Even if it were agreed that notaries should judge whether document signers comprehend the documents being executed, precisely what does that mean' What is the legal test of whether a signer comprehends a document being executed' One version of a legal standard for a signer to comprehend a document is whether the signer understands both the detailed substance of the terms of the document and the practical and legal consequences of the instrument. If this is the test, the mental competence of the signer would necessarily be implicated, for a signer could not possibly comprehend the full meaning and import of a document if the signer were mentally incapacitated. 5Obviously though, even a competent individual might not comprehend a particular instrument.
Further, substantial confusion is caused by the imprecise use of the concepts of "competence" and "comprehension."6 As suggested above, while competence refers to one's ability to understand the nature and consequences of his/her transactions generally, comprehension refers to one's actual understanding of the nature and consequences of the particular transaction.7 Yet, these definitions are regularly substituted for one an other, just as the terms competence and comprehension are in artfully interchanged as though they were synonymous. 8
Now, the entire discussion leads one to the most important moot point of notaries verifying Power of Attorney documents. There can be no doubt that power of attorney is the most powerful document as it entrusts someone with all powers of another to represent him and act completely on his behalf .Therefore , it is necessary that signing of such document is duly notarized and validated as it may be tool of defrauding people This is essentially why it is so vital to ensure that such super powerful documents are notarized and following the reasoning already laid out in this paper , in matters of such importance , the notary public should try and find out if the signor is competent to sign and also has comprehended what he is signing .
A possible version of the legal test of document signer comprehension is that the signer appreciates merely the general nature of the document (i.e. the kind of instrument being executed). Not only do the authors not object to the imposition of a duty on notaries consistent with this notion of document signer comprehension, but we endorse it. 9
However, one may safely presume it is the former definition of document comprehension, or a comparable meaning, that the proponents of a duty of notaries to determine document signer comprehension have in mind.10 For example, in his book Notary Public Handbook, Alfred Piombino seems to advocate such a heightened duty for the notary, for he suggests (during his discussion of "competency") that the notary should inquire into the signer's understanding of "the nature of the act to be performed" as well