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January 28, 2019

Can a Notary Act as a Witness?

Can a Notary act as a witness? Yes.
Can a notary be a witness? Yes.

However, there are many types if witnessing that a Notary could engage in.

1. Witnessing an Acknowledged signature
A notary could witness a signature as part of an Acknowledgment in certain states. Most states do not require the Notary to watch the signer sign for an Acknowledged signature, but six states do.

2. Witnessing as an official notary act
Witnessing is an official notarial act in a handful of states. Notaries can get paid a fixed maximum state mandated notary fee for witnessing a signature. Delaware Notary statutes allow this as an official act, other states do not.

3. Witnessing in their individual capacity
Witnessing a document signing as an unofficial act can be done by any person in sound mind who is eighteen years of age or older. However, many prefer to hire a Notary Public to do this in their capacity as an individual simply because people prefer to have a Notary deal with issues relating to signing documents. How much can a notary charge for being a witness? There is no set charge except perhaps in Delaware.

4. Witnessing a Will
Wills can be notarized, however, most Notaries are advised that it is not proper to notarize a will without written instructions from an Attorney. Living Wills are a different story as those function more similarly to a specialized medical power of attorney. Many people like to have a Notary be one of the two witnesses to a will signing. In Vermont I heard that they require three witnesses. For mafia signings regardless of what state it takes place in, they normally prefer — “no witnesses.”

5. Credible Witnesses / Credible Identifying Witnesses
A Notary cannot act as a credible witness if they are notarizing a document for someone. However, they can use the testimonies of one or two credible witnesses depending on the situation in most states. You can learn more about credible witnesses on our blog.

6. What is a subscribing witness?
Notaries typically use subscribing witnesses for Proof of Execution signings and Signature by X or Signature by Mark signings where the signer cannot sign their name. Subscribing means signing, so a subscribing witness is one who witnesses a person signing their name.

7. Which Notary act requires witnessing?
A Jurat requires the signer to sign in the physical presence of the Notary Public as well as swearing or affirming under Oath to the truthfulness of the content of the document in the presence of the Notary. The Notary Public should be watching when the signature is made.

8. Witnessing crimes
It is possible that a Notary might witness a crime during their work hours. It is possible they might observe someone being forced to sign under duress, or even someone being kidnapped. Notaries are often asked to go to jails to notarize criminals, but the criminal would not be in the act of a crime in jail — probably. Signers might ask the notary to falsify a date, and asking the notary to engage in fraud is a crime in itself in many states.

You might also like:

Credible Witnesses — the ins and outs
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19634

Subscribing witnesses explained
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16707

Witnessing the intake forms in Notary Heaven
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8832

Types of witnesses in the Notary profession
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=5664

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January 27, 2019

Witnessing a Will

Filed under: Technical & Legal — Tags: , — admin @ 3:53 am

It is traditional procedure for Will signings to be witnessed. Normally, there would be two witnesses over the age of eighteen to witness the signing of a Will. In Vermont, there would need to be three witnesses. It is not a bad idea, but not necessary to have a Notary Public be one of the witnesses.

A Notary Public does not normally notarized the principal’s signature on a Will unless an Attorney asks them to in writing. However, it is not a bad idea for a Notary Public to notarized the signatures of the witnesses at a Will signing for a Last Will and Testament.

It is very critical for a will to be signed using the same name variation that is printed below the signature line. It is also critical that the signature is dated appropriately. The signature must be at the end or bottom of the document. Witnesses must not only sign, but also print their name very clearly and legibly below their signatures and the date.

It is a good practice for the witnesses to inscribe (write) their address and perhaps phone number as well should they need to be contacted by investigators at any time for any reason. The witnesses should not only see the principal signer sign, but should also witness each other sign.

When choosing witnesses, be advised that they might have to be questioned or even appear in court after the fact. The closer their know you the better. However, the fact that they know you and/or watched you sign is technically enough. The witnesses should not have a beneficial interest or financial interest in the signing of the Will. So, it is better to have people know you, but not people who are inheriting money, rights or property from you as witnesses to the signing.

Once the will is signed, you should make photocopies, and can consider having your Attorney, executors, and/or document custodians have possession of the copies. Please consult your Attorney to make sure you have the correct party having possession of your will. And if amendments need to be made, the document custodian will need to have the revised edition. The actual documents should be saved in a safe, dry place — perhaps a file drawer or lock box.

You might also like:

Witnessing a Will
https://www.netlawman.co.uk/ia/sign-will

Witnessing a Will according to LegalZoom
https://info.legalzoom.com/rules-witnessing-20722.html

Preparing to sign a last will and testament
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19967

Living Will vs. Medical Power of Attorney
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18966

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

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