Notary Bulletin Q&A: Powers Of Attorney, And How To Handle Them By NNA Staff on July 12, 2012 in Hotline Tips, Signing Professionals, Best Practices, Financial and Corporate Services, Legal Professionals, Immigration, Laws & Regulations, Healthcare Professionals Whether a signer seeks a power of attorney (POA) for another person or is signing on behalf of a principal, powers of attorney add an extra layer of complexity to notarizations. Because it’s tempting for a dishonest person to abuse their positions when acting as another person’s representative, Notaries need to be especially alert for problems when notarial acts involve powers of attorney. The Notary Bulletin spoke with Bernard A. Krooks, founding partner of Littman Krooks LLP and past president of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, to answer questions Notaries have asked about notarizations involving POA documents and representative signers. Many states don’t require signers to show Notaries proof they have power of attorney when signing on behalf of another person and having their signature notarized. Do you recommend that Notaries ask to see evidence a signer has power of attorney anyway, even if that’s not required by state law? Any time you’re asked to notarize a document, you not only need to see the signer’s ID but if they are acting on behalf of someone else, you should ask to see the document giving them that authority. I would recommend going even farther and also ask the signer to sign an affidavit that the power of attorney is still in force and in effect. A Notary recently called the NNA about an unusual situation involving a POA. The signer wanted to use an existing power of attorney to sign and have a document notarized granting herself expanded authority over her mother’s affairs. Can a signer use a power of attorney to increase their own representative capacity? Is it appropriate to notarize in this situation, or should the Notary refuse? The signer cannot do that. The only person who could expand the signer’s original power of attorney would the principal — the mother in this case. The agent can’t expand her power of attorney herself. She can delegate some powers to others if the original document authorizes doing so, but can’t add powers to herself. What are danger signs Notaries should look for if an elderly signer asks for a power of attorney to be notarized and the designated representative is present? It’s certainly not uncommon for people to take care of estate planning or powers of attorney in the company of friends or relatives. In many states, including New York, the agent is now required to sign the power of attorney document so it’s typical for the person named as the agent to be present. But if the Notary observes the signer appears to only be signing to appease the agent — for example, the agent says to the signer “I won’t take you to the doctor any more if you won’t sign this,” — that’s coercion or fraud. If a Notary sees this, the Notary needs to step back, ask the would-be agent to leave the room and talk to signer alone to ensure that the signer is willing. Email Share 75 Comments Add your commentjudith ortiz25 Jul 2014Can poa agents be added if the primary agent's health has become compromised and the principle is not able to .ale her own decisions?National Notary Association25 Jul 2014Hi Judith, Whether a person can legally be granted power of attorney or not would be a legal question which would need to be answered by a qualified attorney.Leslie Roden28 Jul 2014How does the POA agent sign? Do they just sign their name or do they have to add special wording to there signature " on behalf of" or something of that nature?National Notary Association30 Jul 2014Hello Leslie, thanks for your question. A person with power of attorney normally indicates that they are signing as "attorney in fact" for a principal. Here's two common examples how a power of attorney might be signed, where John Doe has power of attorney to sign on behalf of Mary Roe: "John Doe, attorney in fact for Mary Roe, principal" "Mary Roe, by John Doe, attorney in fact" It's important to remember that because the attorney in fact is the person who appears before you and signs the document, it is the attorney in fact's name that is entered in the certificate wording-not the principal's. More information on handling powers of attorney is available in our June 2014 magazine Beyond The Basics article, page 23. If you're an NNA member, you can log in to read the article at http://www.nationalnotary.org/knowledge-center/news/the-national-notary. Thanks and have a great day. Connie Sinn13 Aug 2014Do I have to have an attorney present when signing a POA in front of a notary or do I just need a witness?National Notary Association13 Aug 2014Hello Connie, Unfortunately, we can't provide legal advice regarding the requirements for preparing a power of attorney document. To find out if you require a witness or attorney present when having a power of attorney document prepared and signed, we recommend consulting with a qualified attorney. Abbey14 Aug 2014We got a POA onloine and my husband signed it before we realized it had to be notarized. will anyone still notarize it?National Notary Association14 Aug 2014Hello Abbey, Whether a previously written signature on a document can be notarized depends on the type of notarial act requested. If a Notary is asked to acknowledge a signature, the signature may be written prior to appearing before the Notary, but the signer must appear in person and provide satisfactory proof of identity. If a Notary is asked to perform a jurat, the signature must be written in the Notary's presence. Because nonattorney Notaries may not advise you on legal requirements for documents, you may wish to consult with a lawyer to determine what type of notarization is required for the signature on the power of attorney and whether the document will need to be re-signed in the presence of a Notary Public. Jason03 Nov 2014Can I notarize a copy? Person emailed me the POA and I printed it out.. Can I get that copy notarized or does it have to be an original?National Notary Association03 Nov 2014Hello Jason, To help us better answer your question, can you please tell us what state you are commissioned in?Tarek Chami26 Dec 2014Does Michigan require a signers to show Notaries proof they have power of attorney when signing on behalf of another person and having their signature notarized?National Notary Association30 Dec 2014Hello Tarek, I forwarded your question to Bill Anderson, our VP of Legislative Affairs. Here's his response: "To my knowledge, Michigan Notaries do not have a duty to obtain proof that a person is the attorney in fact for a principal signer. Following are the relevant statutes: 565.264. Certificate of person taking acknowledgment. Sec. 4. The person taking an acknowledgment shall certify that the person acknowledging appeared before him and acknowledged he executed the instrument; and the person acknowledging was known to the person taking the acknowledgment or that the person taking the acknowledgment had satisfactory evidence that the person acknowledging was the person described in and who executed the instrument. This statute basically states that in taking an acknowledgment, a Notary must certify that the Notary identified the signer as the person who executed the document. 565.266 Acknowledged before me, meaning. Sec. 6. The words “acknowledged before me” means: (a) That the person acknowledging appeared before the person taking the acknowledgment. (b) That he acknowledged he executed the instrument. (c) That, in the case of: (i) A natural person, he executed the instrument for the purposes therein stated. (ii) A corporation, the officer or agent acknowledged he held the position or title set forth in the instrument and certificate, he signed the instrument on behalf of the corporation by proper authority and the instrument was the act of the corporation for the purpose therein stated. (iii) A partnership, the partner or agent acknowledged he signed the instrument on behalf of the partnership by proper authority and he executed the instrument as the act of the partnership for the purposes therein stated. (iv) A person acknowledging as principal by an attorney in fact, he executed the instrument by proper authority as the act of the principal for the purposes therein stated. (v) A person acknowledging as a public officer, trustee, administrator, guardian or other representative, he signed the instrument by proper authority and he executed the instrument in the capacity and for the purposes therein stated. (d) That the person taking the acknowledgment either knew or had satisfactory evidence that the person acknowledging was the person named in the instrument or certificate. This statute says that the words “acknowledged before me” in an acknowledgment certificate mean that a person signing as POA executed the instrument by proper authority as the act of the principal signer. So, part of the attorney in fact’s acknowledgment to the Notary is that the AoF executed the document with proper authority. In other words, the AoF must acknowledge this; the Notary has no duty to obtain any proof, but is required to obtain the AoF’s acknowledgment." Angela Naatz28 Jan 2015When notarizing a POA, Can I use the California All-Purpose Acknowledgement for a POA or do I have to use the POA form (4307)? Which is best? Thank you!National Notary Association28 Jan 2015Hello, When performing any notarial act in California, you would need to use the appropriate wording as set by state law. If you are performing an acknowledgment that will be filed in California, a jurat or a proof of execution, the certificate must include the new notice wording that took effect Jan. 1.Rich17 Mar 2015I had a POA written for my mother online. The document was signed by her, in front of two witnesses and myself. We were under the impression that it did not need to be notarized at the time. If I would like to have it notarized now will everyone have to be present?National Notary Association17 Mar 2015Hello Rich. I apologize, but determining what witnesses must be present for a signature on a power of attorney document is a legal question we can't answer. You would need to contact an attorney or the appropriate receiving agency for instructions on this matter. Judy L. Reidy20 May 2015I am a real estate agent, and I have a contract to sell a home. My seller is elderly and living in the memory care unit of an assisted living facility in Texas. She had a POA drawn up in 2006, giving her daughter, who lives in Florida, all rights and privileges with no exceptions. The daughter in Florida cannot find the original copy of the POA. The title company which is handling the closing on selling the house the elderly seller has not lived in for years insists on having the original. Further, she refuses to close unless she goes to the seller herself and asks her questions about selling the house before she will notarize a new original POA. Can she do that???National Notary Association20 May 2015Hello Judy. I'm sorry, but because this is a question about an individual title officer's actions during a closing, not notarial procedure, we would not be the right organization to answer this question. You may wish to contact an official at the title company if you have questions about their policies.marie02 Jun 2015Hello I'm a notary kn Texas. I nototized a PO A.my mistake was signing my name on the principal line.The principal passed away before I could correct mistake.Now the bank willnot accept POA from daughter to withdraw money due to my signer instead of her mothers signature. How can I fix mistake? Please helphttp://bible.com/apphttp://bible.com/appNational Notary Association02 Jun 2015Hello Marie. To change or correct a completed power of attorney document, you would need to contact an attorney for legal advice and guidance.Robin04 Jun 2015Hi, I'm a notary in CA. I have someone signing a home loan with a POA for her mom and her dad. If she has to sign twice on a form like the DOT (once for mom, once for dad), do I need to complete two certificates?National Notary Association04 Jun 2015Hi Robin. POAs and home loans may have additional complications when notarizing. I've forwarded your question to our Information Services Team and will post here when we receive a response to your question. Thanks for your patience.National Notary Association04 Jun 2015Hi Robin. Here's the response to your question from our Hotline Team: "The Notary can complete 1 acknowledgment with the signer signing as POA, multiple times. In the acknowledgment wording the Notary will indicate that 1 person appeared, with signing multiple times in multiple capacities. Below is an example of how the part of the acknowledgment will read. The areas highlighted, the Notary will leave plural: “he/SHE/they executed the same in his/HER/their authorized capacity(IES), and that by his/HER/their signature(S) on the instruments the person, or the entity upon behalf of which the person acted, executed the instrument.” If the Notary is using our certificates, they can also fill out the optional section to include the parent’s names and the capacity in which the signer signed." I hope this information helps answer your question. If you have any additional questions on this topic, Robin, please feel free to contact the Hotline team at firstname.lastname@example.org. Robin05 Jun 2015Thank you for the response - that is very helpful.Oscar20 Jun 2015A poa was signed by individual appointing an institution. Also a affidavit of correction was notarized and signed by poa. Would I be able to sign as poa on the documents? And on the affidavit could I notarized it, and some one else sign as poa? Is this legal?National Notary Association22 Jun 2015Hello. You may not notarize a document in which you are named or have an interest. If the document gives you power of attorney, or you are signing the document as attorney in fact representing another signer, you may not notarize that document due to conflict of interest.Elsa13 Jul 2015In California...wife has a general POA to sign on behalf of deployed husband. Wife wants to notarize a loan document where she will sign as the spouse and ALSO on behalf of her husband by POA. The loan is from the husband's retirement fund (TSP). Is it legal for her to sign for herself and for husband by POA?National Notary Association15 Jul 2015Hello. Please contact our hotline team at email@example.com or 1-888-876-6827 for assistance with this question. Thanks.Ray M.01 Sep 2015I am my mothers Durable POA in Massachusetts. I cannot find my notarized document. The attorney who notarized it is now disbarred from practicing in Massachusetts and cannot be contacted. Is there a Massachusetts Government Agency who keeps these records that I can obtain the document from? ThanksNational Notary Association02 Sep 2015Hello. If you or the attorney filed a copy of the notarized document with a government agency, you could contact that agency to ask if they have a copy available. However, if the document was kept by the attorney without being filed anywhere, a government agency wouldn't have a copy. Amy11 Sep 2015My father-in-law is the named agentagent (attorney in fact) in a poa. The person executing the poa wants to know if I can notarize it. I have no relation to the person signing the poa. Is it ok to notarized if my father-in-law is the soon to be agent? Also, I am in Texas.National Notary Association14 Sep 2015Hello. The Texas Secretary of State's website states that there is not a specific prohibition against notarizing for a spouse or relative. (http://www.sos.state.tx.us/statdoc/faqs2300.shtml#np11) However, if you would receive some potential benefit from this transaction, or a possibility that your relation to your father-in-law might cause the document's validity to be questioned at a later date, then another unrelated Notary should notarize the signature instead.jack gautreaux28 Sep 2015can we make white out changes and add new agents to an existing notarized POA form. We need to replace 2 agents that have passed away.National Notary Association28 Sep 2015Hello. Nonattorney Notaries cannot offer legal advice to signers, answer legal questions or prepare or alter legal documents on a signer's behalf. The signers would need to contact an attorney for assistance in changing a power of attorney form. See29 Sep 2015Can a POA being signed in CA be use in NC? I'm in the process of closing and NC required that if a couple is legally married, both parties from the marriage have to be presenCe I have my POA but it was signed in a a. Do tall think that the title company would be ok with it being signed from CA?National Notary Association29 Sep 2015Hello. You would need to contact the title company to ask if the document would be acceptable to them.Gayle02 Oct 2015In 2012 my mom had her will and POA drawn up. She never got around to having her Power of attorney notarized. Can she still use the same papers or does she need to have her attorney draw up new ones with the current year on the signing page? Right now it has the year 2012.National Notary Association02 Oct 2015Hello. We're sorry but that's a legal question we can't answer. You would need to contact a qualified attorney to assist you with this matter. Connie Steidl20 Oct 2015The notary that signed my husbands DPOA left of the Jr. of my husbands name. Now my husband's dementia is too bad for him to sign a new one. The bank has denied it and now I can not get the equity from our house to continue his care when his long term care insurance runs out. Is the any way to correct this like maybe an affidavit from the notary that signed it?National Notary Association20 Oct 2015Hello Connie. We're very sorry, but since this is a legal issue we are not authorized to provide advice on this topic. You may wish to contact an attorney to ask if there is there is an acceptable alternative to correct the error on the document in question. Mary Beth12 Nov 2015The first page of my mother's durable power of attorney only had my first name on it. The document was notarized, but the bank would not accept it as my last name was not on the first page. Can I make an adjustment and resubmit the document to my mother's bank, or do I have to draw up a whole new document. She lives in Michigan and I live in Wisconsin.Colleen 13 Nov 2015On the actual signature line, does the power of attorney just sign his or her own name (as long as under the line it says the principal's name under power of attorney by the agent's name)? I am trying to figure out exactly what the agent writes on the line.National Notary Association17 Nov 2015Hi Colleen. Please see this article for more information: http://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2014/09/four-questions-notaries-powers-attorneySandy13 Nov 2015Hi, I'm a notary in California. I need to notarize a POA for insurance policy. There are 3 parties: owner of the policy, insured and attorney in fact (who will act on behalf of the owner). Who should appear in front of me for acknowledgement? Is the insured and attorney-in-fact names also need to be on the acknowledgment?National Notary Association17 Nov 2015Hi Sandy. We're sorry, but these are legal questions we're not authorized to answer. The signer will need to contact a qualified legal professional such as an attorney for instructions how to prepare the document and who needs to sign it. Carolyn Willis15 Nov 2015is a poa signed in Indiana good in Tn.National Notary Association16 Nov 2015Hello, Carolyn. We're sorry, but that's a legal question we aren't authorized to answer. You would need to contact an attorney for assistance. Keisha20 Nov 2015My brother works overseas in Kuwait and he has made me POA. He has papers for a child support case that needs to be notarized, but we have called several places that won't accept the POA. Will it be possible to get the papers signed by me on his behalf I can I sign my name on the papers or does it have to be his name. I don't know what to do about this situation. He can't just fly here for a weekend it's not that easy.National Notary Association23 Nov 2015Hi Keisha. We're sorry, but questions regarding the legal format of a power of attorney would need to be answered by a qualified attorney. Catherine12 Feb 2016In the state of NY does a lawyer need to be present in order for me to notarize a Power of Attorney? Also what if the person that is giving power of attorney can't sign their name, but can give verbal acknowledgement that they want to do this; can someone else sign on their behalf? ThanksNational Notary Association12 Feb 2016Hello Catherine. These are two separate questions. Regarding your first question, New York Notary laws do not state that an attorney must be present when a Notary is asked to notarize a signature on a power of attorney document. Some powers of attorney may have specific requirements but it is the signer's responsibility--not the Notary's--to meet any special requirements for preparation and signing that a power of attorney document may require. A nonattorney Notary should never advise a signer regarding the preparation and legal requirements for a power of attorney, as that would be the unauthorized practice of law. Regarding your second question, no, New York does not authorize a third party to sign a document during a notarization at the verbal instruction of a physically incapable signer. firstname.lastname@example.org Feb 2016I am wondering the extent of a notarization in regards to a POA change. Example: An elderly woman has Alzheimer's and she has three daughters; one being the POA. One of the daughters (not POA) comes in with a notary and has her mother sign over the POA to her. The elderly woman has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's since at least 2006 and this event occurred in 2011. I assume a doctor was present as well. The question's being: Is this illegal of all parties? Does the original POA need to be present for the notarization to be valid? Can a new POA even be established by a notary certificate with the principal person being in the state of mind they are in? Thank youNational Notary Association16 Feb 2016Hello. We can't answer whether or not a specific transfer of power of attorney would be legally binding or not-that is a legal question that would need to answered by a qualified attorney. However, we can say that if during a notarization, the Notary spots signs that the signer does not understand what's going on due to a condition such as Alzheimer's, the Notary should not proceed with the notarization. Anna22 Feb 2016Hi, my mechanic gave me a paper to sign and he said that is just permission that I let stay me car in his garage. I didn't read carefully and I signed power of authority. So he took the checks from insurance copmany and he signed the cheks with my name. Is that ligal?? Thank you.National Notary Association22 Feb 2016Hello Anna. I'm sorry, this is not a Notary-related question and we cannot provide advice on legal matters. If you suspect you are a victim of fraud or misuse of a business document, you should contact the police or your state attorney general's office for assistance.SHELBY MITCHELL26 Feb 2016My Mom has no clue that my brother who is a preacher is taking her money out of the bank.Im being told by many to just get power of attorney to handle her affairs.Myquestion is if she should die am i liable or responsible for her bills by being POANational Notary Association26 Feb 2016Hello. I'm sorry, that is a legal question that we aren't authorized to answer. You would need to consult with a qualified attorney. Amarprit Dhillon01 Mar 2016I am being asked to notarize a power of attorney for a friend's uncle who is paralyzed from the neck down. Can I notarize the power of attorney?National Notary Association01 Mar 2016Hello. If you are being asked to notarize the uncle's signature, there may be an problem if he is physically unable to sign the document. If you can tell us what state you are commissioned in, we can provide more assistance. If you are an NNA member, you can also email our hotline counselors at email@example.com for additional help.Andreina08 Mar 2016When Notarizing a POA does the Notary have to witness and notarize the "agents" being assigned signatures, or just the signature of the person assigning the agents (the person giving power of attorney)?National Notary Association08 Mar 2016Hello. Powers of attorney may have different requirements depending on the type of POA and state law. Regardless of the type of document involved, a nonattorney Notary should not make the determination whose signatures need to be notarized for a particular document. Questions regarding the legal requirements of a document should be directed to a qualified attorney.NATALIE07 Apr 2016I am the agent on a DPOA for my mother who has Dimentia. However, I am confused as to who's Name and Signature should appear on the Preparation Statement on the last page (7) of the POA. Please advise.National Notary Association08 Apr 2016Hello. We're sorry, but we cannot offer legal advice regarding the preparation of a power of attorney. You will need to consult a lawyer for assistance.Glenn20 Apr 2016Can a New Jersey Notary Public notarize a Durable Power of Attorney form for someone living in New York?National Notary Association21 Apr 2016Hello Glenn. A New Jersey Notary may notarize a document from another state, but the signer would have to appear in person before you in New Jersey and the notarization would have to conform to the requirements of New Jersey state law. Lena16 May 2016I have a customer who's brother is sick in the hospital and she has a power of attorney for his medical situation and she is saying that he is competent. She wants to have a power of attorney to block his kids from visiting him because they are bothering him and asking for money. So my question is, Can she write poa herself and the brother sign if he is conscious and coherent?National Notary Association18 May 2016Hello Lena. While we can't advise you on the legality of a specific power of attorney document, we can say that if you are asked to notarize the signature of a person who is ill or in the hospital, you should only proceed if the signer is aware and appears to understand what is going on. If the signer appears to be confused or disoriented due to illness, fatigue or medication, you should not proceed with the notarization. Also, do not proceed if it appears that a third party is trying to coerce or pressure the signer. As a precaution, during the notarization you may wish to ask all other parties to leave the room so you can speak to the signer one-on-one to establish if the signer is willing and aware. Brittney29 May 2016A client presented a POA that her mother signed, giving her daughter authority over her affairs. The daughter also notarized the document. I turned her away because I viewed it as she had interest in the vehicle and could not notarize herself. Is this true?National Notary Association31 May 2016Hello. That would depend on your state's laws. What state are you commissioned in, please?Rozetta 15 Jun 2016In NC can a POA sign a car title for who they have POA over?National Notary Association16 Jun 2016Hello. We're sorry, that's a legal question that we can't answer. Any questions regarding what authority a power of attorney provides would need to be directed to an attorney. Kevin01 Jul 2016Can an attorney in Virginia notarize a document they created and are the clients lawyer.National Notary Association05 Jul 2016Hello. COV 47.1-30 states that no Virginia notary shall perform any notarial act with respect to any document, writing, or electronic document to which the notary is a party or has a direct beneficial interest.Michael 23 Jul 2016I recently was asked to notarize a POA, I was asked to go to a nursing home to handle that affair. Upon arrival I acknowledged that the executor, in this case the sick mother, but she could not sign, she understood everything about the POA I asked her and she nodded her head, yes and no, It was also brought to my attention that there was a piece of paper signed by the boyfriend as a POA, I backed off and decided to remove myself from the family dispute. Keep in mind I am a notary public in the state of Texas, how should I have handled this situation? Was that written piece of paper, even though it was not notarized by a notary public, is it Valid? Could I have notarized the document with the simple nod of the head, yes and no gestures, there was also two other witnesses in the room? I would appreciate feedback so that the next time this occurs, I am prepared for it. ThanksNational Notary Association25 Jul 2016Hello Michael. I'm sorry, we cannot give you a legal opinion on whether the power of attorney document you asked about was valid or not. However, regarding your question about whether it was appropriate for you to decline the notarization or not, Texas Notary law states that a Notary is authorized to refuse to perform a notarial act if the Notary has reasonable grounds to believe the signer is acting under coercion or undue influence (1 TAC 87.30[a]). While it's not entirely clear from your question what the situation was regarding the other persons in the room with the signer, if you were concerned that the signer was being forced to sign against her wishes based on the behavior of other persons present in the room, the signer's physical condition or other factors, then it would be appropriate to decline the notarization, or alternately reschedule it at a time when the signer can better communicate with you. Leave a Comment Required * Name * Email *(for verfication purposes only) Comment * Enter the text shown in this image *(text is case sensitive)All comments are reviewed and if approved, will display.