Can a person who is 'mentally incompetent' buy a home?

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Services for Real Estate Pros with Mobile Notary Services

Well, it depends on what you mean by 'mentally incompetent', since there are many definitions and interpretations. And in the case of someone buying a home, or someone refinancing their mortgage, that interpretation just might come from someone whom you would least expect:

a notary

One of the responsibilities of a notary, in addition to identifying the person signing a document that needs to be notarized, is to establish whether that person is 'mentally competent' to sign the document.

elderly womanFor example, a sibling may want their mother who is in a nursing home to sign a Power of Attorney.  The mother is totally unaware of what the papers mean, and what this Power of Attorney allows her daughter to do. Nevertheless, she is urged by her daughter to 'just sign the papers'.

It's not that simple. 

 

 

A careful notary will not allow the mother to sign the Power of Attorney.  The daugher may have the best intentions, and only want what is best for her mother.  But if the notary feels that the mother is unaware of what she's signing, that notary may refuse to notarize the signature of the mother on that Power of Attorney.  This is for the mother's protection.  And it's for the notary's protection as well, since the notary can be sued, lose their notary commission, and possibly even go to prison.

So a notary must establish that a person is 'mentally competent' to sign a document that requires notarization. 

lamp shadeThis also applies to someone who has been drinking. 

If the notary feels that the signer is mentally impaired or 'mentally incompetent', the notary can refuse to notarize their signature.  Once again, this is for the signer's protection.

 

One of the obstacles to buying a home is that there will be some closing documents that need to be notarized.  The buyers may be happy and want to celebrate the purchase of their new home. 

beerJust caution them to save the alcohol for after the closing.

Good luck.

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Show All Comments
Rainmaker
340,047
Robert May
Verico Canada First Mortgage/ Rainbow Realty - Lethbridge, AB
Real Estate Expert & Mortgage Broker- Lethbridge

your correct, mentally incompetent people cannot buy a home.  However there are sure a lot of them selling homes, lol.

January 14, 2009 12:02 PM #1
Ambassador
2,369,763
Patricia Kennedy
Evers & Company Real Estate, Inc. - Washington, DC
For Your Home in the Capital

Leon, there is an old movie you must watch called The Wrong Box.  Peter Sellers has a cameo role playing a crooked notary, and it's totally hilarious.

January 14, 2009 12:05 PM #2
Rainer
164,577
Leon Austin
Mobile Notary Services - Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs Mobile Notary

"However there are sure a lot of them selling homes"

Robert, I'm going to leave that one alone and let your colleagues respond, since I'm 'just a notary'.

 

 

January 14, 2009 12:07 PM #3
Rainer
164,577
Leon Austin
Mobile Notary Services - Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs Mobile Notary

Patricia, thanks for mentioning it.  I'll try to find it.

 

 

January 14, 2009 12:09 PM #4
Rainmaker
1,325,764
Vickie Nagy
Vickie Nagy, Broker Associate Realty ONE Group BMC Associates | BRE#01363932 - San Ramon, CA
Broker for San Ramon, Danville, Dublin, Pleasanton

I lover Peter Sellers. I'll have to check out The Wrong Box. I know I love quasi-real estate related movies. I find Glengarry, Glenr Ross to be an exceptionally funny representation about the sleaze in the business of timeshares.

January 14, 2009 12:41 PM #5
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Rainer
164,577

Leon Austin

Colorado Springs Mobile Notary
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