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 Hospital notary tips
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11 Posts

Posted - 09/11/2016 :  2:16:35 PM  Show Profile  Visit saskianotary's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I've included a section on legal capacity in the Guidelines page of my website and a Special Circumstances form that has been very helpful in reducing requests for service from 'high risk' customers.

Legal Capacity:

Mental capacity: Capacity of frail health or elderly signers can be demonstrated by having the signer briefly chat with me on the phone to confirm that they know what documents they are signing. A signer who is is cognizant but indifferent to the content of their documents, will be deemed unable to cope and therefore not having legal capacity. Contact your legal advisor regarding a Power of Attorney. (for example, "I don't care, I sign whatever the hell they want me to!")
Physical capacity: If signer is physically unable to sign without assistance, contact your medical provider and legal advisor regarding a Power of Attorney.
Vulnerable populations: If signer is in frail health, hospital, rehab, or hospice facility, please use the Special Circumstances form. I need to ensure that a doctor has not placed a temporary or permanent restriction on the patient’s ability to sign documents. It is not necessary for medial staff to know anything about the documents. All I need is the full name, title, and phone number of a doctor, nurse, social worker, or administrator who can vouch for the patient’s legal capacity.
Power of Attorney: If you have any concerns whatsoever about the possibility of legal challenges being made to signer’s capacity that may result in their signatures being invalidated by a court of law, contact your legal advisor regarding a Power of Attorney. If a POA is signing the documents, then please use the regular Mobile Notary form. The subject of the documents need not be present and the signing can be scheduled at a time and place of the POA’s convenience.

Oracle Mobile Notary
Getting it signed in the Silicon Valley
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46 Posts

Posted - 11/27/2011 :  10:12:17 PM  Show Profile  Visit wayneclemons's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Something else to remember when doing a hospital/con home signing:

If you are required to "gown up" (wear a yellow protective gown) when going into the patients room who is on isolation, do the following
*Take a disposable pen with you
*Take only your journal and thumbprint pad into the room
*Once you get your signatures, step outside of the isolation area
*Discard your pen AND thumbprint pad as both these items are now contaminated.
*Complete your stamping and other paperwork after you have thoroughly washed your hands and wiped your journal with disinfectant wipes that are usually stationed outside the room.



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New Hampshire
681 Posts

Posted - 09/20/2011 :  08:05:40 AM  Show Profile  Visit dfye@mcttelecom.com's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I also have done my share of hospital signings. Many have consisted of Wills, Advanced Directives, etc. Identification and competency is of great concern as well. Letting the client know that you cannot perform a signing without these variables being satisfied is of the utmost importance.

One of the problems with signing Wills that I have encountered is that many of the clients order the forms from the internet. I do not recommend this as I have later found that most of these packages are incomplete and can be challenged in a court of law. This can leave the Notary in a little bit of a pickle. I realize it is not up to us to decide what documents should be signed, however, as a paralegal and upcoming attorney, the ethical thing would be to not notarize documents that could cause the client problems later. The last thing a family needs after losing their loved one is more grief.

I have emphasized to many of my clients to not use online forms and have prepared my own documents based upon the New Hampshire Statutes. Online forms are generalized and are a money making scheme. Any document can be challenged in a court of law, however the odds of a person winning their claim are slim at best. I have made it my ethical responsibility to understand everything I notarize which includes real estate documents, wills, legal pleadings, etc. In doing so, I am following not only the American Bar Association Rules of Professional Conduct but also go home with a clean conscience. Hospitals do provide Advanced Directive forms and those are okay as they are the complete package. Needless to say, you still should know what is included in this package and be certain that all documents are included. They include a Living Will, a Durable Power of Attorney for Medical Affairs (this one has the advanced directives in it) and a Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Affairs. You may even see a Last Will & Testament in this package as well.

Legal Eagle Para Professional Services
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62 Posts

Posted - 08/24/2011 :  06:51:30 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have done a fair number of hospital and hospice signings inasmuch as I live in an extremely large retirement community. These are usually just one or two pages, most commonly POA's, living wills and such. I've not run into any problems because I always let the relative know ahead of time that I will be needing identification of the signer when they call me. Actually, these signings are uplifting to me because I know I'm providing a wonderful service to the family in their time of need.

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29 Posts

Posted - 08/10/2011 :  10:56:07 AM  Show Profile  Visit dbillman's Homepage  Reply with Quote
The 1st time I accepted a hospital notarization I ensured that the signers would have IDs and were competent. What I did not address was that the documents to be signed and notarized would be provided by the clients. I assumed that was a given. I was wrong! I arrived and proceeded to ID the signers and get my journal signed while the son was arriving. The signers thought their son was bring the docs - the son assumed I would provide the docs! In his mind they were just standard forms, a POA in this case, and could not understand why I did not "just carry one around."
I now make sure they understand that I am there to notarize the signatures and I do not provide any type of forms or documents. I also ensure that they understand my fee is due regardless and I am paid before we begin.

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1754 Posts

Posted - 07/31/2011 :  06:52:35 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
"The hospital job time includes driving time, parking time in the parking garage, walking and elevator time to the patient's room, in addition to signing time and maybe waiting time."

So true - and I never gave all this a thought when I took my first hospital job - was at the VA Medical Center - seems I walked forever!!! By the end of the job I knew I had to re-think the whole concept as I knew I hadn't I charged nearly enough for the job.

One thing happened recently that brought up a very critical point to keep in mind and consider. Got a call from a lady to visit her father in the VAMC, nursing home side, to notarize a revocation of a poa. I thought everything was in order although I knew there were family issues - thus the revocation. Got to the VA, got all the way to outside the room escorted by the daughter when we were approached by the social worker - come to find out the father was in a lockdown unit and he had severe dementia - he was totally out of it and the daughters had already been told their father was incapable of signing anything - they were trying to skirt the system by bringing me in!!

Boy was my face red and did I feel the fool!! I now know what areas of that facility are lockdown and dementia-oriented and will ask more questions - in fact, the mere mention of the "d" word I will not provide services.

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60 Posts

Posted - 07/30/2011 :  5:20:30 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Know your state's procedure for accommodating someone with a disability or physical limitation. My state allows a signer, who is aware and willing to sign, but unable to sign, due to a physical limitation, to direct another person to sign for them, in the presence of the notary. A notation, specified by law, is added to indicate the doc was signed by Name 2 on behalf of Name 1, at the direction and in the presence of Name 1. Check your state laws.

Hospital signings take longer than a quick meeting at Starbucks, so I charge a higher fee. The hospital job time includes driving time, parking time in the parking garage, walking and elevator time to the patient's room, in addition to signing time and maybe waiting time.

On one trip, the patient was weak and recuperating from heart surgery in the Intensive Care Unit. We completed the signing with his brother in attendance. Then I told them that I would waive my fee this time, but hoped they would call me again in the future when he was in better health. They thanked me and I gave them some business cards.

About 2 months later, he called me to notarize some docs at the nursing home where he was getting physical therapy. His health was much better. He thanked me for waiving my fee on the previous visit. We notarized the docs and he gladly paid my fee. Then the two brothers each asked me for more business cards, they wanted to give them to their friends and recommend me as a notary. I waived my fee on the first trip, but it created Goodwill, loyal customers and more referrals.

On another hospital trip, the family was gathered in the room of the 96 year old grandma. They asked her, "Grandma, can we get you anything?" She quickly said "Yes, get me a beer!" and then everyone laughed.

Need a hospital joke when appropriate? Comedian George Burns said, “The secret to a long life is to keep breathing
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3073 Posts

Posted - 06/14/2010 :  12:14:45 AM  Show Profile  Visit jbelmont's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Here are 123notary's standard hospital tips.
You are welcome to ask for more information.

Call first to find out if the signer has ID
If you are doing a signing for someone in the hospital, chances are their family members will be calling you for the signing. The signer will generally be elderly, and elderly people who are not self-sufficient typically have expired identification.

Find out what the signer's identification is before you go to the signing. Have someone read the ID type, state of issue, number, and expiration date. The client will tell you false stories otherwise. They will say, "Oh, she has a passport", and then when you get to the signing you will find that they only have a social security card, and can't even find it.

Confirm the signing and identification
When you confirm the signing, confirm where the ID is, and make sure the person on the other end of the phone is HOLDING it, or you will never find it. Elderly people can never find their identification if they even have any. They will sit with you on the sofa and go through the contents of their entire wallet. You will see decades of history unravel before you, and will be kept waiting a long time. They will offer you every type of unacceptable ID known to mankind, and will offer you everything except for an ID that you can really use. Make sure the client who calls you knows where the ID is, or you will be sorry.

Does the signer understand the document?
Make sure the signing can explain the document to you, otherwise they shouldn't be signing it. If the signer is so incapacitated that they can't speak, then you should not notarize them.

Can the signer sign their own name?
Find out if the signer can sign their own name before going to the signing. Family members will always assure you that they can sign. But, medical situations change quickly, and once the notary arrives,
the signer is often drugged or incapable of speaking coherently or signing anything. Have the family members make the signer sign something before you book the appointment. When the client calls
you and you ask them to sample the elderly person's signature, the elderly person will always be sleeping, so they can't test their signing skills, but you will be assured that after you drive two hours to the signing, that the person will be able to sign properly.
Is the signer drugged? Make sure that the nurses know not to drug the signer within eight hours of the signing. Make sure the
family members of the signing are watching the signer at all times to make sure the nurses don't slip them
any valium, otherwise the signing is off.

Confirmation an hour before the signing - a list of questions to ask.
(1) Is the signer awake? Waking them up at the last minute takes a long time.
(2) Is the signer drugged? Valium and signings don't mix.
(3) Can the signer sign their name? Have the family member test them out before you drive.
(4) Do you have the ID in your hand? Please read it to me again. Otherwise you'll never find it.
(5) Do you have the document(s)? Please confirm you are holding them in your hand.
Don't let family members drag the person's arm while the signer is grabbing the pen.
If the daughter moves the signers arm around, then it is the daughter signing for the person.
If the signer can't sign on their own, the signing is off. You can do a signature by X
if you know the procedure. However, the family members may use their arm as a fixed brace, so that the
signer can have some physicall support for the signing. Make sure the family members' arm doesn't
move around to assist the signing.

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