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How to Select an Appropriate Witness for a Legal Document Signing

A proper witness is essential for the legitimacy and authenticity of a signed legal document. A witness is a person present at the signing of a legal document who can attest to the signers’ identity. A witness’s job is to describe what happened during the signing objectively and confirm that all signers did so voluntarily and were not coerced. This article advises finding a credible witness to sign a legal document on your behalf.

Learn How to Testify Like a Pro

Before addressing how to pick a witness for a legal document, one must understand the significance of a witness. Witnesses verify legal document signatures, and the signing witness verifies that the person signing the paper did so willingly and without coercion. An impartial witness helps notarize documents, wills, and powers of attorney.

Types of Documents that Need a Witness

A witness is not always necessary for legal papers; however, some papers must have a witness to be legally binding. Wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and deeds are all examples of papers that normally need witnesses. Make sure you have the required witnesses for your document by checking its unique criteria.

Competencies Required of a Witness

If you need a witness to sign a legal document, be sure to choose someone who qualifies as one. A witness must be above 18 and can’t be a signer on the paper. Also, a witness must be sober and able to testify in court with a clear head.

Picking a Good Middleman

You should find someone who has no interest in or connection to the paper being signed to serve as a witness. Because of the potential for bias, it is not advisable to employ intimate personal relationships between the signer and the witness. Choose someone who can act independently, with no vested interest in the outcome of the document’s signing.

When Choosing a Witness

Now that you know what a witness is and what they’re expected to accomplish, you can talk about how to find someone who’s a good fit to witness you signing important legal documents.

To Certify as a Public Notary

A notary public is a state-authorized third party who attests to essential documents. Notaries can accurately authenticate the identities of document signers due to their neutrality and expertise. Notaries may also administer oaths and affirmations. Notaries must be authorized to notarize your document. Web searches for “Notary public near me” and state secretary of state websites may help you discover a certified notary to assist you.


A lawyer may also be a credible witness in court. To guarantee that a document is genuine and enforceable, it is best to have it drawn up by an attorney educated in the legal requirements for signing papers. If you need an attorney’s testimony for your document, choose one focusing on the relevant law field.

Expert Testimony

If you need an impartial third party to witness your signature on an important legal document, you may get one via aprofessional witness service. These experts have been educated on the legal ramifications of document signing and can report on the event without prejudice. You should choose a professional witness familiar with the kind of contract you are signing with the appropriate credentials to attest to its validity.

Maintaining Credible Testimony

To make sure the witness’s signature is legally binding once you’ve chosen them, check out these tips.

Putting Your Name and Date on It

When the signer(s) have signed the document, a witness should sign and date it. The witness’ signature should be obtained on the same day as the document’s execution in the presence of the principal signatories.

Such As a Means of Contact

Add the witness’s name, address, and phone number to the document for easy access in case of any questions. This may be useful if the document’s legality is ever challenged.

Maintaining Appropriate Document Storage

Keeping the signed and witnessed paperwork safe is important, and a safe or a bank’s safety deposit box both qualify. You should safely store the original and any duplicates, so nothing happens to them.


The legality and authenticity of a legally binding document rely on the credibility of the witnesses who saw it signed. Choose someone who can legally act as a witness, is not a party to the signing, and has no vested interest in the document. Signing legal documents requires an impartial third party, such as a notary public, attorney, or professional witness. A witness’s signature is only legally binding if they sign, date, and provide their contact information on the document.

Author information: Samantha Higgins is a professional writer with a passion for research, observation, and innovation. She is nurturing a growing family of twin boys in Portland, Oregon with her husband. She loves kayaking and reading creative non-fiction. 

Bob Kraft

I am a Dallas, Texas lawyer who has had the privilege of helping thousands of clients since 1971 in the areas of Personal Injury law and Social Security Disability.

About This Blog

The title of this blog reflects my attitude toward those government agencies and insurance companies that routinely mistreat injured or disabled people. As a Dallas, Texas lawyer, I've spent more than 45 years trying to help those poor folk, and I have been frustrated daily by the actions of the people on the other side of their claims. (Sorry if I offended you...)

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