Wills & POAs

WILLS & POWERS OF ATTORNEY

Please note that at Walk-In Notary we do not draft wills or powers of attorney. We only notarize them. For our notarization fees, please consult our fees page.

We receive many questions about how to notarize wills and powers of attorney. This is an important topic to many people. And unfortunately, it is a bit complicated. Therefore, we dedicated an entire page of our website to explaining the notarization process, as it relates to wills and powers of attorney, as clearly and as simply as we can. This having been said, please note, that just as with all the other content on our website, none of what follows constitutes legal advice. The purpose of this page is to inform, not advise. Legal advice is sometimes required dealing with wills and powers of attorney, and if that is the case, we strongly urge you to contact a lawyer.

Wills

Powers of Attorney

A power of attorney (POA) is legal document that enables a person (referred to as the donor or grantor) to give power over property or health to another person (referred to as the donee, agent, or attorney). The donor can give away power over a specific property (such as a house, boat, car) or all property. The donor can also provide instructions on health-related matters in the event that the donor is incapacitated.

In Ontario it is common to have a POA for property and separate POA for health. Some people to choose to have a lawyer draft the POAs, while others choose to draft it themselves, particularly if it is simple. You can download and fill out Ontario’s POA forms from the government of Ontario website. As always, if you have any questions, it is best to discuss it with a lawyer as they will be able to advise you regarding your goals and the contents of the document.

Timing of Witnessing and Notarization

Most POAs require at least two witnesses. This is true of Ontario POAs. The notary can be one of the witnesses. The second witness cannot be the donee. It is advisable that the donor, witness, sign the POA together in the same room, in the order listed.

Some POAs that are intended to be used outside of Ontario and/or for limited purposes do not require two witnesses. A notarization will suffice. However, this is something that should be determined prior to attending our offices. It is the client’s responsibility to determine this by contacting the recipient or relevant authority on the matter.

The following people cannot act as witnesses for a POA:

  • The attorney (or the attorney’s spouse or partner);
  • The grantor’s spouse or partner; the child of the grantor (or someone who is treated as their child);
  • A person whose property is under guardianship or has a guardian of the person
  • A person who is less than 18 years of age
Affidavits of Execution

Affidavits of execution are not as crucial for POAs as they are for wills, however, it is still a good idea to have at least one affidavit of execution for one of the witnesses.

Certified Copies

In some cases, a third part, such as a bank, might request that you provide a notarized copy of a will or POAs. In this case we would make a photocopy of an original will and/or POA and state on the photocopy that the copy is a true copy of the original which we have seen. Anyone can bring the original document for us to certify because we do not need to witness anyone’s signature.

Therefore, when someone asks you to provide a notarized will, ask for clarification. Ask: “Do you want me to have a notary witness the signature of the witnesses on an affidavit of execution or do you want me to have the notary make a copy of the original will and certify that the copy is a true copy of the original?”

Please note, that in the example above, the Notary will not know what the bank wants from you. You have to find out. At Walk-In Notary, we do not contact third parties (i.e. the recipient) on your behalf. And without communicating with the recipient there is no way to know exactly what they require. You can read more about our policies and requirements on our instructions page.

For information regarding the administration of wills, we recommend carefully reviewing Ontario’s website on this topic.

Definitions

Notary Public

Affidavit

What is it?
An affidavit is a written declaration of facts that is sworn by an “affiant” in front of a Notary Public or Commissioner of Oaths.

Why are they needed?
Evidence for court matters or other legal procedures often needs to come in the form of an affidavit. They are valuable because when someone swears an oath, or makes an affirmation, before a Notary Public it becomes a criminal offence to lie in the contents of the affidavit. Thus, third parties have an additional level of security when receiving information in this form. Further, A notary is required to verify the identity of the “affiant” before notarizing the document. In this way, the person receiving the document is assured that the paper was in fact signed by the correct person and not by an imposter.

We can notarize your affidavits quickly and easily. For a small additional fee, we can also draft affidavits for your convenience. This can be done on the spot – without further appointments being necessary. The whole process is quick and easy for you.