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January 21, 2012

Rules for notarizing a bedridden person

Rules for notarizing a bedridden person
I have written a lot on this topic, and posts relating to this topic are in the hospital category on the right.  There are no special notary laws for notarizing a bedridden signer. However, there are a few important things to know that are common when notarizing hospitalized or bedridden or elderly signers.
The identification must be current
A few states allow an ID to have been issued five years before the date of the notarization, when the ID technically expires four years after it was issued.  However, elderly signers will commonly have an ID that was used between Christopher Columbus’ time and the French Revolution.  If you do a signing for an elderly person (or anyone else), make sure their identification is current before you drive to that location (if you are a mobile notary). 
The patient / bedridden person must be coherent and sober
It is common for nurses to drug a patient right before the notary arrives.  Unfortunately, it is not legal to notarize someone who is so out of it that they can’t think or function.  So, if you want that notarization to happen, put the morphine on hold for now! Keep the valium in it’s syringe for now!  Additionally, if the signer can not move their arm to sign, you have a problem. If the signer can not talk enough to acknowledge that they understand the document, you are in trouble too. 
Elderly people get scammed regularly – notaries beware!

Elderly people fall prey to all types of scams, and the “nice” people who you assume are the signer’s children could be scam artists who are conning the drugged patient into signing their assets away.  The notary will (could) end up in court if someone gets scammed, so beware, and make sure the signer knows what is going on — or you (the notary) will be very sorry when the justice system hijacks you for two weeks without pay a few months or years down the road. It is not worth it!

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