How to Properly Sign a
Power of Attorney Document
When someone gives you power of attorney, she is entrusting you to act on her behalf. Some powers of attorney don’t go into effect until the principal, the person granting you the power, can no longer act for herself.
Others may go into effect as soon as both of you sign the power of attorney document. When you sign documents for someone else in this capacity, it’s important to make it clear that you’re acting for her, not contracting for any debt or transaction personally.
Have your power of attorney document with you when you sign anything on the principal’s behalf. The entity or person with whom you’re contracting will probably want proof that the principal has authorized you to act for her. Ideally, the principal has already provided copies to all institutions with whom she expects you to deal, but don't count on this.
Sign the principal’s name first, not your own. This eliminates any confusion that you’re acting in your own interests or assuming any personal liability for what you’re signing. The principal is actually the one engaging in the transaction.Ready to appoint a power of attorney?
Sign your own name after the principal’s name, after including the word “by.” This indicates that the principal is engaging in the transaction through you. For example, you would write, “Sally Smith, by Samuel Smith.”Step 4End the signature by indicating that you’re acting under power of attorney. You can do this in one of several ways. After your name, you can write in the words “agent,” “attorney in fact,” “power of attorney” or simply, “POA.” Your final signature should read similar to "Sally Smith, by Samuel Smith, power of attorney."
Notary Signing Agents often are asked by title companies and signing services to include extra signed and stamped notarial certificates in the completed loan packages they return after an appointment. The reason given is that the company wants extra certificates to rectify any mistake the NSA made in completing a notarial certificate on the mortgage, deed of trust or other notarized document in the loan package without having to send the entire document back for the NSA to correct. That would take precious time that could delay the closing of the transaction.But this is a problem for NSAs. While you instinctively want to follow the instructions your clients give you, this one requires you to violate Notary law.State Laws And Extra Notary Certificates
Many states address the issue of sending pre-signed, pre-stamped certificates, but they do it in different ways.
- Some states, such as Florida, outright prohibit the practice.
- Other states, such as California and Mississippi, require Notaries to complete the certificate at the time they sign and affix their seal. Notaries in these states who fail to do this can have their commissions suspended or revoked, and California Notaries could be fined.
- Still other states’ laws say that a certificate must be completed “contemporaneously” with the performance of the notarial act, not before or after.
- Maryland takes a different approach. Notaries there may only complete certificates that are already part of the document; they may not complete and use loose or separate certificates at all. So they cannot send additional, unattached certificates.
NSAs in states that do not have one of these explicit laws should follow the established professional standard of practice against providing these extra certificates to clients. In fact, much of the mortgage industry already recognizes that requests for extra certificates are inappropriate.
As much as you might not want to, you will have to say “no” to any client who asks you to send extra certificates. Simply explain that it is against the law. Every certificate you complete must be attached to, related to or connected to a specific document. You also can remind the client that if an unattached certificate were to be used for fraud, they could be named in a lawsuit.
Phonetics: mo-bile no-ta-ry
A mobile notary is a notary who is accustomed and willing to travel to the signer's location. Mobile notaries often visit offices, houses, hospitals, courts, and jails. Mobile notaries usually charge a travel fee which is not governed by state law in most states.
Notary Signing Agent
Phonetics: no-ta-ry sign-ing a-gent
Before the 1990's, Notary Signing Agents were virtually unknown. Borrowers were expected to travel to the office of a lender, escrow agent or title firm to complete a loan. However, during the past decade, increasing competition in the lending market, a massive volume of refinancing and home-equity loans and demand for faster, more customer-friendly services changed how loan transactions are conducted. Lenders now strive to make transactions as simple as possible and reduce a borrower's travel time during the work week. Therefore, the Mobile Notary came into existence. Another motivating factor for the lenders is that the Notary can eliminate the necessity for the borrower to take up the lender's time during the signing, hence freeing up the lender's schedule for focusing more on creating more loans. A Notary Signing Agent can point out which page certain pieces of information are on. However, the Notary Signing Agent or "Signer" can not explain the terms of the loan or explain documents since that could be considered giving legal advice which is not legal unless you are an attorney of law. A Notary Signing Agent is not a real agent as they are almost always an independent contractor who is self-employed. It is prudent to inform the borrowers that you work for yourself and have no involvement with the lender outside of assisting signing the documents.
One day last fall, my colleague Miguel Morales
received an email with a sign-off that was so strange, it has stuck in his mind for the last year. It came from Melissa Geisler, who works in digital sports programming and production at Yahoo. Below Geisler’s title and above her cell phone number was this mystifying quote: “The Bird is equal to or greater than the Word,” attributed to someone named, simply, “scientist.”With this and other strange sign-offs in mind, Miguel suggested I tackle the subject of how best to conclude an email. I polled colleagues, friends and four people I’d consider experts, including Cynthia Lett, 55, a business etiquette consultant in Silver Spring, MD. Below is their combined wisdom and some commentary of my own. I offer four rules and a long list of potential sign-offs.But first, Geisler’s quote. She says it came from an episode of the animated cable TV show Family Guy
, about a song from the 1960s. “That was me trying to have a little fun,” she says, adding that she has since changed her signature to add Yahoo’s new logo, and abandoning the quote, which she hoped recipients enjoyed while it lasted. Much as I respect Geisler’s attempt at levity, I think it’s a mistake to leave people guessing about what you want to say.Here are my four rules for signing off on emails:1. Don’t include quotes.2. Avoid oversized corporate logos. Sometimes we have no choice about this, because our companies insist we include these things, but if they are too big, they draw the eye away from the message. 3. Include your title and contact info, but keep it short. In most business emails, you’re doing the person a favor by sharing your vital information. But make it minimal. Mine just says, “Susan Adams, Senior Editor, Forbes 212-206-5571.” A short link to your website is fine but avoid a laundry list of links promoting your projects and publications.4. Do include some kind of sign-off. Mark Hurst, 40, author of Bit Literacy: Productivity in the Age of Information and E-mail Overload
, says the function of a sign-off is to signal the end of a message, so the recipient knows it didn’t get short-circuited. “To me the sign-off is not so much style as function in the service of clearly communicating your message,” he says. Etiquette consultant Lett advocates a more formal approach. “I don’t believe emails are conversations,” she says. “They’re letters.” I disagree. Emails are their own form of communication and they’re evolving fast. Farhad Manjoo, 35, Wall Street Journal
technology columnist and until recently, the voice behind a Slate podcast, “Manners for the Digital Age,” puts it well: “An email is both a letter and an instant message,” he observes. All of that said, here is a list of common and not-so-common email sign-offs, with commentary and notes from the experts.
Best – This is the most ubiquitous; it’s totally safe. I recommend it highly and so do the experts.
My Best – A little stilted. Etiquette consultant Lett likes it.
My best to you – Lett also likes this one. I think it’s old-fashioned.
All Best – Harmless.
All the best – This works too.
Best Wishes –Seems too much like a greeting card but it’s not bad.
Bests – I know people who like this but I find it fussy. Why do you need the extra “s?”
Best Regards – More formal than the ubiquitous “Best.” I use this when I want a note of formality.
Regards – Fine, anodyne, helpfully brief. I use this.
Rgds – I used to use this but stopped, because it’s trying too hard to be abbreviated. Why not type three more letters? OK if you’re sending it from your phone.
Warm Regards – I like this for a personal email to someone you don’t know very well, or a business email that is meant as a thank-you.
Warmest Regards – As good as Warm Regards, with a touch of added heat.
Warmest – I use this often for personal emails, especially if I’m close to someone but not in regular touch.
Warmly – This is a nice riff on the “warm” theme that can safely be used among colleagues.
Take care – In the right instances, especially for personal emails, this works.
Thanks - Lett says this is a no-no. “This is not a closing. It’s a thank-you,” she insists. I disagree. Forbes Leadership
editor Fred Allen uses it regularly and I think it’s an appropriate, warm thing to say. I use it too.
Thanks so much – I also like this and use it, especially when someone—a colleague, a source, someone with whom I have a business relationship—has put time and effort into a task or email.
Thanks! – This rubs me the wrong way because I used to have a boss who ended every email this way. She was usually asking me to perform a task and it made her sign-off seem more like a stern order, with a forced note of appreciation, than a genuine expression of gratitude. But in the right context, it can be fine.
Thank you – More formal than “Thanks.” I use this sometimes.
Thank you! – This doesn’t have the same grating quality as “Thanks!” The added “you” softens it.
Many thanks – I use this a lot, when I genuinely appreciate the effort the recipient has undertaken.
Thanks for your consideration – A tad stilted with a note of servility, this can work in the business context, though it’s almost asking for a rejection. Steer clear of this when writing a note related to seeking employment.
Thx – I predict this will gain in popularity as our emails become more like texts. Lett would not approve.
Hope this helps – I like this in an email where you are trying to help the recipient.
Looking forward – I use this too. I think it’s gracious and warm, and shows you are eager to meet with the recipient.
Rushing – This works when you really are rushing. It expresses humility and regard for the recipient.In haste – Also good when you don’t have time to proofread.
Be well – Some people find this grating. Not appropriate for a business email.
Peace – Retro, this sign-off wears its politics on its sleeve. It doesn’t bother me but others might
Yours Truly – I don’t like this. It makes me feel like I’m ten years old and getting a note from a pen pal in Sweden.
Yours – Same problem as above.
Very Truly Yours – Lett likes this for business emails but I find it stilted and it has the pen pal problem.
Sincerely – Lett also likes this but to me, it signals that the writer is stuck in the past. Maybe OK for some formal business correspondence, like from the lawyer handling your dead mother’s estate.
Sincerely Yours – Same problem as “Sincerely,” but hokier. Lett likes this for business correspondence. I don’t.
Cheers! – I wonder how prevalent this is in the UK. I’ve only seen it from Americans who are trying for a British affectation. I know it shouldn’t grate on me but it does. I also don’t like people telling me to cheer up.
Ciao – Pretentious for an English-speaker, though I can see using it in a personal, playful email.
Your name – Terse but just fine in many circumstances. Probably not a good idea for an initial email.
Initial – Good if you know the recipient and even fine in a business context if it’s someone with whom you correspond frequently.
Love – This seems too informal, like over-sharing in the business context, but Farhad Manjoo points out that for some people, hugging is common, even at business meetings. For them, this sign-off may work.
XOXO – I’ve heard of this being used in business emails but I don’t think it’s a good idea.
Lots of love – I would only use this in a personal email. The “lots of” makes it even more inappropriately effusive than the simple, clean “Love.”
Hugs – It’s hard to imagine this in a business email but it’s great when you’re writing to your granny.
Smiley face - Emoticons are increasingly accepted, though some people find them grating. I wouldn’t sign off this way unless I were writing to my kid.;-) – I’ve gotten emails from colleagues with these symbols and I find they brighten my day.[:-) – I’m a sucker for variations on the smiley face made with punctuation marks, though I suspect most people don’t like them.
High five from down low – A colleague shared this awful sign-off which is regularly used by a publicist who handles tech clients. An attempt to sound cool, which fails.
Take it easy bro – Richie Frieman, 34, author of the new book Reply All…And Other Ways to Tank Your Career, says he regularly gets this from a web designer in Santa Cruz, CA. Though it might turn some people off, I would be fine receiving an email with this sign-off, knowing the sender lives in an informal milieu.
See you around – Lett would cringe but this seems fine to me.Have a wonderful bountiful lustful day – Tim Ferguson, editor of Forbes Asia, regularly gets this sign-off from Joan Koh, a travel writer in southeast Asia. It’s weird and off-putting.
Sent from my iPhone – This may be the most ubiquitous sign-off. It used to bother me but I realize that it explains brevity and typos. I’ve erased it from my iPhone signature because I don’t like to freight my emails with extra words, and in many instances I don’t want the recipient to know I’m not at my desk. But maybe I should restore it. The same goes for automated message on other devices.
Typos courtesy of my iPhone – Slightly clever but it’s gotten old. Better to use the automated message.
Sent from a prehistoric stone tablet – I laughed the first time I read it but then the joke wore thin.
Pardon my monkey thumbs – Same problem here.
Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail. – A preachy relic of the past. Who doesn’t know that printing uses paper?
vCards – I think these are a great idea. At least they work well on my Dell desktop when I want to load a contact into Outlook.
This email is off the record unless otherwise indicated – My colleague Jeff Bercovici, who covers media, says he gets this email from friends who are inviting him to birthday parties or other engagements and he finds it extremely annoying. I’m wondering what kind of paranoid people put this in their signatures.
Lengthy disclaimers – We’ve all seen these and ignored them, though I understand that many companies require them. Forbes’ in-house legal counsel, Kai Falkenberg, says she knows of no cases that have relied on legal disclaimers, though she says they might serve as persuasive evidence in a trade secrets case where a party was attempting to keep information confidential.
What do you think of my list?
What weird, funny, offensive or elegant sign-offs have I missed?
6 Simple Tricks for Winning a Negotiation Stalemate
By Laura Agadoni | February 18, 2015
If you and the potential buyer are at a stalemate regarding price, get creative and start thinking out-of-the-box for a solution.
Learn how you can not only play the negotiation game, but also win.
When my husband and I were buying our first house in Georgia, I cringed at the tough negotiating he was doing, as did our agent. “You sound like a fast-talking big city businessman,” she said to him in her smooth drawl.
But as cringe-worthy as it seemed at the time, he was just engaging in some tried-and-true horse-trading — trying to make a deal that both sides could feel good about.
You might be the type of person I was, the kind who never questions the price of an item. (I didn’t exactly shine at garage sales.) But once you learn how to handle negotiation encounters, you can prosper.
When selling your home, your first reaction might be a big “oh heck no” when you get a low offer on your asking price, but take a deep breath and at least consider your options.
Here are six tips for not only playing the negotiation game, but also winning.
1. Price it right
There’s a difference between the price you want to get (or what you think the house is worth) and what the market will bear.
“Pricing is not based on how much a seller needs to net,” says Brian Horan, a Los Angeles real estate broker. “Sellers always seem to need a certain amount, but that has nothing to do with the price of tea in China.”
Look at neighborhood comps to give you a more realistic idea. Find a savvy real estate agent; she should be able to provide a benchmark for asking prices that reflect market valuations.
2. Consider the first offer
Chris Leavitt, star of Million Dollar Listing: Miami, says, “Really pay attention to your first offer because that will probably be your best one.”
Leavitt, who once sold a Miami Beach condo for $34 million, the highest condo sale in Florida history, knows a little something about negotiations.
“Your best offers usually come at the beginning, so it would be a mistake to not listen to those offers, regardless of what they are,” he says, adding that sellers “shouldn’t be insulted because that offer might actually be the right price, the market price.”
3. Think like a salesperson
Patrick Malone, senior partner at The PAR Group, says, “All home sellers should establish their BATNA before listing their house for sale.”
No, he didn’t say you need to become Batman. “BATNA” stands for “best alternative to a negotiated agreement.” This is a negotiator’s fallback option in case there’s no deal.
Having a BATNA puts you in a stronger negotiation position. Maybe you’ve decided that if you don’t get your bottom line, you’ll rent the place and try again later, or maybe you’ll renovate and stay.
Keeping your BATNA in the back of your mind can help prevent you from agreeing to a bad deal out of desperation.
4. Don’t get emotional
It’s probably best not to listen to Miranda Lambert’s “The House That Built Me” before you enter negotiations with a potential buyer.
Garratt Hasenstab, managing broker with the Verdigris Group, says you need to stay levelheaded throughout.
“This is business, simple as that. There is no call for emotion. Rational thinking, business skill, and negotiation skill are what it’s all about.”
Hasenstab also recommends your real estate agent find out the buyer’s prequalification amount from the bank or what the buyer’s desired purchase price is. The more information you have about a buyer’s financial situation and needs, the better you can bargain.
5. Be realistic
Being stubborn is usually not the best strategy in any negotiation. If your goal is to sell, taking less than your ideal price is better than not selling at all.
Glenn S. Phillips of Lake Homes Realty says, “Sellers must account for the real cost of not selling — not just a monthly mortgage payment — but utilities, insurance, maintenance, yardwork, and risk of vandalism or theft.”
Once you know the total cost of keeping your home on the market each month, it might put offers, even the lower ones, in better perspective.
6. Embrace creativity
If you and the potential buyer are at a stalemate regarding price, it might be time to entertain some out-of-the-box ideas. Chris Leavitt suggests you offer to throw in the furniture.
Glenn Phillips asked for some extras when buying his first home: the riding lawn mower, the window treatments — and even the dog.
And it paid off: “Mikey the Mortgage Dog has been one of the best dogs ever.”
|What is a Power of Attorney?
Do any of the following people need to sign a power of attorney?
- Mr. Jones lives alone, has no close family, and is scheduled for major surgery in a few weeks.
- Ms. Smith has been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease.
- Mr. and Mrs. Adams will be out of the country for the next 6 months but have a house they need to sell.
- Ms. Davis is single, runs a successful business, and has no medical or economic concerns.
The answer is yes. They all do. 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. However, all POAs are not created equal. Each type gives your attorney-in-fact (the person who will be making decisions on your behalf) a different level of control.
General Power of Attorney
A general power of attorney gives broad powers to a person or organization (known as an agent or attorney-in-fact) to act in your behalf. These powers include handling financial and business transactions, buying life insurance, settling claims, operating business interests, making gifts, and employing professional help. General power of attorney is an effective tool if you will be out of the country and need someone to handle certain matters, or when you are physically or mentally incapable of managing your affairs. A general power of attorney is often included in an estate plan to make sure someone can handle financial matters.
Special Power of Attorney
You can specify exactly what powers an agent may exercise by signing a special power of attorney. This is often used when one cannot handle certain affairs due to other commitments or health reasons. Selling property (personal and real), managing real estate, collecting debts, and handling business transactions are some of the common matters specified in a special power of attorney document.
Health Care Power of Attorney
A health care power of attorney grants your agent authority to make medical decisions for you if you are unconscious, mentally incompetent, or otherwise unable to make decisions on your own. While not the same thing as a living will, many states allow you to include your preference about being kept on life support. Some states will allow you to combine parts of the health care POA and living will into an advanced health care directive.
Durable Power of Attorney
Suppose you become mentally incompetent due to illness or accident while you have a power of attorney in effect. Will the document remain valid? To safeguard against any problems, you can sign a durable power of attorney. This is simply a general, special, or health care POA that has a durability provision to keep the current power of attorney in effect.
You might also sign a durable power of attorney to prepare for the possibility that you may become mentally incompetent due to illness or injury. Specify in the power of attorney that it cannot go into effect until a doctor certifies you as mentally incompetent. You may name a specific doctor who you wish to determine your competency, or require that two licensed physicians agree on your mental state.
Looking for Mr. Good Agent
Trust is a key factor when choosing an agent for your power of attorney. Whether the agent selected is a friend, relative, organization, or attorney, you need someone who will look out for your best interests, respect your wishes, and won't abuse the powers granted to him or her.It is important for an agent to keep accurate records of all transactions done on your behalf and to provide you with periodic updates to keep you informed. If you are unable to review updates yourself, direct your agent to give an account to a third party.As for legal liability, an agent is held responsible only for intentional misconduct, not for unknowingly doing something wrong. This protection is included in power of attorney documents to encourage people to accept agent responsibilities. Agents are not customarily compensated; most do it for free.Should you, a friend, or relative suspect wrongdoing on the part of your agent, report the suspected abuse to a law enforcement agency and consult a lawyer.
Can Too Many Agents Spoil the Broth?
While you can appoint multiple agents, decide whether these agents must act jointly or separately in making decisions. Multiple agents can ensure more sound decisions, acting as checks and balances against one another. The downside is that multiple agents can disagree and one person's schedule can potentially delay important transactions or signings of legal documents.If you appoint only one agent, have a backup. Agents can fall ill, be injured, or somehow be unable to serve when the time comes. A successor agent takes over power of attorney duties from the original agent, if needed.
Being of Sound Mind. . .
A power of attorney is valid only if you are mentally competent when you sign it and, in some cases, incompetent when it goes into effect. If you think your mental capability may be questioned, have a doctor verify it in writing. If your power of attorney doesn't specify requirements for determining mental competency, your agent will still need a written doctor's confirmation of your incompetence in order to do business on your behalf. A court may even be required to decide the competency issue in some circumstances.
Signing, Sealing, and Delivering a Power of Attorney
You must sign and notarize the original power of attorney document, and certify several copies. Banks and other businesses will not allow your agent to act on your behalf unless they receive a certified copy of the power of attorney.Attorneys are unnecessary to execute a power of attorney. However, it may be wise to consult one for advice about the powers being granted, to provide counsel on your candidate agent, and to make sure your document meets all legal requirements.Remember, you can revoke a power of attorney at any time. Simply notify your agent in writing and retreive all copies of your power of attorney. Notify any financial institutions and the County Clerk's office, if applicable, that your agent's power of attorney has been revoked.Needing a power of attorney is almost as certain as death and taxes in everyone's life. Illness, injury, old age, or daily life commitments happen to everyone. It is important to understand what a power of attorney is and how it can assist in taking care of business, even when you can't.This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.
Deed and Refinance Affidavit (MD) Rejections Hit an All Time High!
With interest rates at their lowest point in years, and a boom in refinancing and purchase loans, common errors are being blamed for the sudden increase of rejected “Deeds” and “Refinance Affidavits (MD)” from County Recorder’s offices all over the country.
“Notaries are so busy these days, they often do not spend the time to check their work for completeness,” said N. Hamilton, servicing department – Irvine. “Often stamps are placed over text or forgotten altogether. “ Miss Hamilton also commented, “Notaries are not completing the wording within the Notary section, leaving the recorders office guessing who appeared before them.” Other problems noted have been as simple as the Notary stamp over inked, smudged or under inked, making the document unrecordable.
These rejections delay the recording of the “Deed” or “Refinance Affidavit”, and put the financial institution at greater risk, as their loan is unsecured. Couriering the document to and from the notary adds additional expenses to the signing service and the Notary will usually have to go back out at their own expense to correct their mistake.
To avoid these errors, below are a few general guidelines from the County Recorder’s offices to insure the recording of all presented:
NOTICE TO NOTARIES PUBLIC
ON THE DESIGN AND USE OF AN OFFICIAL SEAL
(Section 8207 Government Code, Et. Seq.)
An official notary public seal must be clear on all documents so that the name of the notary, the State Seal, the words “Notary Public” and the name of the County where the bond is filed can be photographically reproduced.
The expiration of the commission and the notary and manufacturer identification numbers must also be clearly shown on the seals used by notaries public commissioned on and after January 1, 1992.
All the above referenced information must appear on the seal. It cannot be added in written or typed form or by the use of a separate stamp.
Either a rubber stamp or metal seal with the required information can be used. A seal must meet the “Notary Seal Requirements” for that State. The following format is recommended for a rectangular rubber stamp with black ink. (Please check your State requirements)
Documents may be unacceptable for recording if any one of the following conditions exists:
1. Seal is placed over or obscures an integral part of the text or a signature.
2. Seal is placed over decorative and colored symbols or borders of a document, resulting in the seal not being photographically reproducible.
3. Seal is altered with ink, typing, pencil, ECT.
4. Metal seal has been inked too heavily, resulting in an unclear impression that is not reproducible.
5. Placement of the commission expiration date outside the border of a seal (if commission expired on or after January 1, 1972)
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