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Hotline Tip: What Is An Attorney In Fact?

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An attorney in fact is a person authorized to sign documents on someone else’s behalf, but is not necessarily a practicing lawyer. It can mean any person who has been empowered to sign documents for another individual.

When an attorney in fact signs a document, the signature should include the name of the principal he or she represents. For example, if John Smith is signing on behalf of Jane Doe, the signature might read, “John Smith, attorney in fact for Jane Doe” or “Jane Doe, signed by John Smith, attorney-in-fact.” Attorneys in fact may only be used for acknowledgments. A jurat must always be signed, sworn or affirmed in person by the primary signer, since no one can take an oath or affirmation for another person.

When completing a certificate for an attorney in fact, all normal requirements must be met. The attorney in fact must provide satisfactory identification. Remember, you must enter the attorney in fact’s name in the notarial certificate, not the absent principal’s name. In the journal entry, write down the attorney in fact’s information and note on whose behalf he or she is signing.

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David D Nadge

07 Dec 2015

Can my sister be my attorney in fact back in NY as I now reside in Az

National Notary Association

08 Dec 2015

Hello. We're sorry, but since this a legal question rather than a question about notary procedure we can't answer it--you would need to consult with an attorney for assistance.

Theesa Shannon

25 Jul 2016

Is It true that since the Attorney in Fact is signing on behalf of someone else, they are then a different entity or being. Therefore, I as a notary must Identify them as that entity. I.E. Their ID must match the Power of Attorney they provide me to prove they have the right to sign in this capacity-/and or the list of signing officers for the entity they are signing for. Thank You for clarifying this. Nevada Notary

National Notary Association

25 Jul 2016

Hello. Please see this article for more information: Nevada does not require signers to provide proof of power of attorney when requesting a notarization. In states that do not have this requirement, the NNA recommends asking the signer to formally state out loud in your presence that they have authority to sign on the principal's behalf.

John Bertram

30 Sep 2019

In Virginia is the successor to the attorney in fact required to be notarized

National Notary Association

02 Oct 2019

Based on what you’ve described, we think it would be best if you contacted our Hotline team by phone and provided them with a more detailed description of the situation. The NNA Hotline: 1-888-876-0827 Mon – Fri: 5:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (PT) Saturday: 5:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (PT) If you’re not an NNA Member or Hotline Subscriber, they will provide you with a one-time courtesy call.

23 Oct 2020

For California, which certificate should be used for this type of notary? An "Attorney in Fact Acknowledgement" or a regular "Acknowledgement"?

National Notary Association

26 Oct 2020

Hello. It is not permitted for the Notary to determine what type of notarization is used for a document. That is the decision of the signer. If instructions on a document are not clear, or a signer does not know what type of notarization they require, the signer should contact the document issuing agency, document receiving agency, or an individual authorized to provide legal advice for the document such as a qualified attorney to ask what type of notarization is required.

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