Why It’s Best to Say No When Asked to be a Document Witness    

You’re at the closing and it’s an ask of convenience, “Will you serve as a document witness?” 

For your best response, it’s important to know the difference between acting as a notary and acting as a document witness. According to Webster, a notary public is a public officer who attests or certifies writings (such as a deed) to make them authentic. A notary verifies the identities of those signing the documents. The purpose of acting as a rotary is to prevent fraud.  

A document witness is one who is asked to be present at a transaction to be able to testify to its having taken place. Therefore, witnessing a document signing is not considered a notarization.  

Like many aspects of the notary’s capabilities, it also depends on the state you are in if you can legally serve as the document witness. Most states’ rules indicate that one should not serve in both roles. However, a notary can serve as a witness and sign a document if they are acting privately, but not acting officially. By acting privately, you do not complete a notarial certificate as a document witness and may not charge a fee. 

By contrast, acting as a notary, you are performing an official act authorized by state law and have met the state’s specific criteria for witnessing a signature such as completing a notarial certificate, recording a journal entry, maintaining accurate records or administering oaths. As the notary providing this valuable service, you are entitled to charge a fee.  


A Better Way to Close with BNN Services 

Since 2008, BNN Services has been trusted by title agencies, mortgage lenders, servicers, and consumers to perform loan and document signings in multiple languages across the country.   

Unlike other signing services, BNN Services “touches” every file 8 to 9 times, ensuring the process moves forward free of delays. That is why we have completed over 250,000 signings in all 51 jurisdictions and maintained a closing ratio of 96 percent.  

Ready to experience the BNN Services difference? Get started today!  

Ready to experience the BNN Services difference?

Schedule a Consultation Today