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Can I sign a power of attorney on a signer's behalf?

I've been asked to notarize a power of attorney document; however, the signer cannot physically make any written mark. Can I sign on behalf of the principal if two witnesses are present? — J. L., California

No. A California Notary does not have the authority to sign a document on behalf of a principal who cannot sign or make a mark. The principal who cannot sign should seek the advice of an attorney on whether California Probate Code Section 4121(b) would apply in their specific situation. That statute allows another adult to sign the principal’s name on a power of attorney in the principal’s presence and at the principal’s direction.

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

Confronted with a tricky notarization? Unsure how to proceed? NNA members have unlimited access to our expertly trained NNA Hotline counselors to help you with all of your notarial questions. Call 1-888-876-0827, Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT.




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