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February 19, 2019

Beneficial Interest

Beneficial interest, financial interest and conflict of interest are terms that a Notary Public should know.

Beneficial Interest
If a person is named in a document as someone who will receive some sorts of rights, privileges, or financial endowments, the could be said to have beneficial interest. Notaries are prohibited from Notarizing documents that they are named in as this constitutes beneficial interest which represents a conflict of interest. If you are a beneficiary in a document for perhaps a will, trust holdings, etc., then you would have beneficial interest.

Financial Interest
Someone who is named in a document to receive financial sums can be said to have financial interest.

Conflict of Interest
If you gain by having a document signed and you are the Notary, that means you have an interest in having the document signed which constitutes a conflict of interest. Notaries need to be impartial in their duties and should not have any conflict of interest.

Notarizing for Family Members
It is discouraged for a Notary to notarize for family members. It might not directly constitute a conflict of interest, but it looks questionable and it is better to have an outsider notarize signatures for family members as they are completely uninvolved (probably).

Interesting links

123notary Glossary — beneficial interest
http://www.123notary.com/glossary/?beneficial-interest

Investopedia — beneficial interest definition
https://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/beneficial-interest.asp

The 30 point course — beneficial interest
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14532

Just say No #3
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=376

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January 6, 2014

Can a Notary notarize a Will or Living Will?

To make it quick and simple — Yes, a Notary can notarize signatures on a Will, although it is generally discouraged unless given written instructions by an Attorney. Wills are normally witnessed, but not notarized. But then, why be normal?

Can a notary witness a Will?
YES, a Notary can witness the signing of any document. However, it is discouraged for a notary to be involved in any transaction as a witness or Notary where they might have beneficial interest or financial interest! If the notary benefits in any way from a Will being signed or is closely related to a beneficiary, they could be said to have beneficial interest. Anybody eighteen years of age or older who can sign their own name and watch someone else sign can be a witness to a will. It is that simple!

Can a notary draft a Will?
Document drafting might be considered part of the practice of law in your state. You can ask your state bar association if a Notary can draft a document, or if a notary can draft a legal document. The answer is most likely no. Unless you are trained and authorized, I would stay away from document drafting of legal documents since it is so sensitive!

Then who can draft a Will?
Ask an Attorney to help you draft a Will. Ask the Attorney if the Will should be notarized or only witnessed. The witnesses of the Will can also be notarized by the way!

What about a Living Will?
Living Wills are typically very long documents drafted by Attorneys who specialize in Health Care legal documents. Health Care Power Of Attorney documents are close relatives of Living Wills. Living Wills are typically notarized and often need a notarization in the middle of the document as well as at the end of the potentially dozens of pages.

Can a notary notarize a Living Will?
Sure!

How about a Dying Will or a Won’t? Or a Living Will that doesn’t have a pulse! I know a Notary who is dying to notarize a Won’t with or without instructions from an Attorney!

Tweets:
(1) Yes, Notary can notarize signatures on a Will, although it is generally discouraged w/o written instructions from an Attorney.
(2) Document drafting may or may not be considered practicing law in your state. Ask the Bar Association.
(3) The difference between a regular Will and a Living Will is that the latter has a pulse.

You might also like:

Can a notary sign on a different day?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2457

The lady and the handwritten Will
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3609

Types of witnesses in the Notary profession
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=5664

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