Notary Blog of Sonita M. Leak, CNSA | This Week is Dimming Down, Don’t be a Clown and Don’t You Frown

Don’t be a Hater, Get in the Game…  Don’t let that document ‘fool’ you, get it signed today!

There are many circumstances where people feel there is nothing they can do.  Many times people pass away intestate (without a will) and without having someone in care of their property should they become incapacitated (usually done through a Power of Attorney document).

Take care of these documents while your loved one is alive and preferably, well.  In the last week, I’ve witnessed a young couple I recently married signing Power of Attorney documents for Health Care and Financial matters.  I’ve also seen situations where signers almost missed the chance to sign documents with and for their loved one.

An example of a dire situation is when a person is admitted into ICU.  There are tracheotomies, ventilators and other harsh conditions, such as paralysis that sometimes impede a signing when a person is admitted into this ward.  Hospital signings themselves can be tricky – maneuvering around HIPPA regulations (you cannot ask hospital staff if someone has Sound Mind), navigating the halls and room structure and sequestering family members are all a part of the job.

Notaries, you will deal with some or all of these situations when signing in a hospital setting.  You must learn to adapt and still be the professional you are supposed to be.  Assist the patient/signer and make the signing more comfortable for them by providing a clipboard, setting belongings out of the way, providing a thick pen and adjusting it in their hand, if they are able to sign.

Family members, understand that there are certain rules that we as notaries public have to follow when performing the work we do.  Some family members want service quickly so their loved one can rest.  However, there are many times a series of actions must be performed where it is not a swift process.  Some of those involve the following situations:

Signers that can only make a mark.
Signers that cannot sign at all.
Having to search for an additional witness, due to two witnesses being necessary.
Slow or not-so-neat handwriting on the part of the patient/signer.
Wait for medical staff/social worker for determination of capability to sign.

Notaries, should you have any questions regarding YOUR notarial duties,  seek professional assistance or refer to your Secretary of State’s office.  For South Carolina Residents, the website is You can access a full list of other states’ Secretary of State’s offices by CLICKING HERE.

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