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Ensuring Clarity and Consent: The Vital Role of Screening Questions in Mobile Notary Services - San Diego, CA.

Updated: Apr 26

Assessing a signer's mental capacity and comprehension when a document require signature and notarization

Notaries are used worldwide and are paramount to everyday needs. Some people use notaries often while other individuals have never had a need for one. Notaries serve as impartial witnesses to the signing of a variety of crucial documents, ensuring that the signers are who they say they are and that they are signing documents willingly and with full understanding of their implications. San Diego Notary Signing Agent travels to meet clients all over San Diego County whether it be the signer’s home, business, coffee shop or for seniors who may reside in homecare type of facilities like assisted living or retirement communities. Besides simply witnessing a signature, a notary needs to be proactive and engaging with the signers to assess the signer’s mental capacity and comprehension.

San Diego Notary Signing Agent offers mobile notary services across several sectors such as real estate, wealth management, home care, and estate planning. The signers may be a young couple just buying their first home, or a family of five looking to establish an estate plan to protect their assets and legacy. Either way, in every case whether the signer is young or old, notaries need to ensure that the signer(s) are alert, aware, and willing throughout the signing process. It is certainly more prevalent with individuals that may have health challenges such as onset of alzheimer's or dementia or have suffered a stroke. The notary must play a vital role in asking the appropriate screening questions to confirm that the signer is capable and aware.

The four fundamental questions that are essential to assess a signer’s awareness and alertness are as follows:

  1. Can the signer tell the notary who they are

  2. Does the signer know where they are

  3. What do they expect to sign as this ensures that they understand the nature of the document and not being coerced or misled.

  4. Are they aware of who is in the room (spouse, family member, etc.)

Not only do these four questions serve as the cornerstone to ensuring the signer’s capacity to sign, but the importance extends beyond procedure as notaries bear significant legal and ethical responsibilities on behalf of their notary commission with the National Notary Association and the Secretary of State (the state the notary is commissioned in). The consequence of failing to uphold these standards can be severe. By proactively asking these screening questions, mobile notaries can mitigate these risks and fulfill their duty to protect the interests of all parties involved. Considering the notary's frequent encounters with unfamiliar settings and individuals, it's important for them to approach each situation with sensitivity and compassion. Through clear communication and professionalism, they can cultivate an atmosphere of trust and collaboration throughout the signing process. It’s never easy on the families or the notary when family members are in the hospital or in their last days of hospice care. Compassion truly goes a long way and the families are beyond grateful working with a notary who holds space for them during difficult times.

In many cases, the individuals involved in the signing may be family members or close extended family or friends of the signer. While their presence may be well-intentioned, it can also introduce distractions and potential complications. To preemptively address these concerns, mobile notaries should prioritize setting clear expectations with the signer and their family members prior to the appointment. Communicating openly about the screening process prior to the appointment and its importance can help alleviate any apprehensions and ensure that all parties understand their roles and responsibilities.

Have you ever considered that a notary is more than just a stamp? Their role is crucial, serving as a safeguard against fraud, coercion, and misunderstandings. Not only do they verify identities and witness signatures, but they also ask screening questions to ensure signers are fully aware of what they're doing and understand the documents they are signing.  By consistently incorporating these essential screening questions into their work, notaries are not only setting clear expectations with signers and their families, but also upholding the highest standards of professionalism. This ensures that every signing is conducted with integrity and respect for the law, reflecting the dedication of a commissioned notary public

San Diego Notary Signing Agent is happy to serve our community making sure your loved one has clarity and consent! Let us know how we can help for future mobile notary needs for you, your family, or friends locally in San Diego County.

As another resource, check out this article regarding assessing a signer's mental capacity on behalf of the National Notary Association (NNA).

Kristen Weiss

Notary Since 2002 NNA Ambassador®

🌐 Just Google “San Diego Notary Signing Agent”

📱 Call us: (619) 663-6360


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