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  • Writer's pictureMitch Tandeske

Do Hospitals have Notaries in Oregon and Washington?

Updated: Mar 31, 2023

Patients in hospitals and other care facilities often need legal documents notarized, sometimes urgently. Some hospital administrative staff are commissioned Notaries Public but they often limit their notarial acts to documents related to business operations or for their staff members. In recent years most hospitals and healthcare facilities in Oregon and Washington have policies that prohibit their staff members from acting as a notary or as a document witness to patient's legal documents.

Why won't the hospital staff sign as a witness on my documents?

Notaries Public can be held liable if the laws and guidelines that govern their position are now followed. Consequences for notary misconduct can be severe. If the notary is providing services on behalf of a healthcare organization or as their employee, the organization could also be held vicariously liable for the notary's actions. Therefore, most healthcare facilities prohibit or strongly discourage their employed notaries and staff members from providing service to patients or their families.


Additionally, some states have passed legislation specifically prohibiting healthcare workers from acting as document witnesses in resident facilities such as senior living facilities. Because of the nature of the documents often notarized in these settings, there is a viewpoint that acting as a notary or witness could be a conflict of interest. This could lead to potential for a legal challenge to the authenticity of the document. A pillar of the ethical guidelines for Notaries Public is to be an impartial witness to the legal proceeding. Therefore, most healthcare facilities refer their patients and families of patients to connect with a private Mobile Notary firm. You might be wondering "What is a Mobile Notary?" In Oregon and Washington, Notary of Portland is a preferred provider with a team of 24/7 Mobile Notaries Public that travel to hospitals and care facilities to notarize legal documents.


What types of documents are notarized in hospitals and nursing homes or adult care facilities?


Patients in hospitals may need a notary for a variety of reasons, such as:

  1. Advance Directives: A notary may be required to witness the signing of advance directives, which are legal documents that specify a patient's preferences for medical treatment in the event they become unable to make decisions for themselves.

  2. Power of Attorney: If a patient is unable to make decisions for themselves, they may designate someone to act as their power of attorney for financial management or healthcare decisions. A notary may be needed to witness the signing of this legal document.

  3. Consent Forms: Before certain medical procedures or treatments can be performed, patients may need to sign a consent form. A notary may be required to witness the signing of these documents to ensure they are legally binding.

  4. Legal Documents: Patients in hospitals may have legal documents that need to be notarized, such as a will or a trust.

  5. Release of Motor Vehicle: If a vehicle is towed or impounded at a towing or wrecking company, the company will require a release form signed by the legal owner to release the vehicle or the contents of the vehicle to a third party.

What does a Notary Public do? In general, a notary is used to verify the authenticity of a signature and to ensure that the person signing a document is doing so voluntarily and with full understanding of the document's contents. This is especially important in the healthcare setting, where patients may be vulnerable and unable to make informed decisions for themselves.


Where do I find a Notary in Oregon and Washington?


Notary of Portland is a professional Mobile Notary firm. We are a team of Notaries Public commissioned in Oregon and Washington that bring notarization to you. Whether you are at home, at work, in a hospital or senior living facility - we travel to you! We primarily travel throughout the Portland metro area and SW Washington however our service is available statewide in Oregon and Washington.


Notary of Portland is available 24/7. We offer easy online scheduling of same day or future appointments on our website. We are licensed, bonded, insured, well-trained and experienced. Whether it’s a single page affidavit or a stack of estate planning documents or contracts with multiple signers in different locations – we are ready and able to assist. We offer document printing, scan and email service and will courier documents before and after signing to title companies, attorney firms or any other location in our service area. And, if additional witnesses are needed, we can provide them. Visit us online at www.notaryofportland.com or call/text 971-599-3080.

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