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Power of Attorney – Don’t wait until it is too late

There are several different types of power of attorney documents. Some are for medical power of attorney and others are for general personal affairs. Many families are waiting until something happens before putting a power of attorney into place with their children or a trusted individual. Setting up a power of attorney before you become hospitalized or deemed incompetent does not mean you art turning your affairs over to someone now. They can be set to take effect upon your no longer being capable of handling your affairs and not until.

So many people come to me for notarization of a power of attorney to take over their parents’ affairs once they have been deemed no longer able to care for themselves and no longer competent to handle their affairs. Once they have become incompetent, it is too late to put a power of attorney document into place with a signature from the parent and a notarization of their signature.

Please be aware of this and prepare for that day before it comes, to save the money and headache of having to petition the courts after it has happened to you.

State vs Employer – Who Dictates my Notary duties?

As I have traveled across the state of Iowa, speaking with and instructing Iowa Notaries Public, I have heard stories of challenges encountered by Notaries. Due to the lack of training provided in the past and the lack of ongoing training, Notaries, their employers and the public are often misinformed or maintain many misconceptions of the role of the Notary Public and who dictates their role, their responsibilities and the procedures by which they perform their duties.

I have traveled to Hawkeye Community College in Cedar Falls, Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids and Iowa Valley Community College in Marshalltown. The participants in my classes were very engaging! I love it!

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Customer vs non-Customer

A Notary MAY NOT decline to notarize because someone is not a customer of their employer or business. An employer MAY NOT restrict a notary from performing a notarization because a person is not a customer. Iowa Notaries are Notaries Public, not Notaries Private.

Revised Uniform Law on Notarial Acts Iowa Code 9B.8 (3) says:

“A notarial officer shall not condition the performing of notarial services upon the requirement that the person served be a customer or client of the establishment by which the notarial officer is employed. The employer of a notary public shall not condition the performing of notarial service upon the requirement that the person served be a customer or client of the establishment by which the notary public is employed.”

This subject has been discussed at length in several Iowa notary training seminars. Some companies thought they might be able to charge non-customers and make it a free service to their customers. This would be discriminatory against the very core of being a Notary Public. We must be willing to serve the public as a whole and not based on their status or a preference such as customer vs non-customer.

Being a Notary is ‘No Big Deal’

Notary no big deal

A friend of mine was at the bank taking care of some business. That business entailed having a document notarized. They said, “Oh, you are a Notary?” to which the response was, “Oh, it’s no big deal.” My friend said, “I beg to differ with you! It is a Big Deal!” The Notary concluded the notarization without response.

Is being a Notary Public ‘No Big Deal’? If you think that, maybe you should not be a Notary. It would seem obvious if you think it is ‘No Big Deal’ then you are not taking your commission seriously.

So many people including many in the professional world are of the mentality that being a Notary Public is ‘No Big Deal’. If they are not well-informed of the importance and seriousness of the duties, responsibilities and liabilities involved, I guess that is ok, but for the Notary, themselves to be of that mentality is a scary thought.