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August 16, 2016

Hospital Notary Jobs

Hospital Notary Jobs

Hospital visits present the greatest personal risk, even greater than jail visits. When you visit a prison the staff knows your personal safety is their responsibility. At a hospital you are virtually ignored. The passing of infections is an obvious key issue; both ways. If you have the slightest contagious aliment it’s best to avoid hospitals. Two main reasons: your personal defenses are reduced, and you can infect a patient, potentially with dire consequences. Most of the NY hospitals that I go to have both facemasks and hand sanitizer at the entrance. Use both, also press the elevator button with a pen; generally avoid touching things. If you ask someone they will usually give you a pair of thin rubber gloves – additional protection.

Hospital visits should always be prepaid. You should stress the potential problems and frankly inform your caller that the risks are theirs. Your fee is earned when you to go to the facility and notarize if you are permitted to do so. There may be objections by the facility, ID issues, access limitations, ability to sign, ability to understand, etc. There is a good chance your client will be named as Agent on a Power of Attorney. Persons obtaining POA authority are quite willing to pay mobile notary fees; and have a great interest in obtaining the notarized document. Though their interest is irrelevant to your go/nogo decision; it’s worth mentioning. The majority of hospital POA jobs are, in my experience; for loving, concerned relatives who want to help. Of course some wish to exploit the afflicted – it’s virtually impossible to derive their true motivation.

But, your job is to notarize, if you feel doing so would be morally and legally proper. Hmmmm, just where did morally enter into the law? There are (at least in NY State) some “judgment call” aspects. Do I feel that the affiant understands the document and consents to it? Did the ID meet the standard of “adequate proof” – perhaps the photo on the license was a long time ago. Let’s continue with your approval of the situation.

You don’t know and will not be told what their affliction is. Sometimes there will be a “facemasks required” sign on the door. You should be wearing your facemask during every visit. Also take care about having the patient use your pen. Consider leaving it in the room, or at least giving it a good wipe with the hand sanitizer, there are usually several on each floor. Usually someone else is in the room. Show them where the patient needs to sign and stay a few feet away. But, you still need to witness signing a Jurat and need to administer an oath. They can bring the document to the patient while you observe. Just be sure that “they” do not sign for the patient!

Back to your fee. Some make payment on the web site with a credit card. Others prefer to pay with cash. Cash should be collected in the lobby if possible, or call your client out of the room and settle the finances first. Recall that you carefully covered all of the possible impediments to being able to notarize. Your “payment first” policy should have been carefully covered by phone prior to any travel, when accepting the assignment. Similar to prisons, things tend to move slowly in a hospital. You may have to wait while bedding is changed, test administered, etc. My basic notary fee at a hospital is half again what the fee would be for an office or home visit. Stress openly and honestly that all “risk” is on their side – you will do the job if conditions warrant, and total legality.

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You might also like:

When to ask for ID over the phone & fees at the door
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15282

Hospital Signings
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3764

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December 22, 2015

A Newbie at a Title Company

Filed under: Ken Edelstein,Popular on Facebook (A little) — Tags: , — admin @ 12:00 pm

A Newbie at Title Co.
Most of our jobs are quite routine. Once in a while, thankfully not often; something crosses our path that is extraordinary. It could be very nice, or a mess; as you might have expected – I write about a mess. The docs are the docs, we are expected to make them work. However, there are limits to what, as notaries, we can process. Title has an agenda. It’s their objective to get the papers processed as quickly as possible. It has to be a mess of galactic proportions for them to either dump it, or redraw the docs. Notaries also have an agenda, and one item usually at the top of the list is to do the assignment legally. It’s not our job to enforce the law; merely to abide by it.

After accepting the “piggyback”, for a fair, but modest fee; I learn it’s to be via POA. OK, kinda, they take longer but that is our lot in life. I am told that some “special signing instructions” will be sent to me. I assume it’s their preferred POA phraseology. Some want “Mickey Mouse by Minnie Mouse, his attorney in fact”. Others reverse it: “Minnie Mouse as attorney in fact for Mickey Mouse”. I prefer the latter because the name to be sworn comes first. Both are not at all a factor in the notary section where *only* Minnie would be named. But, this assignment tried to, IMHO, not bend, but break the rules.

The instructions directed me to name the affiant and POA issuer, as sworn. Thus, before me appeared: “Minnie Mouse & Mickey Mouse via POA”. To me that was a new twist. It would appear that Minnie would be, based on the POA; taking my oath issued to Mickey! Just as we cannot delegate our notary status to someone else; oath taking cannot be via proxy. Sayeth title: “there are two signature lines on the notarized document, thus there needs to be two persons named in the notary section”. Admirable logic, a bit of arithmetic; 2=2; that’s hard to argue.

But, that would be an improper notarization. Only the person(s) who actually “appeared before me…” can be named. This set of docs had it both ways. Some had both names filled in the notary section; some had “via Power of Attorney”; and a few were for me to write in. When I called title, informing of the need for me to redact all entries other than “Minnie Mouse”; I received more bad news.

“Her legal first name is not “Minnie”, it’s “Min”. However she took title as Minnie, and an AKA form is not allowed – you just have to notarize her as Minnie””. Strike Two – this job was going downhill faster than the Cyclone at Coney Island. I call Ms. Mouse, to my surprise and delight her driver license had “Minnie”. She told me she used that name all her life; though Min was on her birth certificate. Words, Words; to me it’s what is on the driver license that counts.

During my chat with Ms. Mouse she also mentions that the papers need to be processed quickly. It seems that Mr. Mouse is deceased! Whoa, hold on partner – in every state when the agent knows of the principal’s demise – their authority ceases to exist. Title and Ms. Mouse want to proceed with a voided Power of Attorney! What is my position? My notarizations would make no mention to a Power of Attorney. In my Jurat “before me appeared Minnie Mouse” would be the only entry, and she does have valid ID in that name. I never did find out if title knew of the demise of Mr. Mouse.

I bail out. There had been too many heated exchanges with Title; my insistence on proper format soured them. She told me her legal name was Min, so some doubt. Worst of all would be to facilitate the use of a no longer valid Power of Attorney. Best to not be a party to the eventual litigation!

.

You might also like:

If you contact Title companies directly, what do they want?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16110

11 best Title & Escrow Companies
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15861

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June 9, 2015

POA – Proceed on Alert

Filed under: Ken Edelstein,Power of Attorney — Tags: — admin @ 10:22 pm

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.

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May 21, 2014

Notarized Power of Attorney

Filed under: Power of Attorney — Tags: — admin @ 10:28 am

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 give legal advice, 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.

You might also like:

Bank of America Power of Attorney Form
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21327

The Power of Attorney was rejected by a bank
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=6368

Wells Fargo Power of Attorney Form
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22125

Index of Posts about Power of Attorney
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20255

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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 (also known as an “agent”), and the notary is advised to 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.

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

Wells Fargo Power of Attorney Form
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22125

2019 version – parties involved in a power of attorney (detailed)
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21439

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July 9, 2013

The Power of Attorney was rejected by a bank

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 explaining 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.

.

You might also like:

The Power of Attorney was rejected 2017
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18954

Index of posts about Power of Attorney
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20255

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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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February 10, 2012

Power of Attorney at a nursing home

Power of Attorney signing at a Nursing Home
 
This was a signing that was doomed from the beginning. I was a relatively new notary, and hadn’t been burned enough to have any sense.  I was like the cat who hadn’t learned to be wary of crossing the road. On the other hand, during my childhood, we had a cat who regularly sat right on the yellow line in the middle of the road.  Let’s just say that she had a good sense of timing.  My timing unfortunately wasn’t so good this time, and neither was my judgement.
 
A call from a convalescent home
It was a call from a lady in her late fifties.  She seemed like a very normal person.  She was taking care of an elderly lady who had nobody.  Of course, when I got the call, I didn’t have the sense to ask who was going to pay me or how they were going to pay me. This job was so bizarre, that even the most experienced notary has probably never seen anything like it.  So, I went to the nursing home and went in the door.  This place was horrible.  People were screaming and moaning all the time.  Plus the stench was horrible. The nurses didn’t want to open the windows because they didn’t want bacteria coming in.  My news for them is that there would be more bacteria going out than in if they opened the window. 
 
A walk down the hallway.
“Help me…. help me…. will you help me?”.  An old bedridden lady wanted to be turned over. I am not skilled at pampering the elderly, and the nurses were ignoring these helpless victems.  A crazy old man tried to make conversation with me walking down the hall.  This hallway should be called the hall of desperation. I got to the correct room number finally. If only I had brought an oxygen tank so I wouldn’t have had to breath in there. The lady in her 50’s wanted me to have the elderly lady sign a power of attorney document. Neither one of them had a clue how these documents worked. They needed my help filling it out and I told them that I don’t offer legal advice.  So, I had to wait while these crazy ladies took thirty minutes to do what they should have had prepared long before they called me. I neglected to ask them if their document was complete by the way.
 
The finished power of attorney
They kept asking me what to do. I kept saying, “you need to talk to an attorney”. I asked them why they had me come all the way down there when they were not ready to sign a completed document.  I had to teach them what a grantor and grantee was.  I told them that in this other place, they should write what the powers the grantor is assigning to the attorney in fact (grantee).  That helped get them through this daunting task.   Finally, the document was done.  The old lady could hardly sit up, let alone write anything.  She wrote some chicken scratch which was not even ledgable. I had to do a signature by X with two subscribing witnesses with her.   Finally, we were done.

 The payment
The attorney in fact got out a checkbook and proceeded to pay me.  I said, that the check didn’t belong to her, but to the old lady.  The lady in her 50’s said that she had been granted the power to do financial transactions for the older lady and would use the old lady’s check book to write me a check.  I didn’t like this idea. I said that I wanted to be paid in cash please. Neither ladies had a dime on them. So, I took the check, and needless to say it bounced. 
 
Insist on cash
If you do a jail or hospital signing, you will be dealing with very unreliable people a very high percentage of the time. Get your travel fee upon walking in the door before you even meet the signer.  If for any reason you can not complete the signing, you at least have some cash in your pocket.  Knowing how to do a signing by X is a valuable skill that experienced notary publics use if you work with the elderly.

You might also like:

12 questions to ask at hospital notarizations
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20519

Rules for notarizing a bedridden person

Do you like your job? A major headache of a hospital job.

Dragging the person’s arm

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November 14, 2011

Power of Attorney Signings

Power of Attorney Notary Signings
 
It is common for notaries to get a job notarizing a signature of a grantor on a power of attorney document.  It is also common for a signer who is the attorney in fact to sign documents in their official capacity as an attorney in fact.  The problems is that most notaries haven’t a clue how to handle this type of common, yet critical situation. 
 
Types of powers of attorneys
First of all, as a notary public, you are not required to understand the contents of the document.  For an acknowledged signature, the signer should be named in the document and should sign it.  Other than that, you just need to be sure the signer understands the document, and you shouldn’t have any indication that the document is fraudulent (how would you know anyway?).  Their are banking powers of attorney, durable powers of attorney, health care powers of attorney, and living trusts which are a sort of power of attorney. There are other types too, but these are the most common ones.
 
What does a notary need to know about powers of attorney?
You need to know who a grantor and grantee is.  You need to know who an attorney in fact is (= the grantee).  You need to know how the attorney in fact signs a document.  You need to know that California notaries must take journal thumbprints when notarizing signatures on powers of attorney.
 
 
Is the form I am using acceptable?
Notaries may NOT recommend particular power of attorney forms, nor should they assist in filling them out.  The notary should look for blanks, and refuse to notarize if there are any blanks in the document.  It is not a crime for a notary to have blank standardized power of attorney forms in their briefcase, so long as they make it clear that they are not giving legal advice and not recommending the use of those forms.  You might tell the client that they should check with the document custodian (whomever they are submitting the documents to), to see what type of paperwork they will accept.  What is legal, and what is acceptable to the recipient are often two different things.
 
Banking power of attorney
Most banks have their own power of attorney form which is on card stock and leaves about half an inch to squeeze your two and a half inch wide notary seal (how educated of them!).  If asked to notarize a banking power of attorney, just do what the client asks within the limits of the law, but for your knowledge, you should be aware that the bank may not accept a power of attorney that they didn’t draft and that the client might be advised to check with the bank before doing any business with a notary public. 
 
How does an attorney in fact sign?
The person who has been granted special powers from a power of attorney is the grantee or attorney in fact.  They can sign in two ways that I am aware of.  If the grantor is John Doe, and the attorney in fact is Sally Smith, here is how Sally signs on behalf of John.
(1)  John Doe, by Sally Smith, his attorney in fact
(2) Sally Smith, as attorney in fact for John Doe
 
Power of attorney documents at a loan signing
Whether or not the loan will be accepted is hard to say.  However, many lenders will require a copy of the power of attorney to accompany the documents. 
 
Acknowledgment Forms
Some acknowledgment forms allow the notary to identify the capacity of the signer.  One of the standard check boxes on an acknowledgment certificate form is for attorney in fact, and other corporate offices are sometimes mentioned as well.

You might also like:

Index of posts about Power of Attorney
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20255

How do you get a Power of Attorney Document?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20785

Notarizing Documents for the Elderly
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3334

Notarized Affidavits Information
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1963

Bank of America Power of Attorney Form
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21327

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November 11, 2011

Notary Journal Thumbprints – they can save your neck!

Notary Journal Thumbprints
 
How adamant are you about taking journal thumbprints?  As a California notary public, you are required to take notary journal thumbprints for deeds effecting real property and power of attorney documents.  Notary thumbprint taking is a serious business and can keep you out of court.
 
Taking precautions as a notary
I have written other blog posts about precautions that notaries can take.  Notaries can use an inkless embosser in addition to an inked seal.  They can emboss every page of every document they ever notarize as a precaution against page switching which is a common crime that takes place after multi-page documents have been notarized. Taking a precaution of taking journal thumbprints is smart also, and can keep you out of court.
 
Suspicion of identity fraud
Let’s say that you notarized a signature on a document and that someone involved in the transaction suspects identity fraud.  The first thing they will do is to track down the notary who notarized the signature on the document and start asking questions about the signer. You will not remember the signer well, unless you took notes in your journal about what they looked like, how they acted, how old they were, etc.  But, if you have a thumbprint, that is absolute proof of the signer’s identity.  No two thumbprints are identical, and you can’t fake a thumbprint (forge a thumbprint) in front of a notary.
 
The investigation ended once I produced a thumbprint
If someone questions you about a particular notarization, and you say you have a journal thumbprint, the investigation might just end right there.  It happened to me as a California notary public during my first four year term. I saved myself from a potentially long visit to court.  I got a phone call from someone investigating fraud.  Someone had cheated some elderly people whom I had notarized.  One of the documents used to allegedly cheat them had been notarized by myself in my capacity as a California notary public. Since I had a journal thumbprint, the identity of the signers was no longer in question.  The person said they had no further questions the minute I told them I had a thumbprint. They didn’t even want a copy of the journal entry with the thumbprint.
 
Weak thumbprints with the elderly
The flaw of thumbprints are that elderly people often lose the tread on their fingers.  I am talking about really old people, perhaps in their eighties or nineties.  There is nothing you can do in that case, but at least you have a print, no matter how featureless it is. Personally, with signers over eighty, I recommend a retinal scan, which is not possible for a notary to take in 2011, but maybe in 2015… we can always hope.
 
Regardless of your state of commission
Whether you are a Florida notary public, a California notary, or notary in another state, if you are notarizing signatures on a power of attorney or real estate deeds, get a journal thumbprint whether it is required by law or not. That thumbprint could save your neck.  It is not a bad idea to require signers to give thumbprints for all documents and even oaths or affirmations.  It keeps them honest.  The minute they start making excuses why they shouldn’t have to be thumbprinted, that is suspicious behavior, and you might want to refuse service to them.
 
Bring wipes!
Don’t forget to bring wet naps or wipes of some sort.  It is polite to have something for the signer to wipe their hands off with.  Even with the NNA’s inkless thumbprinter which is a product I always had several backups in stock of, you should offer a wipe.  I strongly recommend having at least one inkless thumbprinter in your notary carry all bag!

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You might also like:

Thumbprinting in Texas
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19672

Multiple title companies told Notaries NOT to thumbprint?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19461

Notary Public 101’s guide to Notary Journals
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19511

Thumbprint taking step by step
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1689

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