A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that grants a person or organization the legal authority to act on another person's behalf, presently or in the future, if the person cannot do so. Power of attorneys are important documents with potentially life-saving consequences.
People may choose to get a POA when:
- Making financial decisions
- Making health or medical decisions (including stopping medical treatments or services
- Protecting or claiming personal or estate assets
- Operating business interests/transactions
Notaries play an important role when executing a power of attorney.
How to Complete a Notarized Power of Attorney
- Fill out the acknowledgement form, which should be attached to the POA. The POA must clearly identify the principal, the legal term for the person who is granting legal authority to a personal representative. The document must include the principal's full legal name, and it should detail what authority is being handed over (e.g., financial or medical authority).
- Affirm that the principal appeared before you voluntarily, that the terms of the POA are intended and that the signature on the document belongs to the principal. The document should be clearly titled Power of Attorney. The POA should state the date when the POA goes into effect or specify the circumstances in which it would be enacted.
- Ask the principal to sign the POA. Next, notarize the document by imprinting your stamp or seal on it.
- Record the notarization in your notary journal if applicable. This may be a requirement in your state.
Please be advised: The requirements for notarizing a power of attorney varies from state to state. The NAA highly recommends that you check your state's rules and regulations for executing a POA. You should always adhere to your state notary laws.