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Lawyer Notarizing for Clients


Can an attorney notarize the legal documents he has prepared for his clients? The attorney for my ex-wife notarized her signature on the documents he prepared and got paid for. Can he do that?

An attorney is not necessarily disqualified from notarizing a client’s signature just because he prepared a legal document and received attorney’s fees for its preparation, as long as the attorney is not named in the document and does not have a vested interest in it. The courts in many states have held that: (1) one who is a party to an instrument cannot act as the notary public; and (2) the act of taking and certifying acknowledgments cannot be performed by a notary public who has a financial or other beneficial interest in the transaction. It is of utmost importance that the notary public be an impartial party who is disinterested in the transaction.

I am named in the document as trustee; can I notarize my client’s signature?

A notary public who is named as a party to the transaction or who has a direct or indirect financial and/or beneficial interest in the document, no matter how small, is no longer impartial, and the notary must not perform the notarization.

Can a notary notarize a power of attorney for his clients?

A notary public who is an attorney and prepares the power of attorney document for his clients is not necessarily disqualified from notarizing it as long as the attorney is not named in the document and does not have a vested interest in it. It is of utmost importance that the notary public be an impartial party who is disinterested in the transaction.