How to handle an uncomfortable signing

April 26, 2023

As a notary, we have the unique ability to meet new individuals every day in our practice of signing documents, remotely or in-person. Some individuals may be signing documents of extreme importance, for example, estate planning documents such as a Last Will and Testament or real estate documents, for instance loan forms. 

In Florida there are laws in place to ask questions to signers when signing such documents to gauge the signer’s competency at the time of signing. Besides these key questions, a Florida Notary Public can also utilize the following information to gauge a signer’s mental state at the time of signing as follows:

  1. May I see a second form of identification?
  2. It’s my understanding you are signing [document title], is that your understanding?
  3. Who prepared this document for you? Did they provide you with instructions?
  4. Have you consulted an attorney or licensed professional regarding the documents you wish to sign? Would you like to?
  5. I noticed there is a guest with you, can you provide their name and relationship to you?

In conclusion, if a signer exhibits signs of duress, is feeling rushed or does not understand the documents being signed, we recommend that you remove yourself from the signing and advise your signer to re-schedule or in an extreme case seek additional counsel. 

Written by: Genna Rubolino, FRP, General Manager

Florida Notary Public and Florida Online Notary

Guardian Ad Litem: 15th Judicial Circuit

Please note that I, as the author of this article, am not a licensed attorney and as such cannot offer legal advice. No content of this article/blog post is intended as, nor should it be construed as legal advice.