Protecting the elderly and the transaction.

Protecting the elderly and/or fragile.

.In our commitment to do great lawful work for you and the community. We will decline a transaction for everyone’s safety if a signer cannot explain to us fully their understanding of the documents and the reason for our meeting. We are empathetic to difficult, stressful, and desperate moments. It is not in anyone’s best interest to take shortcuts concerning notary or California law. If you have a signer that is unable to clearly make decisions, it is best to contact an attorney for next steps. Doing what’s right protects you and everyone. 

It is very common that we get calls from family members in just plain difficult situations concerning their elderly parents, frail family members, or possibly ill friends. Someone may need a power of attorney or advance health care directive to act on their parents behalf or move along a transaction.  We get a multiple calls for these requests on a weekly basis. For the protection of the fragile within our community and your transaction, we must ensure that a signer has good capacity to sign. If not, we’re at risk of the following:

  1. Breaking California Law.
  2. Compromising your transaction for good.
  3. Endangering all parties involved.
  4. Risking jail time. 
Besides, we find it extremely important to protect a signer’s wishes and the integrity of your transaction. If everyone isn’t following the rules, then integrity, the transaction, and all future work is compromised.  If a signer is unable to reason, understand, and convey confident answers pertaining to a document, it’s our policy to cancel an appointment immediately. 

Need an additional Witness?

Trust documents, Wills, hospital Advance Health Care Directives and/or other docs may require two witnesses that are disinterested and will have no financial gain ( think a friend or neighbor). Typical hospital policy does not allow staff to act as a witness. In most cases, the notary can act as the first witness. Consider coordinating a second witness. SD Signings will also bring an additional team member to act as a second witness upon request.   

Our process for ensuring a signer is okay to sign.

  1. There should be no intervening or ‘helping’ by others.
    Signers must be in a state of mind that they are able to willingly convey their understanding and confidence within a situation on their own. We ask family/friends take a step back while we ask questions reserved for the signers.
  2. The notary and the signer can have a clear conversation
    This is generally about the documents. We should also be able to talk with a normal dialogue as well.  
  3. The signer can answer questions with depth
    Signers show they have they full capacity of real world situations, but also the ability to clearly explain the complexity of the document.
  4. The signer is comfortable and confident,
    Signers convey confidence going forward with *their decision*.

If it is questionable, it's a "no" from us. We will not notarize.

We understand this may be a tough situation. We really aren’t doing you or the signer any favors if we show up to the appointment only to have to decline.  

We also care for our notaries well-being and have made a hard rule that they should say “no” in questionable situations. We kindly ask that you don’t put our notaries in questionable positions for their sake. Consider next steps if your family member or client is unable to convey fully their understanding of the documents. Contact an attorney for legal advice going forward so that your transaction isn’t compromised. 


Questions we may ask

  • We’re signing some documents today, can you tell me what you’re signing? (Full answers necessary) 
  •  Who are the people in the room? How do you know them?
  • What do you think of the president’s decisions this year?
  • Did you grow up in CA? What part of town do you live in?
  • What do you think of [Current Events]?
  • What is the reason for your transaction? Do you feel good about it?

    (Questions may vary)

Need an additional Witness?

Trust documents, Wills, hospital Advance Health Care Directives and/or other docs may require two witnesses that are disinterested and will have no financial gain ( think a friend or neighbor). Typical hospital policy does not allow staff to act as a witness. In most cases, the notary can act as the first witness. Consider coordinating a second witness. SD Signings will also bring an additional team member to act as a second witness upon request. 

Learn more about our Estate Planning Notary.