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Can A Notary Also Serve As A Witness?

NNA Hotline Tips For Notaries

I have a question regarding witnessing and notarizing a document. Can a Notary both witness and notarize documents? — D.S., Mount Laurel, NJ

It depends. Acting as a witness and a Notary on any given document is not expressly prohibited by New Jersey’s Notary law. However, if the signature of the witness must be notarized, this would automatically disqualify the Notary from signing as a witness since Notaries cannot notarize documents in which they are named.

Notaries in other states should check the Notary handbook or commissioning official’s website for specific guidance on whether Notaries can be both a witness and Notary to the same document. For example, in Florida and Georgia, Notaries may serve as both a witness and Notary to the same document, but in North Carolina, they may not.

Hotline answers are based on the laws in the state where the question originated and may not reflect the laws of other states. If in doubt, always refer to your own state statutes. – The Editors

Confronted with a tricky notarization? Unsure how to proceed? NNA members have unlimited access to our expertly trained NNA Hotline counselors to help you with all of your notarial questions. Call (888) 876-0827, Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST.

35 Comments

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Mr.notary@verizon.net

22 Dec 2014

Very good info

Gerardo

22 Dec 2014

Very well explained.

barbara mcdonald

22 Dec 2014

It would be great to have links to these types of questions so that I could click on California to see our state rule.

barbara thore

22 Dec 2014

What is the law for the state of Idaho on this issue?

Jacqueline H.

22 Dec 2014

Excellent question and answer. I will stay mindful of this information in the event I'm faced with this situation.

Denise

14 Jan 2015

This information is so beneficial. Can you please spell out the rules for the State of Illinois?

National Notary Association

21 Jan 2015

Hello, Illinois Notaries are authorized to witness or attest signature as part of their duties. When witnessing a signature, an oath is not required. The person requesting the notarial act must personally appear before the Notary and sign the document in the presence of the Notary.

John Axt

25 Jan 2015

In Florida, a Notary can act as a witness. Most people miss the point of a witness and believe a family member can act as a witness.

Brenda Whitman

14 May 2015

May a Notary also serve as a witness in the state of Wyoming?

National Notary Association

14 May 2015

Hi Brenda. Yes, Wyoming authorizes Notaries to witness signatures as part of their duties. “In witnessing or attesting a signature the principal shall be personally known to the notarial officer or identified through satisfactory evidence, shall appear in person before the notarial officer and shall make the signature in the presence of the notarial officer” (WS 34-26-102[c]).

Michael

07 Jul 2015

As far as Florida goes I would just point out that under Fla.Stat. 117.05 it is unlawful for a notary public to notarize his or her own signature

Corinne

24 Aug 2015

Where does California law stand on the subject - does anybody know?

martha batista

08 Feb 2016

Can a Notary be both notary and witness in New York and also what is the rule for PA?

National Notary Association

09 Feb 2016

Hello. In order to answer your question, we'd need more information regarding the type of notarial act requested, what kind of document is involved and what the Notary is being asked to do as a witness. If you're an NNA member, you can email our Hotline team with the details at hotline@nationalnotary.org and they can assist you.

heather.cline@rhf.org

12 Sep 2016

How about Missouri can a notary also be a witness?

National Notary Association

12 Sep 2016

Hello. In order to answer your question, we'd need more information regarding the type of notarial act requested, what kind of document is involved and what the Notary is being asked to do as a witness. If you're an NNA member, you can email our Hotline team with the details at hotline@nationalnotary.org and they can assist you.

tiffany

30 Sep 2016

How about Tennessee can a notary also be a witness?

National Notary Association

05 Oct 2016

Hello. To help us answer your question, can you please give us more details about what type of witnessing you are being asked to perform? For example, what is it about the transaction you are being asked to witness then notarize?

Earnestine Wallace

29 Oct 2016

What are the rules for Missouri ?

National Notary Association

31 Oct 2016

Hello. Missouri does not specify rules for Notaries serving as a witness and also notarizing a document. A Notary individually named as a party to a transaction may not notarize for that transaction (RSMo 486.255).

gail

20 Feb 2017

In Virginia I'd like to know if it is legal for a notary to be the second witness on a Will and also notarize the document?

Sue

09 Apr 2017

In Massachusetts, can the notary also be the 2nd witness on a quit claim deed?

National Notary Association

11 Apr 2017

Hello. The state does not address whether a Notary can or cannot sign as a witness and a Notary on the same document. Since this is a Quitclaim Deed and the notarization is taking place in Massachusetts, some restrictions can apply. The Notary would need to be employed through the lender, in order to notarize those types of documents, and it would need to be done in conjunction with a real estate closing conducted by an attorney.

valori

27 Nov 2017

When finalizing a Will in the state of Montana, there need to be two witnesses to the signing of the Will, their signatures, and the testator needs his/her signature notarized as well. Can one of the signing witnesses also notarize the testator's signature? Thus, the notary notarizes the testator's signature and also is one of the witnesses signing on the Will as well? Or, do their need to be three witnesses, two signing as witnesses and a third who is a notary to the testator's signature?

National Notary Association

28 Nov 2017

Hello. The Notary may not notarize a document if their signature, as a witness, is to be notarized. A Montana Notary may not “(a) notarize the notary’s own signature; “(b) notarize a record in which the notary is individually named or from which the notary will directly benefit by a transaction involving the record” (MCA 1-5-425[1]).

Barbara Fodor

06 Jan 2018

Can a Notary also serve as a witness in Minnesota? I went to our City Hall to have my will authorized and the Notary also signed as one of the two witnesses. Please advise. Thank you.

National Notary Association

08 Jan 2018

Hello. This is a legal question that would need to be answered by an attorney familiar with your state's laws regarding wills and testaments.

Carissa

02 Feb 2018

What about for California?

National Notary Association

02 Feb 2018

Hello. In order to answer your question, we'd need more information regarding the type of notarial act requested, what kind of document is involved and what the Notary is being asked to do as a witness. If you're an NNA member, you can email our Hotline team with the details at hotline@nationalnotary.org and they can assist you.

Karla

16 May 2018

If notarizing a mortgage in California for a property located in FL, can a CA notary serve as both the notary and the witness since it is a witness state and okay for FL notaries and the document will be recorded in FL?

National Notary Association

17 May 2018

Hello Karla. Since this situation involves multiple states, we recommend you call our Hotline team at 888-876-0827 and speak to one of our counselors who can give you more in-depth assistance with this notarization,

Chris

29 Jun 2018

Can a Notary be a witness to a will in Texas?

National Notary Association

02 Jul 2018

Hello. Please see here for more information: https://www.nationalnotary.org/knowledge-center/tips-tutorials/notarize-wills

Brenda

13 Feb 2019

Can my sister,who is a notary, be my executor of my will and notarize my will? We live in Texas!

National Notary Association

15 Feb 2019

Hello. The Texas Secretary of State's website says that notarizations should not be performed by a Notary Public who is a party to the instrument or financially or beneficially interested in the transaction.

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