Does a Hospital have a Notary?
If you are asked to notarize for hospital patients and their families, please keep in mind some of the challenges that you may be faced with. Patients in the hospital may be very ill, connected to life-saving machines, might not be able to physically move or communicate, may not have valid identification, and their families may be in a lot of distress. Notarizing for hospital patients takes a lot of patience and understanding. Be prepared to spend more time at the signing due to these or other circumstances. Depending on the type of services you specialize in as a Notary, hospital notary work might not be for you or you might find it very rewarding.
Does every hospital have an onsite Notary?
It depends on the hospital policies and procedures within different regions, however, most notarization requests for hospital patients come from family members. The Notary is usually not affiliated with the hospital. A Mobile Notary, or “traveling notary” are typically the best fit for these requests because they come directly to the patient. Most hospitals have onsite social workers who may be called upon to assist with finding a notary, however, in most instances, the family is tasked to research this request on their own.
What are the most common notarization requests for hospital patients?
Power of Attorney documents and Wills are at the top of the list. Why? Families need legal authorization to take care of financial, medical and other personal affairs with a patient who may be incapable of making these decisions on their own, or patients who are faced with a terminal medical issue and now they need someone to take care of their affairs.
Health Care Proxy documents and HIPPA forms are the next two important most requested documents for notary services. These documents give families legal authority to make important medical decisions on the patient’s behalf. They give families authorization to be informed about the patient’s medical history.
Next are bank forms and financial transactions for mortgage and other financial decisions, or assignment of personal real property.
“Properties are not conveyed, medical wishes are not respected, contracts are not honored, and adoptions are not finalized” without a proper notarization. These documents are not binding unless notarized.
Tips for performing hospital notarizations
Call and confirm that all required signers will be present. During that first initial call, confirm that all signers are able to sign without assistance, and confirm that they have valid identification required for the notarization.
The other important item is to verify the type of document(s) that need to be signed. Some states may have different rules, or certain requirements on how the document should be signed. For example, in New York State, Power of Attorney documents now need two credible witnesses, one of which can be the notary. The credible witness(es) is provided by the person requesting the notarization. Be sure to always check your specific state laws on the proper way to perform this and other types of notarizations.
Signers should be alert and aware of what is going on. They must be able to sign without assistance. They must appear competent and should not appear to be affected by any medications that could interfere with their ability to understand and comprehend the documents to be signed. If this is the case when you arrive, do not continue with the signing and explain the reason for refusal to the family.
The documents should be completed beforehand with no missing or blank spaces. Witnesses, if required, should be present and 18 years of age or older. The identity of all signers should be properly verified by the notary before starting the notarization.
Hospital notarizations are very common requests. In these instances, you are often faced with very special patient accommodations so remember to prepare yourself as much as possible before-hand so that you can provide a hassle-free service.
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