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Credible Witness


Is a notary public allowed to use a credible witness to verify the identity of a signer in all states?

No. The notary statutes in some states do not specifically authorize their notaries public to verify the identity of a signer through the oath of a credible witness. To determine the method forms of identification a notary public may use in your state to perform a notarial act, review your state notary statute.

When using a credible witness to confirm the identity of a signer, does the credible witness have to be personally known to me?

Yes. If a notary public uses the oath of a credible witness to verify the identity of a signer to perform a notarial act, the credible witness must be personally known to both the signer and the notary as stated in many states’ notary statutes. The signer only needs to prove his or her identity by one of the acceptable forms of identification to obtain notary services.

I identified a signer through a credible witness whom I personally knew, but later, I realized that I failed to give the credible witness an oath. Can the document be invalid because of this mistake?

That is a question that can only be decided in a court of law. However, when using a credible witness to verify the identity of a signer, a notary public must first administer an oath or affirmation to the credible witness (who will attest that the signer has the identity claimed) to compel truthfulness under the penalty of perjury.

Can the husband act as the credible witness to identify the wife who does not have proper identification?

No. A credible witness is impartial and unaffected by the transaction that is the subject of the notarial act. The credible witness, like the notary public, must be a totally disinterested third party.

Can a notary use a parent as the credible witness to verify the identity of a minor who does not have a driver’s license?

No. A credible witness is impartial and unaffected by the transaction that is the subject of the notarial act. The credible witness, like the notary public, must be a totally disinterested third party.