Alzheimer Signings

CA - where to draw the line with an Alzheimer signer? what do you do and can you share a situation you have been in? I am about to go to a signing and I know what to do, but it puzzles me that there are not better laws in place. (like having a medical professional present as well? ) the person might be fully alert at this moment, but 30 minutes later has no memory of signing anything? (speaking of my own experience with my dad…) Thank you for sharing.

What kind of signing? And where? I know in CA, if the signing is at a skilled nursing facility, an ombudsman must be present, which I think is a great idea.

My Mom had dementia too - lived with us. She would seem find to anyone for the first 10-15 minutes then she’d start to mentally “stray”. No short term memory at all.

I, personally, would not do the signing. When I hear the words “dementia” or “Alzheimer’s” I decline…but that’s just me based on my experience. This is a situation that could have you in Court in the future. If it’s something that absolutely must be done, then the next-of-kin need to get a guardianship in place.



Welcome to the forum. In short, this is tricky! If the signer was in fact diagnosed as having Alzheimer’s, usually they would have a POA to conduct such transactions for them. If they don’t have a POA, could they be deemed “mentally competent” to designate someone? I found the article below from NNA (CA), which basically states the SOS doesn’t address these types of situations in their laws, which in turn would “tell me” not to touch it. The article is from 2015 so I would check with SOS to see if they made any updates in regards to such. Hope this helps!
Can I Notarize For A Signer Who Has Alzheimer’s Disease? | NNA.


Thank you for your response Linda. The person lives at home and he needs to sign a declaration that his son can take to the coroners office in order to release his other dead sons personal belongings.

@myriamsnotary wow…so sad. I would probably go and speak with the person - gauge their awareness - they may be early onset and still functional.

When I worked for the local attorney recently, there was a client diagnosed with early-onset dementia - she spent all her spare time getting her affairs in order and accomplishing things while she still could so no one would have to worry later.

The other thing to consider is - they may be diagnosed but have they been declared incompetent? Like I said, they may be functional. My Mom was diagnosed in 1991 but really didn’t start to “lose it” until around 2000 - so she had 9 years of full competency.

Good luck


In Texas the Notary is to determine if the signer is competent, i.e. aware, cognizant, and understands what and why they are signing. This can be thin ice to tread upon, as most notaries lack the medical/psychological training to make this type of determination with someone operating in a diminished capacity. This means you may be better off not knowing the signers diagnosis, i.e. plausible deniability.