I need to sign a power of attorney
- you must not sign the document before you see me
- you will need to sign the document in my presence
- if you receive any instructions from the person, lawyer etc who provides the power of attorney, you have let me see them. The instructions often contain instructions on how the document needs signing and what I should do.
Other essential things you need to know when you use a notary
In all the notarial work I do there I things I have to do including:
- identifying you (Click here to find out more)
- checking whether you understand the document and whether are willing to sign it and be bound by it. (How do I do this?)
- usually preparing a separate document (called a ‘notarial certificate') which I attach to the document you sign, and then I bind that certificate to the power of attorneyand add my signature and seal. (What does notarial certificate contain?);
- recording the details of what I have done for you. (Why do I have do this and what does it involve?)
Things you should do before coming to see
Here are few things you should check before you come to see me:
- does the document
- state your full name (ie as in your passport) and it is spelt correctly?
- state your other personal data correctly (if mentioned, the correct passport number and expiry date, addresses)
- accurately record facts (eg if you buying a house and the address of house is mentioned or its size, are these details correct?)
- have you completed all the "blanks" in the document?
- do you know the person who you are giving the power of attorney? If you do not, or have never met them, have you carried out any checks regarding them? See [example]
For some countries there are particular requirements when a power of attorney is signed. Here are a few:
- India. Powers of attorney for use in India will need
- your signature witnessing by me (as a notary public) and 2 additional witnesses; and
- usually your photograph attached to the page where you sign.
- South Africa. Powers of attorney for use in South Africa often need witnessing by me (as a notary public) and 2 additional witnesses.
- Spain. Sometimes a copy of your passport is added to the power of attorney (depends on the part of Spain)
What is a power of attorney?
Simply, it is a document where you provide permission for someone else to do something on your behalf.
The permission you give is either to do one or more specific things. Or sometimes you are giving permission to someone else to do things on your behalf without saying exactly what they are. See the [example].
For example, if you are purchasing a specific property in another country, you might a give lawyer in that country permission to buy the specific named property for a particular price etc.
Some essential legal terminology you should know
A powers of attorney often use particular words (which are sometimes used in other countries as well).
The following provides a basic guide as to their meaning:
- Doner. This is the person giving the permission
- Attorney. This is person to whom the permission is given to do things on behalf of the donor
- Deed. In England a power of attorney, in order to be valid, must be signed as a deed to be valid. Such a requirement is not present in many other countries. In essence a document to be a deed must comply with two things: (a) the document must either state it is a deed or is signed as a deed; and (b) the person signing must sign in the presence of a witness.
Why a power of attorney needs signing as a deedFor why a document signed in England which is for use in another country needs signing as a deed see the attached document. It explains the legal reasons as well as the guidance given to notaries as to why this is necessary.
In most cases documents which are powers of attorney which a client needs to sign before a notary will be provided to the client. They will invariably not contain the words necessary to make it a deed. Often all that is necessary is to add the words “signed as a deed”. Sometimes it is advisable to check with the lawyer or other person who provided the document to the client about adding these words. In my experience I have not had problems with lawyers in other countries about adding these words.