Can a bank notarize a Power of Attorney?


Can a bank notarize a Power of Attorney?

While it is bleak and unpleasant to think about being incapacitated by a disease or an accident, unfortunately, it does happen. This is why it is best to plan and be prepared just in case. When planning for the later years of your life, you should make the right decisions in order to protect your loved ones and estate. When you appoint an individual with a power of attorney document, you trust that individual to make decisions on your behalf in case you are unable to do so because of an accident, illness, or absence. However, you may have several questions, such as what is a power of attorney and how to notarize a power of attorney. And can a bank notarize a power of attorney?

Power of Attorney (POA) is a crucial legal document that gives somebody you trust – an attorney in fact – the authority to make financial, legal, or medical decisions or take actions for you if you are not able to do so.  However, note that there are different kinds of power of attorney documents, including a power of attorney form, relevant to different situations and circumstances. 

For example, a POA can be a very useful document and tool that allows you to perform financial transactions or make legal decisions when you cannot be present to sign important documents, or somebody else to act for you if you become incapacitated.

It is worth noting that a power of attorney document empowers a person to take complex decisions in various areas, such as healthcare, finances, and real estate on behalf of another individual. So, notarizing a POA signature becomes mandatory in many situations.

If you have been tasked with notarizing a POA, you should know that a POA is not any ordinary document and must be notarized appropriately. If you need a power of attorney document notarized, you have many options.

You may know that a notary public acts as a legal signing agent, or a person authorized to witness the signatures on different types of legal documents, such as mortgage loan documents, forms, and legal documents.  

A public notary or attorney is required in several situations when you are making important documents and forms official and legal. Some of these documents include loan, mortgage, and escrow agreements, business or commercial agreements, legal statements, medical claims, and legal settlements.

Finding a notary public may be challenging if you’ve never had the need for a notary before. However, there are several ways to get a power of attorney document notarized.

You will be happy to know that most banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions provide notary services and have a notary public on staff to provide notary services to regular customers and bank account holders. These services are offered during normal banking hours as a way to provide personalized customer service and more convenience, especially because of the popularity of online banking. Having a notary public on staff to notarize documents is not just convenient, but is considered by a lot of banking customers and professionals to be an act of courtesy.

What is a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document that gives a person (known as the attorney in fact or agent) broad powers and authority to manage financial and legal matters, such as estate plans and similar issues, on behalf of another individual (called the principal).

A power of attorney can be restricted to a single decision. On the other hand, it can be so broadly written that the agent or attorney in fact can do nearly anything, such as manage bank accounts or pay bills, on your behalf.  The authority you give to the agent depends on the document’s language.

If you live in Michigan, California, or South Dakota, your durable power of attorney is valid and binding if you’ve it notarized in front of two witnesses.

This means that you can determine how much authority or how little discretion and authority you grant to your attorney in fact and the kinds of tasks your agent may perform on your behalf. Here are some common tasks a formal power of attorney document allows you to give to your attorney in fact or agent:

  • Handling various transactions at banks, credit unions, and financial institutions
  • Hiring and terminating people who work for you
  • Purchasing and selling bonds, stocks, and other types of securities
  • Negotiating and signing contracts

Here are different types of POA.

General Power of Attorney

A general power of attorney document grants broad powers to an attorney in fact. Essentially, your agent has the same authority and discretion as you have to make important decisions, manage your assets and handle your financial affairs. However, it is worth noting that one notable exception is that agents can’t gift property or money belonging to the principal (you) to themselves.

Some powers that general power of attorney documents cover include the following:

  • Conducting financial and business transactions
  • Purchasing life insurance
  • Managing business interests  
  • Settling claims; and
  • Hiring professional assistance

Your decision to use a general POA depends on how much you would like to rely upon your agent. For instance, if you want your agent or attorney in fact to take over most of the duties and tasks that you currently perform, a general POA may be an appropriate choice for you. You should know that the authority granted or conferred by a general POA ceases to exist if you become incapacitated. 

Limited Power of Attorney

You can also sign a limited or special power of attorney if you would like to detail the exact powers and rights your agent can exercise. Keep in mind that a special POA will frequently be used for a person who can’t handle certain affairs or legal matters because of health reasons and other commitments. A special POA document may specify certain matters, such as:

  • Selling property, including real and personal property
  • Handling business or financial transactions
  • Collecting debts

If the idea of granting your agent or attorney in fact authority to handle a wide range of tasks makes you uncomfortable, a limited power of attorney may be the right solution for you. A limited or special power of attorney document lets you specify the aspects of your life to which your agent has access. 

For instance, rather than granting your agent or attorney in fact authority to handle all property transactions for you, you may limit the power to a particular property.

Springing Power of Attorney 

This type of POA is only granted to somebody if you’re rendered unable to manage your own affairs, mainly because of mental or physical incapacitation.

The key difference between a durable and springing power of attorney is that a springing power of attorney only comes into effect for reasons like mental incapacitation, and not merely because of your inability to be around to manage things at a specific point in time.

If you are considering a springing POA, it is best to speak to your lawyers or estate attorney about the situation before getting the document notarized. This is because your attorney in fact will assume complete control of your affairs. So, request a free consult meeting with a lawyer.

Durable Power of Attorney 

This type of power of attorney document grants your agent instant power or authority the moment you sign it. Your agent will maintain power of attorney until the time of your death, or until you revoke their power to act on your behalf.

For instance, if because of some unfortunate circumstance, such as an accident, you become mentally incapacitated, an individual that you have appointed as your agent or attorney in fact can assume power of attorney.

You can choose to sign a durable POA in order to ensure that you avoid any issues and problems if you become mentally incompetent or incapacitated due to an accident or illness while you’ve a POA in effect.  

You may include specific provisions and stipulations stating that the POA document can’t go into effect until your physician certifies that you’re truly mentally incompetent.

Financial Power of Attorney

A financial power of attorney document gives someone else the legal power to make money decisions on your behalf. As you can see, a financial POA is written specifically to let somebody else act as your legal representative for financial matters. A financial POA document allows your agent to manage your business and financial affairs, such as managing bank accounts, and investments, signing checks, filing tax returns, and mailing and depositing Social Security checks. A financial POA is a kind of special or limited POA.

Like most legal documents, such as wills and trust deeds, the main purpose for creating and notarizing a financial power of attorney is to protect yourself as well as your family from a legal issue or financial abuse. In this case, the main idea is to make sure there is always someone trustworthy and reliable available to decide what should happen to your bank accounts and funds. Financial POAs are usually divided into several categories, such as general POA, limited POA, and durable POA, and vary based on the relevant state law.

The financial POA automatically extinguishes on your death. This simply means that your agent or attorney in fact can only make financial or money decisions for you while you’re alive and incapacitated.

Medical Power of Attorney

A medical POA lets your agent make healthcare and medical decisions on your behalf. Most states have unique requirements regarding a medical power of attorney. For example, California makes its durable POA for healthcare part of an advance healthcare directive. This is why you should be aware of state laws and regulations.

A healthcare or medical POA will typically be used if:

  • You’re mentally incompetent
  • You’re unconscious  
  • You ‘re otherwise unable to make important medical decisions for yourself

Who can notarize documents

Depending on your power of attorney form and other documents, you may have to get the document notarized in front of a notary public. These documents and forms must be notarized to verify the signer’s identity and ensure that the signer acknowledges and understands the contents of the form in front of an unbiased, third-party (the notary). Wondering who can legally notarize a document? Let’s find out.

Courthouse notaries

You may always get a document notarized at the courthouse during normal business hours. Keep in mind that many courthouse clerks also act as notaries. However, you may call ahead in order to find out which office to visit to get your document notarized.

Public libraries

A notary service is one of the many services provided by public libraries in the US. You will be happy to know that some libraries offer notary services free of charge, while others charge a small fee of about $1. To find out about availability, costs, and hours, visit the website of your local library or give a branch a call.

Local universities

You may also want to consider a local university. Because many important financial and other documents are often passed around academic institutions, there might be notary services that you can use at a local college as well. To find out more about the notary services offered at a nearby school, you might want to speak with the staff at the front desk.

Mailbox companies

Did you know that many mailbox companies in the US, such as the UPS Store and Mail Boxes also offer a range of business and legal services, including notary services? Mailbox stores usually charge a nominal fee for their notary services, usually starting at $1 per signature.

Some other common examples of places and locations where notaries are present include:

  • Individuals who work in tax offices or accounting practices
  • People who work in shipping or receiving locations, especially those who handle international shipments
  • Institutions with photocopying services
  • Online and remote notaries
  • Banks and credit unions
  • A local AAA office

Can a bank notarize a Power of Attorney?

Yes, many banks and other financial institutions, such as credit unions, offer notary services. Notary services offered by banks, and other financial institutions, such as credit unions, include certifying documents for the transfer or purchase of real estate, refinance loans, mortgage loans, equity line of credit, escrow documents, deeds, trusts, and powers of attorney.

Since banks and financial institutions handle a lot of documents and forms that must be notarized, some bank and credit union employees act as notaries and banks offer free notary services to their customers. However, if you’re not a customer, you might be charged a fee or asked to visit your own bank. In many cases, banks charge between $2 and $10 per signature. Many banks usually charge a nominal fee of about $15 to $20 per document. 

You can save money if you get your documents notarized in bulk. For example, you may save $25 to $50 in notary fees if you get four to five documents notarized at Chase.

Can a bank refuse to notarize a power of attorney? Yes, a bank may refuse to provide notary services in many cases. For example, you may be refused by a bank if you don’t have an original document or a driver’s license. So, always take your original government-issued photo ID with you, whether you are notarizing an old or new POA.

You may have to try a few bank branches. This is because while many banks in the US offer notary services, they may not provide this service at every branch. So, before visiting your closest bank, you should call to see whether that branch offers notary services.

Banks often provide the following type of notarization services.

Signature witnessing

This is the most prevalent or common notarization. The notary public at a bank will certify that you’re who you are claiming to be and that they witnessed you signing the POA document.


This type of notarization is also offered by banks and is used for legal documents that convey ownership of assets, including powers of attorney, property deeds, or trusts.


This is usually carried out on depositions, affidavits, and other kinds of evidence papers, and requires you to sign the legal or financial document and swear or affirm that all the statements therein are accurate.

A notary in a bank or financial institution has the same duties as an independent and unbiased notary public. They are authorized by the state to do the following:

  • Be an unbiased witness to the signing of different documents and forms
  • Administer affirmations and oaths
  • Take acknowledgments
  • Perform various other notarial acts as per the state laws

Most banks, such as Wells Fargo, usually have a notary public on hand at all times. Also, if you use a specific bank regularly and have a bank account there, you can contact your bank and inquire about notary services. Some banks will notarize documents and forms free of charge if you’ve your account at that specific bank branch or location. Talk to the branch manager for more information. This is because not every employee within a bank branch can notarize your documents. And you can’t simply walk up to a bank teller to get your document notarized.

You may also consider creating a power of attorney on a bank’s own POA form. However, keep in mind that this process can quickly feel arduous and overwhelming, especially if you have assets or bank accounts at several different institutions. You must also have your account numbers handy.

Rely on online notarization

Even if a local bank notarizes documents, it may not necessarily be convenient. For example, if the bank operates from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., you will have to get a document notarized within the bank’s schedule.

However, remote online notarization eliminates this hassle and inconvenience by allowing you to connect easily and instantly with a notary public online. This means that you can have all your notary needs met no matter your location or place.

Notarize a Power of Attorney with PandaDoc Notary

A notary public is publicly commissioned to act as an unbiased or impartial witness. A public notary’s duty includes verifying your identity as well as witnessing the act of signing a document. A power of attorney is an important document and executing it can permit an agent or attorney in fact to act on your behalf and make important financial decisions in your best interest. Your family member can be your agent.

While banks can notarize documents, including loan documents and powers of attorney, sometimes, they charge a fee for this service. Also, banks are constantly looking for new ways to slash costs and increase efficiencies in their branches.

Many banking and financial institutions would rather have their employees focus on their core, profit-earning tasks instead of notarizing a document.

Wondering how to notarize a document? Notarizing documents involves ensuring that the person signing the document is who they claim to be, and requires a government-issued photo ID. A convenient and simple option is to use an online notary service and get your power of attorney document notarized remotely. PandaDoc Notary’s easy-to-use notary service will help you get your document notarized efficiently while saving money and time. You will also remain compliant with state government laws.

Banks offer free notarization services to their account holders and clients. You may even get free notarization services even if you are not a client or account holder. However, keep in mind that most banks provide notarizations for a fee. 

PandaDoc Notary’s mission is to make notarization simple, convenient, hassle-free, and secure for everyone. With a simple and convenient online platform and flexible times that fit your unique schedule, PandaDoc Notary makes things simple. Notarize your power of attorney with PandaDoc and enjoy peace of mind!