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Can A Notary Witness And Notarize, Too?

New Hotline Resized 3When a document requires two witnesses and notarization, can the Notary act as one of the witnesses as well as notarize? — D.M., Pennsylvania

It is not recommended and may even be improper. For example, if a Notary witnessed the signing of a last will and was asked to sign an affidavit to make the will “self-proving,” it would be highly improper for the Notary to notarize his or her signature as a witness on the self-proving affidavit. The NNA always recommends that in cases in which a document must be witnessed and notarized, the Notary serve as either a witness or Notary, but not both.

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 1-888-876-0827, Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. PST; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST.

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24 Comments

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chitravrajan2017@gmail.com

13 May 2019

Part of the learning

C Ortiz

13 May 2019

Can a notary prepare a will and notarize it as well but not serve as a witness?

National Notary Association

13 May 2019

Hello. Notaries are not authorized to prepare legal documents such as wills for customers. For more information, please see here: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2015/07/notary-basics-avoiding-unauthorized-practice-of-law

CARMEN BIANO

14 May 2019

In California, I understood that a Notary can be a witness and perform the notary provided the signature of the witness is not required to be notarized.

LDavis

15 May 2019

Your answer to C Ortiz. I have a friend that asked me to assist in preparing his last will. I told my friend, I can help him prepare it, but he would have to find another notary to notarize his will. I live in Nevada. Is this illegal to do? I haven't done it yet, but if it's illegal as a notary, I will decline to assist.

National Notary Association

15 May 2019

Hello. Nonattorney Notaries may not prepare a legal document or give advice on how to fill out, draft or complete a legal document. Please see here for more information: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2015/07/notary-basics-avoiding-unauthorized-practice-of-law

MisterJ

04 Jun 2019

NNA, you keep saying that non-attorney notaries absolutely cannot prepare wills. But what about all those paralegal offices that do "document preparation" including simple wills for clients, with no attorney involved in the process at all?

National Notary Association

04 Jun 2019

Hello. We can't speak for paralegals or other legal professionals. But that does not change the fact that nonattorney Notaries who provide unauthorized legal services--including preparing legal documents such as wills--can face severe civil and criminal penalties and potential liability for doing so. Many states require Notaries to post a written notice explaining they are not attorneys licensed to practice law, cannot offer legal advice or accept fees for legal services.

Ellen Welsh

08 Oct 2019

The deed for selling real property in Florida needs two witnesses and I have been instructed on numerous cases that I can act as one of the witnesses.

Vickie Corwin

17 Sep 2021

In the State of Florida if I have a two page quick claim deed on an Amendment to a family Trust with the 2nd page has a stand alone notary seal and verifies signature with DL license. Page 1 has stand alone signature with no notary seal. Can the notary be a witness to the signature on the first page?

National Notary Association

17 Sep 2021

Based on what you’ve described, we think it would be best if you contacted our Hotline team by phone and provided them with a more detailed description of the situation. The NNA Hotline: 1-888-876-0827 Mon – Fri: 5:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (PT) Saturday: 5:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (PT) If you’re not an NNA Member or Hotline Subscriber, they will provide you with a one-time courtesy call.

Florence Himmel

26 Oct 2021

Can a notary in PA be a witness to a party's signature on a Pre Nuptial Agreement and also notarize the signatures of both parties to the Agreement?

National Notary Association

29 Oct 2021

Hello. Please see this article for more information on witness requests: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2018/05/notary-tip-requests-to-serve-as-a-document-witness

Nataliya

16 Jan 2022

Thank you

Matthew Joseph Bakes

15 Mar 2022

A notary acted as a witness and the document looks fraudulent, its a revocation of a trust but my Dad was confused and disoriented due to dementia and died 4 days later. Medical records show these allegations. The notary made my Dad make an "X". Is this legal? I was not there and my Dad made me the Trustee to the trust. The whole event was underhanded to say the least.

National Notary Association

17 Mar 2022

Hello. We're sorry, but any legal questions you have about the validity of a document would need to be answered by a qualified attorney.

Mary

28 Apr 2022

In the state of Virginia, can a notary be a witness as well as a notary?

National Notary Association

18 May 2022

Hello. Virginia does not provide specific guidance for Notaries on this issue. The NNA recommends in states that do not provide specific guidance that you turn down requests to serve as both a document witness and Notary. Please see this article for more information: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2018/05/notary-tip-requests-to-serve-as-a-document-witness

Beverly Adamberry

02 May 2022

My brother had his attorney who is also a notary had my Mother who was alone at home and is 88 sign POA paperwork and there was no witness. When I called the attorney he stated that he can be his own witness. I believe that is not true. Here in Austin Texas

National Notary Association

26 May 2022

Hello. According to the Texas Secretary of State's website: “Notarizations should not be performed by a notary public who is a party to the instrument or financially or beneficially interested in the transaction. The facts in each situation will determine whether the notary’s action was proper” (website, “Frequently Asked Questions for Notaries Public”). If you have concerns about the attorney's conduct you also may wish to contact the Texas State Bar to report the situation and ask what options are available to you.

Jay Watts

17 Jun 2022

I am an attorney and also a notary in IL. Can I notarize the signatures of the two witnesses of my own Last Will and Testament?

National Notary Association

22 Jun 2022

Hello. No, you may not notarize in this situation. In Illinois, “A notary public shall not acknowledge [sic] any instrument in which the notary’s name appears as a party to the transaction” (5 ILCS 312/6-104[b]).

Riley Flanagan

29 Jun 2022

I did a signing yesterday in CA for a property sale in Florida… I notarized it and then was sent an email saying I did not sign the witness statement for the affidavit and warranty deed. Typically, I never need a witness in CA, no other witness was present for signing (so I left blank) and I was told I was suppose to notarize and be the witness after the fact. Is this true/legal?

National Notary Association

30 Jun 2022

Hello. Based on what you’ve described, we think it would be best if you contacted our Hotline team by phone and spoke to them directly about the situation. The NNA Hotline: 1-888-876-0827 Mon – Fri: 5:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (PT) Saturday: 5:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (PT) If you’re not an NNA Member or Hotline Subscriber, they will provide you with a one-time courtesy call.

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