There are times when documents need to be notarized but require the signature of someone who is physically unable to sign. In those cases, it is possible to utilize an option called signature by proxy where someone else present signs on behalf of the person who is unable to write.
According to the updated, October 2020 Handbook For Maryland Notaries Public, Signature by Proxy is available in Maryland where the person whose signature is being notarized, directs someone else to sign the document in their presence as their proxy. This is different than a power of attorney, where someone is acting as the principal’s agent, and signing on the principal’s behalf. With a signature by proxy the person who is requesting the notarization maintains complete control of what is notarized.
How does it Work?
The individual may appear before the notarial officer and direct another individual, other than the notarial officer, to sign the individual’s name on the document. The notarial officer inserts “signature affixed by (name of other individual) at the direction of (name of individual directing the other individual to sign)”. The notarial officer verifies both the identity of the person requesting the signature by proxy, and the person who is signing as the proxy.
It is not appropriate to physically assist someone in writing their signature. If a person can write even a small amount, a Signature by Mark is an option whereby the principal signs the document by making a mark rather than signing his or her name. In these cases, the notary should note this occurrence in the entry in their journal for this notarial act.
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