I was reminded of this situation as I looked through our retweets. Apparantly, our followers like tweets about Powers of Attorney. So, I decided to come up with some real stories about Power of Attorney signings that can inform and inspire notaries everywhere.
It happened many years ago. I remember many of the details. I went to someone’s home to notarize a Power of Attorney for banking. They had a fancy Attorney draw up the document and it looked very professional. Please note: non-Attorney notaries are probably NOT ALLOWED to draft up Power of Attorney documents or other legal documents in most if not all states. I had notarized many types of Power of Attorney documents in the past. Durable Powers of Attorney, Health Care Powers of Attorney, Living Wills, Limited Powers of Attorney, Correction Agreement Power of Attorney, and many others too. Yes, a Living Will is a form of Power of Attorney where it gives someone authority to make medical and other decisions for the principal should they become incapacitated.
In any case, I notarized this Power of Attorney, and the client took it to his bank, and it was rejected. But, why? Nothing was wrong with the document or the notarization. So, what was it? The bank had THEIR OWN form of Power of Attorney. We learned the hard way. After spending hundreds on an Attorney and $50 on me, he now knew what to do. So, I had to meet the client at the bank. I forget which bank it was. One of the big ones. Perhaps Bank of America, Chase, or some other big name. They had a form on card stock that had a carbon copy. There was no room to put my stamp. It was idiotic. They wanted the stamp on the form itself and no Acknowledgment Certificates stapled on. So, I filled out the Acknowledgment wording and notarized the form. Voila — acceptable.
So, the lesson for today is — what the law says is acceptable is very different than what the document custodian (the person receiving and keeping or holding onto the document) might see as acceptable. Sending notarized documents to China, the stamp has to be on the document, but try explaning to them that the California Notary Verbiage needs to be on the document too if they want their stamp. Good luck. Warn your clients of the fact that their bank might not accept the Power of Attorney. The moral of the story is to ask the document custodian what type of power of attorney THEY want.