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May I Refuse To Notarize If A Signer Appears Mentally Impaired?

Can I legally refuse to notarize a document for someone who seems to be mentally impaired, such as an older person that appears to have dementia? — D.M., California

California state law does not explicitly permit you to refuse a notarization for an individual who is mentally impaired. That said, it would be unwise to notarize for an individual who shows clear signs of dementia at the time of notarization.

The Notary Public Code of Professional Responsibility recommends against performing a notarization “for any person if the Notary has a reasonable belief that can be articulated that the person at the moment is not aware of the significance of the transaction.” (Standard III-C-1)

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