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Resources > Glossary > Credible Witness

Glossary of Notary Public, Mortgage, Signing Agent, and Loan Signing Terms.

Credible Witness
A believable witness worthy of confidence who can identify a signer who's signature is being notarized. Some states require one credible witness while others require two if the signer does not have proper identification documentation. Although laws vary from state to state, A California notary public should ideally record the name, signature, and address of the credible witness in the notes section of the notary journal. A credible witness must swear under oath to the identity of the signers and should know the signer well. Credible witnesses are used when a signer does not have current identification, or when the signer uses a name variation that is not represented in the signer's identification. Credible witnesses are common at jail notarizations because the inmate can not always produce identification. In such a case, relatives, friends, or the attorney of the inmate typically accompany the notary to the jail to serve as credible witnesses and also to pay the notary for their travel fee and notary fees. A credible witness should not have a beneficiary interest in the document as this could constitute a conflict of interest.