ALS-Had to cancel the signing

I haven’t had this happen since the days when I was just a general Notary and it’s the first since I became a Signing Agent.

I got to the house for a Seller’s Package and the driveway was full of cars. When I walked in, there were family members everywhere and the Signer was introduced by her son. She was small, frail, and had a child’s smile as she waved to me. The son told me that she had ALS and would not be able to understand the documents she would be signing.

Needless to say, I told them that would be a problem since I couldn’t notarize documents with her in that state and excused myself to contact the Title Agent. He said that they had not informed him of her condition and asked to speak with the family. They asked if they could just push it to next week since another brother had the POA for her, but “he can’t find it”.

Obviously the Title Agent was peeved, told the family he would contact them in a day or so, and asked me to call back after I left. Once I was back in my car and on the phone with him, he thanked me for recognizing and following through with not being able to complete the signing.

Even with as many Rev Mortgage Closings as I do a week with senior citizens who are physically handicapped, it still floored me a little to have to cancel because of diminished mental capacity. I have personal experience with ALS family members and my heart went out to the family, but this is the job.

Moral of the story: These situations are always out there. Be aware.


Please don’t take this the wrong way …but ALS? As far as I know ALS does not cause mental incapacity…it’s mainly a physical manifestation…and a horrible disease. Sadly the person is quite aware of what is happening to him.

Did you maybe mean Alzheimer’s? If not and it truly was ALS…so sad and sorry you had no idea. I think you handled this very well.

It probably was something like Alzheimer’s. ALS was what the son told me.
The person I lost was diagnosed with Bulbar ALS, a rapid onset / end type; less than 2 years from first symptom to passing. I’ve only known one person with a family member diagnosed with the long term ALS and, from what she told me, after 12 years(if I remember right), her mom’s mind had started to go.
To be honest, once I realized she was mentally incapable of signing, I was thinking less about her and more about ways to diffuse a possibly rough situation if the family started getting adamant about signing anyway. I’m really glad they understood.

From the NIH: “Cognitive decline in ALS is characterized by personality change, irritability, obsessions, poor insight, and pervasive deficits in frontal executive tests. This presentation is consistent with the changes to character, social conduct, and executive function in frontotemporal dementia.”

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And then there’s this, which indicates it’s a neuromuscular disorder…with no loss of cognitive ability…

I’m leaning toward the premise that the OP was dealing with an Alzheimer’s or dementia patient…and believe me, sometimes with dementia you have no idea…my Mom had it…any stranger who didn’t know her would never know anything was wrong…until they tried to engage her in conversation for longer than 15 minutes…then the signs would start to show