Apostilling a Procura: Navigating the Differences Between New York and Italian Power of Attorney Laws

New York Apostille Expediter Harry Otto has processed thousands of Procura Speciale and Generale Apostilles with every region of Italy and has engaged with hundreds of notaries all around Italy. He’s also notarized hundreds of Power of Attorney documents in New York and has dug deep into the similarities and differences between how New York and most of Italy regulate the creation and overall processes of these documents. Through his extensive experience, Harry Otto has gained invaluable insights into the intricacies of the Italian and New York legal systems concerning powers of attorney.

This article delves into the comparison between the New York Power of Attorney and its Italian counterparts, the “Procura Speciale” and “Procura Generale.” It explores the recent changes in New York Power of Attorney law, which went into effect on June 13, 2021, and how these changes compare to the Italian legal framework. The article examines the execution requirements, costs, and enforcement mechanisms in both jurisdictions, highlighting the key differences and similarities.

For legal professionals and businesspeople operating in both New York and Italy, understanding these differences is crucial. The article provides a comprehensive analysis of the principle of “parallelismo delle forme” and the need for “equivalenza” when dealing with foreign powers of attorney in Italy. It also discusses the role of the Apostille and the legalization process for countries not part of the Hague Convention.

Throughout the article, Italian legal terms and concepts are explained to educate New York lawyers about the Italian legal system. The article also incorporates New York case law, where applicable, to illustrate the practical implications of the power of attorney laws.

If you are a legal professional or a business person involved in cross-border transactions between New York and Italy, this article is an essential resource for understanding the complexities of powers of attorney in both jurisdictions. By reading this article, you will gain valuable insights into the differences in execution requirements, costs, and enforcement mechanisms, enabling you to navigate the legal landscapes of New York and Italy more effectively.

Comparing the New York Power of Attorney and the Italian “Procura Speciale”

The Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document that allows an individual (the principal) to appoint another person (the agent or attorney-in-fact) to act on their behalf in various matters, including personal and financial affairs. In New York, the Statutory Short Form Power of Attorney is governed by Title 15 of Article 5 of the General Obligations Law. Similarly, in Italy, the “Procura Speciale” is a legal instrument that enables a principal to delegate specific powers to an agent for the completion of one or more legal acts.

Recent changes to the New York Power of Attorney law, which went into effect on June 13, 2021, aimed to simplify the POA form and reduce the frequency of refusal by financial institutions to honor validly executed POAs. These changes include:

  1. Substantial compliance with statutory language, allowing for minor deviations in the POA form.
  2. Elimination of the separate Statutory Gift Rider, with gifting provisions now included in the modifications section of the POA form.
  3. Penalties for unreasonable refusal to accept a valid POA, including the award of damages and attorney’s fees.
  4. A safe harbor for third parties acting in good faith when accepting a POA.
  5. Execution requirements, including the need for the POA to be witnessed by two persons who are not named as agents or permissible recipients of gifts.

In contrast, the Italian “Procura Speciale” is governed by the Italian Civil Code (Codice Civile) and is subject to the principle of “parallelismo delle forme,” which requires the power of attorney to have the same form as the contract or legal act to be concluded. However, this principle is mitigated for powers of attorney originating from abroad by Article 60 of Law No. 218 of May 31, 1995, which states that the act of conferring the power of representation is valid, as to form, if it is considered as such by the law regulating its substance or by the law of the State in which it is executed.

For a foreign power of attorney to be equivalent to an Italian public deed (atto pubblico) or authenticated private agreement (scrittura privata autenticata), it must be substantially equivalent according to the notion understood by the Italian legal system, a principle defined by legal scholars as the need for “equivalenza” between the foreign act and the Italian act.

It is essential that the authority issuing the power of attorney has the power to perform notary-like functions. In countries where the notary figure is absent, such as Ireland, the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Canada, and Hong Kong, the role of the “public notary” exists, albeit with limited functions and responsibilities compared to Italian notaries.

Execution Requirements and Costs

Under the updated New York Power of Attorney law, a statutory short form power of attorney executed in New York must be typed or printed using legible letters no less than twelve points in size and signed, initialed, and dated by a principal with capacity, or in the name of such principal by another person, other than a person designated as the principal’s agent or successor agent, in the principal’s presence and at the principal’s direction. The signature must be duly notarized and acknowledged and witnessed by two persons who are not named in the instrument as agents or permissible recipients of gifts. The person who takes the acknowledgment may also serve as one of the witnesses.

In Italy, the identification of the parties (the principal and the agent) does not necessarily require all the elements prescribed by Italian notarial law (name and surname, place and date of birth, domicile, or residence). The indications required by the applicable foreign law for authentication will suffice, provided there is certainty about the subject’s identity. Importantly, the signature must be made in the presence of the person who will authenticate the signature.

The costs and fees associated with powers of attorney differ between New York and Italy. In New York, the cost of a POA varies depending on whether it is a general or special power of attorney and the services offered by the notary. A special power of attorney may have a lower cost than a general power of attorney, as it is not subject to registration with the tax authorities and is signed in a single original to be delivered by the notary to the party. Its overall cost consists of the stamp duty, archive tax, and notary’s fee.

In Italy, the costs and fees for a “Procura Speciale” are of significant importance, as Italian notaries yield much more power than their New York counterparts. The notary’s fee for each power of attorney is determined by the professional based on the complexity and preliminary activities to be carried out. A special power of attorney is subject to a €16 stamp duty (for powers of attorney up to 100 lines), while the costs for general powers of attorney vary depending on whether they must be registered in the Register of Enterprises (Registro delle Imprese).

Case law regarding the prior power of attorney law and gifting in New York remains in effect. Gifts of the principal’s assets must be in the best interest of the principal (In re Ferrara, 7 N.Y.3d 244 (2006)). Gifts made by an agent to themselves are valid if authorized by a specific provision in the power of attorney and made in the principal’s best interest, with no presumption of impropriety and the burden of proof on the person challenging the gift (In re Ferrara, 7 N.Y.3d 244). A gifting provision is not necessary when there is clear and convincing evidence that a transfer was compensation for services (Alsante v. Maika, 206 A.D.3d 1563 (4th Dep’t 2022)).

Enforcement and Recognition of Foreign Powers of Attorney

One of the most significant changes to the New York Power of Attorney law concerns the enforcement of POAs. If a special proceeding authorized by GOL Section 5-1510 is brought to compel a third party to honor the Statutory Short Form Power of Attorney, the court may award damages, including reasonable attorney’s fees and costs, if it finds that the third party acted unreasonably in refusing to honor the agent’s authority (GOL Section 5-1510(2)(a)). No third party can refuse, without reasonable cause, to honor a properly executed statutory short form power of attorney or one executed in accordance with the laws in effect at the time of its execution (GOL Section 5-1504(5)). This provision effectively grandfathers, for enforcement purposes, any properly executed Statutory Short Form Power of Attorney under previous statutes.

In Italy, the Hague Convention of October 5, 1961, introduced the Apostille, which verifies the authenticity of the signature and the capacity of the signatory of the act, constituting an attestation of the origin of its signature. This process simplifies the immediate reception of the document in the States adhering to the Convention. The Convention has established a standard formula and content for the Apostille, as well as a uniform graphic structure, requiring it to be inserted in a box with progressive numbering of the text lines. Regarding language, the Apostille does not need to be translated and can be written in French or the official language of the issuing authority, with the heading “Apostille” always included.

For countries not part of the Hague Convention, the process of legalization is followed, consisting of an official attestation by the Italian consular or diplomatic authority abroad of the legal qualification of the public official who signed the act and the authenticity of their signature. This process is divided into two distinct moments:

  1. The so-called “internal” legalization, which is purely eventual and may not even be provided for by the legislation of a particular State.
  2. The so-called “external” legalization, in which the Italian diplomatic or consular authority verifies that the document has been signed by a specific authority of the country of origin. This legalization is indispensable for allowing the document to circulate in Italy.

In conclusion, while both New York and Italy have legal instruments that allow principals to delegate authority to agents through powers of attorney, there are significant differences in the execution requirements, costs, and enforcement mechanisms. The recent changes to the New York Power of Attorney law have aimed to simplify the process and provide greater protection for principals, while the Italian “Procura Speciale” is subject to the principle of “parallelismo delle forme” and the need for “equivalenza” when dealing with foreign powers of attorney. Understanding these differences is crucial for legal professionals and businesspeople operating in both jurisdictions.

This article was researched and written by New York Apostille Expediter Harry Otto, All Rights Reserved. For more information call, text or WhatsApp White Plains Apostille & Mobile Notary at (914)441-2444 or begin your Apostille at apostilleapply.com

Expedited Apostille Services in New York: Meet the Rising Demand in 2024

Streamlined Apostille Services in NYC and Beyond – White Plains Apostille

In today’s globally connected world, the need for properly authenticated documents has never been greater. From birth certificates and marriage licenses to corporate records and academic transcripts, having these vital documents apostilled is crucial for ensuring they are recognized internationally.

This is where White Plains Apostille comes in. Led by seasoned expediter Harry Otto, this New York-based firm specializes in providing rapid and reliable apostille services for clients across the state.

What is an Apostille?
An apostille is a form of certification that verifies the origin and authenticity of a public document. It is required for official documents to be legally accepted in countries that are members of the Hague Apostille Convention. In New York, the Department of State Apostille office is responsible for issuing these certifications.

The Challenges of Obtaining an Apostille
Navigating the apostille process can be a complicated and time-consuming endeavor, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the requirements. From gathering the necessary documents to submitting them through the proper channels, the process can quickly become overwhelming.

This is where White Plains Apostille shines. With a deep understanding of the apostille system and years of experience, their team is adept at streamlining the entire process, saving you valuable time and effort.

Expedited Services for Your Convenience
Whether you need a document apostilled the same day, next day, or within 5 business days, White Plains Apostille offers a range of expedited service options to suit your specific needs. Their expertise extends to apostille services for clients in Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, and all five boroughs of New York City.

“We understand that time is of the essence when it comes to obtaining an apostille,” says Otto. “Our expedited services ensure that our clients can navigate the process smoothly, without unnecessary delays or headaches.”

A Comprehensive Range of Apostille Services
At White Plains Apostille, their team is well-versed in handling apostille requests for a wide variety of documents, including but not limited to:

  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage licenses and certificates
  • Diplomas and academic transcripts
  • Corporate records and business documents
  • Passport applications
  • FBI background checks and fingerprint certifications
  • Translations and language certifications

Whether you’re an individual planning an international move, a business conducting transactions across borders, or simply need a document authenticated for use abroad, White Plains Apostille has the experience and resources to ensure your documents are properly certified and accepted.

Reliable and Trustworthy Apostille Experts
With a commitment to exceptional service and a track record of success, White Plains Apostille has established itself as a trusted partner for apostille services in New York. Their team of professionals is dedicated to guiding you through the process, answering any questions you may have, and ensuring your documents are handled with the utmost care and efficiency.

If you’re in need of apostille services in New York, look no further than White Plains Apostille. Contact them today to learn more about their expedited options and experience the convenience of streamlined document authentication.

Expert Squatter Removal Services in Westchester County & White Plains: Notarized Lease Agreements and Document Delivery Assistance

Westchester County Leases for Removal of Squatters

If you own property in Westchester County or White Plains and have had your home or building occupied by squatters, you know how difficult it can be to remove them legally. As the New York Post reported, “Homeowners who go on vacation or a business trip, even for just a week, are returning to find their houses overtaken by trespassers who fraudulently claim a right to be there.”

Squatters in New York can actually gain legal rights to remain on a property through the principle of adverse possession if certain requirements are met over time. The Post explains: “In New York state, a homeowner faced with a trespasser can expect eviction to take two years. Meanwhile, the owner is barred from turning off utilities, removing belongings or doing anything else to get the invaders out.”

At White Plains Apostille & Mobile Notary, we understand the urgency of these situations for property owners. That’s why we charge minimum travel fees of $350 and usually slightly higher to notarize new lease agreements as part of the legal process for landlords to reclaim their properties from squatters. Here’s why our fee is higher than a standard $99 to $199 travel fees for notarization:

  1. Likelihood of Court Appearance
    Once squatters establish tenancy rights after 30 days in NYC or 10 years elsewhere, landlords must go through formal housing court evictions, which are severely backlogged. Our notaries may have to validate the notarized lease during these proceedings.
  2. Thorough Screening and Vetting
    To ensure the lease’s validity cannot be challenged, we carefully screen all parties, verify identities, confirm the landlord’s ownership, and ensure the new tenant will actively take possession and pay rent.
  3. Prioritization and Rapid Response
    Our premium fee guarantees prioritized scheduling so a notary can swiftly notarize the lease before adverse possession rights fully take hold, which the Post warns is a growing danger: “Criminals from south of the border are coming in droves to plunder the far wealthier United States.”
  4. Stringent Document Handling
    We treat these leases similar to our loan signing agent services for banks like JPMorgan Chase and Citibank. Our notaries ensure proper printing, scanning, and execution of all documents to stringent standards, so their validity is defect-free and can withstand any court challenges.
  5. Assisting Mortgage Lenders
    In addition to working with property owners, our mobile notaries have collaborated with major mortgage lenders and banks to assist them in removing squatters from foreclosed properties they need to take possession of. We understand the unique requirements when dealing with these types of properties.

The premium fee accounts for these critical factors missing from a simple $99 travel fee for notarization. It reflects the urgency required once squatters gain tenancy rights, which can happen in as little as 30 days in NYC based on laws like this in the NYC Administrative Code:

“Any person who…holds over and continues in possession of any premises after being duly notified to quit the same shall be liable to pay double the monthly value of the premises so detained for so long as the same shall be detained.”

In Westchester County, the laws are similarly strict in the Westchester County Laws & Codes Ordinances:

“A person is guilty of criminal trespass when he knowingly enters or remains unlawfully upon premises. Criminal trespass is a violation.”

While our fee of $350+ is a premium rate, for notary travel fees (remember we are not attorneys – we work with your attorney), it provides landlords and mortgage lenders a completely valid, legally binding lease that allows them to efficiently regain control and remove squatters through proper court filings. This avoids costly legal battles like those the Post warns against: “Favoring intruders over owners are ‘takings’ that violate the Fifth Amendment.”

We urge any property owners or mortgage lenders dealing with squatters to act quickly before adverse possession rights permanently take hold. Contact us today to get a notary mobilized and start the process to reclaim your property through an airtight lease agreement that will withstand any court challenges.

This article deals with:

  1. Squatters
  2. Removal of squatters
  3. Westchester County
  4. White Plains
  5. Squatter eviction process
  6. Adverse possession rights
  7. Notarization
  8. Lease agreements
  9. Property owners
  10. Mortgage lenders
  11. Legal process
  12. Housing court evictions
  13. NYC Administrative Code
  14. Westchester County Laws & Codes Ordinances
  15. Notary services
  16. Document handling
  17. Court filings
  18. Priority scheduling
  19. Swift response
  20. Airtight lease agreement

We are Proudly a 4.9 Star 125+ Review Apostille Service!

White Plains Apostille proudly boasts a 4.9 Google rating showing our commitment to outstanding customer service to our fellow New Yorkers.

Experience the Highest Rated Apostille Service in Westchester with White Plains Apostille

No other company processes more apostille documents or understands the complexities better than White Plains Apostille (also Corporate Apostilles). Don’t just take our word for it! Check out our amazing 5-star feedback on Bing, Yelp Pages, NiceLocal, Trustpilot and 5 stars from Chamber of Commerce. Our reviews reflect our unwavering commitment to providing excellent service to our customers and their documents.

At White Plains Apostille, we stand behind our “5-star Apostille submission guarantee” program. If a country rejects your apostilled documents, we will refile them at no additional charge. Achieving 100% customer satisfaction is our top priority.

Embracing Opportunities for Growth

We value Google reviews as a critical tool for identifying areas where we can improve to better serve our clients. While we strive for excellence, we understand that no business is perfect, which is why we openly acknowledge and embrace our 4.9/5 rating on Google reviews as an opportunity for growth.

One review, in particular, taught us a valuable lesson about the importance of transparent communication regarding our policies and procedures. The reviewer expressed frustration over a delay in receiving an urgent document due to a misunderstanding about overall payment requirements. Simply put, this reviewer had not paid for their order, nor intended to. We aim to provide the highest level of professionalism, and this experience highlighted the need for clearer explanations upfront. Authentication and apostille services through the New York State Department require payment before processing to ensure a seamless and efficient experience for our clients, much like ordering a product from companies like law firms, accounting firms, or even a local ride from Uber.

In this particular case, the reviewer had not completed payment for their order, which is required before we can process authentication and apostille services. While their experience highlighted room for improvement in our upfront communication about payment policies, we did not actually experience any misunderstanding – order policies were simply not followed.

Continual Improvement and Unparalleled Customer Service

At our core, we are committed to continual improvement and exceeding client expectations. We embrace feedback, even when it falls short of perfection, as a chance to enhance our processes and reinforce our dedication to unparalleled customer service.

Ask us about our “5 Star Submission Guarantee” that means “we will refile your documents at NO CHARGE if they are denied!” Inquire about our inexpensive document replacement insurance to replace your Apostille if it is lost, stolen, or destroyed. Did you know that even our Northern Westchester applicants can experience same day “in your hands” Apostille processing if your documents are in by 11 AM? So, if you’re in Dutchess, Rockland, Putnam, or Orange County, we have you covered!

Apostille My Passport

These instructions apply to Westchester County.

Looking to apostille (authenticate) your passport for a potential employer or university? This could be a confusing process unless you know this simple step.

First, make a good quality color photocopy of your passport, including your photo and signature page. In some instances, the requester may want to see all the pages so they can track where you’ve been. In this case, your apostille might contain 20+ pages.

Head over to the Westchester County Clerk at 111 Martin Luther King Blvd. in White Plains. Grab the “Blank Affidavit” from the wall or just ask the clerk, “I need an affidavit to authenticate a document.”

You’ll enter the passport number on the affidavit and sign the paper in front of the clerk, essentially guaranteeing to the recipient that this is an exact copy of your passport. One of the clerks will notarize your affidavit for free.

Once that’s done, they’ll hand you the New York State Department of State Apostille Request form. You’ll fill that out and enclose a check or money order for $10 and a self-addressed stamped envelope.

That’s it! Once you mail it to Albany, you can likely expect it back in about 3 weeks.

Need it faster or don’t want to deal with any of this? Upload a color copy of your passport, and we’ll take care of everything for $149 from start to finish. Want it done in just a day or two? We can do that too!

Call, text, or WhatsApp 7 days a week to (914)441-2444 or begin your apostille application here: apostilleapply.com.

A March 2024 Look at the “New” NY ABA 2021 Power of Attorney

Don’t wait until the last minute to finish this document. In an emergency, this document is powerful even if you have a solid will and/or family trust.

The power of attorney (“POA”) should be part of every adult’s financial and estate planning. Unless an individual’s assets are jointly owned or held by a trust, no one can handle his/her financial affairs in the event of incapacity without a power of attorney. It would take a lengthy and expensive court process to appoint a guardian. 

A POA is not just a tool to be used later in life. Every parent of a college-bound student should consider having that young adult execute a POA so they can handle financial matters, or even gain access to their child’s residential quarters, if needed.

Earlier this year, the New York State Legislature made significant changes to the New York power of attorney law, which went into effect on June 13, 2021. Because of these changes, it is important for New Yorkers and others with New York POAs to review them at this time and to consider updating them.

An overview of the changes

Title 15 of Article 5 of New York’s General Obligations Law establishes a “statutory short form power of attorney” by which an individual, the Principal, can designate an Agent to act on the Principal’s behalf in matters of personal and financial nature. Even though the POA form may consist of several pages, especially when permitted modifications are added, it is still called Statutory Short Form, so that the language conferring authority with respect to each power listed on the “short form” is construed to incorporate a full description and extent of the agent’s authorized transactions set forth in the statute. Similar statutes exist in many other states.

Powers of attorney are frequently refused by financial institutions and other third parties. Changes in the New York power of attorney law that went into effect in June simplify the form and reduce the likelihood of financial institutions refusing to honor validly executed POAs.
In 2009, a POA form that deviated from the statutory language would be deemed invalid. The statutory form also limited the agent’s ability to make gifts by allowing only a maximum aggregate annual gift of $500, unless the principal executed a separate Statutory Gift Rider (“SGR”). Additionally, the old law provided no sanctions or punitive remedies for third parties refusing to honor a valid POA. 

As a result of the new law, the following significant changes have been made:

  1. Compliance with statutory requirements. According to the new law, a POA form must “substantially conform” to the language provided in the General Obligations Law *5-1513, but is not required to be identical to the POA form in the General Obligations Law §5-1513. POA forms may be valid even if they contain slight errors in spelling, punctuation, formatting, or type slightly different from the statutory POA form language. The following two warnings, which are in the NY GOL *5-1513, cannot be omitted from the POA: the “Important Information for the Agent” clause and the “Caution to the Principal” clause.
  2. Legislative gift riders will be eliminated. In order for the agent to make gifts in excess of $500 per year, the principal previously had to execute a separate SGR, which required two witnesses to witness the principal’s signature and an acknowledgment from a notary. By amending the law, a principal can authorize the agent to make gifts up to $5,000 per year, and additionally, the principal can modify the standard POA form to authorize the agent to make gifts exceeding $5,000 per year, and to authorize the agent to make gifts to himself or herself or to make other gift transactions and changes to interests in the principal’s property without the need for a separate SGR.
  3.  Penalties for not accepting a valid POA. In the past, financial institutions have refused to accept a valid, properly executed POA or only recognized their own form. Previously, there weren’t any penalties for unreasonable refusal to honor POA. Under the new law, if a third party is found to have acted unreasonably in refusing a POA, the court can award damages, including reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs. A POA can be rejected under certain circumstances, and there’s a timeline for when it can be rejected. POA recipients have 10 days to accept or reject the POA, or to ask for an affidavit from the agent or an opinion of counsel from the principal, and must then accept or reject the POA in writing within seven days of receiving the affidavit or opinion of counsel. 
  4. Third parties acting in good faith are protected by the Safe Harbor. By law, recipients of a POA are protected if they act in good faith when accepting the POA, even if the POA is later deemed invalid. The recipient is shielded from liability if the following conditions are met: (a) the POA must have the principal’s acknowledged signature verified by a notary public or another authorized to accept acknowledgments; and (b) the recipient must not know that the principal’s signature is forged, the POA is invalid, or that the agent is abusing his/her/its authority.
  5. Requirement for execution. In New York, a statutory power of attorney, or a non-statutory power of attorney, executed by a principal must: (a) be typed or printed in clear type no smaller than 12 points; and (b) be signed, initialed, and dated by the principal or by another person other than the principal’s agent or successor agent, in the principal’s presence and under the principal’s direction. In either case, the signature of the person signing must be duly notarized and acknowledged, and must be witnessed by two persons who are not named in the instrument as agents or as permissible recipients of gifts, principal. The person who takes the acknowledgment may also serve as one of the witnesses. 

Though third parties may more readily accept the new POA form, powers of attorney and statutory gift riders properly executed previously under the law in effect at the time of execution will remain valid.

If you are in Northern Westchester, we can still have your Apostille processed same day if we have everything by 11am. No other Apostille expediters courier to the Westchester County Clerk and the New York State Department of State 5 days a week.

No Record of Marriage Certification

If you thought the “single status” affidavit was enough to get married in another country, think again.



Some countries are adamant about American citizens marrying their citizens. Case in point: Colombia! We’ve assisted hundreds of clients from New York City, Westchester, Rockland and Putnam who believed that all they needed was an apostilled Birth Record and an affidavit stating that they are not currently married.



If you’ve mistakenly informed Colombian authorities that you were previously married, there’s a high likelihood they’ll request a No Record of Marriage Certification from the New York State Department of Health. If they are willing to accept an alternative, they might allow you to submit the NYC version if you can prove that you lived in one of the five boroughs at some point. This option is usually the easiest and quickest.

The New York State Albany version currently has a processing time of 10 weeks.

If you have questions regarding how to proceed with your marriage plans in Colombia, please consult with us before informing Colombian authorities about your intention to marry there.

Questions? Call us before you make the move. Call, Text or WhatsApp Apostille Expediter Harry Otto at (914)441-2444 seven days a week. We live this business.

Notarizing Wills in New York: What White Plains Apostille & Mobile Notary Will and Won’t Do

Notarizing Wills in New York: What White Plains Apostille & Mobile Notary Will and Won’t Do

If you need a will notarized in New York, White Plains Apostille & Mobile Notary is here to help. However, it’s important to understand the legal requirements for a valid will in New York and what our role is as notaries. Below we outline key information about the will execution process and how we can assist you.

What You Need to Know About Wills in New York Under New York’s Estates, Powers and Trusts Law (EPTL §3-2.1), for a will to be validly executed it must be:

  1. In writing
  2. Signed at the end by the testator (person making the will)
  3. Signed in the presence of at least two attesting witnesses OR the testator must acknowledge their signature to each witness
  4. The testator must declare to the witnesses that the document is their will
  5. The witnesses must sign the will within 30 days

Importantly, a will does not actually require notarization to be legally valid in New York. However, most wills include a self-proving affidavit which does require notarization. This affidavit, signed by the witnesses, helps streamline the probate process later on. As the court noted in Matter of Pilon’s Will, a self-proving affidavit “creates a presumption that the will was properly executed and constitutes prima facie evidence of the facts therein attested to by the witnesses.”

How White Plains Apostille & Mobile Notary Can Help Here’s what we can do to facilitate the proper execution of your will:

  1. Travel to you, at a time and place convenient for you and your witnesses, to notarize the self-proving affidavit included with most wills. We will notarize the signatures of the witnesses swearing that they properly witnessed the will execution.
  2. Provide general information about the requirements for a validly executed will in New York, to ensure you don’t make common mistakes that could invalidate your will. For example, we’ll make sure:
  • You have at least two eligible witnesses who are not beneficiaries (EPTL § 3-2.1)
  • The witnesses view you signing the will or hear you acknowledge your signature (In re Pulvermacher’s Will)
  • You declare to the witnesses that the document you’re signing is your will (In re Turell’s Will)
  • The witnesses sign the will and self-proving affidavit within 30 days (EPTL § 3-2.1)
  1. Notarize the self-proving affidavit signed by the witnesses at any point after the will is properly executed. It doesn’t have to happen the same day. The witnesses can appear before us later to have their signatures on the affidavit notarized. We charge a flat fee for this service, as we recognize there is always a possibility we could later be subpoenaed to testify about the will execution ceremony.

What We Won’t Do As notaries, we are not permitted to provide legal advice. Here are some things White Plains Apostille & Mobile Notary cannot do:

  1. Draft or help prepare the content of your will. You should consult an estate planning attorney for assistance actually writing the will.
  2. Determine if your will is legally valid beyond the aspects we directly witness during the signing and notarization. For example, we cannot assess your testamentary capacity or confirm a will isn’t the product of fraud or undue influence. As the court held in In re Kumstar’s Will, these are issues for the probate court to decide.
  3. Notarize a will signing that doesn’t conform with New York law. If the required formalities under EPTL § 3-2.1 are not followed (e.g. an insufficient number of witnesses, the testator doesn’t declare the document is their will, etc.), we will not be able to notarize the self-proving affidavit as we cannot attest that the will was properly executed.
  4. Offer an opinion on if your will achieves your estate planning objectives. Consult with an attorney to ensure your will disposes of your property as intended. As Matter of Andrew’s Will emphasizes, the testator’s intent is paramount and improperly drafted language can lead to will contests.
  5. Guarantee your will won’t be contested. A self-proving affidavit helps facilitate the probate process but doesn’t completely insulate a will from a contest proceeding. New York law allows wills to be challenged on various grounds like lack of capacity, undue influence, fraud or forgery.

The Bottom Line In summary, White Plains Apostille & Mobile Notary can notarize a self-proving affidavit for your New York will and provide helpful information about the execution requirements, pursuant to statutes and caselaw. However, we cannot legally draft your will, assess its validity beyond what we witness, or guarantee it won’t be contested. Think of us as an optional final step in the process to make probating your will easier – but not a substitute for sound legal counsel in preparing this important document. Contact White Plains Apostille & Mobile Notary today to learn more about our convenient flat fee mobile notary services for wills!

Did you know that in New York, to prove abandonment of a spouse under the statute, the departure must be unjustified and without the consent of the other spouse? The burden to establish abandonment remains at all times upon those asserting it. (In re Maiden’s Estate, 31 N.E.2d 889, 284 N.Y. 429, 430 (1940))

Did you know that a spouse who solemnizes a ceremonial marriage to another person followed by open and continuous cohabitation and the birth of children is considered clear and convincing evidence of abandonment of the prior spouse under New York law? (In re Goethie’s Will, 161 N.Y.S.2d 785, 787, 9 Misc.2d 906, 908 (1957))

Did you know that in New York, if a spouse obtains a divorce, annulment or dissolution of the marriage in another state that is not recognized as valid under New York law, that spouse is disqualified from inheriting under intestacy from the estate of the deceased spouse? (EPTL §5-1.2)

Did you know that under New York law, once a child is legally adopted, they are treated the same as a natural born child of the adoptive parents for inheritance purposes and are cut off from inheriting from their natural parents? (Bourne v. Dorney, 171 N.Y.S. 264, 268, 184 A.D. 476, 481 (2d Dep’t 1918); DeMund v. LaPoint, 647 N.Y.S.2d 662, 665, 169 Misc.2d 1020, 1025 (1996))

Did you know that a spouse who hardens their resolve to terminate the conjugal relationship with the other spouse and establishes a continuing relationship with another person is considered to have abandoned their spouse under New York law? (Matter of Estate of Baldo, 620 N.Y.S.2d 602, 604, 210 A.D.2d 848, 850 (3rd Dept. 1994))

Did you know that under New York law, compulsory payment of child support for a short period under court order does not constitute resumption of the parental relationship for purposes of a parent inheriting from their deceased child’s estate? (Matter of Daniels’ Estate, 275 A.D. 890, 90 N.Y.S.2d 26 (4th Dep’t 1949))

Did you know that in New York, a beneficiary who murders the decedent is prohibited from collecting any inheritance from the decedent’s estate, but a mentally ill person who murders the decedent will not be disqualified from inheriting? (Riggs v. Palmer, 115 N.Y. 506, 22 N.E. 188 (1889); In re Wirth’s Estate, 59 Misc.2d 300, 298 N.Y.S.2d 565 (1969))

Did you know that under New York law, a step-child of the decedent who has not been legally adopted cannot inherit from the decedent’s estate, and the only way for a step-child to inherit is if they were formally adopted by the decedent? (In re Marquet’s Will, 178 N.Y.S.2d 783, 784, 13 Misc.2d 958, 959 (1958))

2024 Action Guide to Obtain NYC Marriage License for Apostille.

The step-by-step-step guide to obtaining an exemplified marriage license with authentication ready for apostille.

Looking to save a few dollars? You can obtain your own marriage license copy with the required authentication ready for apostille. Here are the step-by-step instructions from apostille expeditor, Harry Otto:

First, make an appointment with the New York City Marriage Bureau, located at 140 Worth Street, here:

https://clerkscheduler.cityofnewyork.us/s/RecordRoom

Second, if you’re driving, download the ParkWhiz App:

ParkWhiz App

and book discounted parking here:

101 Worth Street “Foley Street Garage” for the discounted rate of $35 for 3 hours vs $55. This will generate a QR code that gets you in-and-out quick.

Third, don’t forget your ID because you’ll need to show it to gain entry and get rid of your belt and metal objects before the metal detectors. Make sure you walk in with this form filled out:

NYC MARRIAGE LICENSE COPY REQUEST FORM

https://www.cityclerk.nyc.gov/assets/cityclerk/downloads/pdf/mail_in_request_form%20final.pdf

Fourth, after you obtain your long-form marriage docs with exemplification, head back out the doors and make a left to the City Clerk at 60 Centre Street. Don’t go through the front entrance. Walk along the left side of the building to the back.

This what the back entrance looks like:

60 entre Street back entrance is always quickest.

They don’t take credit cards or checks. It’s $3 for the authentication “tag” and DO NOT go on Wednesday (no authentication). And don’t go between 12:30 and 2PM (lunch).

And this is what the line looks like at 2PM:

The lines after the 12:30 to 2PM lunch break can be avoided if you know beforehand.

Fifth, if you have a few extra minutes make a right when you leave because you’re 2 blocks from Chinatown and a 4 minute walk from Canal Street ($45 Lois Vuitton).

That’s it. 

Want to just let us handle everything? The application process starts here: apostilleapply.com and you can call/text/WhatsApp anytime at (914)441-2444.

Westchester Leases for Removal of Squatters

White Plains Apostille and Mobile Notary

If you own property in Westchester County or White Plains and have had your home or building occupied by squatters, you know how difficult it can be to remove them legally. As the New York Post reported, “Homeowners who go on vacation or a business trip, even for just a week, are returning to find their houses overtaken by trespassers who fraudulently claim a right to be there.”

Squatters in New York can actually gain legal rights to remain on a property through the principle of adverse possession if certain requirements are met over time. The Post explains: “In New York state, a homeowner faced with a trespasser can expect eviction to take two years. Meanwhile, the owner is barred from turning off utilities, removing belongings or doing anything else to get the invaders out.”

At White Plains Apostille & Mobile Notary, we understand the urgency of these situations for property owners. That’s why we charge minimum travel fees of $350 and usually slightly higher to notarize new lease agreements as part of the legal process for landlords to reclaim their properties from squatters. Here’s why our fee is higher than a standard $99 to $199 travel fees for notarization:

  1. Likelihood of Court Appearance
    Once squatters establish tenancy rights after 30 days in NYC or 10 years elsewhere, landlords must go through formal housing court evictions, which are severely backlogged. Our notaries may have to validate the notarized lease during these proceedings.
  2. Thorough Screening and Vetting
    To ensure the lease’s validity cannot be challenged, we carefully screen all parties, verify identities, confirm the landlord’s ownership, and ensure the new tenant will actively take possession and pay rent.
  3. Prioritization and Rapid Response
    Our premium fee guarantees prioritized scheduling so a notary can swiftly notarize the lease before adverse possession rights fully take hold, which the Post warns is a growing danger: “Criminals from south of the border are coming in droves to plunder the far wealthier United States.”
  4. Stringent Document Handling
    We treat these leases similar to our loan signing agent services for banks like JPMorgan Chase and Citibank. Our notaries ensure proper printing, scanning, and execution of all documents to stringent standards, so their validity is defect-free and can withstand any court challenges.
  5. Assisting Mortgage Lenders
    In addition to working with property owners, our mobile notaries have collaborated with major mortgage lenders and banks to assist them in removing squatters from foreclosed properties they need to take possession of. We understand the unique requirements when dealing with these types of properties.

The premium fee accounts for these critical factors missing from a simple $99 travel fee for notarization. It reflects the urgency required once squatters gain tenancy rights, which can happen in as little as 30 days in NYC based on laws like this in the NYC Administrative Code:

“Any person who…holds over and continues in possession of any premises after being duly notified to quit the same shall be liable to pay double the monthly value of the premises so detained for so long as the same shall be detained.”

In Westchester County, the laws are similarly strict in the Westchester County Laws & Codes Ordinances:

“A person is guilty of criminal trespass when he knowingly enters or remains unlawfully upon premises. Criminal trespass is a violation.”

While our fee of $350+ is a premium rate, for notary travel fees (remember we are not attorneys – we work with your attorney), it provides landlords and mortgage lenders a completely valid, legally binding lease that allows them to efficiently regain control and remove squatters through proper court filings. This avoids costly legal battles like those the Post warns against: “Favoring intruders over owners are ‘takings’ that violate the Fifth Amendment.”

We urge any property owners or mortgage lenders dealing with squatters to act quickly before adverse possession rights permanently take hold. Contact us today to get a notary mobilized and start the process to reclaim your property through an airtight lease agreement that will withstand any court challenges.