I have a DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY that I signed in front of two witnesses. Do I also have to have the document notarized by a notary public?
Estate Planning Attorney
California law requires that a healthcare power of attorney be separate from a financial power of attorney. The CA Probate Code supplies a general format for each type of power of attorney. The healthcare power of attorney (more specifically called an "Advance Health Care Directive" if the CA statutory format is used) allows for two qualified witnesses to verify your signature in lieu of a notarization OR a notarization of the AHCD signature so witnesses are not needed. Please note that the witnesses cannot be just any competent persons, but need to be persons allowed under CA law to act as witnesses for the AHCD.
The CA financial power of attorney (called a "Uniform Statutory Form Power of Attorney") needs to be notarized.
If you are a California resident, both statutory formats provide more legal benefits and comprehensive powers than generic power of attorney forms.
(FYI, since you are a northern Californian, the AHCD was a result of a ten-year process headed by George Alexander, then Dean of the University of Santa Clara School of Law.)
This comment is based on a very limited knowledge of the specific facts and circumstances of the situation you described. The comment is based on specific California law. It may not be relied upon as legal advice. It may not be construed to constitute any type of client-attorney relationship.
Estate Planning Attorney
A durable power of attorney for financial matters in California has to be notarized. As Gary stated in California legal document for health care is titled an Advanced Health Care Directive. So we are both assuming that you signed the financial power.
DISCLAIMER: Nothing in this post or transmitted by email should be interpreted as legal advice. This post is intended to help the person posting the question to understand the area of law to help ask the right questions with the attorney of their choice. Your time to act may be very limited and this could substantially reduce your rights and options. YOU CAN NOT rely on anything I have written here. You should contact a lawyer in your area immediately after reading this posting.
Circular 230 Disclosure: Pursuant to recently-enacted U.S. Treasury Department Regulations, we are now required to advise you that, unless otherwise expressly indicated, any federal tax advice contained in this communication, including attachments and enclosures, is not intended or written to be used, and may not be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding tax-related penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any tax-related matters addressed herein.
I agree with the other attorney on this matter. Also, CA law requires that when the durable power of attorney is notarized a fingerprint must be taken by the notary.
Any individual seeking legal advice for their own situation should retain their own legal counsel as this response provides information that is general in nature and not specific to any person's unique situation. Circular 230 Disclaimer - Advice given in this response cannot be used to eliminate penalties with the IRS or any other governmental agency.