The Notary Files: Notarization Methods for Medical & Care Facilities during COVID

Podcast recorded on December 11, 2020
ON LOCATION at Coffee Underground

Greenville, S.C.

COVID 19 has NOT made it easy to see loved ones inside of hospitals, rehab and assisted living facilities.  It has not. Many facilities have limited patient visitors, to a handful of people.  Others, 1 visitor a day.  Even others, no visitors.

How does this affect those persons who are inside of them that need paperwork taken care of?  I can say, personally, it’s been difficult to assist signers who are in facilities. 

Yes, they must be protected, however, many who reside in these facilities need last will and testament, advanced directive and power of attorney forms, important paperwork, taken care of.

These are people who may be very ill, some in critical care units, in hospice care. There are certain states that will allow a subscribing witness, a person who is not a conflict of interest threat, to watch the Principal within a facility (and in some cases OUTSIDE of the facility) sign.

One option, that may seem unconventional yet may be warranted, is for those facilities that will only allow 1 family member visitor for a signer, to allow another patient’s visitor to witness on their behalf.

All-in-all, there must be prior preparation for these types of notarizations.

For those notarizations involving subscribing witnesses, everything must be set-up beforehand to ensure the transaction goes smoothly.  Ensuring there is identification for each party, not only the Principal signing, but for the subscribing witness or witnesses involved.  Additional paperwork, including Subscribing Witness forms and copies thereof in case of errors, must be carried.  All necessary notary tools, pens, stamp(s), etc.

The preparation is key because for these types of situations, it may be staff members, the social worker or volunteers who are acting as Subscribing Witness, if the facility allows it.

Also preparation is key because you are not only on the Principal’s time, you are also on the witnesses’ time.  When you disrupt the lives of others because of mistakes you make as a professional, it goes against that professionalism. 

You are held to a higher standard.  Being prepared includes having not just your notary stamp, but pens, the proper jurat paperwork and various ways to take payment, should your in-facilty signer not carry cash.

Preparation also calls for playing facility situations out in your head BEFORE the trip happens.  This is especially true if you are new to facility signings or if you are not familiar with certain situations, such as dealing with signers who don’t write well, cannot write at all AND ICU patients.

After listening, what are some ways YOU assist signers who are in facilities?  Have a facility experience you want to share?

Post it in the comments below!

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