By Linda Kassis—How do we determine if someone is competent to sign? We are not doctors of body or mind. Similar to the situation of UPL, we are not certified to make that determination yet we are asked to be certain of willingness and awareness of the signer. An attorney at the Iowa Notary Conference used this example. She would speak to the signer about the day and how the weather is etc to determine if their mind was in present day reality. Even if they talked about ‘little green men’ as long as they were not willing their assets to the ‘little green men’ and knew who they were willing their assets or whatever to, then it is beyond her control.
If you do not feel that a person is competent or fully aware of what they are doing it may be suggested to him/her or family members present to talk to his/her physician to determine if they are competent to be signing such a document or if there are days they are more in tune.
Questionable conduct in regard to intimidating or convincing an elder to sign something, whether it be a relative or otherwise of the elder: If you find yourself in a situation where you feel an elder is being pushed into or swindled into signing something, contact your State Attorney General Office and ask for Fraud Investigations or contact your local police station and they can forward the information. According to the Iowa Attorney General office they would prefer you report it if you have suspicions. Sometimes a name will trigger that either the police dept or AG office has been watching.