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June 9, 2015

POA – Proceed on Alert

POA – Proceed On Alert
The Power of Attorney is perhaps the “most powerful” of all notarized documents. Some might argue the most powerful is the Will. I disagree. Wills are probated by a Court, an extended legal procedure with notifications, attorneys, and a Judge involved. On the other hand, someone with “just” a POA can gain access to a safe deposit box, sell a house; and do virtually any other function “for” the Principal who granted Agent power to them. POAs can be limited in authority when the Principal initials selected powers, or they can be, as is more common, unlimited.

There are many addicting drugs, perhaps one of the most addictive is Cocaine, a dangerous drug indeed. I think of the POA as the Cocaine of legal documents. With a properly notarized POA that is unrestricted the Agent can access funds, close accounts, sell property, enter into contracts and sign virtually any document on behalf of the Principal. It is the potential for misuse, and the subsequent litigation that has caused many bank notaries to decline processing all POAs. The bank fears its “deep pockets” will become involved in protracted court cases.

There is a slim ray of sunshine in the Power of Attorney gloom. Persons wanting notarization of POAs often have a legitimate personal gain to follow. They are eager to pay mobile notaries, having been rejected at the bank, pharmacy, etc. So the good news is they are willing to pay, but the bad news is that POAs have a somewhat greater risk to the Notary. It’s a good idea to “double down” on the ID requirements, requiring two “rock solid” IDs prior to notarization. POAs being processed at a hospital, by a patient are especially dangerous. The hospital cannot tell you what drugs the patient is taking. How are you to know if they understand what they are signing? End of Life patients often receive Morphine and other powerful medications.

There is also the general misunderstanding about how POAs are used to consider. Generally, they are surrendered upon use. The bank granting access to a safe deposit box will probably retain the Power of Attorney to protect them against potential litigation. It’s a good idea to inquire if the POA is needed for a “one shot”, such as having an attorney sign at a closing. At the other extreme, someone who will be handling the affairs for an elderly relative might need a dozen or more POAs; for banks, brokerage accounts, even to arrange “call forwarding” of cell numbers. Take the time to determine your client’s real need, and how many they will require.

Plan on spending more time at a POA signing compared to other documents. Often the Principal will “rethink” the transaction. It’s a major “letting go” of individuality; as the documents does permit someone else to sign your name. I have attended POA signings at law firms where the Principal reviewed and expressed the desire to make major changes in the POA; even though the issues and powers have been discussed with the attorney at length prior to my arrival.

Though the POA grants the right to sign the name of someone else, it is not without some limits. If I were to give my Agent an unrestricted POA, they could not use my signature to notarize a document; as that authority cannot be granted to another person. Some notaries have taken the position that the risks are too great and refuse to process POAs. In New York State, where the code requires the notary to “notarize upon demand” if the notarization is legal; it’s a crime to decline. The environment is growing more complex. There are no easy answers.


January 29, 2015

Notary by Northwest — a Notorial thriller

Filed under: Movie Themes,Posts With Many Comments — Tags: — admin @ 9:21 am

Notary by Northwest — a Notorial thriller

Hitchcock created North by Northwest. But, what about Notary by Northwest? The thriller about a signer who mysteriously died right before his signing with the Notary Public. What exactly happened?

Mr. Applebaum was supposed to sign his Power of Attorney in the presence of a Notary Public on that fateful June 6th. The night before, Mr. Applebaum mysteriously died without any apparant cause. He lied there slumped over in his favorite couch watching television.

The document he was going to sign would grant Power of Attorney to his greedy son Isaac who wanted control of the family business. His other son Mike didn’t want Isaac to get that control, because he wanted control himself. Upon investigation, it was found that Mike was at a live shooting of the Leno show at the time of the death. So, who could the suspect be?

The investigation migrated from Mike to Isaac. But, why would Isaac want to kill his own father, especially when power was being signed over to him? Maybe he wanted more power more quickly and couldn’t wait. But, Isaac was found to have been at home with his wife on the night of the death. Neighbors were investigated, business associates, but everyone came up clean. Who was the murderer, or was there one?

Upon further investigation, it was learned that Mr. Applebaum was watching television on the night of his death. He watched a rerun of the Grammy’s and then some content about entertainment and the stars.

The time of his death was approximately 10:15pm that evening. The investigators went through the DVD records and found that at exactly 10:15 he would have been watching an interview about Kanye West and his new family.

After a very long dialogue between all of the investigators and the family, it was deduced that Mr. Applebaum was not murdered. In fact, quite to the contrary. He apparantly died of laughter when he found out that Kanye and Kim named their kid NorthWest!


December 2, 2014

Notarized Health Care Power of Attorney

Filed under: Power of Attorney — Tags: , — admin @ 3:58 am

A health care Power of Attorney is a bit similar to a Living Will. This type of document deals with situations that might arise should the grantor be incapacitated. The agent in such a situation is typically a family member, or someone you would trust with your life!

Getting a Notarized Health Care Power of Attorney is slightly longer than regular Power of Attorney documents simply because these types of documents can be dozens of pages long, and sometimes have signatures in the middle of the document. To make the notarizations easier, it is good to have notary wording for each of the notarizations, so there is no ambiguity regarding which signatures the notary actually notarized, and which signatures were merely there.

Please do not call a notary until your document has been thoroughly prepared. Make sure the signer is in good mental health and not intoxicated due to the effects of medical drugs at the time of the notarization. Please make sure the signer has current government issued photo identification for the notary signing as well. You can find 7000 great notaries on 123notary.com!


September 24, 2014

A death at a signing

Filed under: General Stories — Tags: — admin @ 7:38 am

One time I had to go to a multi-family home to do a power of attorney and closing. While I was at the bedside of a patient, someone in the next room died! So there was a lot of commotion and hysteria as you could imagine! That was the first death I ever had happen during one of my signings! Thank god they didn’t ask me to notarize a dead person. I’ve heard that a few notaries got that request before. I wonder what would happen if the Attorney in Fact died right after a Power of Attorney signing — then what?


September 16, 2014

Notarized Durable Power of Attorney

The process of getting a Durable Power of Attorney Notarized is no different than any other document. Since a Durable Power of Attorney is a critical legal document, it must be drafted by someone with the authorization and skill to do a good job, such as an Attorney. Many people ask notaries to draft documents. This is generally a mistake, and notaries in most if not all states are not allowed to draft legal documents. Ask your Attorney how to get your document drafted for a professional opinion.

Please have your document all created and filled out before contacting a notary. 123notary.com has 7000 notaries waiting to help you. Our notaries typically have a lot of experience with loan documents and legal documents. But, they don’t need to understand the document to help you. They just need to notarize your signature, get paid, and go home! Call a notary when you are ready, and make sure your identification is current!

Good luck getting your Durable Power of Attorney Notarized


August 28, 2014

I Love Lucy – The Power of Attorney

Filed under: Andy Cowan,Sit-Coms — Tags: — admin @ 7:06 am


LUCY: Ricky?

RICKY: (reading paper) Yeah, hon.

LUCY: I just got my hair done. You like?

RICKY: (buried in paper) It’s nice.

LUCY: You like the color? It’s my natural color, you know.

RICKY: (buried in paper) Uh-huh.

LUCY: Blue!

RICKY: (buried in paper) Sounds lovely.

Lucy rips paper away from Ricky.

LUCY: Ricky Ricardo, you haven’t been listening to a thing I said!

RICKY: I’m sorry, honey. I’m just trying to forget about the show I’m doing at the Copa.

LUCY: Show?

RICKY: I have so much to do beforehand, I don’t know how I’m gonna get it all done. The rehearsals. The publicity. The contracts. The manager wants one thing splained. The agent wants another thing splained. Ey-yi-yi-yi-yi.

LUCY: I’m good at splaining! Ricky, I know! Fred can be your power of attorney.

RICKY: Fred can be my what?

LUCY: He can act as your agent. You know Fred used to be a notary public.

RICKY: Fred? Really?

LUCY: As a landlord, he figured it might come in handy with other duties on the job. But he didn’t renew his commission. Not that he wouldn’t if you needed him to be your power of attorney.

RICKY: How come he didn’t renew?

LUCY: Ethel told me it was a secret.

RICKY: A secret? Lucy… you were never good at keeping secrets…

LUCY: Ricky, I promised Ethel I wouldn’t say anything…

RICKY: Lucy!

LUCY: (spilling beans) Two tenants wanted him to authorize an affidavit of domestic partnership.

RICKY: Without getting married first? Ey-yi-yi-yi-yi. Well, I don’t blame Fred for not renewing his commission.

LUCY: Bob and Arnold.

RICKY: Two… guys??

LUCY: Yep.

RICKY: We won’t be able to accept gay marriage until they land a man on the moon! Or Liberace gets married.

LUCY: Fred authorized the partnership. Whoops.

RICKY: So that’s the secret you weren’t good at keeping!


FRED: Who feels like playing gin rummy?

RICKY: Not me, Fred. I got a lot on my plate.

ETHEL: Fred never has a lot on his plate.

FRED: If you learned how to cook, maybe I would.

LUCY: Ethel, Ricky needs to find a power of attorney. Know anybody?

ETHEL: Uhhh… You mean drafted or notarized?

RICKY: Speaking of “drafted,” Fred, how will the notary know if the document was professionally drafted or drafted by a licensed attorney?

FRED: In fifty years, notaries will have a don’t ask, don’t tell policy, as long as you signed it.

ETHEL: Lucy, you didn’t happen to open that big round thing on your face with lipstick again, did you?

LUCY: I’ll have you know these are the natural color of my lips.

ETHEL: You didn’t answer the question.

LUCY: See, I am good at keeping secrets!


ATTORNEY: Very well, Mrs. Ricardo. Now you are attorney in fact. You can take this to any notary, get it notarized, and Mr. Ricardo’s contracts will be perfectly valid for both his manager and his agent.

RICKY: Now, Lucy, just because you’re an attorney in fact doesn’t mean I want you coming up with some hairbrained scheme to get into the show.

LUCY: Now why would you think that?

RICKY: Why wouldn’t I think that?

LUCY: As your attorney in fact, it wouldn’t be breaking the law if I…

RICKY: Lucy!

LUCY: Okay, okay. Jeesh. What a grouch.


NOTARY: Have you your document and I.D. ready?

LUCY: Here’s my driver’s license.


RICKY: Anything wrong?

NOTARY: This can’t be your license. Under “hair color,” it says “red.”

LUCY: Well what’s wrong with that? It is red.

NOTARY: Do you swear under oath that’s you were born with that hair color?

LUCY: Ehhhhhhhhh.


LUCY: Need a replacement?

RICKY: Huh?! But… I thought that was you.

LUCY: You thought wrong. Lucky for me I can fit into her dress.

RICKY: Where are my bongos? What’s that pungent odor I smell coming from that beatnik over there?



August 26, 2014

The 3AM Notary Service “Shopper”

The 3AM Notary Service “Shopper”
Having the 24 Hour designation carries the responsibility to live up to the claim. You must answer the phone when it rings at all times. That usually requires the cell phone to be bedside in its charger. But how do you handle the 3AM caller? Obviously a rude and surely response is very inappropriate. YOU gave them permission to call at all hours. If you don’t want those calls, don’t claim to be a 24 hour notary.

Most of my wee hour calls are genuine emergencies. It’s very common for applicants for many municipal jobs to need their “profile” notarized. Many notice this late, very late. They have to have their application notarized for a 6AM interview. I also often receive Power of Attorney signing requests at hospitals, surgery will be in the early AM; and a Power of Attorney is needed ASAP. Also common are the permission forms for one parent to take the child out of the country; notarized permission from the non-flying parent is required. The list goes on and on.

In this environment there are conflicting interests at work. The caller wants the best possible service at the lowest price. I want to maximize both my revenue and amount of sleep. For me to get dressed and go out it has to be a “sure thing”. PayPal prepayment is that sure thing. All “wee hour” callers are required to pay prior to my departure. That eliminates their desire to continue to price shop while I am in route; and a subsequent cancellation.

But not every caller wishes to commit and prepay during the initial contact. Some actually say they wish to make some more calls to price shop and might call me back “later”. Not wanting to be woken a second time for the same assignment; I tell them that a subsequent call will add 50$ to my quoted fee. That usually changes a shopper into a prepay. I know they made over a dozen calls just to get a live person answering the phone. If they wish to continue to price shop that’s fine with me, but there is a penalty for calling back and waking me a second time. Others never call back; that’s fine too. I’m back to sleep in moments.

It’s important to stress that your quoted fee is valid only during the current call. Let your caller know that in addition to having a “callback soon fee” you also have much lower rates during more reasonable hours. It’s difficult to remember all that must be conveyed when you are awake for 30 seconds. A bedside “punch list” or script – makes sure the essentials are covered.

This blog entry would be incomplete without covering the issue of fairness. Your price should never take into account the urgency or circumstances of the caller. Taking advantage of someone in dire circumstances is a sure way to develop a rotten reputation. Of course a 3AM fee will be higher than a 3PM fee. But it should be your standard fee for wee hour callers. Your logbook can defend the rate charged and being your standard for the nature of the service provided; taking into account the time of day.

24 hour service can be both rewarding and exhausting. A call that takes you from a sound sleep to scraping the ice from the windshield can make a near zombie of you for the rest of the day. But, meeting and solving a desperate situation has many rewards. You “stand out” from the crowd as one willing to meet the need, anywhere and anytime; worthy of the title Notary Public.


July 2, 2014

Unhappy Client Pays Again (Family of Italians)

Unhappy client pays Again
As usual it was supposed to be a routine job. The client was in one of the outer Boroughs of New York, the Bronx and my fee included the extra travel time. They needed “an” Apostille added to a Power of Attorney to be signed by a family of four. The POA document was written in Italian, the client was glad to have found me as many local notaries refused. I did the customary clearance for IDs and an appointment was scheduled.

As I was told the document was being prepared in Italy, I was sure the notary section would be also in Italian and useless. Useless because I do not read Italian, and, even if I did it could not be further processed for an Apostille. Therefore I asked my client to email the document to me. I planned to add the requisite notary sections after conferring as to the clients’ choice of Jurat or Acknowledgement. The client did not email the document to me. As he had prepaid (because of the extensive travel involved) I was committed to show up as scheduled. Two reminder calls asking for the email with the document went unanswered.

Upon arriving the client asks me if I had printed the document and brought a copy with me! I related to him that he never set it to me nor did he respond to my two voice mail requests. No document. He hurries off in his car to go to his house to print the document and returns half an hour later. Problems. It appears that there is a blank area that needs something to be filled in. To my great surprise in a household of Italians not one of them is able to read the Italian document. Their lawyer in Italy did read the document to them, presumably in English and they (the four of them) were aware of the content. However, none were able to decipher what should be entered into the blank area. Frantically they search the neighborhood for an “old timer” who could read it.

Finally they determine what needs to be entered in the blank area. To me it appeared to be two documents. But the client instructs me that the “second section” is only “processing instructions”. I ask if that section should be included by stapling to the first section. “You might as well” I was told, “that way the instructions would be with the POA authorization”. I staple the two parts together to formulate a single document. The notarization was routine. They signed above the line and printed their names under the line. As they had opted for me to prepare Acknowledgements, four separate ones were affixed to the signature page.

We had met on Saturday, so on Monday morning I am first on line at the courthouse to begin the process of obtaining the desired Apostille. About an hour later the processing was complete. Then it’s off to their New York attorney to deliver the document. Mission accomplished! On the way home stopped for a hard earned hot coffee and bagel. While munching the bagel I get a call from the attorney who just received the Apostille. As soon as he identified himself I knew bad news would follow; attorneys rarely call to say “well done”.

“What you delivered is totally useless and was improperly processed”. That was a wakeup call, as I was sure I followed the clients’ instructions precisely. There are two separate and distinct sections that were mailed to the family and each needs an Apostille. “Why did you not have them sign the second part, and you also failed to Apostille that part separately”. Mr. Attorney, I told “our” client that I did not read Italian and that he would have to tell me exactly how the documents were to be processed. I distinctly asked if two Apostilles were required and to tell me where it says in Italian that each should be signed. Apparently, the client told his attorney that he could relay the signing instructions, but, failed to do so.

So, now we are scheduled to do the entire job again; also on this coming Saturday morning. Once again the client as made a PayPal payment for the second “try”. This time he assures me the two documents will be stapled separately and the signature areas will be preprinted at the end of each document. I am fortunate that my client accepts total responsibility for not being prepared. He admits his major error was not having the preparer of the Power of Attorneys (now I think there are two) prep the documents with signature areas. My lesson learned is that I must receive via email non-English documents to be sure that complete signing instructions are included, written by the same entity that prepared the documents. A http://newyorkmobilenotarypublic.com must be ready for anything, we all must continue to learn from our experiences and do better next time!

(1) They needed an Apostille added to a Power of Attorney written in Italian to be signed by a family of 4.
(2) This family of Italians was stumped as to what to put in the blank area in their document! Mama mia!
(3) A family of Italians needs an Apostille on a POA drafted in Italy. Everything goes wrong. Find out more!

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May 21, 2014

Notarized Power of Attorney

How do I get a notarized Power of Attorney?

It is a common thing to need a Notarized Power of Attorney. The problem is that many people don’t know where to go for help. Step one is that you need an actual Power of Attorney. Be careful. If you have the wrong Power of Attorney form, it might not be acceptable to whomever the custodian of the document is, or to the courts. I am not an Attorney and can’t advise you, but I suggest you consult an Attorney first to draft a Power of Attorney for you.

Step 1.
Get your Power of Attorney drafted by an Attorney or someone who your Attorney recommends.
If you use a standardized form from an office supply store, make sure you get it all filled out before calling the notary.
You will need to have an Attorney in Fact (Agent or Grantee,) a Grantor, and you need to specify what powers you are granting, and for how long, and under what conditions. It’s complicated and critical, which is why you need an Attorney at $200-$400 per hour!

Step 2.
Find a notary. Any notary can notarize a Power of Attorney. They can also notarize a Durable Power of Attorney, or notarize a Health Care Power of Attorney. Some states even allow the Notary to make certified copies of a Power of Attorney. 123notary offers a wide selection of mobile notaries who can come to your home, office, hospital room, or jail cell and get your Power of Attorney notarized. Make sure you have current photo-ID from a government agency.

Step 3.
Once your POA is notarized, you might need to submit it to a particular party, or have it registered somewhere. Ask your Attorney. Keep in mind that banks often have their own forms for Banking Power of Attorney which are often very simplified forms on card stock which would be significantly below the standards of an Attorney. But, if it is for their bank, they have the right to request any type of form they like. Just make sure your Attorney doesn’t object too terribly much. It’s complicated! Be prudent and consult the right people and Attorney before making your decision what to do.

Final Note
Don’t ask legal questions to Notaries. First of all, they are not trained to answer legal questions. Secondly, they are not allowed by law to answer legal questions. Get your legal questions out of the way with your Attorney before you make your initial call to the notary. Nothing is worse than keeping a notary on hold while you resolve issues that a responsible person would have resolved long before they called in a notary! Additionally, don’t ask a notary to draft documents unless they are authorized to do so based on some other qualifications they might have that are separate from their notary commission which does NOT authorize them to draft any legal document in most states.


January 8, 2014

When do I have to redraw my Power of Attorney?

When Do I Have to Redraw my Power of Attorney?

If you have created only a Limited Power of Attorney, it is likely that at some point when you, the grantor/ principal, become more weak and infirm, the Limited Power of Attorney will have to be redone– and what you need is actually a Durable Power of Attorney. Unless you know that you need to grant Power of Attorney for only a very short time (example: after an accident, or while you are away on a trip, or for certain tax forms within a specific period of time), a Durable Power of Attorney is the best kind to obtain. Also, remember that if the grantor/ principal is no longer competent, he or she cannot draft a Power of Attorney or make changes. A Durable General Power of Attorney gives the Attorney in Fact the power to act on the grantor’s/ principal’s behalf in situations involving finances and health care/ medical emergencies, and continues even when the grantor/ principal is no longer competent. Remember that the Attorney in Fact should be a trusted relative or close family friend who would normally handle these matters anyway. The well-drawn Power of Attorney simply gives the Attorney in Fact power–legally–to handle your affairs in the eyes of medical and financial institutions.

(1) If you redraw your POA, do it while the principal is still competent, otherwise it is too late.
(2) The Attorney in Face should be a trusted relative or friend.

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What is the process of getting a power of attorney?

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