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.
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