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.
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.
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
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!
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!
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Can a notary witness a Will or notarize one?
Credible Witnesses from A to Z
Identification requirements for being notarized