There are TWO types of subscribing witnesses.
1. The person who appears before a Notary on behalf of someone being notarized with a Proof of Execution is called a subscribing witness or executing witness. The actual signer cannot appear before a Notary Public, so a witness is used to sign on the principal’s behalf and swear. The basic idea is that the subscribing witness witnessed the principal sign the document.
2. A person who witnesses a disabled person who is signing by X in a document is also called a subscribing witness.
As a Notary Public, you may come into a situation where the signer is not able to sign. Most Notaries are not trained in how to handle such situations. If you do hospital notarizations you will deal with this situation a lot. Some signers cannot move their arms properly. Others cannot sign their name. If you can get them to sign an X in your journal and an X in the signature section of the document with two subscribing witnesses watching. You are in luck.
You need to have the subscribing witnesses sign your journal and input their drivers license info as well. Additionally, the subscribing witnesses sign the first and last name of the signer on the document which sounds like forgery, but many states allow this. Check your state notary handbook to see if this procedure is legal in your state.
Signature by X from A to Z
Subscribing Witness Glossary Definition
What is Signature by X or Signature by Mark
Types of witnesses in the notary profession
There are various types of notarial acts, and the rules and types of acts vary from state to state. In this blog entry, I’ll go over all of the types of notary acts that I can find information about, and introduce some of the points that differ from state to state. The states associated with each specific act are NOT necessarily the ONLY states associated with those acts, but are the state(s) that we are referencing.
An acknowledgment is the most common notary act and accounts for roughly 80% of all notarizations with Jurats being in second place. Many states allow notaries to charge a maximum fee per notarized signature, while Florida’s fees are based on how many times you affix your stamp when executing an acknowledgment.
An affirmation is a type of Oath where there is no mention of a higher power (God).
Attesting to a Document’s Validity (AR)
This is a notary act that is peculiar to Arkansas. I don’t recall seeing this as a possible notary act in any other state. Please visit our Arkansas Notary page for more information.
Authentication, Apostilles, and Magistracies (General)
These are general notary public procedures common to most states. However, less than 1% of notaries know how to do such notary acts, and you normally have to contact your state notary public division to learn the rules. The process of getting one of these generally takes a minimum of a few days, and the price is usually high.
Certified Copies (WA)(CA)
Some states allow Certified copies of powers of attorney such as California. Other states often allow a notary to make certified copies of any type of document. New York doesn’t allow any type of certified copies. The type of documents that a notary may certify copies of vary from state to state. Washington allows a notary to charge $10 per certified copy of any document for example.
Copies of Journal Entries
California notary law allows a small fee of 30 cents per entry for notaries to charge if a member of the public needs a copy of a specific journal entry. The notary should be careful to make sure that all other transactions recorded in the journal do not show up on the photocopy sent to the individual making the inquiry to protect people’s privacy.
Depositions – Certifying Depositions (AR)
Most states use the term, “Take a deposition” while Arkansas allows notaries to certify a Deposition. Some states allow a fee for the Deposition and then another fee for each oath to each witness. Rules vary from state to state.
Document Copy Charges (CO)
Colorado notary law allows a notary to make copies of documents and charge for this act. This act ensures that the copied document is a real copy and not a different document or one that is slightly altered. If you are in another state that doesn’t have this type of notary act, its still advisable to witness the photocopying of documents that are to be certified as copies. Its also not a bad idea to make a notation on the document that you witnessed it being photocopied even though thats not an official act outside of Colorado that we are aware of.
Rules for e-notarizations differ from state to state. The main point is to use an electronic journal to record transactions and for the documents to be online or electronic documents. e-signings are signings where some of the documents are online while others are printed out. A regular journal is used when doing an e-signing although the signature on the document is electronic.
This is the second most popular notary act. A Jurat requires the signer to sign the document before the notary and to take an Oath before the notary as well regarding the document or verbiage. Several years ago, Jurats did not require identification in many states, but as of 2011, almost all states require the signer / affiant to be positively identified for this notary act.
Marine Protest (RI)
Rhode Island is the only state we have seen to have a separate fee for a marine Protest. A Protest is an act where
someone Protests non-payment of a bill. A Marine protest or sea protest is a statement where a captain or officer can include relevant details about the ship, voyage, cargo, drafts, date of departure, date of arrival in next port. This type of act is used if unfavorable weather conditions were encountered. The Marine protest will protect the vessel and their owners from further claims brought forward by charterers, shippers, and cargo receivers.
Non-Certified Copies (VA)
Virginia allows for notaries to make copies that are not certified. A non-certified copy if for information only and is not accepted for legal purposes such as school enrollment or applying for a drivers license or passport.
Most if not all states allow notaries to take Oaths. An Oath is a solemn promise or statement where the affiant swears that they are telling the truth.
Photocopying & Supervising Photocopying (AR)
In Arkansas, a notary can get paid to photocopy documents or supervise the photocopy of documents.
Proof of Execution
This notary act requires a subscribing witness who sees the principal sign a document. The subscribing witness appears before the notary public. This act is the only notary act where the actual signer doesn’t appear before the notary.
This type of notary act is where an individual protests the nonacceptance or non-payment of money owed.
Safe Deposit Openings (NY)
Here is a unique notary act only allowed in New York and Florida that we are aware of. The notary must witness the opening of a safe deposit box and record the contents of the box in a certificate, but not in their journal. Please click on the link to read the details.
Taking a Renunciation of dower or Inheritance (SC)
Please see the South Carolina notary division’s website for details on this unique notary act.
Verification – Taking a verification upon an Oath or Affirmation (DE)(PA)
Please consult the Delaware or Pennsylvania’s notary division website for more information on this unique act.
Weddings (ME), (SC), (FL)
Notaries in Maine, South Carolina, and Florida can solemnize weddings. Notaries need to be familiar with the procedure and proper wedding etiquette to provide this type of service.
Witnessing an Absentee Ballot (FL)
Notaries are not allowed to charge for this notary act in Florida, or California.
Witnessing or Attesting to a Signature (DE)
Attesting to a signature simply means witnessing a signature, and then signing your own name to document that fact that you witnessed a signature. Delaware is one state of many that considers being a witness an official notary act.