While not all legal documents require the signature of a witness or notary, having one adds credibility to the document should it ever be challenged. Moreover, some documents such as wills specifically require such signatures to be upheld in court. States vary in requirements for the use of, and language surrounding, witness signatures. States will typically legislate the language of a standard notary clause in its civil codes, while allowing witness statements to be more flexibly written.
Things You'll Need
- Word processor or legal document software
- Qualified attorney or notary public
Preparing a Document for Witnessing
Create the legal document on a word processor or legal document software. Leave blanks for the party's signatures and initials where necessary.
Contact a local attorney or notary public and ascertain any state mandated language for witness statements. Determine the number of witnesses or type of notarization that your legal document requires.
Append the notary or witness statement to the end of the document and leave additional room for a signature and stamp, where applicable.
If no specific language is necessary, use a templated witness statement, indicating that the witness swears to have been present at the document's signing. Be sure to create space for the witness's name, signature, date of signature and address or contact information.
Tips & Warnings
- Notary fees can be costly. Using credible witnesses on a legal document is more cost effective, unless your state laws specifically require notarization.
- States provide different notary clauses for different types of documents. For example, the clause for an oath or affirmation will contain different language than a clause for witnessing the signing of a contract. Be sure that you select the appropriate clause for your purposes.
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