Notarizing for the Physically Impaired


If a signer is physically impaired or disabled, a professional San Diego mobile notary has some helpful tools and procedures they can use to help accommodate the notarization.  A California notary can accept a signature by mark or powers of attorney when notarizing a document.


Signature By Mark

If a signer has a physical disability that makes producing a signature difficult or impossible, the signer may use a process called signature by mark.  In the case of a physically impaired signer, as long as the signer meets the requirements of being alert and willing to sign, the notarization can proceed by a process called signature by mark.  The notary must verify the identity of the signer and two credible witnesses and record the signer and two witnesses’ identification cards in their journal.  The notary can then allow the signer to simply make an “x” or other mark in place of their signature on the document and in the notary’s journal.  The signature by mark must be witnessed by the two credible witnesses and the signer must make the mark on their own.  The signer can not make the mark with the assistance of another person.  If a notary is asked to help make the signature by mark, they must refuse to do so.

Powers Of Attorney

If a signer anticipates they will be impaired in the future and won’t be able to sign or make decisions, powers of attorney can be given to another person to help facilitate the signer’s wishes.  The person given powers of attorney may sign on behalf of the signer mentioned in the document.  The person with the powers of attorney is referred to as the “representative signer” or the “attorney in fact”.  The person designated as attorney in fact does not have to actually be an attorney.  This is just a legal term used to identify the person given the powers of attorney.  When an individual has been given powers of attorney, the notary certifies the signature of the attorney in fact (person given powers of attorney for another).

Notarizing For the Visually Impaired

If a signer is visually impaired, they may have difficulty signing in the right place on a document.  The signer may also accidentally stray outside the signature box on a document.  To prevent this from happening, a notary should keep a signature guide card on them at all times. The card allows visually impaired signers to stay inside the signature block of a document.  I carry a signature guide card with my notary supplies in case a signer is visually impaired.

Notarizing For the Hearing Impaired

If a signer is hearing impaired, there must be a way for them to communicate directly with the notary.  If the signer can write notes in the same language as the notary, then the signing can proceed.  

Other Considerations

In addition to signature guide cards, I also keep some pens with larger barrels for those with arthritis or other conditions that might make gripping a smaller pen barrel difficult.  I recommend any San Diego mobile notary also carry with them a few extra pair of reading glasses and a clipboard to help accommodate physically impaired signers.