Online Notary Course  for California

Part 4, Section 5

You may at some point be asked to notarize the signature of an attorney-in-fact.  This is where the principal signer has signed a power of attorney which allows another person to sign on their behalf.  There are a number of reasons why this is done, perhaps the principal signer is incapacitated in some way, is out of the country, or holds a job that frequently takes them away from home.  It is a good idea to ask to see the power of attorney document. 

As an example, a woman named Jane M. Doe is acting as attorney-in-fact and signing for John S. Smith.  The document would be signed in this fashion:

John S. Smith by Jane M. Doe, attorney-in-fact

Or, alternatively,

Jane M. Doe, attorney-in-fact for John S. Smith, principal

Sometimes the document will have a signature line for the person acting as attorney-in-fact as well, and if so, the attorney-in-fact needs to sign for themselves as well as for the principal on whose behalf they are acting.

You are only notarizing the signature of the person who is appearing before you, who is in this example, Jane M. Doe, the attorney-in-fact.  On your notarial certificate, you only name the attorney-in-fact because that is the only signature you are notarizing.  The attorney-in-fact must also sign your notarial journal, and it is recommended that you make a notation in your journal regarding the fact that the document was signed by an attorney-in-fact.

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All rights reserved. Revised: 07/14/09.