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Properly Identifying Patients, Medical Professionals For Notarizations

Healthcare Notaries are often called upon to notarize documents for both patients and medical professionals they work with. In an environment of patient care, positively identifying signers can be a challenge, so there are a few important tips every healthcare Notary should remember when identifying signers:

The patient’s ID must comply with state law. Many patients assume that Notaries can accept a medical plan membership card as identification for notarization. However, a medical plan card does not meet most state’s defined requirements for satisfactory evidence of identification. Know your state laws regarding signer identification and make sure the patient has an appropriate form of ID before the notarization takes place. Similarly, a doctor, nurse or other healthcare worker may ask to present a hospital or workplace ID card as proof of identity; while these cards may include a photo, description and signature of the bearer, check to be sure a hospital ID satisfies state ID requirements before accepting one as proof of identity.

Birth Certificates and Social Security Cards are not an acceptable form of ID. Some signers may ask to present a birth certificate or Social Security card as proof of identity; neither of these documents may be accepted by Notaries. Birth certificates and Social Security cards lack a photo and current physical description — essential elements to identify a signer — and are easy to obtain and counterfeit by third parties. Ask the signer to provide an alternative ID acceptable in your state. If unable to do so, the signer may need to provide one or more credible identifying witnesses as proof of identity instead.

Photocopies of IDs are not acceptable. A signer may not present a photocopy, scanned image or printed copy of an ID as proof of identity for a notarization. Copies or scanned images can be altered in order to commit fraud. The original identification document must be presented by the signer to the Notary or the notarization may not proceed.

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