Who Can Sign as a Witness on a Legal Document

To protect the vulnerable party making a will, the laws of many jurisdictions require that the will be attested. It is preferable that your witness is not involved in the contract you are signing and that he or she does not receive any benefit from the agreement listed in the contract. For example, a witness in your will should not be a beneficiary of your estate. Sienna Condy began writing professionally in 2001 while attending the University of Cincinnati, and has been involved ever since. Since graduating, she has written everything from marketing materials to articles about stain removal. Today, she enjoys writing about marriages, legal issues, science, health, and parenting. Usually, and in most jurisdictions, the law requires the witness to be physically present when watching the signatory party execute the document. In this scenario, the witness already knows that you have been able to positively identify your identity as an undersigned party. In some cases, the law requires that certain documents, such as affidavits or affidavits in court proceedings, be attested by a person with certain qualifications (an authorized witness).

There are also specific requirements for attesting signatures on testamentary documents such as standard wills or powers of attorney. At the time of writing, we noted that the trend remains that witnesses must sign in the physical presence of the signatory party. Although we often use acts in practice, there are relatively few documents that need to be performed as an act and therefore require a witness. If the document does not need to be a document and there is a consideration, you should rephrase it as a simple contract so that no witnesses are needed anymore. The reason for this is that the family member may not be a « neutral » third party and may have a direct or indirect interest in the legal document to be signed. For example, if you are dealing with signing a will and a will, you may have many signing parties who are older and prone to fraud, manipulation, and deception. A witness will help strengthen the validity and authenticity of your document by adding another layer of security in case your contract is challenged in court. We generally do not use family members as they are more likely to have a direct or indirect interest in the effects of the act and are therefore less likely to be a reliable witness if the signatory has reason to deny that they signed the deed. This, of course, may depend on the status of the signatory`s marriage! If you need to sign a document that requires a witness, talk to the experts listed below and find the best solution for your situation. « . Current law requires that a document be signed « in the presence of a witness » requires the physical presence of that witness.

This is also the case if the person performing the act and the witness perform/testify to the document with an electronic signature. A witness is often of little value because he often does not sign or cannot be found. A better way to verify and prove that the party has signed an agreement is to use: These are not clear requirements for witnesses to sign a document. Legal documents don`t automatically become usable once you print or download them – they always need to be executed correctly. You probably already know that legal documents must be signed, but another common requirement is that your signature be attested by a third party. In addition to the witness who makes a positive identification of the undersigned person, the witness may also be the person who must be called in the event of a dispute over the signed document, in case someone else creates a second version of the contract. More than 150 years ago, case law stipulated that a party to a document could not testify to the execution of such a document either. [4] While there is no legal obligation for a witness to be « independent » (i.e., unrelated to the parties or purpose of the document), given that a witness may be required to make impartial statements about the signature, it is considered a best practice for a witness to be independent and, ideally, not a spouse, Partner or close family member of the person signing the certificate. There is no specific prohibition that prevents minors (under the age of 18) from serving as witnesses, although it is safer to use an adult witness to avoid a subsequent challenge to the reliability or mental performance of the witness due to his or her age.