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May A Notary Prepare And Distribute Legal Documents?

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Can a I prepare and distribute legal documents such as Durable Power of Attorney and Health Care Directives?C.G., Utah

No. Unless you are licensed to practice law, you may not assist in drafting, preparing, completing or explaining a document or transaction. (UCA 46-1-11 [1])

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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04 Sep 2017

Louisiana notaries may perform most all that a Louisiana attorney may. The only things not allowed for a Louisiana notary: no legal advise, no pleadings and no rendering of title opinions.

Mark Monk

04 Sep 2017

This is not correct in my state, Louisiana. Notaries may give notarial advice, but not legal advice and I will leave it to the reader to divine the difference. As Civil Law notaries, we are responsible for the content of the documents we notarize and are not merely witness to a signature. We confect legal documents in accordance with the state Civil Code and revised Statutes. Therefore, we pass blessing on any documents drawn up by third parties for us to notarize. As far as distributing legal documents, that seems vague. That could mean recording the document in the courthouse or handing a document properly notarized back to a client. We have an obligation in my state to record certain transactions in a state recorder's office within a certain timeframe. So, if this contitutes "distribution" then this is a duty. With regard to distributing a durable power of attorney this would be allowable in my state because the notary may record such a document for a client. In my state, Health Care Directives are not required to be notarized so I generally inform the person of this and leave it at that.

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