Do Power of Attorney Need to Be Notarized? Find out now!

power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that allows someone (the principal) to appoint someone else (the agent or attorney-in-fact) to manage their affairs and make decisions on their behalf if they become incapacitated or unable to do so themselves. The POA gives the agent authority to handle the principal’s financial, legal, medical, and other matters.

But does a POA need to be notarized to be valid? Let’s take a look at the different types of POAs and legal requirements around notarization.

Types of Power of Attorney

There are several types of POAs, each used for different purposes:

  • General POA – Gives broad authority over all the principal’s affairs. Used when the principal will be unavailable for an extended time.
  • Durable POA – Remains in effect if the principal becomes incapacitated. Handles financial and legal matters if illness or injury leaves the principal unable to do so.
  • Special/Limited POA – Only covers specific acts laid out in the document, like selling property or managing a business.
  • Medical POA – Gives authority to make healthcare decisions if the principal is unable to do so. Also called a healthcare proxy.
  • Springing POA – Only takes effect if a certain event occurs, like the principal becoming incapacitated. Lays dormant until triggered.
Types of Power of Attorney

Does a Power of Attorney Need to Be Notarized?

In general, yes, a POA does need to be notarized to be legally valid and enforceable. However, requirements vary by state.

Some states mandate notarization for durable and medical POAs but not for general POAs. Others require all POAs to be notarized. Some states have special rules for springing POAs.

It’s crucial to check your state’s laws to understand the exact notarization requirements for POAs. Failure to properly notarize could invalidate the document.

Why Notarize a Power of Attorney?

Notarization serves several key purposes:

  • Fraud prevention – Notarization verifies the signature is actually the principal’s. It prevents unauthorized persons from trying to execute a fraudulent POA.
  • Legal acknowledgment – The notary’s stamp and signature confirm the principal appeared before them and signed the POA of their own free will. This helps the POA withstand legal challenges.
  • Evidentiary value – A notarized POA is more likely to be accepted as valid evidence in court if disputes arise. The notary’s recordkeeping provides additional proof.

In short, notarization adds an important layer of protection and assurance for both the principal and the agent. It provides legal teeth to the POA.

Where to Get a Power of Attorney Notarized

You have several options for notarizing a POA:

  • Banks and credit unions – Many offer free notary services for account holders. Call your local branch.
  • Law offices – Most attorneys have notaries on staff who can notarize your POA on the spot.
  • Public libraries – Many libraries provide notaries – check your local branch. Fees are often lower than private notaries.
  • Mobile notaries – Traveling notaries who will meet at your location to notarize documents. Convenient but can be pricey.
  • Notary service firms – Companies that solely provide notarization services, like sign and drive services. Offer convenience but cost more.

When selecting a notary, make sure they are licensed in your state. Avoid questionable online services claiming to have “online notaries.” Physical presence before the notary is required.

How to Notarize a Power of Attorney

Notarizing a POA typically involves these key steps:

  1. Review the POA – The notary will examine the POA to ensure it is complete and properly filled out.
  2. Verify identities – The principal must provide valid photo ID. Some states require ID for any witnesses as well.
  3. Have principal sign – The principal signs the POA in front of the notary. If applicable, witnesses would also sign.
  4. Take oath – The principal takes an oral oath swearing that he/she is signing voluntarily.
  5. Notary stamp – The notary affixes their official stamp or seal on the POA document.
  6. Notary signs – The notary signs their name and fills in data like the date/location.
  7. Recordkeeping – The notary enters details about the signing in their notary journal or record book.

Be sure to bring proper identification and any witnesses required. Notarization does not take long but having all documentation in order facilitates the process.

Digital and Remote Notarization Options

Traditionally, both the principal and notary had to be physically present together to notarize a POA. But technology is enabling new remote options:

  • Webcam notarization – The notary watches yousign electronically through live video chat.
  • Online notarization – You upload scans of your POA for the notary to certify digitally.
  • Remote ink notarization – You sign electronically as the notary witnesses through a digital pen pad app.

All states now allow remote notarization in some form. Be sure to check the requirements for executing a remote POA, as some impose stricter identity validation rules.

Cost and Accessibility of Notarization Services

The fee charged by a notary public for POA notarization varies but is usually between $5-$15 per signature. Here are some tips to minimize cost:

  • Many banks offer notarization services for free if you are an account holder.
  • Check with local businesses as they often have a notary on staff who can help for free.
  • Usage of a remote notarization app can be more affordable than an in-person notary.
  • Reach out to your local law schools to see if they offer low-cost notarization clinics.

Don’t let the cost deter you from this important step. There are plenty of low-cost options if you know where to look.

Notary and Witness Requirements by State

Notary and witness rules for POAs vary significantly by state. Here are some key examples:

State Notary Rules Witness Rules
California Notarization required No witnesses required
Florida Notarization required 2 witnesses required
New York Notarization required for springing POA 2 witnesses required
Texas Notarization optional No witnesses required if notarized
Pennsylvania No notarization required 2 witnesses required

This table illustrates the diversity of state laws regarding POA notarization and witnesses. Some mandate both, while others require one or the other. Be sure to consult your own state’s exact requirements.

Enforceability of Out-of-State Powers of Attorney

What if you execute a POA in one state but need it enforced in another – does it remain valid?

In many cases, yes. States are generally required to respect and enforce POAs signed in other states under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

However, the other state may enforce additional requirements like notarization or witnessing to uphold the POA. Some states also limit out-of-state POA validity to 30 days.

If you expect to use your POA across state lines, it’s wise to notarize it and meet any witness rules to maximize enforceability. Review the other state’s laws.

Special Considerations for Different Types of POAs

Certain types of POAs have unique requirements when it comes to notarization:

Medical POA – Some states require additional witnesses alongside the notary. HIPAA authorization forms may need notarization too.

Springing POA – Extra validation is usually needed for the condition that activates the springing POA. This often has to be re-certified each year.

Limited POA – The terms are narrower, but notarization gives specificity on what powers are being granted to the agent.

Non-Durable POA – These are invalid if you become incapacitated. As a result, notarization ensures it was created voluntarily by a competent principal.

The stakes are high for health care and springing POAs. Consult an attorney to ensure full compliance with laws before notarizing these specialized documents.

Revoking a Notarized POA

A principal can revoke a POA at any time provided they have mental capacity. To properly rescind a notarized POA:

  1. Notify your agent – Request they stop acting under the POA authority immediately.
  2. Inform vendors and institutions – Contact anywhere the POA was submitted to communicate the revocation.
  3. Destroy copies – Shred or permanently delete any remaining copies you possess of the POA.
  4. Execute a revocation form – Create a document stating you revoke the POA. Notarize it using the same procedure as initially notarizing the POA.
  5. Replace with new POA (optional) – You can draft a new POA naming a different agent if desired.

Revoking a POA quickly and thoroughly is crucial. Otherwise, your old agent may still try to misuse the authority no longer granted to them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does a power of attorney have to be notarized each time it’s used?

A: No, a POA only needs to be notarized once at the time of signing. The notarized document can then be used multiple times thereafter.

Q: What if my POA isn’t notarized properly?

A: An improperly notarized or unwitnessed POA may be considered invalid. Consult an attorney to redo the POA to meet your state laws.

Q: How much does it cost to notarize a power of attorney?

A: Notary fees typically range from $10-$15 per signature. Some notaries charge additional travel fees. Many banks notarize free for customers.

Q: How long does notarization of a POA take?

A: The notarization process itself normally takes less than 15 minutes with proper documentation. Wait times at busy notaries may be longer.

Q: Can I notarize a POA remotely online?

A: No, remote or online notarization is generally not permitted for POAs. You must physically appear and sign before an in-person notary.


While not all states mandate notarization, it’s strongly recommended for any POA. Notarization creates a POA that is more fraud-resistant and enforceable.

Be sure to consult your state’s laws on notary and witnessing requirements for POAs. Remember – POAs are powerful legal documents, so take steps to make yours ironclad.

A Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document that allows one person, the principal, to designate another person as their agent or attorney-in-fact. The agent is given the authority to make legal, financial, and medical decisions on the principal’s behalf if they become incapacitated. To be legally binding, most states require POAs to be notarized. This critical step validates the signatures and prevents fraud.

In this guide, we will provide a comprehensive overview of POA notarization. You will learn the nuts and bolts of the notarization process, requirements for each state, and best practices to ensure your POA is enforceable. We will also cover special cases like digital notarization and emergency POA notarization.

Our goal is to answer the most common questions around POA notarization so you can feel confident yours will hold up legally. A properly notarized POA can provide vital protection in the event you become unable to manage your affairs. Let’s dive in!