© 2009 Kim Giancaterino. All Rights Reserved.
Senior Citizen Identification
My first experience as a mobile notary was one I’ll never forget. Let’s just say I learned about the importance of senior citizen identification the hard way. My housebound client was in her eighties and didn’t possess a valid ID. The driver’s license she casually handed over to me had expired more than two decades earlier.
Yes, I did ask ahead of time. The assignment was contracted through an attorney, who assured me his client did have a valid form of identification.
I would have had more empathy for the woman if she’d been a pleasant person, but she was not. She tossed credit cards and family photo albums in my direction, exclaiming that I must be an idiot if I couldn’t see with my own eyes who she was. “I don’t drive, I don’t travel. Why do I need an ID card?” You get the idea.
Plan B: Credible Witnesses
I proceeded to outline her remaining option, which was to enlist two friends or neighbors as credible witnesses. True to form, she claimed that none of the neighbors were home.
After several minutes of verbal abuse, I packed my bag and prepared to leave. Suddenly, the credible witness option sounded appealing. We decided to find a couple of neighbors who would be willing to vouch for her. I knocked on a few doors and found two local residents who agreed to help out.
Was this woman grateful I went the extra mile to assist with the notarization of her documents? On the contrary. She called me names and told me that other notaries in the area never asked for identification (highly unlikely). She even called the following morning to chastise me after one neighbor complained about having to present her identity and sign my notary journal.
Needless to say, I “thanked” her attorney for the ambush. I’m sure he was all too aware of his client’s sour disposition. He’d probably been on the receiving end of her wrath a few times himself.
Having a Valid ID Reduces Stress
Over the years I’ve received many inquiries from people calling on behalf of elderly family members who don’t have proper identification. Invariably, the family is dealing with some sort of crisis. These situations almost always involve powers of attorney or legal trusts. Obviously, family members who might later benefit from such documents can’t vouch for the person signing.
The credible witness option is a great backup plan and has saved the day many times. However, it takes a bit of coordination to assemble a signer and two credible witnesses at a time convenient for all parties. Having an up-to-date paper document to prove identity just makes sense.
Why add stress to an already stressful situation. Plan ahead to be certain that each senior family member has a valid identification card at all times. Chances are, you’re going to need it when you least expect it.
Senior Citizen Identification Card
In California, where I’m commissioned, there is a free option for senior citizen identification. State residents who are age 62 or older may apply for a senior citizen identification card. The card includes a person’s photograph, physical description and signature, along with a unique identifying number. In fact, it looks just like a driver’s licence, except it states “Senior Citizen Identification Card” on the front. Best of all, it’s valid for 10 years!
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2021 Notary Public Handbook (Secretary of State)
Identification Card (ID) Information (California Department of Motor Vehicles)
Happy couple photograph by Huskyherz
Holding hands photograph by Gaertringen