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June 16, 2013

Making family members leave the room

I got a call from a social worker at a convalescent home. Seemed the daughter needed a POA signed for her father. I gave him my fee and asked him all the necessary questions. You know, does the person signing have ID, can they sign their name and are they under the influence of any mind altering medication. He assured me that we were a go on all accounts except for one he needed to let the family know my fee and would get back to me shortly . A few minutes passed and I got the return call and we were a go. We scheduled the day and the time. He let me know that it was going to be 1 signature. A POA. (power of attorney)

I arrived at our scheduled time and I met the daughter and the other family members in the lobby, the daughter let me know that she was not happy with the facilities and wanted to get the POA so that she could move him. He went on to tell me that his wife was mistreating her father and she needed to have him moved out of the wife’s reach. She handed me the POA I looked it over briefly and we proceeded to the signers room. We entered the room and he was conversing with I presumed other family members or friends and at this point I didn’t really know who was who. I introduced myself to him and the daughter began to tell him what I was doing there and what she was planning on doing. One of the persons in the room I found out at that moment was the wife. She asked us both in a cautious tone ‘what is going on here’?. There was dead silence so I took over I explained to the signer that the daughter had asked the facility to call me on his daughter’s behalf. I asked him if he’d prefer me to continue with the others in the room. He said no and then I asked everyone to give a few minutes in private. He wanted only his step-daughter to stay. (Funny, he seemed to like her better than his own flesh)

After everyone else was gone .I told him what his daughter wanted and he became livid. He muttered that he didn’t want to sign anything. He said that he didn’t feel that he needed a POA. After I had spoken with him for a few minutes I also felt that he was in good sound mental health and didn’t need one as well. He asked me did he have to sign and I told him certainly not. He was to say the least bewildered and seemed bothered by the whole thought of it. I let him know that his daughter was under the impression that he was being mistreated (information that she said that he had given her) that she had had documents prepared on his behalf. She had not discussed any of this with him.

After our little chat, we asked everyone to come back into the room and I told the daughter that he has decided not to sign anything at this time and I asked “Now who is going to pay me?”. Everybody looked around (you could have heard a pin drop it was so quiet) but after a minute or two the daughter finally spoke up and said “Of course I will and handled me my travel fee” I prepared a receipt and thanked them all and went on my way.

Now this could have turned a different way a turn for the worse. But I was lucky. I got my fee and I took control and made sure that the signer was either comfortable signing or not. In this case he was not. IMO, I felt the daughter was over stepping her bounds. I know she may have had her fathers best interest (or just maybe his money as a little birdie told me he was loaded) at heart but although I did not say (nor could I say) California is a community property state and the wife has the first and final say. Sadly for the daughter, she probably doesn’t know it but legally she has no rights over anything to do with her fathers affairs. He had been married to the wife for over 35 years. And what she says goes whether any of us like it not….I thought to myself the wife is going to need a good lawyer because I got the impression that the daughter was NOT stopping here.

Until next time…be safe

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August 27, 2012

Notarizing Documents for the Elderly

Notarizing for the elderly: Making a difference

Notarizing documents for the elderly can sometimes be a precarious task. At best, it can also be very rewarding, a chance to save senior citizens from poor medical or financial decisions. Some of our notaries have recently done a great service by scrupulously looking out for this fragile population and speaking out in order to protect them.

A California notary tells us, “I was going to a signing, and I really didn’t have any information about the borrower. The caregiver for the elderly man answered the door, and said ‘Are you aware that Mr. Jones has Alzheimer’s? He thinks you are here to give him $3000. He was cleaning the house all night to impress you.’ Apparently, someone had called him from an Internet company and had gotten him to do the loan. The care attendant said she would have to call the man’s son. I left the loan documents with the man, and immediately called the loan officer. I said, ‘This man’s son has a power of attorney. If I hear of this man signing these documents himself, I will turn you in.’ I never heard from them again,” sighs the California notary, who knows to this day she provided an unanticipated service for Mr. Jones.

Another California notary from Oakland tells a similar story: he came to notarize a refinance, but the woman who owned the home did not want to sign. It turned out that the ‘relative’ who was claiming to have a valid power of attorney was not even related to the homeowner…but had somehow persuaded the lender that she had a POA–and was planning to drain $20,000 from the home and then put the woman in a nursing home. The notary got a bad feeling about all this when he first called to confirm the signing. The old woman confided in the notary her unwillingness to sign, and the notary, on a hunch, called the authorities. They arrested the “relative”…and an actual relative was called upon to assist. Luckily, the equity in the home remained intact, and our notary was very pleased. “It was just lucky that I realized what was going on,” he says, “and made the call. Some people might say it wasn’t any of my business. A notary actually is taken quite seriously as a ‘reporter’ in cases like this. I was glad I did what I did,” says our California notary.

“One man thought he was getting back $400 more on his loan than he actually did. When we went over the paperwork, he actually started crying. I was able to explain things to him, but he chose to call the lender and delay the closing…although he did end up closing that week. The lender did something for him, made some deal with him that made him feel better. Many elderly people feel they are being taken advantage of, and many are in a position of weakness. I see a lot of happy, wealthy elderly, some who own several houses in several parts of the country. I also see a lot of poor people who are elderly and who never recovered from 2008,” says one Hawaii notary with relatives in California. “We are trying to do more to protect them.”

A Hawaii notary in Honolulu who does a lot of notary work with the elderly tells us, “Sometimes at a hospital signing I have to determine whether or not the person knows what he or she is signing. I ask the person’s name and I keep asking questions. If the person does not know what he or she is signing, I leave.” Our astute young Hawaii notary adds, “There are lots of times there is a doubt as to the competence of the person, and you really have to be very sure. Your have to protect their interests. That is why it is good that California, for instance, just passed a new law regarding notarizing a power of attorney.” [see blog June 3 2012 “A New California Notary Law”]

Tweets:
(1) Notarizing documents for the elderly can sometimes be a precarious task; at best very rewarding
(2) “Are you aware that Mr. Jones (the signer) has Alzeimers? He thinks ur here to give him $3000!”
(3) Many elderly signers feel they are being taken advantage of, and that they have a weakness.

You might also like:

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

Dragging the person’s arm: A signing for an elderly woman
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=610

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February 11, 2012

The Power of Attorney Signing

The Power of Attorney signing
 
Less than 1% of notarial signings are power of attorney signings, but they happen, and you need to know what to do.  The Grantor is the person who grants power of attorney to a Grantee who is the attorney in fact.  Depending on the terms of the power of attorney, the attorney in fact has special powers and rights to perform certain functions in good faith on behalf of the grantor.  In fact, a living Will is a type of health care power of attorney that gives someone the right to make health care decisions for you should you be incapacitated.  A banking power of attorney gives someone the right to do your banking for you. Attorneys in fact are generally family members, and you better trust them with your life, because your life will be in their hands.
 
Getting a power of attorney
To sign as an attorney in fact, you need to have a notarized power of attorney document.  BTW, banks will typically only allow their own custom made forms from their particular bank.  These forms typically don’t have room for your notarial seal, but the banks don’t seem to mind!
 
Signing documents
At a signing, the attorney in fact was there to sign a Deed on behalf of the grantor.  John Smith was signing on behalf of Reginald Smith.  The verbiage you can use for signing is:
 
Reginald Smith, by John Smith, his attorney in Fact    or
John Smith, as attorney in fact for Reginald Smith.
 
I prefer the latter, because it allows you to sign your own name instead of forging Reginald’s name. 
 
Initialing?
Since it was a Deed of Trust, it needed to be initialed at the bottom.  But, how do we do this?  JS, as attorney in fact for RS?  JS for RS?  RS by JS?  There is no standard way of initialing as an attorney in fact.  Perhaps John should initial only as himself without mentioning capacity?  JS… 
 
Conclusion
Power of attorney signings are not hard.  You just need to know the basic procedure and you are fine.  Take thumbprints for all notarizations involving  a power of attorney.
 
Commenting on this blog
If you would like to comment, you are invited.  Even if your opinion is far out, we and the other readers look forward to it.

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