Powers of Attorney and Verifying Capacity
Recently, we had two notaries that had situations where they felt obligated to stick their head into other people’s business. Both notaries were doing signings for an attorney in fact, and both notaries wanted to see the power of attorney to verify if the signer indeed had that capacity. But, this seems to be going above and beyond the job of a notary public. A notary’s job is to identify a signer, and make sure the signer really signed the document, keep a journal, and fill out certificate forms.
So, does the notary need to verify the capacity of the signer: i.e. as an attorney in fact? In California, notaries are prohibited from identifying a signer’s capacity. But, what about other states? I have no idea! Maybe our readers can comment. We will have a facebook discussion on this topic as well to stimulate dialogue.
I feel it is only the notary’s job to notarize the signature of the signer, and acknowledge that that particular person signed a document. If that person claims to be an attorney in fact, that is their business. Whether the signature on the notarized document will be recognized in court as an official siguature of an attorney in fact is another story, especially if the “missing” power of attorney form doesn’t show up. I saw let the courts worry about authorization, it is beyond your job as a notary!
(1) When you notarize for an Attorney in Fact, is it your job to verify the signer’s capacity?
(2) It’s only the notary’s job 2identify the signer, not to determine if they’re authorized to sign in a particular capacity.
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