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Witnesses


My father had his Power of Attorney document notarized, and I noticed that the notary acted as both the notary and witness on his power of attorney at the same time. Did the notary do something wrong?

Yes. In most states, a notary public cannot act in both capacities as a notary public and the impartial witness at the same time in the performance of a notarial act.

Can I notarize a document that requires a witness if the signer did not bring one?

No. If an instrument is prepared to include a signature line for a witness, the notary public must perform the notarization of the instrument in the presence of an impartial witness who has no legal or equitable interest in any real or personal property that is the subject of, or is affected by, the instrument being signed. The witness attests to the authenticity of the signer’s signature to the document by adding his own signature.

Can I act as a notary and witness at the same time on the same document?

No. In most states, a notary public cannot act in both capacities as a notary public and the impartial witness at the same time in the performance of a notarial act. The purpose of the impartial witness is to witness that the signer acknowledges to the notary that he or she signed the document willingly for the purposes stated therein, or that the signer swears or affirms that the statements contained therein are true under the penalties of perjury. The witness attests to the authenticity of the signer’s signature to the document by adding his own signature.