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What Would You Do: The Case Of Senior Signer And The Young Wife

The Case Of The Senior Signer

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

As the baby boom generation ages, Notaries are going to encounter more and more issues involving financial transactions. In this real-life scenario, a Notary was called to handle a loan signing for a 72-year-old man. When the Notary arrived, the man was there with his much younger wife and another woman who turned out to be the loan officer. He was the sole signatory on the home, and his name was the only one on the deed.

As the Notary prepared to start the signing, the man expressed unease with taking out the $300,000 loan in the first place. He said he owned the home outright, and did not see the need to borrow money against his equity. The loan officer mentioned that he had a three-day right of rescission to change his mind.

The wife spoke with the loan officer in a foreign language the Notary did not recognize, then said that they won’t be using the right of rescission. She reminded her husband that they had discussed the loan, and both agreed it would be a good idea.

The husband was clearly frustrated. But his wife ignored him and told the Notary, “Let’s get this done.”

What Would You Do?
 

Members of the NNA community frequently share accounts of encountering dubious or improper notarial practices, and it is not always clear how they should respond. In this case, the signer appears reluctant, his wife seems to be the driving force behind the loan.

Cases of elder financial abuse are becoming more common. But are there enough red flags in this situation to suggest that the wife is exercising undue influence or otherwise pressuring her husband into signing?

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.

 

115 Comments

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Rhea

17 Jul 2017

I would not have completed the notarization

West Patrick

17 Jul 2017

Myself I would ask the gentleman if this is something that he is absolutely sure he have decided to do. If he states that he is reluctant or not sure, I would ask the loan officer to re evaluate this situation before continuing. I would excuse myself and have the agent to contact another Notary.

robert taylor

17 Jul 2017

First im concerned sbout the language barrier. And number 2 im voncerned as to why the wife is pressuring the husband to sigh so fast when he has doubts

Judith Quay

17 Jul 2017

Notaries in all states are trained to verify that the signer is acting on his/her own, without pressure or coercion. The Notary should remind the signer of this. as this does not seem to be the case in this situation. The sad part of this case is that if the Notary refuses, the borrower's wife and her cohort may just be able to find a less honest Notary. The 3 day recession clause is there for a reason - it is a U.S. law, enacted by Washington as a protection to borrowers against lender abuse. The very least a Notary should do would be to invoke this protection for the signer. It's too bad the Notary doesn't have the authority to add a Jurat stating that the signer swears he isn't under duress.

Angela Fernandez

17 Jul 2017

I have encounter this type of situation as well as elderly signing power of attorney to a family member, I make sure the signer knows what he is signing and when I see any doubts, I will refuse to notarized

Angel

17 Jul 2017

In the case of the "elder" and the "young" couple, as a notary in Texas, I would not notarized the document. Instead, I would notify the local LEA (law enforcement agency) to investigate the matter for possible elder exploitation and/or elder abuse.

Diane Gibson Smith

17 Jul 2017

I would refuse to notarize the document based on his reluctance and the use of the foreign language.

Sandra Taylor

17 Jul 2017

I would talk to the gentleman in private and ask if he is executing this loan by choice before notarizing.

C Lynch

17 Jul 2017

Based on the conversation stated in the scenario, I would start by requesting the wife and loan officer leave the room and speak directly with the husband to determine how to proceed. It would also be beneficial to know if he understood the language the wife and loan officer spoke sufficiently to understand their conversations regarding the right of rescission. If the husband does not and cannot understand what is going on between his wife and the loan officer and appears to be as reluctant to proceed, I could not in good conscience proceed with the notarization. Should the husband relates any concerns that raised further red flags, I would offer to put him through to the Elder Abuse line while he was separated from the two women. Depending on his financial state, what he is signing could deprive him of a home or the ability to provide funds if he needed long-term health care.

Susan

17 Jul 2017

If I felt uneasy about a notarization and it didn't seem right, I would refuse. I'm not required to do a notarization and I wouldn't want that on my conscience if down the road something was a miss and I went along with it.

jonathan mitchell

17 Jul 2017

With all do respect to this couple, I would not motorize this loan. Any uneasiness with any party would give me doubt.

John Cown

17 Jul 2017

This does not pass my sniff test. I would ask to speak with the husband privately to assure myself he was not signing under duress or pressure ... and that the signing was his free will act and deed.

Lana Gary

17 Jul 2017

I would suggest holding off signing until a member of the husband's immediate family (daughter, son) could be present that cared for his well-being. Otherwise, I would not notarize.

Jesusita M. Sodec

17 Jul 2017

I will not notarized. I would ask the gentleman that since he seemed reluctant to take some more time thinking about the loan. Also I would suggest since the loan officer and wife seemed to be on "familiar" terms, that maybe someone else who understood the foreign language they were speaking and who was a someone familiar and trusted by the husband be present for the signing. Between the husband's frustration and the wife's insistence to get it done, these are too many red flags for me. I would not sign.

Vickie Ratta

17 Jul 2017

I would refuse and report. Unfortunately, the "wife" will continue her efforts by finding a notary who will finally perform the act. So sad.

Marilyn Schleis

17 Jul 2017

I would state to the whole party that if the elderly person is feeling pressured or apprehensive, that perhaps this is not the right time to do this transaction. In other words, he is being cohearsed, which is illegal, and the loan officer should see this as well.

LC

17 Jul 2017

What would I do? I'd write an article/headline that addresses the scenario both ways. Perhaps asking readers "What Would You Do: The Case Of The Senior Signer And The Young SPOUSE".

Howard Diggins

17 Jul 2017

I would refuse the signing because the wife was forcing him to sign because each signer must understand and sign of the on free will.

Mihchael E Harris

17 Jul 2017

I would ask the wife and the loan officer to leave the room for 10-15 minutes while I had a chat with the homeowner. Being a boomer myself, I feel that I could get a feel IF the man wanted to complete the loan.

Sandra D. Williams

17 Jul 2017

What Would You Do?” I will not notarize, I will ask them to take a few days and think about it and maybe get someone of the older person family involved. This is a really serious situation.

Gloria

17 Jul 2017

I would not notarize the document. The language barrier, and the unease of the gentleman is foremost important in my mind. I have worked with the elderly before, and their body language tells me a lot of what is happening in their life.

Verne Gordon

17 Jul 2017

I would take the elderly signer aside in private and ask if he knew what he was signing and if he was under any pressure from the 'young wife' and 'loan agent'.to sign the loan doc. If he was hesitant, i would stop the notarization and contact the local authorities that he may be the victim of elder abuse.

Beth

17 Jul 2017

I would immediately excuse myself and call Adult Protective Services. ( I would be sure I had all contact information--addresses, names, etc.) Then I would explain to the trio that as the husband is reluctant to sign, and the wife and the other woman are speaking to each other in a language that neither the husband nor I can understand, I cannot notarize the documents.

Donald Dickey

17 Jul 2017

The first red flag is the loan officer mentioning the three day time period to cancel. Other red flags are the language issue, the fact that he is the only signer and even the fact that the loan officer is present. I would not be comfortable notarizing the document. Also I would get information about the loan officer and contact the company to investigate the matter.

arlene

17 Jul 2017

I believe I am there to notarize the signatures only, and this is a marital issue that is not my business to address how this couple handles their finances. Regardless of their age difference.

Deborah Henning

17 Jul 2017

I would have asked the wife and bank officer to leave and talk with the older man alone. If he was uneasy to do the signing then I would refuse to notarize.

Debbie Fusetti

17 Jul 2017

I would not have completed the notarization.

kerry.drake@gmail.com

17 Jul 2017

The notary's job is to verify the signer is actually the person they are supposed to be. It's not a Notary's job to ascertain intent. If he wants to hold on to the young wife so badly he's willing to take out a loan he doesn't need, that's his business, not the notary's.

Alex Fuchs

17 Jul 2017

She take my money when I'm in need Yea she's a trifling friend indeed Oh she's a gold digger way over town That digs on me

arlene lopez

17 Jul 2017

I just read the whole article. I would ask the husband as well. alone.

Terri Pizor Leventhal

17 Jul 2017

First, if I don't understand the language being spoken between individuals, I do not notarize. Second, I would ask both women to step out of the room and I would have a heart to heart conversation with the gentleman and ask him how he feels about the situation and if he truly wants the loan and ask if he is agreeing to the loan on his own or if he feels forced into the loan. If he would show any kinds of signs whatsoever that he had reservations, I would refuse to notarize.

Terry N. Huguet

17 Jul 2017

I would not notarize any documents in such a case given the age of the husband and the possibility that he may need to be placed under a Conservancy. This way, his estate and affairs can be adjudicated by the Courts and his wishes not be improperly influenced by his wife.

jedayataveras

17 Jul 2017

I would refuse to sign because it looks like the wife is forcing the homeowner.

Gary

17 Jul 2017

Would not notarize the document and would immediately notify local Social Services Department and report what was observed and said so they could investigation for exploitation

Teresa Lilley

17 Jul 2017

I would have refused the notarization due to the fact of the uneasiness of the husband being unsure of even wanting to take out the loan and also the wife in her being so aggressiveness with her husband on wanting him to take the loan out even with him being hesitant.

Sheryl Leaks

17 Jul 2017

I would not notarize the document at that time. I would ask them to further discuss and if they wanted my services, to call me back. If I returned and saw a peace upon the gentleman's face, I would notarize.

fidelity_medical_billing@yahoo.com

17 Jul 2017

I would ask if the man had any other family members? If yes I would ask him to bring the other family member and proof if available. If no I would suggest that he go to a lawyer to get the transaction completed.

Rick Broadhead

17 Jul 2017

We verify to our satisfaction the signor realizes what he/she is signing and of sound of mind when he/she signs the document. We can ask if he wants to sign this document and secretely hope he says NO. (But we can not advise). . We're Notaries not mariage counselors..If the signer signs his house away to a young wife is not Notarial business.

Luis Castillo Munoz

17 Jul 2017

No need to ask the wife or lender to leave the room as they will serve as witnesses to me ending the signing with a fair proposal...due to the circumstances presented I'm going to refer you to an attorney who can best help you with what appears to be inappropriate elder abuse while at the same time consider calling in a social worker to look into the young wife's motivation to move forward with the signing.

Craig Lawson

17 Jul 2017

I would refuse to natarize the document. As a former bank fraud officer, notary and bank compliance officer, my refusal would be based on the following; 1. The reluctance of the gentleman; 2; The use of the foreign language that is not understood by the notary; 3. If this is not a purchase money mortgage, the signers cannot neglect the rescission period by law. The signers to the mortgage MUST be given 3 _busniss_ days to rescind the transaction. The loan officer should have known this and voiced it to those present. I realize that I am in a little different position than many notaries, but thought I could add to the discussion, and perhaps add just a little education to the decision.

Susan Beasley

17 Jul 2017

Legally, a Notary is only obligated to ensure the authenticity of the man's signature, via checking his legal ID. However, morally, I would have to follow what many are saying to refuse. Remember, Notaries are not to give out legal advise.

C Knaps

17 Jul 2017

C Lynch gave the best response - ask to speak to the man alone, but from the information presented thus far, I would refuse to do the notarization and make a record of it in my journal in case a suit is brought later.

Al

17 Jul 2017

I would refuse to notarize the document.

Juanita

17 Jul 2017

I would ask the wife and loan officer to please leave the room and speak with the husband. Did he understand what the wife and officer said in the other language? And was he signing of free will. No to either question; I would not notarize, then call to report.

BN

17 Jul 2017

Red flags all over this scenario, I would not notarize any documents as it is clear that one of the party was either voicing or displaying behaviors that were not 'of free will'. The fact that the wife and loan officer were conversing in another language which the gentleman did or did not understand, is an issue. For me, all aspects of the meeting ought to be carried out in one language that is understood, and able to respond by all parties. I would also remind them, as noted above that the 3-day rule is US law. She's a little too quick to dismiss it which raises another flag.

Corrine F

17 Jul 2017

I would sit quietly observe the parties and their interactions. I would then talk to the elderly gentleman of his rights and if this is something he would like to do. I would then pulled out my stamp before notarizing... then Oops "I grabbed the wrong "expired" stamp" - Can I return tomorrow, my apology? - Would do anything to buy some extra time for this elderly man by calling the Elderly Abise Hotline or call the States Attorney Office. This would avoid them from going to another Notary. Hopefully, this would buy extra time for him. Therefore, the bottom line is, I wouldn't do it and report asap!!!

Duke

17 Jul 2017

I would ask the elderly person in everyone's presence whether he is signing the document willingly or does he feel pressured into signing it. I would state I don't the impression he is not doing this transaction willingly. I would therefore caution the loan officer to be careful and avoid any perceive conflict of interest. Then I would recuse respectfully myself because of my professional conscience.

Glenda Clay

17 Jul 2017

As it stated, the husband "expressed unease" and was "clearly frustrated"; with that in mind, be it an elderly individual or not, I would never notarize in the situation.....not to mention that the husband and I would have no idea of what was being said between the two in the other language. My client's well being would come first. No signature, documents retained, authorities contacted immediately.

ponyoutpost@gmail.com

17 Jul 2017

Really good stuff in the above comments. I would not be comfortable going forward without speaking to the signer in private. I would also be concerned about the foreign language and it the signer understood what was being said. I would give the signer the option of having an advocate family member present if possible, and make sure he was not being pressured to sign under emotional duress or intimidation.

Nicole

17 Jul 2017

If I didn't feel comfortable with it after speaking with the homeowner privately, I'd refuse to do the notarization, and definitely make notes in my journal.

Lisa Blumenkamp

17 Jul 2017

I would ask to speak with the signer without anyone else present. Then he would be able to voice his/her opinion without the pressure of other around. If he/she does not want to sign, I would decline from signing regardless of what others request. If anyone with the signer objects with meeting with the signer alone, I would decline also.

Lisa Blanco

17 Jul 2017

I think I would like to have a private word with the signer to determine if this is what he really wants to do. If he says he's not comfortable with it, I would have to refuse to do the notarization.

Nina Torres

17 Jul 2017

I don't think age is relevant in this case; it's not my place to judge the situation based on how the man's relationship looks to me. What is my job is to make sure the signer is willing. I would ask to be alone with the signer and ask him without the interference of others if he is willing to sign the document, making sure he understands the implications of signing. I would only perform the notarization if he was willing to sign the document without coercion.

Christine Wissbrun

17 Jul 2017

I would have taken the elderly gentleman aside or asked the other people to leave the room for a couple of minutes. I would have asked him if he understood what he was signing and whether it was his free will and desire to sign. If not, I would stop the appointment and not continue any further. Contacting the authorities is always a good idea if elder abuse is suspected.

Carolyn Franklin

17 Jul 2017

I would not complete the notarization.

Richard Althoff

17 Jul 2017

I would ask the 2 women to leave the room and when alone with the signer, ask is this is something he wants to do of his own free will. If not, I would not complete the signing and I would contact the police since it is clearly a case of elder financial abuse.

Pat D

17 Jul 2017

For those of you who don't believe that it is your responsibility to make sure the gentleman is not being coerced by a young wife and shady loan officer, please take another look. This is classic elder abuse and should be reported immediately. How many TV movies have focused on this type of thing: young wife coerces elder husband to give her the money or property and then the husband "suddenly" dies. This leave the wife with the money and probably the property with no responsibility to repay the loan because it was in his name. For heaven's sake, at least talk to him privately and get a feel for his state of mind before you decide. If you get the same feeling I did just from reading the article, you'll not only say no but will call the authorities before the wife and loan officer have a chance to call another notary who isn't paying enough attention to what they are supposed to be doing. Say no, call the authorities and document everything in your journal. Way too many red flags here to think everything is okay.

Rosie

17 Jul 2017

This is clearly a situation of elder abuse. You see this a lot, especially on shows like Investigation Discovery where the show is based on real life stories. I would first talk to the owner/signer alone even though I feel he is being taken advantage of by his young wife and the so-called "Loan Officer". I would also consider contacting the police to look into those two to see if they have priors.

Jeanne M Charbonneau

17 Jul 2017

In my state, many (many) loan officers are also Notary Publics. It seems to me the loan officer must be aware that an element of coercion is present simply in the spousal exchange: reluctance expressed by the homeowner / urgency expressed by the spouse. As many other have commented, I would ask to speak to the parties individually. First, I'd speak to the homeowner and gently but directly ask if he is willingly signing this document because I detected some reservations in his initial response. I'd also ask if he has any adult children or living siblings that he'd like to have present at the signing, suggesting we could delay it for a few days. Unfortunately, it is often the case that adult children are hostile to younger wives who may actually be younger than the children (I've encountered this, too). Any additional witness to the signing is helpful; even if it's a friend or neighbor. Then, I would ask to speak with the loan officer and see if that person can explain the urgency apparent in the transaction and share that I've recommended a short delay. This man is about to lose his home and I would not want to be a part of that. Also, I'd want them to know that I know what they are doing and that's it's wrong. They should be on alert that they may be reported.

A. C. Dye

17 Jul 2017

The red flags...1) the borrower's hesitation in signing 2) waiving the 3 day right of Recission...I would contact our NNA Hotline for confirmation in my wanting to refuse to sign...for any new tips to handle this situation....In addition, I don't believe any borrower can waive away his rights such as the RTC....so in that situation...I would want to make certain and possibly contact the lender for further instructions...

Emma Morales

17 Jul 2017

I would not do the notarization

Diana Smith

17 Jul 2017

I would ask that the wife and loan officer leave the room and talk with the gentleman privately. Talk with him about his reservations (not advise him in anyway) and then ask him if wants to continue. If he says yes, then I would ask if this is of his own free will. If he says "no" the I would contact the company who hired me (title co., etc.) and state I am unable to complete the signing and why.

ddrake2009@aol.com

17 Jul 2017

I would ask all persons in the room to leave due to the document's sensitive and personal nature. Then proceed with the signing providing the signer wants to do it. If not the signer does not want to sign the documents, I would leave and immediately call Social Services. In addition I would advise the hospital staff of the proposed signer's statements of not wanting to sign.

Alan

17 Jul 2017

Based on the perceived pressure from the wife and reluctance on the husband's part. Add in the age difference which could (or not) indicate a "gold digger". I would ask everyone to leave the room except for my client, the husband. I would have a long and private meeting with him so I could possible learn if this is something he desired to do. I would advise him that it is my job to make sure the signer is doing this of their own free will. If I didn't get that feeling, I would refuse to notarize.

David

17 Jul 2017

I agree with those who suggest getting him alone away from the "wife". Good catch Craig with his banking fraud experience. Banks are where a lot of these frauds take place.

Alan

17 Jul 2017

I should add, that if I decided he was being pressured, I would call the police.

Denis Tisdale

17 Jul 2017

Not only would I refuse, I would ask the loan officer for his/her card and gather everyone's names. Upon leaving, I would report the loan officer to the state dept or real estate and report the wife to Adult Protective Services.

Kim D. Johnson

17 Jul 2017

This is a difficult situation given that as a Notary, my job is only to make sure the documents are in proper order and verify the identity of the signer. However, the obvious evidence of elder abuse would compel me to try to do something. Attempting to speak to the man alone would be good as well as making sure I had sufficient information to contact the loan officer's superior to alert the institution to the situation. And I may even refuse to complete the notary if I felt uncomfortable. While I do think a younger spouse driving this situation will find a way to get it done, stall tactics could help to encourage the man to stand his ground.

Patricia Giangrande

17 Jul 2017

I would ask to speak to the older gentlemen alone, so that he is not pressured by anyone. If he or the woman refuses, then I would just refrain from notarizing at the present time due to the reluctance of the man.

Maria Herrera

17 Jul 2017

I agree with CLynch below. Have the wife and loan officer removed from the room and only speak with the gentleman to evaluate his understanding of the whole thing. I would also make a phone call to law enforcement to report possible elder financial abuse. Based on the details of this scenario, I would not go forth with the Notarization.

Markus Jones

17 Jul 2017

In precarious situations or high risk scenarios it is allowable to refuse to witness/signature a document (tactfully). The notary should always be aware of elder abuse/neglect/fraud and visually ascertain if the elderly person is fully aware of or capable of his/her actions. You can also set a stipulation such as a family member or close friend to also be in attendance/witness of the notary or delay the signing for surety or apathy. Always be respectful and mindful of the couple's relationship and remind the couple that you would take the same precautions for anyone with the same request or situation.

Virginia M. Greene

17 Jul 2017

having dealt with a similar situation a few months ago, the lady was propped up in a hospital bed, was incoherent, I asked her her name after telling her my name was Virginia, all she could do was repeat Virginia, several times with a blank stare, her male caregiver and her son swore she knew what I wanted her to sign... I refused to notarize the Quit Claim Deed, and informed the son that I would be calling Senior Abuse Hotline. I charged him $5.00 cash for my travel time. (the hose was about 6 blocks from me) and left, called the Pasadena Senior Center Senior abuse hotline and reported the son, caregiver with the address and the circumstances and what they wanted the lady to sign.

Carlos R Arvizu Sr

17 Jul 2017

I would have asked the Gentleman if he understood what documents he was about to sign, and if he was unsure, then perhaps he should seek a competent attorney for advise to make sure this is what he wants to do.

C D Walker

17 Jul 2017

I would not proceed. The use of a second language as well as the signers' obvious reluctance to sign would be more than enough for me to determine that I would not be continuing.

Donna

17 Jul 2017

I would ask to speak with the husband alone. Then I would ask him if he wanted to proceed or stop the signing.

Hector L Romero

17 Jul 2017

I ask the wife and the loan officer to leave the room. Then I would ask the signer if he feel uncomfortable signing I will recommended talk to a lawyer. I will not do the signingYzpvjl

DAVID BENTON

17 Jul 2017

I AGREE THAT THE NOTARY SHOULD TAKE THE GENTLEMAN ASIDE AND SPEAK WITH HIM REGARDING HIS WILLINGNESS TO MOVE FORWARD WITH THAT TRANSACTION, BUT THE TITLE, "THE YOUNG WIFE" APPEARS SOMEWHAT OF A SEXIST COMMENT. WHY NOT JUST SAY "HIS WIFE" PAINTS A PICTURE OF A STEREOTYPE "GOLDDIGGER." WHICH IS INAPPROPRIATE.

April

17 Jul 2017

I would not have completed the Notary process. If I felt in any way that the signer was uneasy or upset about it or was hesitant I would NOT notorize at all.

Richard J Wagner

17 Jul 2017

The wife and loan officer speaking in a tongue foreign to the man would set off a red flag. Since the wife obviously has someone who understands her foreign language, the man should also have someone with him. I would refuse the notary until it seemed fair to all concerned.

Barbara Citty

17 Jul 2017

I would have asked both ladies to step out of the room. I would have then told the signer that I was going to stop the notarization because he had expressed to me that he did not want to encumber his mortgage free property. I would have told him that if he wanted me to come back to please call me. I would give him my card,

Millie Meyers

17 Jul 2017

I would not notarize this loan. This elderly gentleman was truly uneasy about the whole thing, who wouldn't be at his age. The foreign language between the younger wife Ned the. Loan,officer was a stopping point.

Kimberley Watson

17 Jul 2017

I had a similar situation and encouraged the dad of a friend of mine to think about signing a will. I did not sign the will that day but he insisted on doing a power of attorney naming his daughter. Two days later I received a call from the daughter saying that dad was in the hospital and wanting to get will done. I didn't feel good about the situation and talked to the dad again. He assured me that he was not under duress and didn't want anything to happen to him without a will being in place. I met them at the hospital and thankfully there was a neighbor there who witnessed me asking again if the will was done without any coercion. He again stated that he knew what he was doing that he was not under duress except for the fact that I was reluctant to notarize 😊. I did the notarizaion knowing that I had absolutely made sure this was his wish. I don't feel bad about having him wait and think about his decision

Fannie

17 Jul 2017

Asked to speak with the husband alone

Valerie

17 Jul 2017

I would request the wife and loan officer to leave the room to speak to the husband alone and talk to him and get a clearer picture of the situation. If after his explanation does not make me comfortable, I would refuse to do the notary. The urgency and language barrier are two red flags for me.

C.J. Zens

17 Jul 2017

It seems to me there are enough red flags regarding the high likelihood of coercion in this case. For me it is two fold: 1) As a notary of Nevada it is my duty to ensure the signer is 100% aware of the document he/she is signing and exercising free will at that. 2) My primary job in life makes my a State Mandated Reporter; which means, I am obligated by state law to report any suspected instance of child OR elder abuse when the suspicion comes from first hand witnessing. So, there in lies my answer to this situation; I would refuse to notarize and call the authorities to have the wife investigated for possible elder abuse by coercion.

Michael Cordon, Esq.

17 Jul 2017

This is classic undue influence by the wife. There's no way in hell I'd allow the older gentlemen to sign.

Cathy Boston

17 Jul 2017

I agree with C Lynch to a point. Asking the wife and loan officer to leave the area provides the opportunity to determine whether the husband understands what he is signing, agrees with the transaction and whether he is being pressured by either or both of the other parties. However, I would not contact anyone to report the suspected elder abuse until after I refused to do the notary and left the site because it could place both the husband and myself in danger. I would also contact the loan officers employer to address my concerns. I would always report since Notaries are mandated reporters and must report suspected elder abuse.

Elizabeth Hagianakes

17 Jul 2017

Where to begin? So many "little" things out of kilter in this true scenario. Long story short, the notary, seeing the definite unease of the only signer on the Deed (husband), the wife's "gentle" insistence "Let's get this done", the loan officer's opting to converse with the wife (not a signer on the Deed) in this other language, I would have excused both loan officer and wife, and allowed the signer to express his desires alone in my presence. As notaries we are afforded the right to make absolutely certain that the signer of a document is not under duress of any kind (though we cannot do much more than just that --- but I think we should be able to!). Should both or either loan officer or wife refused my request, I would have expressed my inability to continue with the notarial act. I would have requested the loan officer's business card, and left the premises. I hope it turned out well for the older gentleman. Elder abuse (in any form) should be reported and stopped.

neilmartin2020@yahoo.com

17 Jul 2017

Based on his behavior, I would not notarize the document unless he could verify/clarify he understood what was being signed and agreed to it outside of the presence of the others.

Lorraine W. Pereverziev

17 Jul 2017

I have very strong concerns over elder abuse these days, having seen it first hand far too many times. Not long ago, I was actually put in a related situation to your example where the son was pressuring his mother to sign the loan documents I had brought her for signature. I explained to him that I would be unable to notarize his mother if I wasn't confident this was something she not only understood, but was wanting to do. I further explained that I could not make that determination with him in the room and requested that he leave. He initially stated he would not, and I told him that was fine and started to pack up my things. He rapidly changed his mind and ultimately left the room. Once alone, the mother explained to me that she was not confident she was getting straight answers as to exactly what was happening in terms of this refinance from her son. I calmly and quietly explained that the documents represented a new loan on her property that would be replacing her old loan, showed her the new loan amount, interest rate and loan term as set out on the note and asked her if she was comfortable going forward. She had a couple of very valid questions as to the signing process (which confirmed to me she was totally competent to sign) and when she was satisfied with my very general responses, we were able to move forward. I would not, under such circumstances, have proceeded with the non-owning son (or spouse, as in your example) remaining in the room until I had been given a moment to speak with the client and confirm their desire and willingness to move forward. My rule of thumb under most questionable circumstances is to follow your instincts. If you are seeing red flags, then stop the appointment and reschedule. A delayed closing is far more preferable to a prolonged suit against all parties by the unduly influenced signer.

Fred Chasson

17 Jul 2017

I'm a retired Nursing Home Administrator so I don't take this situation lightly. The gentleman has already expressed a desire not sign the document. I would politely state my decision not to provide notarial services.l would also contact my local Adult Protective Services.

Al

18 Jul 2017

As notaries, we should be able to see this scenario is just too risky, for both the notary and the elder man. Think about it, what if this was you dad/father. Keep in mind, how many of us is bonded for $300,000 + the value of the house. Tell the young wife to go find another notary. Period end of story.

SPoP

18 Jul 2017

I agree with the few above that have stated I am simply there to notarize a signature. I am not there as law enforcement, a couples therapist, an attorney, or to escalate what I view as an issue that may not be an issue at all. Things are quickly made into issues or made worse when others make assumptions and escalate things. The deciding factor here is the fact she is his spouse. She's not a random person that has asked him for a loan. They are borrowing against the house she currently resides in and what happens to that property upon his passing may indeed already be lined out in a will. He's not giving her money for companionship, he's not transferring ownership of the house or signing a power of attorney over to her against his will. He is taking out a loan on his own property, he can walk out that door with the check, tell her no, take the money and spend it on himself or anything he chooses to do with it. It's not the notaries job to determine what he does or does not do with that money if he chooses to take out a loan.

Charly Varughese

18 Jul 2017

I will notify the elder protection agency and walk away from the place. Because even if I did not notarise some others may do it. So as I am witnessed the forceful situation I do have to report it.

Dawn

18 Jul 2017

I would ask him again if he sure and if he still has doubts I would recommend him to take a couple of days to consult with a friend, family member or a lawyer and reschedule and proceed from there.

Holly Ganesh

18 Jul 2017

First as a notary you are supposed to go over each page of each document to make sure they are aware of each of the terms of the loan. Also, I would ask if he was represented by an attorney. In most real estate transactions in my state, New Jersey, attorneys are supposed to be present even when there is a notary. I am a Realtor as well as a notary. Second, if one person is uncomfortable with any of the terms of the mortgage then I will not sogn and witness anything. Especially if that person is the only signee on all documents. I will have them refer back to their legal counsel, attorney.

Carmela

18 Jul 2017

I believe it is important to understand the whole situation, when signing for anyone at anytime. In this situation, as a Notary for the State of Texas, I would have to request the presence of an immediate family member of the elderly gentleman. Financial abuse of the elderly is not a matter to take lightly, and I would not want to be liable, if the family finds me to be apart of the problem, should it arise later.

James Sr

18 Jul 2017

This is very clear. The husband has doubts about the loan, but indicates he is willing to sign. The three day ROR is not part of the notary signing agent's concern other than making sure it gets signed according to the instructions. Unless the husband shows an inability to understand the documents, the notary has no right to interfere with the transaction. This does not represent an illegal transaction and if the notary interferes he or she is setting themself up for a court appearance later.

Liz

18 Jul 2017

I wouldn't have notarized the documents. Suggest he go home, review everything and if he was more comfortable later they could come back.

Michael A. Dayger

18 Jul 2017

Walk away! As professionals we should recognize undue influence and coercion, which are both present in this scenario.

Michael A. Dayger

18 Jul 2017

Walk away! As professionals we should recognize undue influence and coercion, which are both present in this scenario.

Patricia Bernier

18 Jul 2017

First, I would ask the wife and loan officer to step into another room while I spoke with the owner and would ask him point blank if he wanted to sign. If not, I would end the conversation. If he was unsure, I would ask if he is under stress to sign the document to please his wife only and that if he really did not want to take out the loan, then do not sign. If he agreed, I would call them in and let them know that this is not his intent and that I could not in good faith notarize his signature. At that point, I would call the loan officer's manager when I was back in my car or office to explain the situation (only if the loan officer was pushy). If the loan officer understood, then I would simply leave.

Etta Johnson

18 Jul 2017

I would not have completed the notarization because his wife is obviously only thinking about herself...she's a gold digger!!!

Lillian Munguia

18 Jul 2017

I'm with Fred Chasson - I worked in a nursing home for several years and elder abuse is not something to be taken lightly. I would also politely decline to perform the notarization and as soon as I left, I would be on the phone to Adult Protective Services.

Delores Campbell

18 Jul 2017

It is a shame that this type of situation is on the rise. I feel that it would be an injustice to merely refuse to notarize the form. To be able to help the elderly, we must explain that our legal right is to give them every opportunity to understand that this 3 day recession works for those that aren't really sure of moving forward with legal matter such as this one. Not giving them FULL information on why we have their best interest at heart, leaves the less educated notarizer, the right away. And in that, we all fail!

Donald Wilkins

19 Jul 2017

I would ask the two women to leave the room as I needed to talk with the homeowner alone for a few minutes. If they refused, I would terminate the signing. I am bound under California law to verify that the signer is cognizant, aware of the process created by the documents and impact on him, and is not under duress to sign. A violation of any of these is grounds for refusing to sign, and no court would convict me. If they left the room AND CLOSED THE DOOR, I would speak with the husband briefly about the loan documents to verify he understands what he is getting into. Then I would get up and quietly walk to the door and open it. If the ladies are outside listening, I would invite them in and tell them I cannot notarize the documents. If they were actually out of hearing, I would go tell them I need a few more minutes. Then I would return and ask the gentleman how he feels about the loan and the commitment he is entering into. I would determine his cognizance in the process of the discussion. Then I would make my determination. I had a situation once where there were three signers, and one was definitely upset about the signing. After a while he went outside, and I excused myself to go get something from my car. On the way back, I met him in the front yard where he was smoking a cigarette and asked him if he had a problem signing the documents. He said the three were partners in ownership of the house, and the other two wanted the loan and he didn't. He said he would go along with the majority vote, but he was not happy. I notarized.

tammy@familylifecenterflagler.org

19 Jul 2017

I agree with Angel - don't sign and alert law enforcement to possible elder abuse.

LINDA FULLER

19 Jul 2017

Texas has stringent laws against this type of notarization fraud. I would excuse myself and contact the client who gave me the order to let them know, I was declining to preside and why. I then say goodbye to the couple and let them know the Lender would be contacting them. I would notify the authorities of my suspicion that this elderly person could be in danger and leave then with a clear conscience.

Karen Caffrey

19 Jul 2017

I would not notarize the document and excuse myself.

Felicia Washington

19 Jul 2017

I wouldn't sign it. Our handbook states that the signer has to be of sound mind, and willing to sign the documentation on his or her own choice. If the signer is being pressured by someone else then the notary should kindly refuse to sign it. If a notary notarize the document, then they better hope they aren't sued later down the line.

Michal Yniguez

19 Jul 2017

I would ask to speak with the signer alone. If they balked or refused, I would refuse to do the notary. Once alone with the gentleman, I would ask him if this was something he was certain about doing. If he expressed any doubt to me, I would not complete the notarization.

Jessica

20 Jul 2017

I would not notarize the document or require a family member, related to the gentleman be a witness.

Shelley Reeve

22 Jul 2017

I would say I needed to speak with the gentleman privately (not "ask") and do so after the room was cleared. I would then ask him some non-related questions, to see if he was thinking clearly, and then ask him if this was what he wanted, and if anyone was coercing or influencing him. And if I still didn't feel okay with it, I wouldn't complete. Can I refer this man to an Elder Abuse hotline, or is that giving legal advice?

Matt

23 Jul 2017

I would have cleared the room and simply asked the man, are you willing to sign this document? Depending on his answer would determine if I proceed or not.

HarrisMobileNotary@gmail.com

31 Jul 2017

I would definitely refuse seeing how uncomfortable and frustrated he is

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