Complications! Legal, Health, & Ethical

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Ward County Notary Services

I just received a very difficult request to notarize a document. As a Notary Public this is what I do BUT this time I had to say no thank you. This one was just to complicated. YOU could have been the person calling me so pay attention to the circumstances.

The caller asked if I had a Power Of Attorney form his brother could fill out to give him control over his (the brother) checking account. He further asked if I could meet him and his brother at the hospital to notarize the document. He further stated that his brother is only expected to live another two days at the most.

Sounds simple but it's full of problems he and you may not have thought about.

#1) A Notary Public is not a lawyer and is not qualified to give legal advice. I have some general POA forms on legal programs and as the caller pointed out, he could get one on line or from Office Depot BUT this is very dangerous as the signer may give permissions in areas he never intended.

A POA may not be the right tool for what he wants to achieve. I don't believe a POA is enforceable should his brother die prior to the caller taking care of the banking business he needed the POA for.

#2) The caller further disclosed his brother is in the Covid unit. 

What do I do? I am 67 years old and I have a slew of health problems of my own. Furthermore even though I am fully vaccinated do I have to shut my own business down for for 10 days or what ever the current protocol is (not to mention endangering my own unvaccinated family)? 

So what is the moral to the story?

I believe the moral of the story is the old Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared! Contrary to popular belief it does not cost a zillion dollars to consult a lawyer. When Carol and I had our wills drawn up (very simple wills) we had POA's also written up for each of us. I'm pretty sure it cost us less then $500.. Far less then having a lawyer sort it out after the fact and far less money then we would be giving up to Uncle Sam as he would surly confiscate our hard earned money without having a legal instrument in place.

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Comments (21)

Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co Notary Services retired RE Broker

"Be prepared" certainly is the key Raymond Henson, eXp Realty . Your Seller and his family were really lucky with the way things turned out (except the death part).

Jan 24, 2022 10:05 AM
Ray Henson
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA
Realtor

They were lucky.  The health problems came on so fast.  The only complication, and it was a big one, were all of the family members that were beneficiaries of the small estate.  I think  there were about 20.  They all had to sign off on the sale.

Jan 24, 2022 10:50 AM
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co Notary Services retired RE Broker

20 people agreeing on anything is a huge undertaking Raymond Henson, eXp Realty . I can't imagine!

Jan 24, 2022 11:16 AM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy

Bob,

Oh the problems people heap upon themselves!  Smart of you to not get involved.  A

Jan 24, 2022 12:40 PM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Hi Bob...  a very good story to illustrate the importance of getting one's affairs in order in advance and not on death's door. If all the other complications were absent, the covid unit alone would have dissuaded me from doing this notarization.

Jan 24, 2022 01:11 PM
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co Notary Services retired RE Broker

Thanks Ron and Alexandra Seigel . There were to many pitfalls in this situation A. that could come back and bite me.

Jan 24, 2022 01:16 PM
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co Notary Services retired RE Broker

I agree Nina Hollander, Broker . I don't have any faith in the masks or even in the three shots I've had. The chance that I may bring it home to Timmothy or Carol who are not vaccinated is just to big of a risk.

Jan 24, 2022 01:18 PM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good afternoon Bob - he is asking you to do more than simply notarize a document.  Stay away is the right response.

Jan 24, 2022 01:52 PM
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co Notary Services retired RE Broker

That is exactly what I am going to do even though I am compelled to help Grant Schneider . I did give him some good advice so I hope that helps him out some.

Jan 24, 2022 01:55 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Bob - trusting ones gut can be very important.  

Jan 24, 2022 03:00 PM
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co Notary Services retired RE Broker

I hope I did right Michael Jacobs but I still wish I could have helped these men out. They are/were in need but I have an obligation to protect my6 family.

Jan 24, 2022 06:34 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Retired Home Stager/Redesign

HI Bob- interesting situation. Much as you would like to help, you can't always do so. The vaccinations and masks are no guarantee so you were prudent to weigh the risks. 

Jan 24, 2022 08:22 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Yes decisions need to be made right or wrong you are a businessman and can choose whose business you take on... I am a Realtor and I have turned down business for my peace of mind. Hope you referred them to an Attorney... Endre

Jan 24, 2022 10:20 PM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Bob. Learning when to say "no" is a hard lesson to learn. Asking "what part of NO don't you understand?" is even harder. Enjoy your day.

Jan 25, 2022 05:28 AM
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co Notary Services retired RE Broker

This is true Kathy Streib as I have even heard those in favor of masks and the jab say that they do NOT stop anyone from spreading the virus.

Jan 25, 2022 07:02 AM
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co Notary Services retired RE Broker

That is exactly what I did Endre Barath, Jr.  My office landlord is an Attorney and specializes in RE and personal estate matters so it was an easy referral.

Jan 25, 2022 07:04 AM
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co Notary Services retired RE Broker

Thank you Wayne Martin . It was hard but I did stick to my decision as much as I wished to help them out.

Jan 25, 2022 07:05 AM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

Bob - You have hit on a very important point when it comes to planning ahead.  

Jan 26, 2022 10:05 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

CONGRATULATIONS Bob, on having this blog FEATURED in the Old Farts Club group!  

Jan 26, 2022 10:06 PM
Bob "RealMan" Timm

Thank you Myrl Jeffcoat . Us "Old Farts" need to be sure our affairs are in order so we don't send our relatives into a frenzy over legal maters at the time of our passing.

Jan 27, 2022 06:00 AM
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co Notary Services retired RE Broker

I think we have all had those moments where we knew the time to act had already passed us by Myrl Jeffcoat . The right time to act is always NOW!

Jan 27, 2022 05:54 AM