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Notary Bulletin

Can My Spouse Witness A Document I Am Notarizing?

Can my husband be a witness to something I am notarizing?F.A., Florida

Your husband may sign as a witness on a document that you are notarizing, provided the document does not require the witness’s signature to be notarized as well.  Florida Notaries are prohibited from notarizing for their spouse, mother, father, son or daughter. (FS 117.107 [11])

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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4 Comments

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Rebecca L Pyke

09 Jun 2020

Hello. Can I notarize my birth son's Power of Attorney if he makes myself and my brother (both) Agents to act on his behalf? Thank you so Much.

National Notary Association

10 Jun 2020

Hello. To help us answer your question, can you please tell us what state you are commissioned in?

Alisha

01 Sep 2021

What about for NY?

National Notary Association

10 Sep 2021

Hello. New York does not have a specific prohibition against notarizing for relatives. However, the state does have the following prohibitions: “[I]f the notary is a party to or directly and pecuniarily interested in the transaction, the person is not capable of acting in that case. For example, a notary who is a grantee or mortgagee in a conveyance or mortgage is disqualified to take the acknowledgment of the grantor or mortgagor; likewise a notary who is a trustee in a deed of trust; and, of course, a notary who is the grantor could not take his own acknowledgment. A notary beneficially interested in the conveyance by way of being secured thereby is not competent to take the acknowledgment of the instrument. In New York the courts have held an acknowledgment taken by a person financially or beneficially interested in and a party to a conveyance or instrument of which it is a part to be a nullity; and that the acknowledgment of an assignment of a mortgage before one of the assignees is a nullity; and that an acknowledgment by one of the incorporators of the other incorporators who signed a certificate was of no legal effect” (NPLL). Armstrong v. Combs, 15 App. Div. 246, held that the Notary shouldn’t take an acknowledgment of a document to which the Notary is a party in interest. Thus, grantors and grantees cannot notarize their own conveyances; mortgagees and assignees cannot notarize their own mortgages; trustees cannot notarize their own deeds of trust; incorporators cannot notarize in their own corporation for other incorporators; and so on (NPLL). Attorneys admitted to practice in New York State may, at their discretion, notarize for clients (EL 135); Corporate stockholders, directors, officers and employees may notarize for other stockholders, directors, officers or employees if the notarizing officer is not a party to the transaction, either individually or as a representative of the corporation (EL 138).

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