Notary Bulletin

What Is...An Attorney In Fact?

An attorney in fact is a person authorized to sign documents on someone else’s behalf, but is not necessarily a practicing lawyer. It can mean any person who has been empowered to sign documents for another individual.

When an attorney in fact signs a document, the signature should include the name of the principal he or she represents. For example, if John Smith is signing on behalf of Jane Doe, the signature might read, “John Smith, attorney in fact for Jane Doe” or “Jane Doe, signed by John Smith, attorney-in-fact.” Attorneys in fact may only be used for acknowledgments. A jurat must always be signed, sworn or affirmed in person by the primary signer, since no one can take an oath or affirmation for another person.

When completing a certificate for an attorney in fact, all normal requirements must be met. The attorney in fact must provide satisfactory identification. Remember, you must enter the attorney in fact’s name in the notarial certificate, not the absent principal’s name. In the journal entry, write down the attorney in fact’s information and note on whose behalf he or she is signing.

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Quiz: The Many Types Of Notarial Acts

Notaries perform many different duties for the public — and it’s easy to lose track of the different acts and what states they’re authorized in. Test your familiarity with common — and uncommon — notarial acts.

(A link to the correct answers is provided at the end of the quiz.)

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