How To: Prevent Fraud- Notarize a Power of Attorney in Kentucky by Jana C. Lizarraga

Definition: A power of attorney (POA) is a document that allows you to appoint a person or organization to manage your affairs if you become unable to do so.

Related Terms: The person named in a power of attorney to act on your behalf is commonly referred to as your “agent” or “attorney-in-fact.”

The “principal,” or “grantor,” gives another person, called the “attorney-in-fact,” or “agent,” legal authority to act on the principal’s behalf.

It was the end of 2020 and I had spent my whole year inside the house. I was already a stay-at-home mom, but I was not making any income whatsoever. I decided I wanted to change that and went on to Pinterest to see what I could find. One of the first articles I found was how to become a notary. I went on to become a Notary Public in my State and jumped right into with both feet. I was excited and motivated and found myself feeling uneducated. I started getting calls and it became very real that even though there is no education required in my state to become a Notary, doesn’t mean I don’t need to educate myself to maintain my status as a notary. I got several calls for Titles, Acknowledgements, Immunizations and Parent Guardian Documents, but it was when I got the call for a Power of Attorney that I felt scared. What if the person was trying to scam me and his father? What do I do? What do I say and how will I know? I was so scared that I felt like the roof was caving in. Luckily the guy wasn’t trying to scam me, and in the end, the whole signing never took place, but it was still a learning lesson for me. After that I quickly studied up on how to perform a signing for POA Docs and I can honestly say that I’m very comfortable. Below I will outline what questions you should ask to perform the signing once the day comes for you. These questions should help you assess the situation so that you can help prevent any fraud by spotting any potential red flags.

When you first get the call, you may not know who it is that you are speaking with. You may be speaking with the “attorney in fact” or the “principal”. It is important to familiarize yourself with the terms, so you know who is who. So, I would typically ask the caller:

1. Who they are

2. If they will be signing

3. Do they have/need 2 witnesses

4. Let them know that all signers will need to have a VALID ID/not expired

5. Advise caller/requestor to wait to sign in front of you

Here set up the appointment, give them your quote, and proceed to the signing. These forms should be written by the family lawyer or at they should at least have the document. This is not something YOU will find a template for, print and take to signer on your own. They should have this all prepared and ready to go. You can print if they email it to you.

Here are 2 Scenarios I have found myself in.

Example 1:

Request made for a signing at someone’s home for a man and his father who is ill with Alzheimer’s. The son is Tom, the father is Nick. Tom will be taking over health decisions and financials for his father. When you arrive, you see that the father is asleep on the bed and obviously cannot sign. Looking over the document you can see there is a spot for 2 additional witnesses to sign, but no one else is there.

Example 2:

Request made to go to a retirement community where the signer Joe and his mother Anna are waiting for you in a room. The mother and son are laughing and enjoying a conversation. There are two other people in the room as well.

Which example does your gut tell you is the better case scenario? The second, right? Yes, because Tom makes you feel very uneasy and uncomfortable. You might run in to Tom a time or two, so do not let Tom tell you what to do. Be confident and kind and learn HOW and WHEN to tell Tom “NO”.

Now let’s go back to Joe and his mom. He seems happy and sort of trustworthy. But this is not where it stops. I will need to assess the state of mind for the principal. His mother is talking and seems happy, but when I go to ask her for ID she seems to have forgotten where she placed it. It takes her a few minutes, she seems a little flustered, but she finds it and hands it to me. At this point,

1. I take everyone’s IDs

2. Have them verify their names

3. Make sure to pay special attention to the principal.

If she cannot remember her name, I can stop there.

If she remembers her name, I will proceed with the signing.

BEFORE the signing takes place, I simply ask the principal:

1. “Have you read the document,

2. Do you understand what we are signing and the reason for my visit?”

If she says yes, then I proceed. If not, then I will not be able to move forward.

Now, Joe is very understanding and so I feel very comfortable telling him to just give me a call when the mother is ready. This may not be what you choose to do, but I do it this way because it saves time by getting straight to the point. Remember, you are the Notary, so do not let anyone make you second guess yourself. Here are some extra tips for your first POA Signing.

*Always remember to ask for ID and verify your signers Identity.

*Make sure the principal is aware and is freely signing the document.

*Go with your gut instinct. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

*Kentucky requires 2 non interested parties to sign as witnesses.

*Under KRS 457.050, the principal must now sign in the presence of a notary public to create a valid POA. Oct 16, 2020

REFERECES:

https://www.bgelderlaw.com/blog/updated-poa-2020

https://www.americanbar.org/groups/real_property_trust_estate/resources/estate_planning/power_of_attorney/

For More Information on How to become a Notary in Kentucky click here: https://realuglyhousewife.wordpress.com/2021/12/19/become-a-notary-public-in-kentucky/

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