Notarizing for Low IQ Person
Occasionally, a Colorado notary may encounter an adult with a low IQ, that needs a document notarized. Psychologists and psychiatrists are likely to use a low IQ of 70 or lower to diagnose a person with mental retardation.
By convention, mental retardation is defined as having a low IQ more than two standard deviations below the average or mean IQ. With an average IQ of 100, and a standard deviation of 15, two standard deviations is 30 points. About 2% of the population has a low IQ of 70 or lower.
Document Purpose and Consequences
Notaries must be careful when notarizing a document for a person that may not understand the purpose and consequences of signing the document. This may occur with senior citizens that may have a mental impairment due to a stroke, Alzheimer’s, dementia, tumor or brain injury. Also, if a minor child needs a document notarized, the child must be aware of the purpose and consequences of the document.
With any situation, where understanding and judgment may be impaired, including a person under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the notary should attempt to carry on normal conversation with the signer. If the signer is able to provide coherent, relevant answers to notary questions, that is evidence that they are aware. The notary may also ask questions relating to the document, such as asking the signer to explain the purpose of the document.
If the notary uses reasonable care to determine that the signer understands the purpose and consequences of signing the document, the notary may proceed. If the notary is aware that the person has been diagnosed as mentally incompetent by a medical professional, or ruled as incompetent by a court, then the notary should not proceed.
It is useful to have one or more witnesses, that also agree that the signer was aware of the purpose and consequences of signing the document.