Settlement agents must accommodate a principal who is hearing impaired. Since someone who is hearing impaired is able to read their closing documents, every effort should be made to deliver copies of their documents to them prior to their signing appointment. This provides them time to read through the documents and formulate any questions they may have.
At signing, a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) can be used to effectively communicate with the signer. A TDD is an electronic device for text communication via a telephone line, used when one or more of the parties have hearing or speech difficulties. Other names for TDD include TTY (telephone typewriter or teletypewriter).
The principal will set up the TDD service and appear in front of the notary. The notary must properly identify the principal and speak into the phone so the information is relayed to the signer through the system.
Proper execution and notarization of closing documents varies greatly from state–to–state for principals who are blind or otherwise physically disabled, and sign by mark or by mechanical means. It is important for settlement agents to familiarize themselves with the requirements of the state where the signing will be conducted. Most requirements are readily available on the secretary of state's website, but you can read more about signing with a mark in next month's edition.