Credible Witnesses

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Santa Clarita Mobile Notary

In some states*, notaries may use credible witnesses on acknowledgments and jurats when a person whose signature is being notarized does not have any identification.  The following Credible Witness Affidavit could be used -- but not required according to the NNA -- in addition to the standard procedure of making notations of the credible witnesses' information in your notary journal:

Credible Witness Affidavit

*STATES ALLOWING TWO CREDIBLE WITNESSES WITH SATISFACTORY I.D.:  CA, FL, GA, NM, VA

Under the penalties of perjury, I declare that the person appearing before me [NAME OF NOTARY] as [NAME OF PERSON WHOSE SIGNATURE IS TO BE NOTARIZED] is personally known to me ** who proved to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence to be the person named in the document requiring notarization; that I believe the person does not possess the required identification; that I believe it would be difficult or impossible for this person to obtain such identification; and that I do not have a financial interest in and am not a party to the underlying transaction.

WITNESS #1                                                                                       WITNESS #2

[Signature of Credible Witness]                                                    [Signature of Credible Witness]    

Only ONE witness is required if personally known by notary. 

TWO credible witnesses required if not personally known to the notary.  Satisfactory ID required.

                                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

JURAT

State of ________

County of ________

Sworn to (or affirmed) and subscribed before me on this (date) day of (month), (year), by (Print name of first Credible Witness), and by (Print name of 2nd Credible Witness or N/A), who produced the following as identification:

Personally Known [ ]

Satisfactory ID [ ]

Witness #1 - Type ______________

Witness #2 - Type ______________

                   [SEAL]                                                                             (Signature of Notary)

                                                                                                             (Printed or Typed Name of Notary)

 

 **NOTE:  In 2008, California laws changed the language on acknowledgments and jurats prohibiting identifying anyone based on personal knowledge so I would think the language on the above Affidavit would be the same as in the current acknowledgments, "who proved to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence..."  I AM NOT CERTAIN ABOUT THIS AND HAVE YET TO FIND A "CREDIBLE WITNESS AFFIDAVIT FORM ANYWHERE ON THE INTERNET, ALTHOUGH I'M SURE THERE IS ONE SOMEWHERE.  THE ABOVE AFFIDAVIT IS FROM A NEWSLETTER FROM THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF NOTARIES.

If any notary has information to the contrary or has any other comments on the subject of using Credible Witness Affidavits, I would appreciate hearing from you. 

Thanks!

 

 

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Show All Comments
Rainer
27,305
Mary Ellen Elmore
Nunnelly, TN

You left out Tennessee. We can use two credible witnesses and we can proceed on having personally known the signer.

 

June 22, 2008 12:39 AM #1
Rainer
49,755
Denise OnullDell
Santa Clarita Mobile Notary - Santa Clarita, CA
Mobile Notary Public/Real Estate Agent

Mary Ellen - American Society of Notaries did not list Tennessee as one of the states allowing credible witnesses.

June 23, 2008 11:34 PM #2
Rainmaker
453,967
Jeff&Grace Safrin
F.C.Tucker 1st Team Real Estate - Valparaiso, IN
SpousesSellingHousesTM

Interesting Denise - we've never run across the need for this in our 10 years - IN was not mentioned in your list either.

thanks for the info...

Sincerely,

Grace

June 23, 2008 10:22 AM #3
Rainer
41,406
Joan Bergstrom
Joan Bergstrom Mobile Notary - Riverside, CA
Mobile Notary, Riverside CA

I wouldn't use this is CA: It's not a form our CA Secretary of State is listed as a form to be used in CA. In CA the 1 or 2 credible witness(s)  sign our journal

These types of forms might be used in many other States; but, not in CA.

June 24, 2008 12:19 AM #4
Rainer
18,404
Dennis Beckner
Beckner Mobile Notary - Rancho Santa Margarita, CA

Denise,

Thanks for that post. I always love things that make my life easier. While I've never had this type of notary come up, now that I've seen this I bet I will. It's funny how that happens.

Have a good one,

Dennis

June 26, 2008 02:16 PM #5
Rainer
120,136
Ronald Gillis
Southwest Florida Notaries (Mortgage Notary Signing Agent) - Port Charlotte, FL
CNSA Southwest Florida. Notaries, Port Charlotte, 941-7-NOTARY

I do some public service notarizations and go to several medical facilities, ALS's & nursing homes, and here there are quite a few that have ID's that are expired and no way to get out  and get new ID's.  So this is an important necessity that I have used about 3-4 times in the last three years.

Signature  

June 27, 2008 08:33 PM #6
Rainer
4,515
Elizabeth Foust
Sealed to Perfection - Santa Rosa, CA

Hi Denise,

I also have never seen this affidavit.  Although, of course, I do have the credible witnesses raise their right hand and swear to the declarations.  I journal their identification and have them sign the journal also as required.  Usually, if CW's are being used for someone signing loan documents, I make a note (to send with the docs) stating that credible witnesses were used to identify the signer.  I also state in the note the difference between the name on the docs and the name on the ID that was unusable.  

For the signer, I mark credible witnesses under "Method of Identification" and in the "Additional Information" area I will also write in the name on ID, the identifing number and the expiration date of the ID not used.  This is not necessary, but you never know when or if the identification will ever be questioned. 

In CA the oath and journaling are sufficient, but I can see how using this affidavit could be informational to the person(s) receiving the document.  The wording would need to be changed to comply with recent notary law.  I don't see any reason why this couldn't be used though, as the witnesses are basically signing their names to the declarations that are given in the oath and then a jurat is added stating that they were present, swore to the oath, and presented acceptable ID. 

June 29, 2008 06:11 AM #7
Rainer
4,515
Elizabeth Foust
Sealed to Perfection - Santa Rosa, CA

Hi Denise,

I apologize.  I just re-read the first part of the affidavit and realized that the notary's name cannot be included in the above statement as written. 

It should read:  Under the penalties of perjury, I declare that the person appearing before me, (NAME OF CREDIBLE WITNESS), and the notary public, is (NAME OF SIGNER).  He/She is the signer of the document; is personally known by me; he/she is the person named in the document requiring notarization; that I believe the person does not possess the required identification; that I believe it would be difficult or impossible for this person to obtain such identification; and that I do not have a financial interest in and am not a party to the underlying transaction.

SIGNATURE OF CREDIBLE WITNESS

This is just an example.  If using the wording in this example you would need a separate copy for each witness. 

 The way it is written in the example you gave, it appears to have the notary swearing to the oath.  If this is changed to having the witnesses swearing to the oath, then I will stand by my previous reply.

June 30, 2008 10:40 PM #8
Rainer
26,971
Laura Vestanen
Professional Notary - Point Roberts, WA

FYI

In WA we can use a credible witness to establish identification of a signer whose ID has expired.

The credible witness must be PERSONALLY KNOWN to both the signer and the notary.

This is a tough requirement.  I have been able to use it only twice in the last 5 years.

July 03, 2008 08:26 PM #9
Rainer
49,755
Denise OnullDell
Santa Clarita Mobile Notary - Santa Clarita, CA
Mobile Notary Public/Real Estate Agent

Laura - In California, when a signer is is not able to present ID, one credible witness can be used who is personally known to the notary and signer.  

Two credible witnesses may be used when the signer is unknown to notary, but known to signer.  The witnesses must appear before notary and signer, have required ID, sign the notary journal and take oath or affirmation. 

I also ascertained with the National Notary Association that a Credible Witness Affidavit is not required, but couldn't hurt.

July 04, 2008 12:35 PM #10
Rainer
41,406
Joan Bergstrom
Joan Bergstrom Mobile Notary - Riverside, CA
Mobile Notary, Riverside CA

A Credible Witness Affidavit is not required in CA;  the Notary has to  personaly know this person and get his/her  I. D. information in your notary journal and have the witness sign your journal

July 04, 2008 11:34 PM #11
Rainer
49,755
Denise OnullDell
Santa Clarita Mobile Notary - Santa Clarita, CA
Mobile Notary Public/Real Estate Agent

Joan - As I stated above, I confirmed that a credible witness affidavit is not required in CA, but was told by the NNA it wouldn't be a bad idea.  The notary must know the signer when using ONE credible witness who must present proper ID, but the notary does not need to know the signer when using two credible witnesses.  The two credible witnesses must be able to identify the signer and the other requirements must be met as I mentioned.

July 05, 2008 01:08 AM #12
Rainmaker
74,440
Shannon Ziccardi
A+ Mobile Notary / "A Quick Note" - Lake Forest, CA
A+ Mobile Notary/"A Quick Note"

Denise,

I sort of side with Joan in terms of it being an unnecessary item (required or not as in CA).  I believe whole-heartedly that the NNA continues to be far more interested in their bottom line than in providing actual assistance to the membership it serves.  BGC's, Certifications and lots of really unneeded product has become their mantra...

I'd really like to see them focus their efforts on finding notaries more work verses working on how to milk the membership for more "add-ons"...just an opinion.

"A Quick Note"

www.aquicknote.net

July 15, 2008 02:11 PM #13
Rainer
7,327
A Mobile Notary (562) 916-3237
Downey, CA

I am not comfortable notarizing people without an identification--so I just decline. 

September 06, 2008 02:46 PM #14
Rainer
41,406
Joan Bergstrom
Joan Bergstrom Mobile Notary - Riverside, CA
Mobile Notary, Riverside CA

If you are mobile notary (CA) you can decline any notarization, but if you are in a stand alone location (such as CPA office or mail box store/etc ) remember you are a public official' and you must follow the law and notarize for the client if they have the fee required when using 1 or 2 credible witnesses.

In CA you can be sued (DUH by the client) but you can also be fined $750 and your commission could be suspended or revoked by our CA Sec of State.

September 06, 2008 11:51 PM #15
Rainer
49,755
Denise OnullDell
Santa Clarita Mobile Notary - Santa Clarita, CA
Mobile Notary Public/Real Estate Agent

Good point Joan!  Thanks.

Even though I prefer notarizing for someone with proper ID, I do not decline a notarization just because I have to use credible witnesses (although it does involve more work). 

Just for the record, the NNA merely said "it couldn't hurt" using the affidavit when I asked them about using it; they weren't "promoting it in any way.  Since this post, I have not used the affidavit when using credible witnesses since it is NOT a requirement.

Thanks everyone for your comments and feedback!

September 14, 2008 08:18 PM #16
Rainer
27,305
Mary Ellen Elmore
Nunnelly, TN

Denise, for whatever reason, I did not respond to you back when you answered my comment, but for other notaries that may not know, I will answer now. 

 

This is a direct quote from the TN State Notary Handbook:

 

“Satisfactory evidence” is defined as the absence of any 

information, evidence, or other circumstances that would lead 

a reasonable person to believe that the person making the 

acknowledgment is not the individual he or she claims to be, 

together with any one of the following:

1. The oath or affirmation of a credible witness personally known 

to the officer that the person making the acknowledgment is 

personally known to the witness. [This should be in the form 

of an affidavit discussed earlier.

 

So, TN does allow credible witnesses and does require an affidavit, despite what the NNA says.

 

The TN State Notary Handbook may be found in .pdf format here.

December 07, 2010 08:34 AM #17
Rainer
27,305
Mary Ellen Elmore
Nunnelly, TN

Also, in TN to use a credible witness the CW must also be known by the notary and the signer.

December 07, 2010 08:37 AM #18
Rainer
49,755
Denise OnullDell
Santa Clarita Mobile Notary - Santa Clarita, CA
Mobile Notary Public/Real Estate Agent

Thanks for your comments Mary Ellen. 

Just for the record, California notarie are no longer allowed to use the "personally known" rule when notarizing documents - even if it's for the person whose signature we're notarizing.

I appreciate your stopping by! 

 

April 24, 2011 04:33 PM #19
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Rainer
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Denise OnullDell

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