What Is Required of a Witness?
A witness is a person who attends the notarizing meeting and swears by affidavit that they have witnessed the document being notarized. The witness should be able to confirm the identity of the person(s) who are having a document notarized and swear that the document is real. This is especially important if the document being signed could be the subject of a court or tribunal matter at some point down the road.
A witness is typically a party who has no interest in the document that is being notarized. For example, if you are notarizing a will, the witness should not be somebody who benefits from the will either directly or indirectly. It is also important to note, that a Will may need witnessing by two people.
In addition to being unrelated to the document being signed, a witness should be at least eighteen (18) years of age and must be able to understand the contents of the document being signed.
A witness and a professional witness are different in nature. - A witness is one who is simply just witnesses a sigiture where as a professional witness is where Notary Now comes in. We are appointed by the goverment to Notarize and Commission documents on your behalf.
Not every document requires a witness. When reading the instructions about getting the document notarized, you should specifically see if a witness is mentioned. If it is not, you should seek clarification in writing just to be on the safe side. Other documents may require more than one witness. For example, the following documents may require at least one witness:
- A Will
- A mortgage agreement
- A variety of family law documents
- A variety of property documents
While a notary can act as witness, doing so will prevent the notary from notarizing the document; and accordingly, another notary will be required. It would be suggested that you speak to the notary in advance of your appointment and verify that they may have someone in their office who is able to act as witness. This allows you to avoid having to book a second appointment.
You must remember that a notary seal provides assurances and a level of comfort to the government or institution that requires the notarized document; and accordingly, notaries are obligated to ensure that notary services are provided ethically.