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Can A Person Named In A Document Serve As A Credible Witness?

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I am notarizing a signature on a power of attorney. The signer’s driver’s license has expired and was not issued within the last five years. The document calls for signature witnesses, and I am supposed to notarize the signatures of those witnesses as well. Can these signature witnesses also serve as credible witnesses to identify the elderly signer?M.G., California

No. Because the witnesses’ names appear on the same document, they cannot truthfully swear or affirm that they are not named in the document (see Civil Code Section 1185[b][1][A][v]).

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

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6 Comments

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Melanie Njoroge

19 Apr 2016

The second part of the answer to this question does not make sense. What does the witnesses being able to say if they are in the document have to do with being able to identify the main person that is supposed to sign the document since their driver license expired? This made me very confused.

National Notary Association

19 Apr 2016

Hello Melanie. CA state law requires that a credible identifying witness used to identify a signer during a notarization must not be named in the document being notarized. The reason for this is that a witness named in the document will have an interest in the transaction involved, and therefore might have reason to misidentify a signer to make sure the document is completed and notarized.

Leza Turner

19 Apr 2016

I really appreciate this information, is a good reference for me, if this question ever comes up. Thank you for this clarification on this matter.

Leza Turner

19 Apr 2016

I really appreciated how you so clearly explained this information. Thank you..

Edna C Craddock

14 Aug 2018

I don't understand if the answer to "Can A Person Named In A Document Serve As A Credible Witness?" for notarization - applies to New York State. Does it?

National Notary Association

15 Aug 2018

Hello. The answer applies to California because the question was asked by a California Notary. New York Notary law does not provide guidelines for the use of credible identifying witnesses.

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