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November 28, 2013

Who are all the parties involved in a Power of Attorney?

The Principal (also called the grantor) is the person who needs an agent to act on his/her behalf in dealing with legal, financial, and/or health care issues that ultimately involve signing documents, checks, and so forth.
The grantor grants power to the Attorney in Fact via the Power of Attorney document; the Attorney in Fact (also known as the agent or grantee) may then make decisions and sign on behalf of the grantor.

The Attorney in Fact (also called the agent or grantee) is the person designated in the Power of Attorney to act solely on behalf of the principal, avoiding any conflict of interest or personal considerations. The Attorney in Fact acts as a fiduciary, someone who can take care of money for the principal and whose judgment, advice, and assistance can be relied upon. If the fiduciary is, for example, the guardian of an estate, he or she must file a fiduciary bond with the probate court or judge. The Attorney in Fact may transact purchases and sales and financial affairs, and execute agreements.

An Attorney involved may be a family Attorney who drafted the Power of Attorney or one who represents the principal in other matters; by contrast, the Attorney in Fact is often a family member, and not an Attorney who represents the principal for a fee. All rights granted to the Attorney in Fact are set forth and may be limited at the beginning by the grantor; thus, the necessity of having a good Attorney draw up the Power of Attorney. The Attorney may be involved in creating legal remedies or documents that the Attorney in Fact will execute. There may also be an Attorney representing whatever entity (e.g, a bank) the Attorney in Fact works with on behalf of the principal.

The Notary may be involved in notarizing a Power of Attorney at a hospital signing. In this case, the notary may need to question the grantor sufficiently so that he or she is certain the grantor is doing this of his or her own free will and understands the nature of the powers granted to the Attorney in Fact, and the notary must record any observations in the notary journal. As a notary signing agent, the notary must also ID an Attorney in Fact who acts on behalf of the borrower at a signing. In such a case, be advised that the notary’s job is to identify the signer, not to verify his or her capacity http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2632 .

You might also like:

Power of Attorney: types often created
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=6732

Information about various notary procedures
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2268

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August 27, 2012

Notarizing Documents for the Elderly

Notarizing for the elderly: Making a difference

Notarizing documents for the elderly can sometimes be a precarious task. At best, it can also be very rewarding, a chance to save senior citizens from poor medical or financial decisions. Some of our notaries have recently done a great service by scrupulously looking out for this fragile population and speaking out in order to protect them.

A California notary tells us, “I was going to a signing, and I really didn’t have any information about the borrower. The caregiver for the elderly man answered the door, and said ‘Are you aware that Mr. Jones has Alzheimer’s? He thinks you are here to give him $3000. He was cleaning the house all night to impress you.’ Apparently, someone had called him from an Internet company and had gotten him to do the loan. The care attendant said she would have to call the man’s son. I left the loan documents with the man, and immediately called the loan officer. I said, ‘This man’s son has a power of attorney. If I hear of this man signing these documents himself, I will turn you in.’ I never heard from them again,” sighs the California notary, who knows to this day she provided an unanticipated service for Mr. Jones.

Another California notary from Oakland tells a similar story: he came to notarize a refinance, but the woman who owned the home did not want to sign. It turned out that the ‘relative’ who was claiming to have a valid power of attorney was not even related to the homeowner…but had somehow persuaded the lender that she had a POA–and was planning to drain $20,000 from the home and then put the woman in a nursing home. The notary got a bad feeling about all this when he first called to confirm the signing. The old woman confided in the notary her unwillingness to sign, and the notary, on a hunch, called the authorities. They arrested the “relative”…and an actual relative was called upon to assist. Luckily, the equity in the home remained intact, and our notary was very pleased. “It was just lucky that I realized what was going on,” he says, “and made the call. Some people might say it wasn’t any of my business. A notary actually is taken quite seriously as a ‘reporter’ in cases like this. I was glad I did what I did,” says our California notary.

“One man thought he was getting back $400 more on his loan than he actually did. When we went over the paperwork, he actually started crying. I was able to explain things to him, but he chose to call the lender and delay the closing…although he did end up closing that week. The lender did something for him, made some deal with him that made him feel better. Many elderly people feel they are being taken advantage of, and many are in a position of weakness. I see a lot of happy, wealthy elderly, some who own several houses in several parts of the country. I also see a lot of poor people who are elderly and who never recovered from 2008,” says one Hawaii notary with relatives in California. “We are trying to do more to protect them.”

A Hawaii notary in Honolulu who does a lot of notary work with the elderly tells us, “Sometimes at a hospital signing I have to determine whether or not the person knows what he or she is signing. I ask the person’s name and I keep asking questions. If the person does not know what he or she is signing, I leave.” Our astute young Hawaii notary adds, “There are lots of times there is a doubt as to the competence of the person, and you really have to be very sure. Your have to protect their interests. That is why it is good that California, for instance, just passed a new law regarding notarizing a power of attorney.” [see blog June 3 2012 “A New California Notary Law”]

Tweets:
(1) Notarizing documents for the elderly can sometimes be a precarious task; at best very rewarding
(2) “Are you aware that Mr. Jones (the signer) has Alzeimers? He thinks ur here to give him $3000!”
(3) Many elderly signers feel they are being taken advantage of, and that they have a weakness.

You might also like:

Power of Attorney at a nursing home
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2305

Dragging the person’s arm: A signing for an elderly woman
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=610

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