Notarizing for Representative Signers

Notarizing power of attorneys

Notarizing power of attorneys

In some situations, a person is unable to make decisions or sign documents for themselves. As a result, the person would appoint another individual to perform these tasks on his or her behalf. This authority is usually transferred through a document called a “power of attorney” from the person bestowing this authority, the “principal,” to the person bestowed with this authority, the “attorney in fact.” When an attorney in fact signs, he or she should always include both his or her own name and authority in addition to the represented principal’s name.

To properly notarize for a representative signer, there are some things that should be noted. Firstly, as the attorney in fact, not the principal, is the person who appears before the Notary, it is important that only the attorney in fact’s name should be written in the certificate wording, and that it is the attorney in fact who must provide satisfactory evidence of identity prior to the notarization (it is not enough to only present proof of the principal’s identity). The local notary should also make a note that the signer is the attorney in fact who is representing the principal in “Other Information” as part of the journal entry.

Next, in situations where attorneys in fact request that their signatures be notarized using a jurat, the public notary should remember that a signer may not swear an oath or affirmation on behalf of another person.

Lastly, in regards to asking the signer for proof of authority, presently, only Colorado, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, and Oregon require attorneys in fact to show the Notary proof of their authority before having their signatures notarized. California, Kansas, and North Carolina, on the other hand, require attorneys NOT to ask for proof of authority. In all other states, attorneys in fact must formally declare out loud in the Notary’s presence that they have the authority to sign on behalf of the principal.