disabled people and legal documents
April 13, 2010 10:28 AM Subscribe
How can a disabled (paralysed) person sign a legal document?
posted by leticia to law & government (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Hi all. I understand, you are not a lawyer, but I could really use some help in trying to figure out how to answer this question.
An elderly relative -- with all his mental faculties -- has had a serious medical problem that has left him partially paralyzed and unable to write. He is in the hospital awaiting transfer to a rehabilitation center, and he is ready to sign a power of attorney for a family member to help him manage his financial affairs.
However, the family has hit a snag, because the notary at the hospital won't notarize the document until she is satisfied that however he signs it, it is legally acceptable. Someone on the hospital staff, a nurse i think, called a legal help-line for advice, and was told that it was acceptable for someone else to make the mark for him as long as it was properly witnessed (i don't have all the details on that, but the family did get details). Now, however, the notary won't follow the procedure unless she has a written statement that it would be all right.
The power of attorney was drawn up using a do-it-yourself kit, so the family can't actually go "back" to the lawyer who drew it up to get the answer. They've been trying to solve this but with absolutely no luck.
Does anyone have any idea what the solution to this problem would be? What would be the procedure for a person who cannot sign (not even to make an "x") to somehow "sign" a document? I am absolutely amazed that it's been so difficult to find out. You would think this would not be an unheard of issue, particularly in a hospital -- I mean surely disabled people get around signing documents every day?!?
Or, does anyone have any suggestions on how/where I could find the answer?
We're totally mystified.
Oh, yeah, PS, this is all happening in the state of PA.