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March 14, 2017

Living Will vs Durable Medical Power of Attorney

Living Will vs Durable Medical Power of Attorney

NOMENCLATURES
The Living Will (LW), unlike a Last Will and Testament, takes effect immediately. The LW&T, is used when the Testator dies. The LW has no further function when the Principal dies.

The Durable Medical Power of Attorney (DMPA) is often referred to as a “health care proxy”. The DPMA is also called a “health care surrogate” as that position is what it creates. Durable, in the sense that it typically has no expiration date and continues when the Grantor is incapacitated.

SUMMARY
Typically used for serious illness and near end of life medical care decisions, both the LW and the DMPA are both unrelated to the disposition of assets. The LW is essentially instructions from the patient to the doctor(s) and hospital staff as to the patient’s wishes. With the LW the patient is directly expressing desired care. With the DMPA the patient is granting decision making power to someone else.

POSSIBLE CONFLICT
It is possible for both a LW and a DPMA to be active at the same time. If the health care surrogate has a different opinion from that expressed in the LW it probably becomes a very complex issue to resolve.

THE LIVING WILL
The LW expresses your “will” or desire how to be treated while you are living. It is often used to reject life-sustaining treatments when terminally ill. These treatments often include intravenous feeding of food and water, heart-lung machines, ventilators, etc. When there is no detectable brain activity, and the body alone is being sustained, artificially; some prefer to terminate their existence. Note that the LW will not affect routine medical treatments. Prior to the discontinuation of “life support” two doctors are usually required to make the determination that the outlook for recovery is virtually non-existent. Key point: the LW does not change any pain or routine treatment for non life-threatening medical conditions.

THE DURABLE MEDICAL POWER OF ATTORNEY
The surrogate comes into power under this document only when the patient is unconscious or not legally able to make decisions on their behalf. More commonly called a Health Care Proxy, this POA often allows for successor agents, the same as a routine Power of Attorney. This form may be statutory or must be drafted by an attorney. The DMPA lets the physician know who is authorized to “make the call”; as the relatives may have a variety of opinions, and sometimes their own agenda.

NOTARY CONSIDERATIONS
This is an area where the more notarizations the better. Both documents are “human life” and “estate” related; and, for some, timing is everything. Obviously the author and any witnesses should be notarized. As “state of mind” is often an issue; the patients doctor, if possible should add a “sound mind” witness statement. If the documents are prepared well in advance of hospitalization, the attorney can also add a similar statement, also notarized. This is a highly emotionally charged situation. Great care must be taken to be sure names are printed legibly and your work is flawless. Witnesses should be totally unrelated, have no interest in the estate or payment of medical bills. These documents call for empathy, attention to detail, and very strict adherence to local governing laws.

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February 21, 2017

Power of Attorney of the Future

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — Tags: — admin @ 9:09 pm

The Legal professional moves at a snail pace. On the other hand the Medical profession has advances at rocket speed. This will eventually lead to the Power of Attorney of the Future, mainly due to advances in medical procedures. Unfortunately the Legal profession, unable to keep up, will inherit some unexpected situations.

Consider the Power of Attorney of the Future. Rather than the current procedure of giving a piece of notarized paper from Principal to Agent, an alternative will be forthcoming. The mind of the Principal can be transferred into the Agent! Of course this will not be a one-way street. The reverse transfer of Agent to Principal will also occur. Thus both the Principal as well as the Agent will each have two separate mental “memory banks” sharing their brains.

There will, of course, be no need for a Monitor assigned via the Power of Attorney, but that can be done. It might get a bit crowded for the Monitor who will have Monitor brain, Principal brain and Agent brain – all sharing that cranial cavity.

As the Power of Attorney form is a delegation of authority instrument, there is a need for a “pecking order” of brain function within each individual. For the Monitor, that person’s original brain is “boss”. For the Agent the Principal brain is boss, with the Agent’s original brain in a subservient capacity. After all, the Principal should always have the last word. For the Principal their original equipment is boss, with the Agent brain and the Monitor sharing second place.

If the above paragraph is clear to you please leave a comment about this blog explaining your understanding to me. Whatever.

Gone is the tedious need for communications. As the brain “essence” exists in multiple bodies, a telepathic bond is created, either in duo or triplicate. No, I am not going to even consider the effect or pecking order of Successor Agents. Even worse than Successor Agents would be multiple Agents, who might or might not have to act in unison. Ye gads this is getting complex.

The legal ramifications affect even the humble notary. With multiple “personalities” and with them having “legal authority” precisely how is the oath to be given and to whom? Of course with this much confusion there will be plenty for the lawyers (who thrive on ambiguity) to work with. Can the notary notarize the direct signature of the Principal when the body of the Agent matches the presented ID? The Power of Attorney currently allows “acting in behalf of” – but when the thoughts are of the Principal, via the body of the Agent – perhaps the need for the currently required Power of Attorney signature verbiage becomes unnecessary.

Not complicated enough? Consider the Principal granting different Power of Attorney rights to multiple Agents for varying purposes. Throw in a few Successor Agents, perhaps a Monitor or two and the poor Principal is afflicted with a real “head full” of personalities.

Of course it will be the task of the notary public to resolve all of the conflicts and “do the right thing”. To really understand the situation and notarize properly the notary will have to adopt the psychs (all of them) of the person before them with the ID. That might take a bit of room in the skull of the notary. My only suggestion is for notaries to prepare for the future by considering a lobotomy to make some additional room for the personalities involved. As you can probably tell from the above, I’ve had the surgery; more than half of my brain was removed. I’m ready!

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December 22, 2016

How do I get a notarized Power of Attorney?

How do I get a notarized Power of Attorney?

It is common to need a Notarized Power of Attorney. The issue is that many people don’t know where to go for help. You need to either find a Power of Attorney form, or have a customized one drafted by a law firm. But, be careful. If you have the wrong Power of Attorney form, it might not be acceptable to whomever the custodian of the document is, or to the courts. I am not an Attorney and can’t advise you, but I suggest you first talk to the agency you are submitting the Power of Attorney to and see what their requirements are. After that, talk to an Attorney.

Step 1. Check with the Document Custodian

Many banks want customers to use their own Power of Attorney for Banking document to be used. This Banking Power of Attorney is sometimes not on an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper. I have seen them printed on card stock in such a way where there is not enough room for a Notary seal. Banks often insist that the Notary seal is on the actual document and won’t accept Attorney written documents. So, talk to the entity you are submitting the Power of Attorney for before doing anything else.

Step 2. Draft your Power of Attorney

If necessary, get your Power of Attorney drafted by an Attorney or someone who your Attorney recommends.
If you use a standardized form from an office supply store, make sure you get it all filled out before calling the notary.
You will need to have an Attorney in Fact (Agent or Grantee,) a Grantor, and you need to specify what powers you are granting, and for how long, and under what conditions. It’s complicated and critical, which is why you need an Attorney at $200-$400 per hour!

Step 3. Find a Notary on 123notary.com!
Any notary can notarize a Power of Attorney. They can also notarize a Durable Power of Attorney, or notarize a Health Care Power of Attorney. Certain states even allow the Notary to make certified copies of a Power of Attorney. 123notary offers a wide selection of mobile notaries who can come to your home, office, hospital room, or jail cell and get your Power of Attorney notarized. Make sure you have current photo-ID issued by government agency.

Step 4. Submit your Notarized Power of Attorney
Once your POA is notarized, you might need to submit it to a particular party, or have it registered at some government office. Ask your Attorney what to do. Keep in mind that banks often have their own forms for Banking Power of Attorney which are often very simplified forms on card stock which would be significantly below the standards of an Attorney. But, if it is for their bank, they have the right to request any type of form they like. Just make sure your Attorney doesn’t object too terribly much. It’s complicated! Be prudent and consult the right people and Attorney before making your decision what to do.

Types of Powers of Attorney

Health care Power of Attorney documents which are often called health directives, medical power of attorney forms or living wills. These are normally very long documents written by an Attorney who specializes in these matters. These types of documents often specify what to do if the Grantor becomes mentally incapacitated, or have to be put on life support.

Limited Power of Attorney documents which grant authority to the grantee to perform certain actions on behalf of the Grantor.

Durable Power of Attorney documents which could stay valid even after the Grantor becomes mentally incompetent (ask an Attorney for details.)

General Power of Attorney — gives broad authorizations to the agent

Special Power of Attorney — gives specific and special powers and authorizations to the agent

Final Note
Don’t ask legal questions to Notaries or other non-Attorneys. First of all, Notaries are not trained to answer legal questions. Secondly, they are not allowed by law to answer legal questions. Get your legal questions out of the way with your Attorney before you make your initial call to the notary. Nothing is worse than keeping a notary on hold while you resolve issues that a responsible person would have resolved long before they called in a notary! Also, Notaries are not normally authorized to draft legal documents, so find someone who is legally authorized to draft legal documents which is normally someone who works as an Attorney or perhaps in the legal field.

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December 4, 2016

Power of Attorney – Notary Processing Mistakes

Playing Lawyer

You’re going there to notarize, that’s what you do. The caller asked you to bring some blank copies of a “standard” Power of Attorney. I think not. There many different formats to the Power of Attorney document. Selecting, as when you provide a document; could probably be interpreted as the Illegal Practice of Law. You don’t know their requirements, but you happen to have some documents titled Power of Attorney – a recipe for disaster. We notarize upon proof and oath; it’s their responsibility to know what they are signing. That applies to Principal, Agent, Monitor and Successor Agent.

Fuzzy Job Specifications

I need my signature notarized on a Power of Attorney form. Do you accept that sole statement? Does the caller have the form(s)? Is the caller the Principal granting the powers? Will there be Agent(s) and Successor Agent(s). You probably inquired about the ID that will be presented by the caller – but do you know anything about the ID status of others to be notarized? Will all parties be present when you arrive, or will there be a lengthy wait for a tardy Agent? The caller mentioned “a” Power of Attorney form, that’s true enough – but are ten more duplicates awaiting you? Did you schedule this as a “quick one” with your next assignment very soon?

Accepting Risk

You want to avoid accepting risk. One tool is having the assignment prepaid. A more important tool is communication with your client. Stress that the signature(s) of the Principal, Agent and Successor Agent must have proper supporting ID, and that the name on the ID must match the name to be notarized on the Power of Attorney. I make it very clear: “If any person to be notarized has an ID issue that precludes notarization; you will get my sincere regrets, but not a refund”. Hospital jobs have access concerns when the Principal is the patient.

Not Sharing your Knowledge

Many are new to using a Power of Attorney. They often assume a photocopy will be accepted and that they need only one original. That is often not the case. Offer duplicates for a modest fee. Blank areas might require a N/A. Use your embosser – it’s required to submit the document to Federal Courts, and might be required if the document leaves the state where notarized. Clients can forget that most Power of Attorney documents require the authority of Agent, and Successor Agent to be specified. This is usually done by the Principal initialing various “right granting” sections giving authority to one or more Agents, and, or, Successor Agents – easy to overlook.

It’s also easy to overlook the “Separately” initial area. When there is more than one Agent or Successor Agent; the common document default is that they must act in unison. Often, the independent ability of these agents is desired; this requires initials in the appropriate area.

Disorderly Processing

In our signings we complete one document then move on to the next one. Processing a stack of identical Power of Attorney documents is best handled differently. I prefer the “same thing over and over” approach. An entry on the first copy is propagated to the remaining copies. Then the next entry is made in a similar manner. This is easier for all involved as they, after the first two or three; are “familiar” with “what goes where”. After ID checking, and notary oath administration(s) – the notarizations can proceed in a similar manner. Mentally tie to giving the oath asking the affiants if they returned their ID to a safe place. This avoids being called to return their ID when they misplaced it – this happened to me a few times.

The Introduction to the Power of Attorney, New York Statutory Short Form

CAUTION TO THE PRINCIPAL: Your Power of Attorney is an important document. As the “principal,” you give the person whom you choose (your “agent”) authority to spend your money and sell or dispose of your property during your lifetime without telling you. You do not lose your authority to act even though you have given your agent similar authority.

When your agent exercises this authority, he or she must act according to any instructions you have provided or, where there are no specific instructions, in your best interest. “Important Information for the Agent” at the end of this document describes your agent’s responsibilities.

Your agent can act on your behalf only after signing the Power of Attorney before a notary public.

You can request information from your agent at any time. If you are revoking a prior Power of Attorney, you should provide written notice of the revocation to your prior agent(s) and to any third parties who may have acted upon it, including the financial institutions where your accounts are located.

You can revoke or terminate your Power of Attorney at any time for any reason as long as you are of sound mind. If you are no longer of sound mind, a court can remove an agent for acting improperly.

Your agent cannot make health care decisions for you. You may execute a “Health Care Proxy” to do this.

If there is anything about this document that you do not understand, you should ask a lawyer of your own choosing to explain it to you

Have you asked the Principal, Agent, Monitor, and Successor Agent – if they have read and understood the disclosures, usually on the first page of the Power of Attorney document?

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November 24, 2016

Photocopy of ID for a Power of Attorney?

Filed under: Ken Edelstein,Power of Attorney — Tags: — admin @ 11:38 pm

Photocopy of ID for a Power of Attorney?
Confession is good for the soul, though sometimes it might land you in the Pokey. With trembling fingers and much trepidation; I relate the following sad story. Before doing so, please understand that I receive many of my blog entries from what happened to me: http://kenneth-a-edelstein.com

It’s a close call, perhaps even a tie. No, I’m giving the Power of Attorney top billing for fraud potential, first runner up will be the Deed. I have heard the Power of Attorney referred to as “the cocaine of legal documents” – strong language indeed! With that, and the first paragraph as background:

The call comes in from a highly distraught caller, the parent is terminal. The sibling needs a Power of Attorney – urgently and quickly. It was difficult to obtain the information I require to determine if the request should be accepted. I don’t have “higher” ID requirements to process a Power of Attorney; to me a notarization is a notarization. Sometimes the methodology differs, but, basically we ID, witness signature, give oath, then complete notary section. In addition to a nice clean, well inked, stamp; it is my custom to emboss every time.

Back to the caller. With hospital situations the ID is often a problem. I managed to learn that both the patient and the sibling have driver license photo ID. Never skimp on the oath with any part of a Power of Attorney. So, I inquire as to the patient’s ability to understand the document, my notary oath; and is able to sign unassisted. OK so far, there will be two copies processed of the Power of Attorney; and both the Principal and the sibling Agent will be notarized. As this was to be done in the room of a terminal cancer patient, I was told I would have to “suit up” to protect the patient.

In a prior blog http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16469 – I had harsh words for notaries who refused a blind affiant. Well, I’m sure many would not want this assignment. Going into a terminal cancer situation is emotionally taxing. Again, I stress the “ground rules” for me to be able to notarize. The Agent wishes to PayPal, immediately – probably assuming that would assure my arrival. She mentioned that the hospital was in possession of the patient’s credentials, and that obtaining the driver license would not be a problem.

Surprise. I am shown a photocopy of the Patient’s driver license. I gently go into my explanation of why a photocopy cannot be accepted. I had to. Unfortunately, the Agent broke down in tears. The Power of Attorney, while not being a Health Care Proxy; was desperately needed for some expenses. I am as empathetic as most, but a Photocopy? Not a chance – not because it’s a Power of Attorney, but because that does not (in my sole opinion) meet the NY State standard of being shown “adequate proof”.

“The Patient Representative just delivered it to me”, “they cannot release the patient’s property unless I have a Power of Attorney”. Verifying with the Patient Representative, who had multiple hospital photo ID tags prominently displayed, “I cannot release any items, but did provide the driver license photocopy, made moments ago”. I accept the photocopy as valid ID, now being “adequate proof” – in my opinion.

I suit up. Facemask, hand washing, rubber gloves, cap and complete cover all gown. The patient cannot talk due to apparatus in throat; but is aware and answers some basic “understanding” questions with head motions. Patient, now Principal on the Power of Attorney, is just barely able to sign. I administer the oath and receive an affirmative series of “nods”. We adjourn to a conference room to process the Agent of the Power of Attorney and complete the paperwork. Another “rough” one, complete with a variance from “standards”.
I’m glad I was called first. I would not want “declining notaries” to exacerbate my client’s mental state.

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November 20, 2016

Power Of Attorney Documents – Submitted as a double credit document

Power of Attorney vs a Will
There are many types of Power of Attorney documents. However, the general theme is that someone is granting authority to someone else. A Will contains the maker’s words, directives and decisions. The executor of a Will is not a decider of asset allocation, rather a facilitator of the deceased’s allocation desires. In contrast to a Will, the Agent of the Principal (of a Power of Attorney) “may” have the authority to “call the shots” – or, the Agent may be severely constrained. Usually the Agent has “some” authority to sign for the Principal. In almost all cases, the authority granted by a Power of Attorney ceases upon the Principal’s death. The Principal granting power to the Agent may revoke such power at any time unless incapacitated. A Will can also be revoked, until Probate…..

Lifespan of the Power of Attorney
The Durable Power of Attorney – (General or Limited) remains in effect when the Principal becomes incapacitated. If the Power of Attorney is not Durable, the authority of the Agent does not exist if the Principal is in no condition to revoke the authority.

The Springing Power of Attorney – Similar to the Durable, the Springing only “comes into effect” when the Principal is incapacitated. As the definition of incapacitation can vary, the specific definition of the “trigger” should be specified in detail in the document itself.

Scope of the Power of Attorney

The General Power of Attorney – This allows the Agent to sign the name of the Principal unless it’s illegal for them to do so. One example: you can’t grant power for someone to sign your notary signature. If the word Durable is included, the power remains unless revoked or death of the Principal.

The Limited Power of Attorney – (sometimes called a Special Power of Attorney) grants from Principal to Agent authority to perform specific actions. Often this format contains an expiration date. Commonly used with loan documents, authority is granted for the Agent to sign various paperwork related to obtaining real estate.

Entitlement of Agent to Receive Payment

Unrelated to the “Gift Rider”; when the Agent manages (in some jurisdictions) property, they have a statutory right to be paid. Amounts vary, but a very rough guideline (unless otherwise specified) is:
3% of money received by the attorney,
3% of money paid out by the attorney on your behalf, and
3/5 of 1% of the average annual value of the assets covered under your power of attorney.

In personal transactions, the Agent has no right to be paid unless specified by the Principal. In some cases, the Agent applies to the Court to allow payment for Agent Services. In the vast majority of what we will see as Notary Publics, payment is rarely a concern or specified. When a payment arrangement exists, it will usually be part of a separate contract and not contained in the distributed Power of Attorney.

How the Agent uses their Authority

Assume Lock is giving Key an Agent relationship. Key would probable use one of the following formats:
Lock by Key as Attorney-In-Fact
Key as Attorney-In-Fact for Lock
Opinions vary, I prefer the first example because Lock is written first matching the “under the line”.

Considerations for the Notary

ID – Follow your jurisdiction requirements – To The Letter. Power of Attorney documents can easily be litigated in a court. Look very closely at the ID, if it’s a 35 year ago picture does it look like the affiant?

Capability – a tough one, but I like to ask why they are signing, what does this document do?

Initials – Almost never required, but let’s think about it a bit. Initials are mainly used to acknowledge seeing a page. But, I submit they also “mark” a specific page as having been accepted. While I don’t suggest affiants to initial each page (Principal, Agent(s), Monitor(s) and Successor Agent(s)) – I would insist upon it if I was the Principal and not the Notary.

Blank Lines – The Principal should consider a N/A in each not-applicable area. For example: there is usually an area for the “second agent”. If this was subsequently completed, and a “loose ack” added to the document – it might appear that the second agent was approved by the Principal.

Oath – I know, many do not bother to administer an oath. On Power of Attorney documents ya better!

Suggest More, Earn More – Under most jurisdictions, a photocopy of a notarized document – is Not a notarized document. One copy will suffice for a task specific use, as in a Signing. However, a general care giver might need many copies. It is likely that a financial institution will require an original for them to permit the Agent to use their power(s). Your client might not know this, often they assume a photo copy will work the same as an original that was “wet signed” and embossed. A few dollars for each extra copy is a value to your client and might add up to some Sesame Chicken for you.

Witnesses – rare for Power of Attorney but does occur. I feel the witnesses should also be notarized whenever possible. The California “Long Form” Acknowledgement is perfect for this as it has specific areas to associate the “loose ack” to witnessing the document.

Closing Thoughts

I receive many calls for processing Power of Attorney documents. Often the caller is somewhat angry about their recent notary experience. They relate that the notary at the bank refused to notarize a totally legal to process document, it’s bank policy – they relate. The bank does not want their “deep pockets” as part of litigation. These are much more likely to be contested than an application for a passport.

It’s not often, but sometimes someone wants me to notarize their self written Power of Attorney. Of course I can do that, but I caution them that, in the majority of my experience – the document is not in a state specific standard form. Furthermore, your document might not be accepted as you intend. I am willing to proceed, but you have been cautioned that it might not suffice. They can make an informed decision.

Sometimes for a Power of Attorney signing I receive a copy (photocopy or via email) of the relevant Power of Attorney. They send it so I can “verify” and “accept” the Agent signing for the Principal. It is my opinion that I have no requirement to see that document. First, I am not an Attorney, and “technically” am not qualified to judge, read, or take any action; even if the original “wet signed” was submitted. Nor would I be in a position to know if the authority had been revoked, or if the Principal is deceased. When I notarize “Lock by Key as Attorney-in-Fact” – I am notarizing Key – only. Key is stating explicitly, and under oath (I think – it gets a bit fuzzy here, I’m not an attorney) that Key currently has AIF authority.

At the start of this blog entry I mentioned Lifespan and Scope and covered the more commonly used documents. Note that their characteristics can be combined in multiple ways. I think there could be, of the ones covered Four Factorial permutations: 4 * 3 * 2 *1 = 24 variations! This is one document that I never want to have to read and explain (with liability!) to those I will notarize.

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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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You might also like:

When to ask for ID over the phone & fees at the door
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15282

Hospital Signings
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3764

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June 8, 2016

The right to refuse notarization

I just talked to a client who said that she needed to be notarized. The guy at the mail boxes place required a thumbprint for a California notarization that was not for a Deed or POA. The law doesn’t require a thumbprint unless it is for a Deed or Power of Attorney. So, the client of mine (also a Notary, but not “the” Notary in question here) refused, and was denied Notarization.

I checked the 2016 California State Notary Handbook to verify whether or not the Notary has the right to decline if they are not comfortable with the situation regarding a notarization. For example, if the signer seems suspicious, may the Notary refuse to notarize? If the signer refuses to be thumbprinted, and the Notary refuse?

The handbook doesn’t say if the notary may refuse under special circumstances, but states that it is illegal for a Notary to deny services. Hmmm.

If the document contains blanks, or if the Notary cannot communicate with the signer, those are grounds for refusal to notarize. If the signer cannot be positively identified, that is also grounds. If there is a financial or beneficial interest for the Notary to notarize a document, yet another legitimate reason not to notarize.

But, back in the days when I was a Notary, I remember reading that a Notary could refuse to notarize if they had a funny feeling about the notarization. Is that just an antiquated guideline, or was it something published by a source that was not reputable or official? Hmmm.

What does your state say about the Notary’s right to refuse notarization?

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You might also like:

Are you a Yes-tary or a No-tary?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16626

Nobody wanted the Notary job
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16469

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April 20, 2016

Artificially inflated rates at a signing

My rate shouldn’t be this high!
I had a loan signing once for a lady where I looked at the documents and the interest rates printed seemed unusually high. Before I had her sign the papers, I asked her what the loan officer had told her, and she couldn’t remember what the interest rate was that she had been told. She rummaged around in her purse and found a slip of paper where she had written it down and it was definitely different from what was printed on the documents. I tried calling the lender and couldn’t reach them. I left a message but we never heard back from them so we cancelled the appointment and decided to reschedule. I took the docs with me as I left. Magically the next day, new documents showed up with the correct interest rates despite the fact that no phone call ever came through from the loan officer. We made an appointment and signed the next day. I was so glad for her that we had caught that mistake and got it corrected!

Falsely accused of murder
I had a jail signing where a woman was in jail and her fiancee was fighting on her behalf to get her out. Someone had gotten murdered and she was incarcerated, but she was actually innocent and happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The fiancee needed a power of attorney, and he was so well dressed that the guards thought he was a lawyer and he came in with me to see her to get the signing done. When they saw each other, they spoke and he just held and pressed her hand. She was so depressed and upset and sad. The jail had over medicated and sedated her for her depression which made the whole situation ever more upsetting. I felt really bad for them.

The vindaloo signing
I had a funny signing with a Caucasian woman and an East Indian man in my town. When I got there, the husband was quite grumpy because the title company had messed up the settlement statement. When I told him that my former husband was an East Indian man though, he suddenly lit up and got very excited! We went into the kitchen and he gave me a bunch of seasoning packets and told me where to buy the best lamb rack, and we talked about cooking. We ended up rescheduling the signing with the corrected documents and we ended up talking more about cooking then too and he sent me home with more food! It was a fun meeting!

An impersonator at a signing
I had a refinance once where I’m glad I listened to my intuition! There was a situation where the wife was bilingual, and the husband spoke only Spanish. She was the primary on the loan, and when I looked at the ids, hers looked definitely like her. Her husband’s id didn’t really look like the man sitting in front of me. He had a bandanna on that partially hid his head, and the picture looked similar, but I couldn’t really say that the id was really the same man in front of me. I was skeptical but I took the photograph at face value as the wife assured me that this was really him. I started to proceed with the signing. At some point though, the man in front of me suddenly said, “ There’s a problem. This doesn’t match.” referring to the documents. At that point I realized that this wasn’t her husband since he clearly understood and spoke English. It was a friend. Not her husband. So I immediately stopped the signing, told them we were done, and walked out the door. I was so thankful that I was able to stop it, and that I had it recorded in my journal. I called the agency immediately and let them know what had happened.

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December 22, 2015

A Newbie at a Title Company

Filed under: Ken Edelstein,Popular on Facebook (A little) — Tags: , — admin @ 12:00 pm

A Newbie at Title Co.
Most of our jobs are quite routine. Once in a while, thankfully not often; something crosses our path that is extraordinary. It could be very nice, or a mess; as you might have expected – I write about a mess. The docs are the docs, we are expected to make them work. However, there are limits to what, as notaries, we can process. Title has an agenda. It’s their objective to get the papers processed as quickly as possible. It has to be a mess of galactic proportions for them to either dump it, or redraw the docs. Notaries also have an agenda, and one item usually at the top of the list is to do the assignment legally. It’s not our job to enforce the law; merely to abide by it.

After accepting the “piggyback”, for a fair, but modest fee; I learn it’s to be via POA. OK, kinda, they take longer but that is our lot in life. I am told that some “special signing instructions” will be sent to me. I assume it’s their preferred POA phraseology. Some want “Mickey Mouse by Minnie Mouse, his attorney in fact”. Others reverse it: “Minnie Mouse as attorney in fact for Mickey Mouse”. I prefer the latter because the name to be sworn comes first. Both are not at all a factor in the notary section where *only* Minnie would be named. But, this assignment tried to, IMHO, not bend, but break the rules.

The instructions directed me to name the affiant and POA issuer, as sworn. Thus, before me appeared: “Minnie Mouse & Mickey Mouse via POA”. To me that was a new twist. It would appear that Minnie would be, based on the POA; taking my oath issued to Mickey! Just as we cannot delegate our notary status to someone else; oath taking cannot be via proxy. Sayeth title: “there are two signature lines on the notarized document, thus there needs to be two persons named in the notary section”. Admirable logic, a bit of arithmetic; 2=2; that’s hard to argue.

But, that would be an improper notarization. Only the person(s) who actually “appeared before me…” can be named. This set of docs had it both ways. Some had both names filled in the notary section; some had “via Power of Attorney”; and a few were for me to write in. When I called title, informing of the need for me to redact all entries other than “Minnie Mouse”; I received more bad news.

“Her legal first name is not “Minnie”, it’s “Min”. However she took title as Minnie, and an AKA form is not allowed – you just have to notarize her as Minnie””. Strike Two – this job was going downhill faster than the Cyclone at Coney Island. I call Ms. Mouse, to my surprise and delight her driver license had “Minnie”. She told me she used that name all her life; though Min was on her birth certificate. Words, Words; to me it’s what is on the driver license that counts.

During my chat with Ms. Mouse she also mentions that the papers need to be processed quickly. It seems that Mr. Mouse is deceased! Whoa, hold on partner – in every state when the agent knows of the principal’s demise – their authority ceases to exist. Title and Ms. Mouse want to proceed with a voided Power of Attorney! What is my position? My notarizations would make no mention to a Power of Attorney. In my Jurat “before me appeared Minnie Mouse” would be the only entry, and she does have valid ID in that name. I never did find out if title knew of the demise of Mr. Mouse.

I bail out. There had been too many heated exchanges with Title; my insistence on proper format soured them. She told me her legal name was Min, so some doubt. Worst of all would be to facilitate the use of a no longer valid Power of Attorney. Best to not be a party to the eventual litigation!

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