Notary Bulletin

How Do I ... Tell If A Patient Is OK To Sign A Document?

When notarizing for a person with a serious medical condition, it’s important to carefully screen the patient for willingness and awareness to determine if they understand what they are doing.

Medication, exhaustion, their mental condition or other factors could affect the patient’s judgment, making them vulnerable to fraud. While you aren’t a doctor, a commonsense judgment can make all the difference. A simple conversation can help you make sure the patient is awake and alert. You can ask about the document or even make small talk about the weather.

If the patient seems clear, responsive and willing to sign, go ahead with the notarization. Any sign of grogginess or confusion is cause for concern. Reschedule the notarization for a time when the patient is more alert.

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Quiz: The Many Types Of Notarial Acts

Notaries perform many different duties for the public — and it’s easy to lose track of the different acts and what states they’re authorized in. Test your familiarity with common — and uncommon — notarial acts.

(A link to the correct answers is provided at the end of the quiz.)

Confronted with a tricky notarization? Unsure how to proceed? NNA members have unlimited access to our expertly trained Hotline counselors to help you with all of your notarial questions.

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