A resident of Greenville called into our lines early on Sunday morning to get assistance with a relative for a Durable Power of Attorney document. Before the paperwork could be signed, a witness needed to be found.
Sometimes it’s difficult to find a witness. The resident living in a sparsely-populated area may be one reason why they have difficulty finding a witness. Many signers relish their privacy, therefore, seek an outside witness. Who wants their neighbor in their business? No one. Some signers want to ensure there is no conflict of interest in who acts as a witness. When dealing with conflict of interest issues, the lines can be blurred, so we will give you a scenario:
Jaime lives in Greenville County and was recently released from a rehabilitation facility. His son, Josh, brings Durable Power of Attorney papers that Jaime has agreed to sign regarding the care and handling of personal, financial and medical business.
The notary public shows up, Jaime is ready to sign, however, another witness (the notary in South Carolina may act as one) is necessary before he signs his document. Josh, the son, suggests Jaime’s sister, Terri, who lives next door, witness the signing. Josh goes on to tell the notary public that Terri is not party to the document and will not have any responsibilities pertaining to Jaime’s care.
Problem #1) What happens if the son Josh were to pass away before Jaime? If the sister is the only living relative to take care of Jaime’s affairs, she would be unable to do so given the fact that she JUST acted as a witness.
Problem #2) What happens if there is a mis-management of Jaime’s affairs and Terri requests that the Power of Attorney be revoked? Her witnessing such document may seem as if Jaime was in agreement of the details therein.
Can you, as a reader, find any other problems that may arise from this situation?
If so, please place them in the comments.
So, to put it lightly, as a suggestion ONLY, we cannot give legal advice or advisement in ANY matter, you may want to seek not only an uninterested witness, but also an un-related one.
This signing was conducted by GreenvilleNotary.com Owner and Notary Public Signing Agent Sonita M. Leak in the early afternoon of Sunday, January 10, 2016.