Does A Power Of Attorney Need To Be Notarized In Canada?

Two common questions we get asked include, “Does my power of attorney need to be notarized?” and “How can I notarize my power of attorney documents?”

Similar to a legal last will and testament, you do not need to have your power of attorney documents notarized for them to be legal. This applies to power of attorney documents in all provinces in Canada. However, there are a couple instances where you may want to include a notary.

What Makes My Power Of Attorney Documents Legal?

While you don’t need a lawyer to make your POA documents, there are some criteria you will need to meet to make them legal. There are minor nuances between provinces but here are the general rules for your POA to be legal in Canada:

  • The document must be stored as a physical document (It must be printed and cannot be stored online)
  • You must be of sound mind and over the age of majority in your province
  • You must sign your document in the presence of two valid witnesses and they must sign to confirm they have witnessed your signature.
  • The signatures must be in wet ink and at the very end of the document (You cannot digitally sign and witness your estate planning documents at this time).

Please note that signing requirements vary by province. Refer to the instructions page of your Willful documents for localized instructions.

Learn more about powers of attorney here →

What Situations Should I Notarize My Power Of Attorney Documents?

Notarized Enduring Power of Attorneys in British Columbia, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia

In British Columbia, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, if you own land/property or plan to in the future, you need to get your Enduring Power of Attorney notarized. This is because land title bodies in these provinces require your Enduring POA documents to be registered with them, if an attorney is transacting land on your behalf. 

However, you do not need to get this done at the time you execute the document. Your POA is still 100% legally-valid if you sign and witness the document properly. This is why at Willful we say that you can finish your will and power of attorney documents without visiting a lawyer or a notary.

Some important things to remember:

  • You do not need to go through this process if you do not own or plan to own land/property in the future.
  • Notarization is only required in these provinces in the event that your attorney is trying to sell or act on behalf of a property you own. It is not required to make the document legally-valid. 
  • You can notarize the forms in the future. If you become incapacitated and your attorney needs to act on your behalf in relation to property, they can take care of it at that time. Only the witnesses and attorneys need to fill out the forms with the notary. However, many choose to do it when they execute the document to reduce future stress for their attorney.

It’s very important to note that the notary is not actually notarizing the full document, rather they are signing statutory declarations. These forms separate from the main document. They are not giving legal advice or attesting to the contents of the document. (This is especially important in BC, where notaries have the power to draft wills.

If a notary says they will not notarize your documents because they did not create it, explain that they are not notarizing the document itself, rather they are notarizing the statutory declarations. 

If you have any issues getting your POA notarized, you can always reach out to us at hello@willful.co. We’re able to provide you with the name of a notary who is familiar with our documents, or we can find one for you.

Enduring Power Of Attorney In Manitoba

As per Manitoba law, your Enduring Power of Attorney needs to be Witnessed by one of the following persons: 

  • an individual registered, or qualified to be registered, under section 3 of The Marriage Act to solemnize marriages;
  • a judge of a superior court of the province;
  • a justice of the peace or provincial judge;
  • a duly qualified medical practitioner;
  • a notary public appointed for the province;
  • a lawyer entitled to practice in the province;
  • a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; or
  • a police officer with a police service established or continued under The Police Services Act.

If you know a police officer or any of the other folks on this list, you do not need to visit a lawyer or notary. If you are not familiar with anyone on the above list, you can consider including a lawyer or notary.

If you choose to visit a lawyer or notary, they will be witness 'to the execution only' of the documents, and will not provide you legal advice about their content. If you make your Enduring POA with Willful, they should witness your signature, and complete the Affidavit of Execution we provide with the document. All the instructions you need to get complete your legally-binding documents are included on the instructions page.

Where Can I Find A Notary For My Power Of Attorney Documents?

If you are in Ontario, we’ve partnered with Notary Pro to help you easily get an affidavit of execution and POA documents notarized. You can view more details about our partnership with Notary Pro here.

If you’re in any other province, there is no national firm or chain of notaries - instead, you can Google “notary public + your city,” or you can reach out to our team at hello@willful.co and we’d be happy to share a list of notaries that are familiar with our documents.

How Much Does It Cost To Notarize A Power Of Attorney in Canada?

The cost of notarizing your estate planning documents can range from $15 up to about $50 per document. The final cost can depend on which document is being notarized, and whether you’re doing it virtually or in-person

Is It Legal To Notarize Documents Virtually In Canada?

Yes, under COVID-19 emergency orders, notaries can execute documents virtually.

I Brought My Enduring POA To A Notary And The Notary Said They Can’t Sign It Because They Didn’t Create The Documents. Help!

When bringing your documents to a notary, make sure you clarify that you would like them to be witness ‘to the execution only’ of the documents. They are not providing you legal advice about the content.

If you are still having an issue getting your document notarized, and you made your Enduring POA with Willful, reach out to our team at hello@willful.co and we can provide you with a list of notaries in your area who are familiar with our documents.

Read More About Notarizing A Will →