Florida prohibits a Notary from performing a notarization if a Signer appears unable to understand the nature of the document at the time of notarization. In accordance, the Notary will refuse to notarize if a Signer appears disoriented or under the influence of drugs or medication
The notary public will read out loud, the document to the document signer.
The nature and effect of the document must be translated into a language that the person does understand. The law does not specify that a written translation is required; therefore, an oral translation is sufficient. The notary public may not translate the document and notary public may refuse to complete notary request.
The obvious problem that exists in this situation is communication. Unless the notary public and the signer are competent in sign language or lip reading, the notary public should communicate with the person by writing notes.
The notary public may question the signer to make sure that he or she understands the nature and effect of the document to be signed. If the person is illiterate, the notary public will read the document to him or her. If the person does not understand, the notary public will refer him or her to their attorney for legal advice and the notary public will not proceed with the notarization. Two uninterested persons must witness the signing of the document and the notarization and that their names and addresses be clearly printed under their signatures.
On a rare occasion, the notary public may be asked to notarize the signature of a person who cannot sign a document in the usual manner. In Florida, an individual with a disability may direct a notary to sign on his or her behalf. In a sense, one person substitutes his hands for the hands of the person with a disability. The notary may notarize this signature and should indicate the unusual circumstances in the notarial certificate. Two persons with no interest in the transaction must witness the signing of the document and the notarization and that their names and addresses be clearly printed below their signatures.
Situation: John Doe presents a document to be signed by Nancy Smith. John Doe states that he has power of attorney for Nancy Smith. John Doe signs the document in one of two ways:
(1) John Doe as attorney-in-fact for Nancy Smith
(2) Nancy Smith by John Doe, attorney-in-fact
The first way is the preferred method in Florida.
It is not the notary‘s responsibility to ensure that the signer has power of attorney. The person states he has that authority and indicates this fact when he signs.
Occasionally, a notary is asked to notarize the signature of a person who does not have, and cannot obtain, acceptable identification. This most often occurs when the person is an elderly person, a minor child, or a person with a disability. Florida allows the sworn written statement of two credible witnesses whose identities are proven to the notary and who personally know the signer.
A Notary will not notarize a document if they feel that a person is not signing the document of their own free will. If we suspect that a person is being coerced or pressured into signing any document, we will question the signer, in private, regarding this issue and/or not proceed with a notarization of the document.