Does your document require witnesses and a notary?

Banks may not notarize your documents

Many businesses, including banks, are restricting the types of documents their employee notaries can notarize.  Many are only allowing them to notarize documents produced by the bank or corporation. I regularly receive calls from banks on behalf of a client they can’t help.Need a notary and witnesses or just a notary.

Wills are at the top of the list for documents the bank won’t notarize.  Wills typically require two witnesses and a notary.    The will requires the maker to sign in the presence of the witnesses and the notary. The signer, witnesses and the notary must all be together in the same room at the same time. Since the document is self-proved, the witnesses will also have to provide their home addresses for the notary record book. The notary record book is a public record.

Financial documents like a power of attorney are also near the top of the list of documents they won’t allow their staff notary to sign.

Getting witnesses from a public place?

Some people want to snag witnesses in a public place.  It probably isn’t a problem as long as each witness is okay with having their home address written in the notary record book and in most cases on the actual document.   The form of the document will depend on the attorney preparing it.  I’ve seen versions prepared under a recent statute which don’t require witness addresses but most I’m seeing continue to request the witness’ home address on the document.

If a local attorney prepares your will and other estate planning documents, most will include providing a notary and witnesses as part of the fee.

Remember, a notary cannot give legal advice, prepare documents or tell you which type of certificate your document requires.  If you know the type of certificate you need, we can attach one but cannot advise as to the legal nature of the chosen certificate.

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