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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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Chris Parreira

09 Apr 2021

Hello, I am a Calif notary. I do mostly complete real estate packages that include several notarized docs. I get paid from the signing service or title company. I can have as many as 20 notarized docs for 2 signers. How do I list the amount paid? Do I just enter "0" in my journal? The clients are not directly paying me so I don't believe I should enter any amount.

National Notary Association

09 Apr 2021

Hello. Since the fee amount is a required journal entry in California, you must enter something in that area. The amount can be from zero dollars up to $15.00. It is up to you as what to enter for that column.

lori wulff

14 Dec 2021

I was asked to keep score on how many notarial acts I do so I can reduce the Self Employment TAX at the end of the year. Questions, in my journal, do I put $0 or $15 Thank you

National Notary Association

17 Dec 2021

Hello. Any specific questions about your individual income tax situation would need to be answered by the IRS or a qualified tax preparer.

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