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What Would You Do: When A Signer Says She Didn’t Want To Sign?

elderly signer didn't want notarization

The Notary Hotline receives hundreds of calls daily from Notaries nationwide who find themselves in challenging situations. To boost your knowledge of Notary best practices, we’ve created a series of scenarios based on actual situations and ask a simple question: What would you do?

Imagine you’re called to the home of an elderly woman to notarize a power of attorney. When you arrive, the woman is there with several relatives.

The notarization goes smoothly. You check the woman’s ID. You engage her in conversation and determine that she is willing to sign the power of attorney and appears to understand that it grants control over her finances to her nephew, who is sitting a few feet away.

After completing the journal entry and notarization, the nephew and other relatives quickly leave. But before you can depart, the woman tells you that she did not want to sign the document. She felt pressured.

What Would You Do?

This true scenario poses a number of important issues and is particularly relevant given the growing threat of elder financial abuse.

To participate in this week’s “What Would You Do?” scenario, share your answers in the comments section below. We may mention your response in next week’s Bulletin, when we offer the best possible answer(s) to this notarial challenge.

Michael Lewis is Managing Editor of member publications for the National Notary Association.

Related Articles:

What Every Notary Needs To Know About Journals

FAQs From Notaries About Powers Of Attorney

What Would You Do: 2 Women, Same Name — Your Answers

Additional Resources:

NNA Webinars: Commonly Asked Questions

NNA Hotline

113 Comments

Add your comment

Gerry

17 Jun 2016

Like some other notaries, I have other roles in addition to being a notary. One of my other roles is emergency medical technician. In this situation, because I'm an EMT, I would be compelled by law to contact the police and my state's Adult Protective Services unit. Other notaries should consider their other roles, and whether any of those other roles compel them to make a report.

Cheryl Kaster

20 Jun 2016

I don't think it is necessary for us to have any other role than Notary Public for us to report suspected Elder Abuse. I believe everyone has a moral obligation to report abuse of any kind. The scenario doesn't mention whether or not the relatives left with the notarized document but it would seem, from the context, that they did. Besides reporting it to law enforcement and giving a statement to them, a complete notation of the context surrounding the notarization, and the identity of the parties who were present, if known, should be entered in the Notary Journal.

Lynn

20 Jun 2016

My first instinct after reading the scenario was to notify the authorities of the situation. But which authorities? I read Gerry's comment with great interest and agree that the police would be appropriate. I also think I would notify my SOS that I performed the notarization before I discovered that the woman was pressured to sign the document. Since a notarization is involved, and my direct authority is my SOS, I think this would also be appropriate.

Cliff

20 Jun 2016

Before my own mother slid down the steep slopes of dementia, I would have assumed this to be pretty cut and dry. However, with my mother, her grasp of reality from moment to moment meant that NOTHING she said or did could be taken at face value. One moment, I assumed we were actually communicating ... the next moment she couldn't tell me who I was. One moment I was the perfect son ... the next I was trying to poison her to "steal" from her. The BEST advice I can give? NEVER assume dementia is off the table ... ESPECIALLY when dealing with POA. If it's even REMOTELY suspected, you can NOT notarize the signature ("able to understand"). Course of action for caregivers? Sadly, it almost certainly will require a competency hearing in court. Remember, we're NOT lawyers ... or judges. Clearly, there are times when their services are required.

Cynthia Besio

20 Jun 2016

I would probably call the hotline first to see if this had happened before and was there a procedure to follow. Then I would call the county and state attorney and make a report.

Diane Elliott

20 Jun 2016

I would stay with the lady untilsnd make calls until I found the correct social service office to help her. We also have a local tv network investigative reporter called "Get Jesse" that I would contact on her behalf. I would not want to leave her alone if she felt unprotected until someone official showed up. Maybe even a police detective.

Louis B Gill

20 Jun 2016

This is a difficult, and touchy situation. As a notary, I have to determine capacity to the best of my ability. A signer who has been pressured to sign, and then admits this to the notary after the fact, puts the notary in a very difficult and potentially dangerous situation. If the pressuring individual has left the location, they may well have taken notarized documents with them. At this point, the only thing left to do is report it to Elder Abuse, and/or local officials, and get the notary out of the middle. Any and all actions should also be recorded in the journal. If the pressuring person doesn't leave, the notary is in a potentially confrontational position. In my career I've declined to perform a notarization on three occasions. Each time I was shouted at and roundly cursed, as I made a rapid departure. This only served to confirm my decision to decline, however.

Juanita Lyons

20 Jun 2016

There are other avenues for the family to gain the POA, albeit more expensive than a notary. An unwilling signer is an unwilling signer, as we are not attorneys, we must abide by the boundaries of our authoritative power. We don't get to make the rules.

Cheryl Doll

20 Jun 2016

I don't know what can be done at that time, if anything, since the documents have already been signed.

John Axt

20 Jun 2016

First, the scenario did not state who maintained possession of the POA. Presuming the Agent did, I would do the following. A POA can be revoked by the principle. I would have her contact an attorney and make myself available to discuss what transpired with the attorney.

Jodie

20 Jun 2016

I would separate the parties at the time of the signatures. This would allow each party to have the freedom to speak honestly. All parties should be in full agreement before they enter for the documents are signed. If she said she did not want to sign then you should not notarize any documents.

Sarah Langston

20 Jun 2016

If I followed every procedure and took every precaution and completed the notarization correctly, I would bear no responsibility for the fact that the client told me after the notarization she didn't want to sign. However, I would probably contact the necessary authorities and let them know what happened.

Carol

20 Jun 2016

I would also feel compelled to contact the Elder Abuse office in my area and tell them what just transpired. I might also ask the borrower if she had anyone in her circle of friends or family who she trusted and suggest she contact them as well.

James

20 Jun 2016

If the elderly woman still has the document in her possession she can simply destroy it. If not, can't she just make another document (also notarized) stating that she'd like to revoke all previous power of attorneys? I've seen that document before, I've even notarized it once before.

Margaret Atkinson

20 Jun 2016

I would ask who the people present were and ask for identification, I would then ask who was representing her, if no-one I would ask for her attorney's name, if there wasn't an attorney I would offer her assistance in getting her legal aid. I would do this before notarizing, If everything was in place and she made this claim after the fact I would contact the authorities and the "Office on Aging" for further investigation.

Rod McGarrie

20 Jun 2016

CONTACT LOCAL BUREAU OF AGEING AND REPORT THE INCIDENT

Thelma Feeney

20 Jun 2016

I would ask this lady if she wanted to revoke the Power of Attorney and if she did, I would help her by printing a "revocation" form, ask her to provide a witness and then notarize the revocation. I would also make sure that the person who was made "Power of Attorney" over her received a copy of the revocation.

Mary

20 Jun 2016

When I am presented with this type of situation, I usually ask everyone to leave the room so that I can speak with the individual alone prior to the signing, especially in a nursing home or when the woman lives alone. If he/she signs and then tells me she did not want to sign, I think I would call social services and law enforcement and let them handle it from there. It is beyond my scope of capabilities to get the POA returned. But I always question the signer alone prior to signing.

Roland

20 Jun 2016

If both claim to be the the person on the document, then one or both of them a lying. I would call the police and report attempted fraud.

Richard

20 Jun 2016

I have dealt with elderly signers on several occasions. My practice is to ask the friends/relatives to leave the room, and then to question the signer to determine understanding & willingness. If we can't do this, I won't notarize.

Connie

20 Jun 2016

Colorado also has "mandatory reporting" laws that people in many occupations must adhere to. I would contact Adult Protective Services for advice on what the client could do to rescind the power of attorney and help the person with additional notarization if needed.

Pam

20 Jun 2016

Perfect answer from Jerry exactly what I would do

Katy

20 Jun 2016

I ask the family to leave the room when doing a notarization, having seen the pressure put on the elderly. I ask if there is any pressure being put on the signer. I document the pressure, whether before - if I am able to catch it, or after - as in this case, in my journal and notify the proper authorities. If possible, notify the document originator (bank, mortgage company) to give information. Don't forget to document all you do in your journal!

Elizabeth Gonzalez

20 Jun 2016

I would have her write a written statement detailing what had happened leading up to this event and what occurred up to the moment she informed me she was signing under duress. I would then contact the police and inform them of what had transpired and also make myself available for any witness statement that is required. I would probably also council the unwilling signer to contact a lawyer or local legal aid in her area.

Monica

20 Jun 2016

I would call Adult Protective Services......but what can be done after the docs have been signed??

Reg

20 Jun 2016

Like "Gerry" stated, I too would feel compelled to contact the police and Adult Protective Services personnel. In the scenario, the woman was willing to sign, and appeared to understand the circumstances and ramifications, so to notarize the document at that point would be acceptable. However, after hearing her expressing her feelings of being pressured into signing, I also need to ensure no liability falls back onto myself. I might also put an appropriate note in my Notary Journal stating her "after signing feelings". Finally, I would also contact the NNA Hotline and ask for guidance in this situation.

Ralph

20 Jun 2016

I would tell her to contact her bank and whatever other financial institutions she has relations with and inform them she has revoked the POA. I would have her notify the nephew that the POA has been revoked. Notification by principal to the agent of a revocation of a POA is sufficient to negate it. Anything he does afterwards with the POA is illegal. She should do it by certified mail so there is a paper trail.

Louise Ceccarelli

20 Jun 2016

I would immediately contact adult protective services and report the situation

Barrie Lou Gordon

20 Jun 2016

As a mandated reporter I would report the incident to human welfare services but as a new notary is there anything I can do to nullify the notarazation

Patricia

20 Jun 2016

Because of the Senior Abuse Laws, check with laws in your stare - be very careful, check to make sure they have an attorney or call the Police and the your states Elder Abuse hotline.

M. Sanchez

20 Jun 2016

I have a standing practice that any Power of Attorneys that are notarized are done so with each individual solely. Since these are documents wherein people are pretty much giving up most of their big decision making abilities... this give the signer an opportunity to decline without the others being their to pressure them.

John

20 Jun 2016

The Signer is in complete control of the document. It is her decision to complete or not complete any document she is offered. I would leave the document with her to do with what she desires to do with it. I would annotate my journal regarding her comment regarding that she signed under pressure.

Toni

20 Jun 2016

I would contact the adult protective services

Roxierox

20 Jun 2016

I agree with Gerry. My role as a Mediator in the state of Texas I am compelled to report this type of situation to the authorities.

Martha Valderrama

20 Jun 2016

reverse it. have her sign a statement.

carroll straus

20 Jun 2016

I would make a note in my journal. I might also ask if the signer wished me to assist her by calling Adult Protective Services.

Vicki

20 Jun 2016

I would inquire if there were any elder abuse services in the area and ensure this client was put in touch with the right people, who could take over from that point. I would also clearly denote in my journal what transpired and contact the receiving agency to alert them that a potential for fraud may have occurred.

joann@indeliblenotary.com

20 Jun 2016

Protection of the signer is as paramount as the credibility of the notary and their notarial acts. With the disclosure of the signer's apprehension I would write cancel across my seal, line through my signature, initial and date. I would tell the signer that the new information required a judgment call on my part and I had exercised a judgment I thought in both our interest. If s/he seemed nervous about my actions I would express empathy and inform them that there is always another opportunity to sign the documents after they've taken a little more time to think about it. I would probably alert authorities after my departure.

Ramon B. Daria

20 Jun 2016

I will not perform a notarial act with a signer that is not willing to sign. There is a possibility that she is being intimidated, coerced and is being forced against her will by the relatives involved.

Karena

20 Jun 2016

I would call Adult Protective Services (APS) to report the suspected elder abuse and also make a notation in my journal in case it is requested later. The notary took all the reasonable steps when performing the service. Now it is up to the proper agency (APS) to do their job.

L. Lea Wagner

20 Jun 2016

I try to have an Ombudsman with me when I notarize a Senior...especially in a care home. Their job is to assess whether influence is being asserted by others in the room. They sign my notary book and I detail the signing in my Notary book. I am licensed in California

Terry Dion

20 Jun 2016

I was in this situation with someone who was personally known to me. I had the relatives leave the room so I could talk to the person granting the power of attorney alone BEFORE I conducted the notarizations. When I was sure she understood and was not being coerced I completed the notarizations.

Erica

20 Jun 2016

I work in Florida, and I would report this to the Florida Department of Elder Affairs. While this may not be a requirement, I would feel a moral obligation to report potential abuse or exploitation.

Jennifer Reid

20 Jun 2016

I'd call the NNA phone number and ask for help/advice.

Joy Grace

20 Jun 2016

I would definitely call the hotline and find out what should be done. I am not in a profession to say that what the older lady is claiming is true and correct, we cannot decide by our instinct to act as the lady us abused or not. Being a Notary we don’t require health history, in this case we can involve authorities and report as possible situation of abuse; doing so it’s not me as Notary to distinguish whether abuse is preset or not. As long as we followed the procedure, I believed we are covered for any liabilities.

Joy Grace

20 Jun 2016

I would definitely call the hotline and find out what should be done. I am not in a profession to say that what the older lady is claiming is true and correct, we cannot decide by our instinct to act as the lady us abused or not. Being a Notary we don’t require health history, in this case we can involve authorities and report as possible situation of abuse; doing so it’s not me as Notary to distinguish whether abuse is preset or not. As long as we followed the procedure, I believed we are covered for any liabilities.

Marian

20 Jun 2016

I would contact the county's Aging and Adult Services and report the elder abuse.

David

20 Jun 2016

I agree with Gerry's action on the Adult Protective Services. If there is a "time frame" in which a notarized document can be voided (is there?), I would recommend a psych evaluation on the elderly client after the face (if I was told they felt pressured). If the evaluation shows the elderly is not capable of making sound decision, I would stick with the notarized documents, and vice-versa. But for on the spot, real-time situations, I would probably chat with the clients like I normally do and get a feel for the situation and base "going forward" on how comfortable I feel.

Gerry Birk

20 Jun 2016

This is a good one, I think she could revoke her POA but the problem is the copies and original that were notarized. If possible get all the copies and original and make a notarized revocation of the POA. This would be my best answer. The POAs that I have come across always have a notation on them something to the effect "this power of attorney may be cancelled at the will of the signer", or something to that effect. Waiting to see what others have to say, I'm in South Dakota.

Karen T

20 Jun 2016

As I am notary for a financial institution, I would definitely call Adult Protective Services to report this issue. And since the power of attorney might be used in my institution, I would make a cautionary warning on the woman's account that the POA is not to be utilized. I might also call the police department if she felt unsafe in her home with the family.

Nicole

20 Jun 2016

Because it's a POA, I would have the elderly person sign alone, so I could have time to see if they're being pressured or are of sound mind.

Nicole

20 Jun 2016

Because it's a POA, I would have the elderly person sign alone, so I could have time to see if they're being pressured or are of sound mind.

Lisa

20 Jun 2016

As a notary, I wouldn't complete the notarial act before I verify that the individual signing has acknowledged that they understand what they are signing and that they signed of their own free will. I have notarized documents in the past for elderly individuals and I have observed the interaction and body language of the individuals as a way of verifying that I don't believe that there is any coercion involved.

Nicole

20 Jun 2016

Because it's a POA, I would have the elderly person sign alone, so I could have time to see if they're being pressured or are of sound mind.

Lisa

20 Jun 2016

As a notary, I wouldn't complete the notarial act before I verify that the individual signing has acknowledged that they understand what they are signing and that they signed of their own free will. I have notarized documents in the past for elderly individuals and I have observed the interaction and body language of the individuals as a way of verifying that I don't believe that there is any coercion involved.

Cheri

20 Jun 2016

Once I meet with the signer of the POA I would politely request all others to leave the room for privacy with the signer.This is to establish willingness and awareness. After the signing is completed and the POA has left the location and then the signer brings to my attention that she really did not want to sign the POA, I would immediately phone the local police and wait with the signer until the authorities arrive and advise them what occurred. The entire incident will be recorded in my Journal. I also will contact my contractor and put them on notice also. The Police will notify the Department of Aging or Fraud Division or both. If the relative(s) request that I leave the house immediately because the signer wants to revoke the POA then I will do so and still notify the Police immediately and wait until they arrive. If it appear the relatives are leaving with the signer I will take down the license plate number and a complete description of the vehicle they left in with her if she appears to be physically upset or in danger of possible added abuse.

Michael Hunter

20 Jun 2016

I would polite ask the nephew and relatives for the acknowledgment for one final proof-read and once I have it I would rip it up and explain that the woman told me she did not want to sign the document but felt pressure.

Gary

20 Jun 2016

All of the comments are valid and helpful. The problem as I see it is the family member(s) can now (for example) list her house for sale, borrow against it, take out loans in her name Etc. This would not be an easy fix.

Sheri Cunningham

20 Jun 2016

Refer her to an attorney

judy

20 Jun 2016

Assuming that the document has been taken by the nephew, I would inquire if she has a lawyer or someone she would like to contact to discuss the matter or if she wanted me to assist her in contacting a social services agency and make the appropriate comments in my journal. In our state, as a notary, we cannot give legal advice. Not acting as a notary, I may take additional steps.

Kathie Nadzan

20 Jun 2016

Unless I suspected otherwise, I would assume she is competent and take her comment seriously. I would call the police and ask to speak with someone who deals with elder abuse and explain the satiation. If she was not left with a copy for the document I would be able to reference the details of the POA in my journal. Even though we are just there to notarize we also need to be on the lookout for fraud in whatever form it takes. To bring up another question, when dealing with the elderly, is there a series of questions one might ask to be sure they are aware of what is going on and being asked of them?

Christina Hough

20 Jun 2016

Obviously, this is an issue. If she was unwilling to sign she would have been nervous during the line of questioning a notary in California should undertake: Is this your signature on the document? Do you understand the contents of the document and what the consequences of signing the document are? Remember a notary in California must obtain the right thumb print of the signer in addition to the signer's signature. If there was any unwillingness on the part of the signer it should have been apparent if the notary did their due diligence in asking the right questions in advance of the journal entry being completed. If it were me it would never get that far.

Abraham Kamara

20 Jun 2016

I will immediately notify California Ombudsman regarding the entire situation, allows the elderly signer to explain what she told me to the representative; if possible and complete my SOC 341. I will hope that the elderly signer will provide me with all the names of the people that were present during the signing, because they may be needed for my report. In addition, I will also make a note of that in my Journal, in the comment section and attached copy of my SOC 341. This will be part of my record, should in case a question arises regarding that particular signing. I am certain that California Ombudsman will do a thorough investigation and resolve, whatever, the situation and/or the condition that was present at the time of the signing.

jannawalden123@yahoo.com

20 Jun 2016

I would make a note in my journal of everything that happened. I would then contact the authorities (Elder Abuse, Senior Services, Social Services, etc) to report to include the local police dept to file a report with them. Then I would follow also the advice I receive from the Notary Hotline. I too am employed in a position requiring reporting....but anyone in any position I think should be conscious of reporting any kind of abuse or coercion.

(408) 971-8900

20 Jun 2016

I start writing all information regarding Notarizing documernt. Next I call the Hot-Line. Nothing else I can do

Christina Hough

20 Jun 2016

Obviously, this is an issue. If she was unwilling to sign she would have been nervous during the line of questioning a notary in California should undertake: Is this your signature on the document? Do you understand the contents of the document and what the consequences of signing the document are? Remember a notary in California must obtain the right thumb print of the signer in addition to the signer's signature. If there was any unwillingness on the part of the signer it should have been apparent if the notary did their due diligence in asking the right questions in advance of the journal entry being completed. If it were me it would never get that far.

Patricia Gundvaldson

20 Jun 2016

In the situation of "What would you do" I would have to say that legally there is nothing I could do as a notary, but yes I would notify the police of the possibility of the lady being taken advantage of by her family and hopefully they can look into it and so something about it.

lydia

20 Jun 2016

1st think you should have done is get her alone and make sure she is ok with this pos. Ask her if anyone is threatening her, assure her you will be there and help her if she does not sign. Call social services report elder abuse. Ask if there is a friend or neighbor you can call for her, have them come over to be with her. I would not walk out without trying to help.

Kate

20 Jun 2016

I actually have a background in elderly care, and all of you should be aware that it is usually far more complicated that what you see from the surface. One of the elderly women I took care of was beginning stages dementia, but declared mentally competent by her doctor. In short-lived social situations she could be absolutely lovely and have a conversation with you, but an hour later she could be yelling out the window screaming that the neighbors were trying to kill her. Basically, one minute sane, the next not sane by nay means. But she could without a doubt fool anyone into thinking she was sane. I do think that call and reporting abuse would be wrong, because it would only be making a tough situation even worse for the family who is probably doing the right thing by taking the care of finances into their own hands. Every situation is different, but you should never walk away with a face value... because it never is that simple. I would record everything and speak to all members individually about the circumstances. I would never report this situation to a hotline unless it was absolutely clear that abuse was involved. Making false accusations is a regrettable thing...

Jennifer Willis

20 Jun 2016

In addition to being a Notary I am also a paralegal, and unfortunately, here in Shreveport an attorney and his wife were just arrested and are now in jail for abuse of a similar nature. I would feel a moral obligation to call the police and sit with the elderly client until they arrived and a report was made. My witness statement would be important in such a situation. Then I would report the abuse to the appropriate state agency as well so that a case worker could be assigned to the victim, and someone would be looking out for her. However, because I know that these Agencies are overwhelmed in their case loads, I would probably follow up with her periodically and offer her any help that I had at my disposal.

Natalie Sparrer

20 Jun 2016

Two comments: 1. I would see if I could get the notarized POA back with the excuse that I forgot to do something to it. Then I would immediately tear it up and keep it in my possession. 2. After reading this scenario about what can happen it made me realize that the first thing I should do from now on is to tell the other people accompanying the person whose signature I will be notarizing that I first need to talk to that person in private and ask the others to leave. Then I would ask that person if they really want to sign the document. If the answer is no then I would refuse to notarize the document and right after I leave I would immediately report it to the police and adult protective services. This way the document wouldn't already be notarized before I found out that the signer was being forced to sign and the various authorities would be informed ahead of time should they find another notary to notarize the transaction,.

Michael E Harris

20 Jun 2016

First, I would not have this problem. I would have completed my journal entry first and then asked all the relatives to leave the room. If they refused, I would refuse to sign, leave, and contact the county prosecutor's office (I do not know who protects the elderly [yet]).

Brett

20 Jun 2016

Wow. This hits home because a few days ago a friend of mine asked me to go to her aunt's house to have her aunt sign over her POA to my friend. This puts me in a moral and legal dilemma if there are any signs of coercion. I haven't met the aunt, but when I do, I will ensure that she is comfortable and of willing mind to sign the docs.

Patricia

20 Jun 2016

Help her to execute a revocation of the POA and have her notify her bank and the person with power of attorney that said POA is revoked and then guide her to social services or an Elder law attorney to help her.

Mira Mc

20 Jun 2016

I would contact authorities for Elder Abuse. I would then advise that the POA can be revoked, and that it should be done ASAP. We are not attorneys. But you don't need a law degree for common sense. If in some way we as a general public don't protect our elderly, something is truly wrong. I know all of us on this post have elderly parents who we want protected in one way or another. Morals.

Alandra

20 Jun 2016

I would assure her that expressing her concerns to me was the right thing to do. I'd then contact social services to report suspected elder abuse. As far as the documents that were notarized, I would report the event to the company that hired me.

Robert Smolak

20 Jun 2016

Without reading any of the other answers, my first instinct would be to call the local police department.

Madeline Reynolds

20 Jun 2016

First of all the sernerio did not state that anyone pressured her to sign only that she did't want to sign nor if anyone took the POA with them. Given the information I have to work with at this time, I would tell her to contact a family law attorney he should be able to help her. The senario did not say she was incompetent it only stated that she didn't want to sign. I would also make a note in my journal who was present at the time of the signing and what I told her.

Norma

20 Jun 2016

I do work with an Office on Aging and if such a situation arose with me, I would contact Adult Protective Services and our local Legal Aid Society. And what does SOS stand for in a comment made earlier. We don't all know everyone's acronyms.

Valerie

20 Jun 2016

Seeing that we cannot unchange our procedures after the signing has already taken place (i.e., asking to speak with her one-on-one and declining signing based on those answers) and witnesses have left the scene, I would alert the local authorities and provide as much information to them as possible and then call the Notary Hotline, as well as make heavy notes in my book and maybe have her sign it too.

mark

20 Jun 2016

I would first contact my state liscense authority and report the incident.

Lisa F.

20 Jun 2016

I have to agree with Kate, above. Too many times all you are seeing is what is on the surface. If the elderly person was living in an assisted retirement facility, I would talk with the person/people in charge to find out if these relatives are regular visitors, do they treat her well and look after her - or - are they showing up for the first time in months to get the person to sign the POA? I would also talk exclusively with first the elderly person and the family, as well, in order to get a sense of whether they were truly concerned or more rushed about getting it done. I would obviously note everything in my journal and advise the person of the ability to revoke the POA, but that she would need to speak to an attorney in order to do so. Even though I've been a Legal Secretary for 42 years and a Notary in California for over 30+ years, I can't practice law, but I can advise the person of who she could contact. But to automatically contact the police or elder abuse is making a great assumption of the situation. I'm very curious to read the NNA's comments.

Phyllis

20 Jun 2016

I would contact the authorities

Fred Dellar

20 Jun 2016

All notary requirements were met. ID, competence, understanding document and willing to sign. The notary did what they were supposed to do. The signers statement came after the fact and when all transactions were complete. I would have suggested that the signer should have said something earlier and tell her to contact an attorney.

Kathy

20 Jun 2016

I notarize often for elderly. I always ask anyone in the room to leave so I can have a private conversation with the signer before I will notarize anything. If I did notarize something and then the signer told me she had signed under pressure I would call Adult Protective Services.

LW Pereverziev

20 Jun 2016

I have been put in a very similar situation. I was sent to have a lady sign her loan documents and was told her son would be there for the signing, though he was not party to the transaction. He was apparently the contact point between the lady and the lender. When I got there, I had the lady sign my journal and took her thumbprint. We then went over the estimated closing statement and she started asking intelligent questions, at which point her son exploded and told her "not to ask questions - just sign!" The red flags immediately started flying. I attempted to ascertain if she was interested in signing or not. The son continued to interfere. I quietly stopped him and told him that if he persisted, I would be unable to complete the signing. He persisted and I started to pack up readying to leave. He realized that I was serious, and removed himself to the living room, staying quiet. I conversed with the lady and told her that if she was not signing of her own free will and accord without feeling as though she was being bullied into signing, I could not complete the signing. She asserted that she was interested in proceeding, but that she wanted answers to her questions rather than relying solely on what her son had conveyed to her. I told her that was perfectly understandable and so we were able to get her lender on the line to answer her queries, and the signing was completed successfully. It came very close to being an unsuccessful trip, but keeping my head and holding my ground payed off for both the lady and for the successful completion of an assignment. Do not be afraid to assert yourself with regard to fulfilling your duties, even if if means leaving without completing.

Janet Lee Butler

20 Jun 2016

I would call the NNA hotline, and ask their advice. If it were too late for that, I would call the police and ask them what I should do. I would also enter all this information in my notary journal and make sure to call NNA the next morning to see how I could remedy the situation, if possible. Sounds like a lawyer might be needed here!

Maria Guerrero

20 Jun 2016

When I notarize a POA, I always ask what it's for specifically and notate information regarding who is granted the power as well as make a copy of their Identification card. It's never happened to me, but if it did, the first thing I would do is contact the person granted the POA. I would advise the person that the POA is null due to the circumstances sorrounding the notarization. I would compell the person to return the document immediately by telling them that the signer has signed a revocation, by threatening to contact authorities and financial institutions associated with the signer.

Tammy Yeh

21 Jun 2016

My first issue is that this is a POA signing. The principal should be present with the person (s) becoming attorney in fact. However I believe the best way to know whether there is any wrong doing between the parties involved is to ask to meet briefly with each party separately first and get individual agreement. Then bring all back together and notarize documents. That alleviates this situation and if the other members get nervous when you meet alone you'll see something is up and call it off. Then contact social services for elder abuse allegations

Fredric Chasson

21 Jun 2016

Contact Adult Protective Service. I wolad suggest that the signer to contact an attorney to revoke or reverse the POA.

Shirley L Cummings

21 Jun 2016

I generally try to separate the person from family to assure myself they are signing freely question them as much as i can. If they tell me after the fact they did not want to sign and they still have the document, i would destroy it. If they don't have the document, I would explain to them how to cancel the document.

Edward Cooper

21 Jun 2016

If the signing was not completed I would stop it

April Henderson

21 Jun 2016

I would contact Adult Protective Services immediately.

Dean

21 Jun 2016

Just based on the information in the scenario it doesn't indicate fraud. Many people feel pressure when none or little exists from the parties involved. I would contact the nephew to tell him of the development. If he is cooperative and comes back to tear up the POACHED. I would consider the matter closed. If not I would then call authorities.

slllptamar@yahoo.com

21 Jun 2016

In regards to this scenario, I'd ask the client to speak with her alone to verify her identity, her understanding of signing situation w/o the family's input. Hopefully I could detect if she's at odds with the procedure. If so, I would notify the family that I will not be notarizing any documents and that I've contacted proper authorities, Police Dept, Elder Services, and her attorney if she has one, if not find one for her from my references. All while waiting for said authorities to arrive and handle the issue at hand. I'd also call the hotline and notify the Sec. of State of the transaction.

Joan Havens

21 Jun 2016

This has happened to me a couple times. The first time was a case of predatory lending. When the lady told me her dog wasn't acting right since her husband started sleeping at home again I had my out for incompetent. Her husband had been dead for a year. I called a elder abuse hotline after the Loan officer told me he was sending another notary out the next day and it took him alot of work to get through under writing. Of course it took alot of work and probably a bribe. Her payments without taxes and hazard were $180 less than her total income. He was fired that day. I was pissed. The AAA hotline contacted the county, the county contacted me. Within one week they had elder volunteers to her home that she couldn't maintain anymore. They had a garage sale, eventually sold the home and purchased a condo in a senior living facility. This was in Thornton Colorado. The woman was calling the home shopping network and mortgage companies just to have someone to talk to. Until I got pissed off at the loan officer no one stepped in to help this woman. So, get pissed off if you have to. Just step in.

Kathy

21 Jun 2016

This is not a scenario that is addressed in my notary manual. Advising the woman to revoke her POA is tantamount to legal advice which is strictly prohibited. This scenario is a good reminder to speak to the parties in private. I would make a record of the woman's statements in my journal and promptly call the Notary Hotline and report to the SOS .

Kim Woodward

21 Jun 2016

I would have originally tried to determine if she was competent and if she was suffering from dementia or Alzheimers I wouldn't think she was competent to sign the document and the family would have to find other avenues, such as their doctor determining she wasn't competent to manage her finances. If she was competent I would ask to speak to her alone and try to determine if she's upset she cannot manage her own finances or she really doesn't want the family member to have access to her accounts. If I felt she was genuinely upset I would cancel the notarization and inform the family and leave and contact Adult Protective Services after I left the premises.

cmf@amcco.com

21 Jun 2016

First, I would call the NNA for advice. Unless advised against it by the NNA, I would report the incident to the police and/or social services and ask if someone would be coming shortly and if I should wait. I also would ask the signer if she has a trusted friend or relative that can come over right away to help her because time is of the essence for the signer to take whatever legal recourse is available to her before her finances are affected.

Ken

21 Jun 2016

As an attorney as well as a notary, I would advise her that Powers of Attorney can be revoked at any time. I would follow up with social services and also assist her in writing a revocation of the Power of Attorney. I would also advise her to tell her nephew that the Power of Attorney was revoked.

David

21 Jun 2016

Report it to the police and Adult Abuse!!!

Sherri Q

22 Jun 2016

Would it not have been acceptable to ask to speak to the client alone before all paperwork was signed?

Sherri Q

22 Jun 2016

Would it not have been acceptable to ask to speak to the client alone before signing the papers?

SueG

22 Jun 2016

Without having any other information, my first instinct is to: a. Tear the notarized document in 1/2. b. Void the entry in the Journal stating the exact reason and circumstances. c. Contact adult protective services, tender the formerly notarized document to them. d. Ask the attorneys at work for suggestions. e. Write a letter to secretary of state advising of situation and my actions sending a certified copy of the journal page. f. I might also provide a copy of the SOS mailing to local police.(mandated reporter). Note: My Mom has advanced dementia, good days and bad. But even at that, Mom has a right to change her mind. When in doubt ... do the right thing. It is much more than just a signing a document. There are laws that will protect you as a notary, and there are laws that will convict you because you "know or had reason to know" you should have done something else. Dont' get so caught up in one set of regulations that you forget you may be bound by others.

Earlene Bellamy

23 Jun 2016

If an elderly client indicated she signed under duress after she had signed the Power of Attorney, I would notify the person to whom the power was given and relay to him/her that I would make annotations in the journal regarding the signer's comments and advise the individual to discard the document because it was not legally signed under the correct situation.

Gloria Armstrong

23 Jun 2016

I would thank her for letting me know and add a note to the journal entry of her statement and later report the incident to the elder abuse authorities in my area.

Diana Bozarth

23 Jun 2016

I would go with the reporting the incident to the SOS they will know what to do. The revocation is fine but you don't know where her POA is being used and the person excepting it for the other party will not know abut the revocation even existing so that would only help if you knew what they were using the POA for.

Tina Marie Moyer

23 Jun 2016

I am a elder advocate, notarize for many. I make sure the elder understands what and why they are signing. If there is any any indication they are being forced I would not notarize. If they wished to cancel the notary I would contact the family and proper authority. We need to respect our elders.

Michael Keeran

24 Jun 2016

If I was put in this situation, I would contact the local authorities to report the situation, and contact the local prosecutors office on behalf of the client, to find out what we can do.

janet upshaw

27 Jun 2016

I would go by the woman"s request. You can cancel notaries.

Marsha

14 Nov 2016

Use caution before alerting authorities. My sister and I had finally after a year of begging, got my parents' agreement to allow us access to their medical records as we live very far away and they are quite elderly. We flew to their town and visited them and went with them to their doctor's office only to have the doctor talk them out of it. We only want to be able to speak with their doctor in the event of any emergency. My mom, aged 86, has dementia and 3rd stage kidney disease and dad is 91. We were heart broken. Things are rarely as they seem. Proceed with caution.

Linda Bourboulis

22 Jan 2018

I would question the person to make sure that she did not want to sign and then I would stay with her as I tried to call Social Services to report that she was being pressured to sign a POA. I would also call the police to find out what they suggested. I would then write all circumstances in my journal. The person in question can then sign a document revoking he POA.

Ms.Hines

08 Mar 2018

In this case if the individual signs because of pressure there frightened . I would develop a strategie for different situations as such. You must protect your customers and yourself. I wouldn't make my stamp or seal visual until I verified that my customer is willing. I would also only deal with the customer/customers who I'm assisting one on one . If one decides not to sign I would put it on myself the reason why we can't finish the process to protect my customer. Safety first. For example ( I apologize I didn't bring my stamp will have to finish this another time) Report this situation to authorities immediately.

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