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  • Writer's pictureMitch Tandeske

How to notarize a document if I can't write or sign?

Updated: Mar 31, 2023

There may be circumstances when a person is physically unable to sign their name but they need a legal document notarized. Whether a person is permanently disabled or they have a temporary medical condition or temporary disability inhibiting their ability to physically write or sign, Oregon has a law that can help. If an individual is physically unable to sign a record, the individual may direct another person, other than the notary, to sign their name for them. ORS 194.250 states: "If an individual is physically unable to sign a record, the individual may direct an individual other than the notarial officer to sign the individual’s name on the record. The notarial officer shall insert “Signature affixed by (name of other individual) at the direction of (name of individual)” or words of similar import. [2013 c.219 §8]"

When performing any notarial act involving a "signature by a third party", the notary public must witness the signing of the document. Therefore both the signer and the person whom is directed to sign their name must be present during the notarization. Instead of the signer signing their name, the third party would sign the name of the person who is unable to sign.

Upon completion of the signing, the notary public will complete a notarial certificate indicating that the signer signed on behalf of the person who is unable to sign. By witnessing this act, the notary shows that the signers personally appeared, were positively identified and that the individuals freely and willingly signed by third party before the notary.

Notary of Portland is a full-service Mobile Notary firm. Available 24/7 in the greater Portland metro area, including SW Washington, 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.


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