Concern for Safety of Signer

I was contacted by title company to do a quit claim deed. I set my price and was told the signer would pay me directly. I called and set up the appointment. The guy seemed a bit brusque when I asked if the party getting off the deed would also be there. I arrived at the appointment and rang the doorbell three times until someone answered. It was the woman getting off the deed. She stated the other party would be right down but she seemed very upset and timid. A few minutes later the very muscular man came running down the steps and threw $65 on the table which was our agreed upon fee. He said they weren’t signing because he just wanted to “teach her a lesson.” He told me to leave and I did.
About 20 minutes later he called me back and said they both agreed to sign the quit claim deed. Luckily I hadn’t gone too far. Now I was advised to meet him at a local bank because she wasn’t signing without the agreed upon amount of cash. (Not even a fraction of what the house was worth.) When I arrived at the bank he was yelling at the woman and she was cowering in her seat. The banker kept trying to calm him down and told him it takes a bit to get this amount of cash. I was worried about the woman and when I asked behind his back if she was OK she started crying. Then he started yelling at her to quit crying because she didn’t deserve any of this money anyway. They weren’t married so I asked the banker if she needed to be in the room at this moment.
She didn’t need to be there n the room so I asked her to step outside. I wanted to assess her mental state for signing and to check on her safety. As she and I talked and she explained that she only wanted back the money she gave him to buy the house, he came running outside and asked if I was her lawyer. I assured him I was only checking that she was signing willingly. I also suggested that she call someone to take her home because I didn’t think his mental state was logical. Eventually he came out, handed her the money. I double checked that they both were signing willingly. The entire time I logged in my journal he was yelling at her. I asked him several times to stop shouting. I threatened to leave, but I felt the woman would have been forced to stay in that bad situation. I never gave any legal advice to her but just wanted her to be safe. Did I do anything wrong by suggesting she call someone to take her home? I wanted to call the police but she thought it would make things worse. The irony is that he’s a loan officer! He’s in this business and I’m worried that he might try to give me a bad name in the industry. I’ve never had anything like this happen to me before.

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Wow… what an awful situation. Personally, and professionally I don’t think you did not do anything wrong. Based on what you stated it sounds like a bad situation all the way around. Just make your notes as you did and take the names of all parties present…banker, date and time etc.

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You sure didn’t do anything wrong. I like that you separated her & suggested she might call someone. You gave her a chance. However, I think the lady already had a plan: She will go back to the house with him–just long enough to pack her stuff and get out cuz she now has traveling $. Good work, m’am!

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I agree that detailed notes about this situation would be important if something comes up in the future. Thanks for the advice.

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I hope she moves on with her life.

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Wow - What a signing… everyone has advised you correctly. Been doing this job for years… and never dealt with such a horrible situation. You did well

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It was extremely stressful. I was so happy when he first canceled, and I really didn’t want to deal with him again but I went back to the bank for her sake.

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That is truly a test… staying neutral is sometimes the hardest thing to do. I had a GNW where the daughter was presuring her mother to sign a POA which would give the daughter full control of her finances. I had to ask the daughter to leave the room as i could see the distress in the mothers face. After speaking to her she stated clearly that she did not want to sign. I called the daughter back into the room and explained that because her mother clearly stated to me that she does not want to sign the document i cannot move forward. Long story short i explained my role to them both and did notarize the one document that the mother agreed to. The daughter even gave me a 5 star google review at the end of it all.

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It sounds like you handled that situation well. A private conversation can be very telling.

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For $65. I would of walked (I never would of took the job at $65, $85 is my min.) For $150. What bank?

I’m assuming she is still living in the house with him, two days after the signing call the local police (don’t give your name) and have them do a wellness check at that address. That’s all you can do.

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My suggestion would be not to get in the middle of domestic situation. According to police they’re some of the most dangerous calls they make because of the high emotions, unpredictability, and propensity to turn violent quickly. You don’t want to put yourself in danger. It’s not worth it.

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So many red flags here. I would have called the police after I left. He was clearly trying to use the money as a form of control and minipulation.

I think you are amazing! Because first and foremost we are all here to help each other. What you did had nothing to do with being a notary. What you did was to be a kind and compassionate human being and that says more for your integrity than anything else.

Thank you for being willing to go above and beyond for a woman clearly terrorized by a bully (Whom you would never want as your loan officer nor to work for!).

You blessed her by caring about her safety and you blessed me by sharing your story. Thank you!

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I charge what the market will bear in my county. Lately when I charge more people aren’t choosing to use my services. That’s been frustrating. I just wanted to get the signing completed and allow her to get out of there.

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I appreciate everyone’s support. I just wanted to keep that woman safe.

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As a retired LEO, you’re spot on. Unless one has the necessary training, stay out of domestic disturbances.

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You did an outstanding job. I might have tried to learn which TC he worked for and send them a recording of his behavior. He won’t be working as a LO for very long. Just make certain you don’t violate the recording laws of your State.

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@RiverpointeTax Excellent insight!

Some of the most dangerous calls (for personal injury) that Police are dispatched to include reports of Domestic Violence/disputes between family members => especially “wife assault” cases.

FYI: There are multiple articles found on Google regarding this topic including documents from the U.S. Department of Justice.

:swan:

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There has been a rise in reported female on male domestic violence cases. There was a time when there was a rather misandrist policy coming from District Attorney’s office that said jail him even if she was the aggressor. The most common form of domestic violence is same sex combatants, involving female on female assault.

Interesting read. The so-called expert internet talkers do not explain the real perils of general notary work.