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April 20, 2013

Types of witnesses in the notary profession

Types of Witnesses in the Notary Profession

All the names of witnesses in the notary profession can be confusing if you don’t know your terminology. I am going to write a brief tutorial of various types of witnesses.

Witness
Anyone who witnesses a signature can be a witness. In general you should be 18 years of age or older to serve as a witness. A witness could engage in the act of witnessing a signature.

Credible Witness
Most states allow the use of Credible Witnesses to identify a signer. Some states will allow two Credible Witnesses who know the signer, but do NOT know the notary. Some states will allow one Credible Witness who knows the signer as well as the notary. Some states will allow one or two Credible Witnesses. Consult your state’s notary handbook for details.

Credible Identifying Witness
A more legal or technical term for a Credible Witness

Executing Witness
Also known as a Subscribing Witness that would be used in a Proof of Execution signing. Don’t make a mistake on this type of notarization or the joke is that you will be executed!

Subscribing Witness
A witness who watches someone else sign their name. The word “sign” can sometimes be synonomous with the word “subscribe”.

Subscribing Witness for a Signature by X signing
A Subscribing Witness is also the term for someone who watches and assists in a Signature by Mark or Signature by X signing.

Witness to a Jurat Signature
Notaries are required by law to witness signatures that correspond to Jurat notarizations. Signatures that are to be acknowledged on the other hand, do NOT need to be witnessed, and can be signed before (even years before) the signature is acknolwedged.

Witness to a Will
Being a witness to a Will is similar to any other type of witnessing, except for the fact that the witness might need to (or probably should) document the fact that they witnessed a will signing on the signature page of the Will. Wills are by definition, orten much more serious than any other type of document.

They are often more important even than Power of Attorney documents or Grant Deeds. Another reason why witnessing signatures on Wills is so critical is because the signer will probably be dead if and when the document is disputed. It is too late to drag someone into court to testify if they are deceased!

You might also like:

Can a notary witness a Will or notarize one?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1525

Credible Witnesses from A to Z
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=452

Identification requirements for being notarized
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4299

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June 3, 2012

A New California Notary Law

A New California Notary Law

A new law regarding California notaries went into effect on January 1, 2012. One of three main changes to California notary law in 2012 is that a subscribing witness may not sign a Power of Attorney in California in a case where a signer is too frail or unwell to appear before a notary. In other words, it is now clearly mandated that a person giving someone else Power of Attorney in California must be well enough to appear personally before a California notary. There are situations in which an actual signer can’t appear before the notary and a subscribing witness may be used, but this is not as strong as having a California notary take an acknowledgement, and ought not to be allowed in most situations. In matters involving finance and property, California previously made clear that important documents such as mortgages and securities may not be signed by a subscribing witness; instead, the acknowledgment must be taken by the notary with the proper signer present. In 2012, California has now wisely added POA to the list of documents that may not be signed by a subscribing witness.

The second of the changes to California notary law in 2012 setsforth the rule that only California notaries who work for the financial institution concerned may demand payment or accept payment on “foreign bills of exchange” for the institution –and only these California notaries may protest for nonpayment. The third change in the law makes clear that these notaries who work for financial institutions will of course no longer be paid a fee for such services—as an independent notary would have been. The world of banking has its own notaries for all occasions, California notary law reminds us.

Tweets:
(1) A new 2012 California notary law – subscribing witnesses may no longer sign Power of Attorney in certain cases.
(2) Important documents such as Mortgages & Securities may not be signed by subscribing witnesses.

You might also like:

California notary issues
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3528

California Acknowledgment and Jurat Information
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1786

Power of Attorney Signings
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1627

Find a notary in Fremont, CA
http://www.123notary.com/notary-result.asp?state=CA&super=&county=162&sub=3&n=Fremont%20City&cc=1&

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November 24, 2010

Signature By X

Signature by X — Signature by Mark
Many notaries go through their entire career without understanding the necessity and importance of the Signature by X / Signature by Mark procedure  (Notarizing an X). If you have ever done a hospital signing, or signing for elderly, you might be accutely aware of the limitations that a signer has in tasks we take for granted.  Many elderly signers with physical disabilities can not even sign their own name, or more their own arm with any coordination.  This necessitates signature by X procedures.
 
What is Signature by X?
Signature by X is where the signer being notarized signs an X instead of a regular signature.
(1) You need two subscribing witnesses who witness the signature by X.
(2) The signer signs an X in your journal and on the document.
(3) Witness one signs the person’s first name in the document and journal
(4) Witness two signs the persons middle and last names in the document and journal.
(5) Document the ID’s and signatures of the witnesses in the document and journal
(6) Keep in mind that this is a very unusual notary procedure and is tricky.
 
Be careful!
If you have ever done a hospital signing, the signer could be drugged, may not have current ID, or may have overly zealous relatives who move the patient’s arm to get them to sign their name. This is not acceptable. The signer must sign their own name.  Arms of others may be used as braces to limit the motion of the patient’s arm, but you may not actually move the signer’s arm around, otherwise that is like forgery — well intentioned forgery — which is still illegal.
 
Subscribing witnesses?
What is a subscribing witness?  Anyone who witnesses someone signing by X is a subscribing witness.  They sign the document and the journal.  In California, one witness signs the signer’s first name and the other signer signs the signer’s last and milddle name (if there is one ). Its good to create documentation to accompany the document as to what this odd procedure is, since it is uncommon and looks strange.  Its prudent to indicate the subscribing witnesses names on the actual document and that they witnessed the signature by X.
 
Comprehension
When notarizing the elderly, make sure they understand the document. The last thing you want is to end up in court because an elderly person has been defrauded out of their life savings with paperwork notarized by you.  Make sure the signer has read all the documents.  Elderly people get scammed much more than the rest of us simply because they are more vulnerable and less on the ball, especially when they are regularly drugged in a hospital.
 
Related Terms:
http://www.123notary.com/glossary/?subscribing-witness
http://www.123notary.com/glossary/?signature-by-mark

You might also like:

Where do credible witnesses sign the notary journal book?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2508

How much can a notary charge for swearing in a witness
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2447

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