy Blunt, a notary in Arkansas was called to do a hospital notarization in Little Rock on the following day.  Jeremy, with his blunt, but thorough manner told them, “Make sure to tell the nurses not to drug the patient within eight hours of the signing.”.  The caregiver, who was happy to have a thorough notary, overlooked Jeremy’s blunt manner and was very willing to coordinate a temporary lapse in morphine, so that the signer (an elderly relative) would be able to sign the papers.  Jeremy called an hour before the signing to have the caregiver read the ID information to him, and had the caregiver verify that the signer had not been drugged recently, was awake and able to conversate, and wouldn’t be drugged until after the notarization, and that the nurses had been informed.  The caregiver was standing next to the bedridden signer to MAKE SURE that no intravenus drugs were given.
 
Jeremy arrives at the signing with his notary bag, records the ID in his journal, gets a signature in his journal and the document(s), fills out the certificate form(s), stamps them, affixes his official Arkansas notary seal, staples the documents together, and is done.  Jeremy gets his fee, thanks everyone in a very blunt way, and leaves.  The signers say, “That Jeremy gets the job done — he’s a bit blunt, but polite, and he saved our rear ends big time!!!  That OTHER notary let us down.  Thank god for good notaries!”
 
(2) Linda Liberty, a notary in Illinois was called to do a hospital notarization in Chicago the following day.  Since she had a strict policy of not butting into anyone’s medical business, not asking questions, and minding her own business, she omitted to ask the caregiver if the signer was on medication.  After, all thats NONE OF MY BUSINESS!  The next day, she gets to the hospital, the caregiver says, “Thank you for coming”.  Linda politely says, “Its my pleasure to serve the public wholeheartedly”.  Linda goes to the hospital room where the patient / signer is.  The patient is high on morphine and in a stupor, barely able to keep his eyes open. Linda says, “Sorry, but according to Illinois notary laws, I am not authorized to notarize someone who is not capable of thinking or communicating coherently.  I can not notarize this person in this condition, ID or no ID.  The caregiver (the daughter of the signer) said, gee, thats too bad.  Linda says, my travel fee is $60 for hospitals please.  The daughter says, “BUT, YOU DIDN”T DO ANYTHING”.  Linda Liberty says, “Excuse me, but I drove an hour and a half here in traffic, paid a toll for the bridge, sat here talking to you for twenty minutes, paid $15 for gas, and have an hour drive home. I did quite a bit and I want to get paid!!!”  The daughter said, sorry, but we can not pay you.  We are very sorry.
 
(3) Ralph Machiavelli, a notary in Florida (no relation to Niccolo… at least not by blood), got a call to do a signing of a power of attorney in a hospital in Tampa.  The power of attorney would be for the signer’s son in law to take over all of his banking and real estate transactions. Ralph had lots of experience and thought ahead.  This Florida notary public had had his fingers burned a few times and knew the techniques for keeping out of trouble and getting paid.  Ralph told the client that he collects a $75 travel fee at the door BEFORE he sees the signer.  He, then charges $10 per for stamp for an acknowledged signature which is the maximum allowed fee in Florida.  The son in law of the signer agreed, and they set the appointment for the next day at 10am.
 
Ralph gets to the appointment.  Collects his travel fee in CASH, and says, “Thank you very much”.  Lets see the signer now.  The two of them proceed to walk down the long corridor, around some bends, up an elevator, down another corridor, past a nurse station, to the left, to the right, and then into a room.  They found the signer was drugged, sleeping, and in no condition to sign or even talk.  The son in law tried to wake the signer up.  The signer eventually woke up after twenty minutes of blinking and saying, “mmmmmmm?”.   Ralph said, can you ask dad to sign this form?  The son in law said, I’ll try.  After twenty additional minutes of wasting time (a result of the medication), the son in law said, its no use, they drugged him this morning.  Maybe I have my $75 back?  Ralph says, “I’m sorry, but in addition to traveling, I spent forty minutes here waiting for your signer to sign something.  This was a complete waste of time.  Next time please make sure your dad is ready to sign at the appointed time. That means…. NO DRUGS”.  Ralph returns home with his money.  He pleasures himself with a nice baby back rib dinner, and then returns home.
 
(4) Sharisse Washington, Pennsylvania Notary Public at large, doesn’t stand for this type of nonsense or bluntness that happened in the above three stories.  She has thirty years of experience, and carries a handheld database of how to handle each situation with all its variations and pitfalls.  Sharisse minds her p’s and q’s, dots her i’s and crosses her t’s.  She informs everybody in a polite way, and doesn’t put herself in a position that anything will go wrong either.   This notary in Pennsylvania gets a call to go to a Philadelphia hospital to do a notarization the next day.  She politely asks the client if they have an ID for the signer.  She asks if they could read the ID to her, so that she can verify that they have the ID, and that its current.  She asks if the patient EVER recieves medication or is likely to receive it during the day of the signing. She asks if its possible that they could provide a “WINDOW OF TIME”, where they could be sure that the signer wasn’t going to be drugged.  She asks what the name and type of the document is.  She asks if it is in their possession and if they can read the document to her (so, she can verify that they really have it).  After she asks all of the questions on her database’s check list, the cordially thanks the client for answering her questions and assures them that she will be at the hospital lobby at 10am the following day. 
 
This Pennsylvania Notary calls at 9am to verify that they have the identification handy and that the signer is not drugged. Sharisse shows up at the hospital at 9:55 just to be on the safe side.  The client is there, thanks her for being early.  They go up to the room.  The signer is awake, sober, and conversational.  The signer signs the document and journal. Its a bit if a struggle being old and being weak, but the signer does it… because she is sober and awake… and sober…not drugged.   Sharisse does all of the remaining necessary paperwork, thanks everybody, collects her fee, and is off to her next appointment which she allowed a sufficient amount of time to get to.
 
Now that you have read how each of these four notaries handled a hospital job, its up to you to decide how you want to handle this type of job. Remember, that hospital and jail notary jobs and many more potential pitfalls and things that can go wrong than a regular office or home notary job.  Do your homework, be polite and stay out of trouble, and that way, you will be able to make a living. Otherwise, it is you who will be sorry.

You might also like:

Power of Attorney in a nursing home
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2305

Do you like your job? A story of being kept waiting forever at a hospital.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=617

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September 27, 2010

Hospital notary job tips from A to Z

Hospital notary jobs are a great source of extra income for signing agents. However, there are many pit falls and delays. Learn to do your homework so you can minimize the problems of this type of job. Hospital notarizations are always much more time consuming than regular notary jobs, so charge at least $50 travel fee and be prepared for signers and family members who do not have their ID’s and documents ready.

Call first to find out if the signer has ID

If you are doing a notary signing for someone in the hospital, chances are their family members will be calling you for the signing. The signer will generally be elderly, and elderly people who are not self-sufficient typically have expired identification. Find out what the signer’s identification is before you go to the signing. Have someone read the ID type, state of issue, number, and expiration date. The client will tell you false stories otherwise. They will say, “Oh, she has a passport”, and then when you get to the signing you will find that they only have a social security card, and can’t even find it.

Confirm the signing and identification

When you confirm the signing, confirm where the ID is, and make sure the person on the other end ofthe phone is HOLDING it, or you will never find it. Elderly people can never find their identification if they even have any. They will sit with you on the sofa and go through the contents of their entire wallet. You will see decades of history unravel before you, and will be kept waiting a long time. They will offer you every type of unacceptable ID known to mankind, and will offer you everything except for an ID that you can really use. Make sure the client who calls you knows where the ID is, or you will be sorry.

Does the signer understand the document?

Make sure the signing can explain the document to you, otherwise they shouldn’t be signing it. If the signer is so incapacitated that they can’t speak, then you should not notarize them.

Can the signer sign their own name?

Find out if the signer can sign their own name before going to the signing. Family members will always assure you that they can sign. But, medical situations change quickly, and once the notary arrives, the signer is often drugged or incapable of speaking coherently or signing anything. Have the family members make the signer sign something before you book the appointment. When the client calls you and you ask them to sample the elderly person’s signature, the elderly person will always be sleeping, so they can’t test their signing skills, but you will be assured that after you drive two hours to the signing, that the person will be able to sign properly.

Is the signer drugged?

Make sure that the nurses know not to drug the signer within eight hours of the signing. Make sure the family members of the signing are watching the signer at all times to make sure the nurses don’t slip them any valium, otherwise the signing is off.

Confirmation an hour before the signing – a list of questions to ask.

(1) Is the signer awake? Waking them up at the last minute takes a long time.

(2) Is the signer drugged? Valium and signings don’t mix.

(3) Can the signer sign their name? Have the family member test them out before you drive.

(4) Do you have the ID in your hand? Please read it to me again. Otherwise you’ll never find it.

(5) Do you have the document(s)? Please confirm you are holding them in your hand. Don’t let family members drag the person’s arm while the signer is grabbing the pen. If the daughter moves the signers arm around, then it is the daughter signing for the person. If the signer can’t sign on their own, the signing is off. You can do a signature by X if you know the procedure. However, the family members may use their arm as a fixed brace, so that the signer can have some physicall support for the signing. Make sure the family members’ arm doesn’t move around to assist the signing.

What should I charge?
Travel fees for hospital jobs should be anywhere from $40 to $80 which should include the first 30 minutes of waiting time.  Hospital notary jobs are risky, because the signer may not be able to sign — which means you might not get paid.  The signer could die before you arrive as well.  The families of the signers rarely have their paperwork and identification all in order which ensures you at least 20 minutes waiting time, even if you double check to make sure they are prepared.  Charge whatever your state allows per signature and a hefty travel fee IF YOUR STATE ALLOWS travel fees at all. Our forum documents roughly eight states with travel fee restrictions which puts a stranglehold on your whole livelihood.

You might also like

Power of Attorney at a nursing home
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2305

Rules for notarizing a bedridden person
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2243

Do you like your job? A story about a notary who was kept waiting.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=617

Jail notary jobs from A to Z
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=151

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