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Can I Notarize For A Signer Who Can’t Hold A Pen?

New Hotline Resized 3I work in a long-term care facility, and one of my patients is unable to sign a power of attorney. He cannot even make a mark or hold a pen. What are my options to notarize his power of attorney form?A.J., California

If the patient is unable to make a mark of any kind, you cannot notarize his signature. Unlike several states, California doesn’t have a specific provision allowing a signer to direct the Notary or a third party to sign on his behalf. Due to this limitation, your only option is to direct the patient or his family to seek legal advice on how to proceed.

Hotline answers are based on the laws in the state where the question originated and may not reflect the laws of other states. If in doubt, always refer to your own state statutes. — The Editors 

Confronted with a tricky notarization? Unsure how to proceed? NNA members have unlimited access to our expertly trained NNA Hotline counselors to help you with all of your notarial questions. Call 1-888-876-0827, Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. PST; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST.



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Robert L Hynoski

07 May 2018

Good article.

Adria Henslick

10 Jul 2018

That’s ridiculous. A notary, being a credible witness, should be able to create a document supporting the person needing to sign but unable to as long as he is present and acknowledges the document. I can’t think of a reason why not unless the notary is dishonest but that can be with any document.

Daniela Daniel

10 Jul 2018

How is that not descriminating to a person who, let's say is paralyzed but if sound mind?!

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