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Dear Peggy:

My mother had a power of attorney drawn up three years ago making me her attorney-in-fact. I’ve used it a few times without any problem, but recently I tried to record it in the courthouse where I live to transfer a piece of property for her. They refused to record it because no attorney’s name was on it. Can they do that?

Actually, because of a recent change in the law, a clerk can legally refuse to record an otherwise valid power of attorney.

Many clerks are refusing to record powers of attorney where the document does not say who drafted it. I suspect it has to do with the problem of people forging powers of attorney.

Clerks may also refuse to record powers of attorney and other documents in which the pages are not numbered, as well as powers of attorney in which the names of the person granting the power and the attorney-in-fact are not either capitalized or the last name underlined.

I have started doing all those things on powers of attorney which I prepare. And I would redo any existing power that I had done to add my name to it. I suggest you have the power redrawn by the original attorney or another and make sure it says who drafted it. Make sure the other requirements are met as well.

Any signed document which is to be recorded is required to be notarized, but that requirement has been in place for a long time.

If you have a question, write Peggy Evans Garland at P.O. Box 905, Montross, Virginia 22520,at

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