Special Situation: Notarizing for the Visually/Hearing Impaired

These are other special circumstances for notaries.

As addressed before, in FL notaries, as impartial witnesses, cannot simply identify the person and notarize his or her signature, we need to actually make sure the signer understands the document to be signed and that he or she is doing it freely. If the person doesn’t understand the contents, we cannot explain or advise on any of it, but simply suggest that he or she should seek an attorney and decline to notarize.

As with any other special notarization, we must rely upon the law, use common sense, and exercise reasonable care. Also, keep accurate records and make sure to note the circumstance on the journal if you keep one (for more detail, please refer to my previous post – Special Situation: Notarizing for a Person who is Mentally Disabled)

Notarizing for Visually Impaired:

Florida Statuses §117.05(14)(a) state the following:

  • The law requires notaries to read the document to the document signer before the notarization.
  • Notaries may wish to add a statement in your notarial certificate that they have complied with this requirement of the law: “I further certify that I read the document to (name of signer) prior to notarization.”
Notarizing for Hearing Impaired:
  • Communication is the main problem in this case. Unless notaries and the signer are competent in sign language or lip reading, they should communicate with the person by writing notes.
  •  Make additional comments about the notarization in your journal entry
Other suggestions for special circumstances:
  •  Unless you are also an attorney, remember that you cannot advise the person about the contents of the document; however, you may re-read any portion of the document to the person.
  • Notaries could have an impartial witness present as well. If so, have the person sign the journal entry prior notarization.

For reference, access: Governor’s Reference Manual for Notaries p. 36-37

by Alessandra Gomes

On My Way FL Notary S.A.