Power of Attorney Notarizations


Signing Under a Power of Attorney    
ASN Hot Tip, July 2009-#1

What signature styles will you possibly encounter when someone acting under a power of attorney signs a document on behalf of the person named in the document? 


(Remember that the principal is the person who gave power of attorney to someone else. The attorney-in-fact is the person who was granted power of attorney by the principal.)

  The signature style will illustrate that the signature was penned by the attorney-in-fact, for the principal. Acceptable formats include ASN’s favorite, John Doe, Attorney-in-Fact for Sally Smith; as well as Sally Smith by John Doe, Attorney-in-Fact and Sally Smith by John Doe, Power of Attorney.

  It is also good form for the attorney-in-fact to write the principal’s name the same way it appears in the document. For example, if the document names Sally E. Smith as the signer and John Doe is signing under a power of attorney for Sally, then ideally John would write, John Doe, Attorney-in-Fact for Sally E. Smith, or Sally E. Smith by John Doe, Attorney-in-Fact, or Sally E. Smith by John Doe, Power of Attorney.

  If the document will be recorded as part of a home loan package, we recommend that notary signing agents check with the lender or title company to see if they have specific instructions about the attorney-in-fact signing the document. These instructions might also be found in an instruction sheet accompanying the document packet.  

  lf the attorney-in-fact (John Doe) must also initial the document on behalf of the principal (Sally E. Smith), we recommend SEM by JD, POA or JD, POA for SEM. Again, if the document will be recorded as part of a home loan package, check with the lender or title company for specific instructions about the initials.

Finally, remember that whenever officiating in a transaction involving an attorney-in-fact signing for a principal, you must complete a notarial certificate for acknowledgment by an individual in a representative capacity(An attorney-in-fact cannot take an oath on behalf of a principal, only an acknowledgment.) If the certificate language provided is for an individual signing for him- or herself, you must correct the language or strike completely through it and attach a loose notarial certificate with the correct language.

Questions, comments on this Hot Tip?  Email Kathleen@asnnotary.org
All Images and Content Copyright 2005 - 2014 American Society of Notaries
All Rights Reserved. Reproduction is prohibited without the express, written permission of ASN.
Privacy Policy Notary Supplies Notary Training ASN Membership Find a Notary Site Map

www.notaryeducation.com www.onlinenotarytraining.org www.notaries.org