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November 22, 2017

Notary Blog: The ‘I Love Them Factor’ and Other Risky Situations


“As I deal with a current situation here in Greenville County, it has been a constant reminder that not ALL people have your loved ones’ best interests at heart.”

~ Sonita M. Leak

Family members, friends, associates and those seeking assistance from a Notary Public for signing Power of Attorney (Durable, Limited, Special, Financial, Health Care, etc) I urge you, please do your homework before attempting to have ANY documentation signed which will affect the Principal’s well-being. Know that the notary you elect to notarize any documents on behalf of your family member will more than likely have a constant working relationship with area facilities. As a notary public, we have the authority to deny a notarization based on the following factors:

Duress: Being forced to sign a document without knowing the full effect of the document, usually by family members. Know also that sometimes the Principal is not always forced. Sometimes family members get away with having those in care allowing paperwork to be notarized because of the “I Love Them” factor (signing and allowing a document to be drafted sight unseen and notarized because they ‘feel’ their relative has their best interest at heart).

Medication: If a Principal to a document has recently consumed medication that will alter their ability to function normally or that sedates or induces illness, the signer can then be declared unable to sign. Please be aware that if your family member is in care and you call a notary to have paperwork notarized, the patient should be clear of mind-altering drugs from their system.

Incompetence: You may believe with all your power that your loved one has the capacity and the right mind to sign and say “Yes” to that document, however the physician or social worker of the facility says otherwise. It happens often, and it happens more often than you think. Be aware that your loved one may have a declaration of incompetence, and in that, the inability to sign off on paperwork in regard to their care, powers of attorney, wills or declaration statements.

Physical Inability to Sign: Some would think that this would cause a major problem. However, this does not. In the State of South Carolina, the Notary Public has the ability to sign on behalf of the Principal if they are physically unable to sign (use of hands/fingers is limited or non-existent). For more information on this, please refer to either an attorney or the official State of South Carolina Notary Public Manual.

The above post is for informational purposes only and should be used only as such. Content provided by National Notary Association Notary Ambassador & Notary Public Signing Agent Sonita M. Leak of GreenvilleNotary.com.

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