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How to Use Witnesses with An Online Notarization Service?
Do you have a document needing a notarization, and think a signature in front of a notary is sufficient? While this is true in most cases, there are some instances when a witness must be present at the time of signing. Other times, the signer may need a witness to verify their identity or sign the document.
With several different types of witnesses, it can be confusing about which one applies to your situation. With the addition of online notarization platforms, the signer may be nervous about how an individual will meet the necessary requirements of a witness. Fortunately, Notarize Genie’s platform takes care of your worries, so you can have a smooth notarization experience.
What Witness Do You Need?
There are several different witnesses you may need for an online notarization. Whether you bring your own or ask the online notary service to provide one, it is important to understand which witness you need. To help avoid confusion, here are the different kinds of witnesses you may need.
Credible Identifying WitnessA credible identifying witness personally knows and vouches for the signer’s identity. Typically, a signer needs an identifying witness when they do not have satisfactory personal identification. Credible identifying witnesses need to be someone who knows a signer personally and is willing to verify their identity under oath.
Some states require the identifying witness to know the online notary personally or require the witness to present an ID to the notary. Several states, including Florida and North Carolina, prevent a person with an interest or benefit from the document being notarization from serving as a credible identity witness.
Subscribing WitnessSometimes, a signer cannot appear personally before a notary to sign or acknowledge their signature. Fortunately, when a notarization cannot wait, several states allow a subscribing witness to watch the signing of a document, then appear before an online notary on the signer’s behalf.
To serve as a subscribing witness, a person must be physically present at the time of the original signature or when the signer acknowledges their signature to the witness. Due to the high risk of fraud associated with subscribing witnesses, some states significantly limit or ban their use. Signers should check their state laws on the use of subscribing witnesses.
Signature WitnessSignature witnessing is an official notarial act allowed in some states. For a notary to be a signature witness, the signer must personally appear, provide valid identification, and sign their documents in the notary’s presence.
Signature witnessings are not the same as an acknowledgment and a jurat. It differs from an acknowledgment because it requires the document to be signed before the notary. While a jurat requires a signing before the notary, a signature witnessing does not require an oath or affirmation.
Document Witness Sometimes, signers simply need someone to witness the document signing. A document witness can be an individual or a notary acting as a private individual. The signer may ask the notary to act as a private individual and notarize the document in their capacity as a notary.
Because the lines here can get murky, only some states, under certain circumstances, allow a notary to also act as a document witness. Being asked to sign a document and notarizing the same document may create a conflict of interest, so the notary should be aware of when they may get in trouble and avoid these situations. For states without rules on document witnesses, Notaries should turn down requests to perform notarizations and act as private document witnesses.
Signature by Mark WitnessSometimes, a notary is incapable of performing their full signature, and they are allowed to sign the document with a march, such as an “X.” Mark signatures require one or more witnesses to observe the signer making the mark. Typically, a witness must print the signer’s name next to the mark.
Some states only require one witness, while other states require two. Be sure you meet the state requirements for number of mark witnesses before signing, or the document may be invalid.
When You Need a Witness
Certain documents require witnesses when the signing occurs. Documents typically requiring a witness include:
- 1. Wills
- 2. Divorce decrees
- 3. Mortgage Agreements
- 4. Deeds
Some of these documents require the presence of more than one witness. The witnessing requirements for each document may differ from state to state, making it essential for the signer to check their state’s laws before a notarization session. An insufficient amount of witnesses may render their signature invalid and documents unenforceable.
Using Witnesses With An Online Notarization Platform
The best online notary services offer witnesses for those who don’t have one. When using Notarize Genie, our users can add a witness before starting a session. To create a session, the signer must identify all participants and choose whether they need a witness.
Notarize Genie utilizes our on-demand notaries when a signer needs a witness. This makes incorporating the witness a smooth process, as notaries all understand how notarization works and can fill in seamlessly.
Connecting With Witnesses During An Online Notarization
Signers may wonder how a witness can be physically present during a remote online notarization session. Fortunately, the law has adapted as online notarization grew in popularity. All states allowing online notarizations deem the physical presence requirement satisfied when all parties connect using audio-visual communication technology.
All parties must use technology that allows the witness to see the signer, their document, and the application of the signature. Notarize Genie built its platform with these requirements in mind, so the signer needs to start their session and know we have taken care of the rest!
Notarize Genie Can Connect You With a Witness and Notarize Your Documents!
Notarize Genie understands notarizing a document can be overwhelming, never mind adding witnesses! As such, our goal was to make it as easy as possible for a signer to satisfy any witness requirement. Simply click a button while signing up for a session, and notarize Genie will add a witness to your session.
Our easy-to-use witness service is another reason Notarize Genie’s new platform is becoming the best online notary service. If you have questions regarding the use of a witness, give Notarize Genie a call or visit our website.