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Properly notarizing a Power of Attorney (POA) can strengthen its validity, but not all states require notarization. This article will trace the purposes of a POA, its legal requirements, and the benefits of notarization.

A power of attorney transfers decision-making authority from one person to another. It is a legally binding agreement between a principal and an attorney in fact. Once in place, a power of attorney allows the attorney in fact to act on behalf of the principal. Legally, as their agent, they can bind the principal to contracts; sell, buy, or transfer assets; or make medical decisions affecting the principal. A POA is an essential part of comprehensive estate planning.

State law may place limits on what the attorney in fact can and cannot do with a power of attorney. For example, some locations ban payments to the attorney in fact from the principal’s assets.

Depending on the type of POA, powers may be granted immediately or upon some future event. No matter the scope or reason for creating a POA, you will want to ensure it is effective. Notarization can be one step to prevent future challenges to the POA’s validity.

Read more: How to sign as a power of attorney

Why Notarize a POA?

Notarization in the United States is carried out by a notary public. This person is appointed by the state to ensure signatures on legal documents are not fraudulent or forged. Each state has different requirements for becoming a notary public. The individual acting as a notary public is generally prohibited from notarizing agreements when there is a conflict of interest. Therefore, a notary is viewed as a disinterested party, and their verification carries weight.

Some states legally require notarization for a power of attorney to be enforceable. However, even in states where it is not needed, you may want to consider seeking out a notary.

You can use LawDistrict’s tools to build a strong POA that carries out your wishes. Our tools make the process seamless, and the document is tailored to your needs.


Get a POA Now

However, because a POA can grant the agent broad powers, they can be subject to legal challenges. Other interested individuals may disagree with the agent’s choices. Fighting against an attorney in fact usually requires evidence a power of attorney was created improperly.

How To Notarize a Power of Attorney

A notary public takes steps to verify there is no fraud in the creation and signing of a legal document. This is accomplished through the following process that includes witnessing all required signatures.

  • First, the notary will confirm each signer is competent to reach a legal agreement.
  • Then, the notary will have each party acknowledge they understand what they are signing.
  • The notary will verify every person's identity by checking official documents like driver's licenses, passports, or other records.
  • All parties will sign the document while the notary watches.
  • The notary then logs the document in a journal, recording the date, time, and other information regarding the signing.
  • Finally, the notary will affix an official stamp to the document that contains their official seal. The notary then also typically signs near the stamp.

While important, a notary’s services usually do not take more than a few minutes.

Notary and Witness Requirements by State

Every state requires different parties to sign a POA for it to be valid. Some locations simply require impartial witnesses with no formal authorization. Others allow a notary’s approval without any further witnesses. More states require both witnesses and a notary to sign a POA. As of the date of this article, the breakdown is as followed:

  • States that need two witnesses and a notary: Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina.
  • States that require two witnesses or a notary: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Wyoming.
  • States requiring at least two witnesses but no notary: Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin.

If your state is not listed above, it has slightly different rules for notarizing a POA. Additionally, some states change the requirements for certain types of POAs, such as those that only deal with medical decision-making. Be sure to check your updated local requirements, as the laws may change.

Enforceability of Power of Attorney From Other States

Each state has different rules and regulations regarding powers of attorney. Therefore, you may want to update any existing agreements if you move across state lines. However, just because a POA was drafted and executed in another state does not mean it is unenforceable.

If your new state has agreed to the Uniform Power of Attorney Act (UPOAA), notarization can provide an additional boost of security. If you have a properly notarized POA, part of UPOAA requires respecting the terms of the agreement. If some individual or business denies a valid attorney in fact the right to authorize a decision, they can be sued for damages. Currently, the UPOAA has been enacted by the following 28 states:

  • Kentucky, South Dakota, Georgia, Texas, Wyoming, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah, Washington, South Carolina, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Hawaii, Iowa, West Virginia, Nebraska, Ohio, Montana, Alabama, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Virginia, Maryland, Colorado, Maine, Nevada, Idaho, New Mexico.

Two more states and Washington, D.C. also have introduced the UPOAA as part of the 2021 legislative session. In these states, having your POA notarized is critical.

Even if your new state is not part of the UPOAA, having a notarized POA can be vital. Some states will enforce a notarized POA, but only in accordance with their laws and not those of the original state. In some cases, this will not affect you at all. But in others, it may invalidate the agreement entirely.

A well-tailored power of attorney can be created from the safety of your home. LawDistrict provides convenient and accessible tools for drafting, updating, and reviewing your POA. Protecting your future can be accomplished in just a few steps!


Get Your Power of Attorney Now

Helpful Resources:
Power of Attorney Act - Uniform Law Commission
Power of Attorney - Cornell Law School

Properly notarizing a Power of Attorney (POA) can strengthen its validity, but not all states require notarization. This article will trace the purposes of a POA, its legal requirements, and the benefits of notarization.

A power of attorney transfers decision-making authority from one person to another. It is a legally binding agreement between a principal and an attorney in fact. Once in place, a power of attorney allows the attorney in fact to act on behalf of the principal. Legally, as their agent, they can bind the principal to contracts; sell, buy, or transfer assets; or make medical decisions affecting the principal. A POA is an essential part of comprehensive estate planning.

State law may place limits on what the attorney in fact can and cannot do with a power of attorney. For example, some locations ban payments to the attorney in fact from the principal’s assets.

Depending on the type of POA, powers may be granted immediately or upon some future event. No matter the scope or reason for creating a POA, you will want to ensure it is effective. Notarization can be one step to prevent future challenges to the POA’s validity.

Read more: How to sign as a power of attorney

Why Notarize a POA?

Notarization in the United States is carried out by a notary public. This person is appointed by the state to ensure signatures on legal documents are not fraudulent or forged. Each state has different requirements for becoming a notary public. The individual acting as a notary public is generally prohibited from notarizing agreements when there is a conflict of interest. Therefore, a notary is viewed as a disinterested party, and their verification carries weight.

Some states legally require notarization for a power of attorney to be enforceable. However, even in states where it is not needed, you may want to consider seeking out a notary.

You can use LawDistrict’s tools to build a strong POA that carries out your wishes. Our tools make the process seamless, and the document is tailored to your needs.


Get a POA Now

However, because a POA can grant the agent broad powers, they can be subject to legal challenges. Other interested individuals may disagree with the agent’s choices. Fighting against an attorney in fact usually requires evidence a power of attorney was created improperly.

How To Notarize a Power of Attorney

A notary public takes steps to verify there is no fraud in the creation and signing of a legal document. This is accomplished through the following process that includes witnessing all required signatures.

  • First, the notary will confirm each signer is competent to reach a legal agreement.
  • Then, the notary will have each party acknowledge they understand what they are signing.
  • The notary will verify every person's identity by checking official documents like driver's licenses, passports, or other records.
  • All parties will sign the document while the notary watches.
  • The notary then logs the document in a journal, recording the date, time, and other information regarding the signing.
  • Finally, the notary will affix an official stamp to the document that contains their official seal. The notary then also typically signs near the stamp.

While important, a notary’s services usually do not take more than a few minutes.

Notary and Witness Requirements by State

Every state requires different parties to sign a POA for it to be valid. Some locations simply require impartial witnesses with no formal authorization. Others allow a notary’s approval without any further witnesses. More states require both witnesses and a notary to sign a POA. As of the date of this article, the breakdown is as followed:

  • States that need two witnesses and a notary: Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina.
  • States that require two witnesses or a notary: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Wyoming.
  • States requiring at least two witnesses but no notary: Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin.

If your state is not listed above, it has slightly different rules for notarizing a POA. Additionally, some states change the requirements for certain types of POAs, such as those that only deal with medical decision-making. Be sure to check your updated local requirements, as the laws may change.

Enforceability of Power of Attorney From Other States

Each state has different rules and regulations regarding powers of attorney. Therefore, you may want to update any existing agreements if you move across state lines. However, just because a POA was drafted and executed in another state does not mean it is unenforceable.

If your new state has agreed to the Uniform Power of Attorney Act (UPOAA), notarization can provide an additional boost of security. If you have a properly notarized POA, part of UPOAA requires respecting the terms of the agreement. If some individual or business denies a valid attorney in fact the right to authorize a decision, they can be sued for damages. Currently, the UPOAA has been enacted by the following 28 states:

  • Kentucky, South Dakota, Georgia, Texas, Wyoming, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah, Washington, South Carolina, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Hawaii, Iowa, West Virginia, Nebraska, Ohio, Montana, Alabama, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Virginia, Maryland, Colorado, Maine, Nevada, Idaho, New Mexico.

Two more states and Washington, D.C. also have introduced the UPOAA as part of the 2021 legislative session. In these states, having your POA notarized is critical.

Even if your new state is not part of the UPOAA, having a notarized POA can be vital. Some states will enforce a notarized POA, but only in accordance with their laws and not those of the original state. In some cases, this will not affect you at all. But in others, it may invalidate the agreement entirely.

A well-tailored power of attorney can be created from the safety of your home. LawDistrict provides convenient and accessible tools for drafting, updating, and reviewing your POA. Protecting your future can be accomplished in just a few steps!


Get Your Power of Attorney Now

Helpful Resources:
Power of Attorney Act - Uniform Law Commission
Power of Attorney - Cornell Law School