This piece outlines some little known functions that a Louisiana Notary Public can perform which many people may be unaware of. Next time you think you need to hire a lawyer, you may to want to call your notary first!
Unlike all 49 other States, Notary Publics in Louisiana are CIVIL LAW notaries. Louisiana, notaries have training and duties similar to an attorney, and therefore have broad powers normally strictly reserved for lawyers & attorneys. Consequently the exam to become a Louisiana Notary Public is quite rigorous, and frequently referred to as the “mini bar exam”.
Based upon the French Napoleonic Code, Louisiana's Civil Law System provides, among other things, for Louisiana Notary Public’s to draft wills, prepare & execute affidavits, acknowledgements, authentic acts, and powers of attorney.
Title 35 of Louisiana Revised Statutes, specifically RS 35:2, details precisely what duties Louisiana Notary Publics are allowed and expected to perform. RS 35:2 reads in part:
A. (1) Notaries public have power within their several parishes:
To make inventories, appraisements, and partitions
To receive wills, make protests, matrimonial contracts, conveyances, and generally, all contracts and instruments of writing
To hold family meetings and meetings of creditors
To receive acknowledgements of instruments under private signature
To make affidavits of correction
To affix the seals upon the effects of deceased persons, and to raise the same …
Additionally Title 35 provides Louisiana Notary Publics authority to a) administer oaths and b) certify true copies of any authentic act or any instrument under private signature.
What does it all mean? It means that in Louisiana, you can take advantage of services normally reserved for Lawyers, but can be provided often much less expensively by a Notary Public. For example:
You need a Will or a Trust? Louisiana Notary Publics can do both, but be aware, notarial testaments (Wills) should be executed in the presence of a notary and two competent witnesses.
How about a Power of Attorney? There are often situations in which you need to give someone else the power or responsibility for carrying out a particular action on your behalf. For example, you could be going out of town and not have time to sell your car or sign an Act of Sale on you house. In each instance, you can use a mandate (formally known as Power of Attorney) to give a person you trust responsibility for handling these actions on your behalf.
Perhaps you want to donate a vehicle to your son or granddaughter, and the Department of Motor Vehicles requires (and they do) an Act Of Donation – go see a Louisiana Notary Public.
And let’s not forget when that pesky little court case requires you to swear under oath, Louisiana Notary Publics can provide just that service and Administer Oaths when you appear to give testimony at a deposition, or require a sworn affidavit to be notarized.
Need a Certified Copy of nasty Divorce Decree – let a Notary Public do it.
Then, there are occasions when succession is opened for probate, and the courts require an Inventory of the deceased estate. Yep, that is a specific duty for a Louisiana Notary Public.
Going out of town, leaving your kids behind? Let a Louisiana notary prepare for you a Provisional Custody by Mandate granting provisional custody to someone you trust. This person will then be allowed to provide for the health, education, and welfare of the of your children, including the ability to authorize medical care, enroll your children in school, discipline them, and do and perform all other such acts as may be necessary for the shelter, support and general welfare of your kids.
Using an experienced, commissioned Louisiana Notary Public is cost-effective, convenient, and an often overlooked alternative for preparation of documents frequently needed by many Louisiana constituents.
Brian Rhinehart is a Louisiana Notary Public, practicing in Mandeville, Louisiana, with state-wide jurisdiction, authorized to notarize in any Parish of Louisiana.