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Can I Provide A Signer With A Legal Form?

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Someone has asked me to notarize a power of attorney and wants me to provide the form. The person has cancer and wants to give power of attorney to her sister. Can I do this? K.F. California

No, you shouldn’t provide the form unless you are an attorney. A Notary who is not an attorney may not practice law in California (Business and Professions Code 6125). Selecting the type of document to meet an individual’s legal need could be considered the unauthorized practice of law.

Hotline answers are based on the laws in the state where the question originated and may not reflect the laws of other states. If in doubt, always refer to your own state statutes. – The Editors

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11 Comments

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Michael Russell

06 Mar 2017

I carry State approved Application for Transfer of Title, Living Will, VoterRegistration and a few other forms with me. But these are preprinted forms published by the state. I encounter these a lot. If someone makes an error on the form I have found it much easier to reach in my briefcase and pull out a form. It keeps the customers fromhaving to go to the County Clerks Office and getting one and come back 3 days later

DALSTON HARRISON

06 Mar 2017

I have a question can a Notary in New York provide a power of attorney for a client that requested it?

National Notary Association

07 Mar 2017

Hello. A nonattorney Notary cannot provide a legal form to a customer, as this would be the unauthorized practice of law. If a nonattorney Notary mistakenly provided a customer with an incorrect form, the Notary could be potentially held liable for problems or damages that the customer suffered as a result, especially since powers of attorney are complex legal documents.

Gloria Notary

07 Mar 2017

The California Jurat form has spaces for a sworn statement by the signer as well as attaching to a prepared, signed form. Is the use of these lines providing a form which is the unauthorized practice of law? I have been meaning to ask if we can have a jurat form that is only for attaching to a signed document.

National Notary Association

08 Mar 2017

Hello Gloria. The space provided for the signer to write is simply included as a convenience if the signer wishes to write their statement on the spot and does not have paper. The statement space is blank and does not include any pre-printed wording selected on the signer's behalf. As long as the Notary does not select the type of notarial act on the signer's behalf, or advise the signer what wording to write in their statement, it is acceptable to provide a blank space or paper for the signer to write a sworn statement upon.

Matt

11 Apr 2017

What if you know of a couple notaries that do provide forms for their customers, what can you do about this practice?

National Notary Association

11 Apr 2017

Hello Matt. If your state's Notary-regulating agency accepts and investigates complaints about Notary misconduct, you can contact them to report this. If the Notary agency does not handle misconduct complaints, you can contact the state bar to ask to report a case of unauthorized practice of law.

JAYANTI M.PATEL

11 Apr 2017

When notary provide blank California Jurat With Affiant Statement form to any person and he bring back to Notary after writing some statement, on the form. In this case there is no need to ask for which notarial act because Jurat wordings are already pre-printed on the form.Even though Notary should ask for Notarial Act?

National Notary Association

17 Apr 2017

Hello. If a signer presents the Notary with a jurat certificate or a document with jurat wording printed on it, this is providing direction to the Notary as to what act to perform. In this case the Notary should complete the CA jurat.

Elai e

11 Apr 2017

I understand not taking legal forms to a customer. But is an Affirmation and a Jurat concedered a legal doc? California National Notary gave me a pad full of them to use with customers.

National Notary Association

17 Apr 2017

Hello. You should never mail or provide an incomplete loose certificate to a customer. Any notarial certificate must be endorsed on or attached to the document (Government Code section 8205[a][2]). The Secretary of State could fine you $750 for doing this.

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