What Makes a Witness Credible in New York?

What Is A Credible Identifying Witness?

A credible identifying witness is an individual who knows and can verify the identity of a signer.

The witness appears at the time of the notarization and takes an oath or affirmation before the Notary that the signer is who they claim to be but lacks other forms of ID. Essentially, a credible identifying witness serves as a human ID card for the signer.

Typically, an identifying witness must personally know the signer and the Notary. Texas, for example, permits the use of a single credible witness who is personally known to the Notary. However, some states, such as California and Florida, permit the use of two credible identifying witnesses who aren’t known by the Notary personally but do know the signer and present proof of their own ID (such as a driver’s license).

What If The Witness Is A Family Member?

Being related to the signer doesn’t automatically disqualify a witness, but several states have laws stating that an identifying witness must be “impartial” (Mississippi and New Mexico) or be unaffected by the transaction (HawaiiMassachusetts, Nebraska and North Carolina). Witnesses in California and Florida must swear as part of their oath that they do not have a financial interest in, nor are parties to, the underlying transaction. Depending upon the nature of the transaction, a close family member may not qualify to be a credible identifying witness.

For example, if a person asks you to notarize a document transferring ownership of a vehicle from the signer to his father, the father would not be “credible” as a witness because he stands to benefit from the transaction. However, if the father isn’t named in the title transferring the vehicle, he could serve as a witness.

How Well Should The Witness Know The Signer?

Technically, this isn’t the Notary’s call. If you personally know a credible identifying witness you may also know that the witness also knows the signer. However, you do not have a duty to investigate the relationship between a signer and witness. Your only duty is to properly administer the oath or affirmation compelling the witness to swear or affirm that he or she knows the signer. (Of course, if the witness lies in swearing to know the signer, the witness will be subject to the penalty of perjury.) 

What Kind Of ID Can I Accept From A Witness? 

Many states that allow only one credible identifying witness require the witness to be personally known by the Notary. In these states, witnesses are not required to present ID. However, in some states — such as ArizonaIowaNorth DakotaOregon and West Virginia — one witness may present an identity document.

In these states as well as the states that allow for two identifying witnesses, a witness’s ID must come from the same statutory list of acceptable IDs that applies to the signer.

In states that don’t specify a particular form of ID, you may accept the same type of ID that you would ask of any signer. 

Retirement & Nursing Homes

The following Retirement & Nursing Homes qualify for 7 day per week $49/$2stamp “Travel Fee Service” with no parking fees and no emergency service surcharges (to schedule please click here):

The Kensington White Plains
100 Maple Avenue

Martine Center for Rehabilitation
12 Tibbits Avenue

The Bristal Assisted Living
305 North Street

The Ambassador Scarsdale
9 Saxon Wood Road

White Plains Center for Nursing Care
220 West Post Road

Schedule an Appointment

The following “out of area” Retirement & Nursing Homes qualify for 7 day per week $69/$2stamp “Travel Fee Service” with no parking fees and no emergency service surcharges (to schedule please click here):

The Knolls, A Bethel Community
55 Grasslands Road in Valhala

Westchester Meadows
55 Grasslands Road in Valhala

The Fountains at Rivervue
One Rivervue Place in Tuckahoe

Want To Become A NYS Notary? Review This Practice Exam To See If You’re Ready.

1)  If a Notary refuses to notarize an affidavit presented for NY notary Mobile services.  What is the potential maximum jail sentence?

     A. One month.

     B. Three months
     C. Six months.

     D. One Year

2)  The notary certificate of a witness to the execution of a real estate conveyance is called 

      A.  Qualified resident.

      B.  Official Character

      C.  Proof certificate

      D.  None of the above

 3)  Which of the following is in the requirements to become a Notary Public in New York?

      A)  Be at least 18 years old.

      B)  No special education or common school level

      C)  Be a resident and or a qualified non-resident resident

      D)  All the above.

4)  If a Notary moves to another state but still works in NYS he/she:

     A)  Will pay an additional $15 out of state fee

     B)  No longer is qualified

     C)  Must get NY driver’s license

     D)  Still is a qualified non-resident-resident”.

5)  Which of the following are errors a notary can make that will not make the foregoing instrument get unrecorded?

    A)  If the Notary Public was purporting to be a notary but was not licensed.

    B)  If the Notary Public commission was expired.

    C)  If a New York Notary notarizes in another state.

    D)  All the above.

6)  If your neighbor you know asks you to notarize an affidavit you must?

    A)  Administer an Oath of office.

    B)  Administer an Oath & fill out the Jurat.

    C)  Require a government issued, photo identification.

    D)  Do a Protest for Non Payment certificate.

7)  What is the name of the location where the Notary notarizes something?

    A)  Protest for non-payment

    B)  Venue.

    C)  Affidavit

    D)  Mobile Notary

8)  Which of the following activities may a non-attorney Notary perform?

    A)  Explain to people what they are signing.

    B)  Make a certified original certificate on a government document photocopy.

    C)  Contracts of marriage within NY State borders.

    D)  Administer an oath of office for a military officer.

9)  What is the County Clerk fee for a certificate of Official Character?

    A)  $200

    B)  $5.00

    C)  $11.00

    D)  No charge because it’s a free service to the general public.

10)  Which of the following acts can be performed by a Notary Public on Sunday?

    A)  Certified original certificate of government doc photocopy.

    B)  Affidavit

    C)  Someone’s signature to their own will by non-attorney notary.

    D)  A contract of marriage

11)  What is every instrument in writing, except a will that transfers real estate interests?

    A)  Conveyance

    B)  Escrow

    C)  Vendor receipt

    D)  Duress

12)  Latin name for the words, “Sworn to before me this _______ day of ______”.

    A)  Pro Se

    B)  The Oath.

    C)  The Affirmation.

    D)  Jurat

13)  What is a New York State Notary Public conflict of interest?

    A)  Knowing the affiant personally.

    B)  When you like somebody.

    C)  When the document is from your company.

    D) Legal Consideration

14)  A deponent is?

    A)  One named in a will to carry out the provisions.

    B)  The testimony of a witness taken out of court under oath/affirmation.

    C)  An agreement.

    D)  Someone ordered to a hearing out of court called a deposition.

15)  What is the notary fee for a protest of non-payment?

    A)  .75 cents for the first one and .10 cents thereafter limit of 5

    B)  $25 for unlimited within 24 hrs.

    C)  $5 for the original and .50 cents per copy.

    D)  $10 with a limit of 7.

16)  What is the name of what a Notary places below the Notary signature?

    A)  Seal

    B)  Stamp

    C)  Statement of Authority

    D)  Certification 

17)  Who approves the appointment of a Notary Public?

    A)  The name appointed under and no other.

    B)   County Clerk

    C)  Secretary of State

    D)  Town judge where the Notary resides

18)  What is the fee for changing name for marriage purposes and updating the State?

   A)  The maiden name change fee $10

   B)  Free for anyone changing names for marriage purposes.

   C)  $5 to update the database.

   D)  $12 one-time fee

19)  Who must be with a bank employee to witness the terminated lease opening of a an abandoned safety deposit box?

   A)  A police officer or Sheriff.

   B)  A bank officer or employee of the lessor.

   C)  The lessee.

   D)  A Notary Public

20)  Who can translate a deed into another language to be filed in a NY County Clerk?

   A)  Translator with certificate of designation by the county judge.

   B)  Translation certified expert by Translators Society of USA.

   C)  Affidavit service magistrate.

   D)  All the above.

21)  What can happen to a notary for doing something illegal or with malfeasance?

   A)  Can be summoned to a N.Y.S. tribunal hearing for license revocation.

   B)  Can go to criminal court as a defendant.

   C)  Can be sued for $ damages in Civil court.

   D)  All the above.

22)   What do the two witnesses to a will sign?

   A)  The witness approval proof certificate.

   B)  Attestation clauses

   C)  Identity verification form

   D)  The affidavit

23)  What is Chattel?

   A) Beef stock certificates.

   B)  Personal property such as household goods or fixtures.

   C)  The Latin word for Jurat

   D)  The damages paid for wrongful Notary Public Fees charged by a Notary Public NY

24)  Who issues certificates involved in various Notary Public procedures?

   A)  The county clerks offices.

   B)  The Secretary of State’s offices.

   C)  The Notary Public.

   D)  All the above.

25)  What is an Executor

   A)  A document that verifies a Notary’s authority.

   B)  The placing of an instrument in the hands of a person as a depository.

   C)  The one named in the will to carry out the provisions of a will.

   D)  An instrument that modifies an already existing will.

26)  What is the fee charged to a person for an affidavit at the County Clerks Office?

   A)  $2.00

   B)  $2.00 for each original signature witnessed.

   C)  .75 (cents) for the first one and .10 (cents) for the second one.

   D)  Notary services are free during normal business hours.

27)  What is the maximum jail sentence for a class D Felony?

   A)  seven years

   B)  1 year.

   C)  Three years.

   D)  There is no maximum sentence.

28)  What is the maximum sentence for class A misdemeanors?

   A)  1 year.

   B)  5 years.

   C)  Probation for 3 years.

   D)  6 months in jail.

29)  What is the maximum sentence for a Class E felony?

   A)  Four years.

   B)  7 years.

   C)  3 years.

   D)  There is no limit…the judge can do what he/she decides is fair.

30)  What is the mandatory sentence for a class D felony convictions?

   A)  4 years.

   B)  seven years.

   C)  3 years.

   D)  There is no minimal sentence because the judge decides.

31)  What is the sentence for Class 2X felonies?

   A)  There is no 2X felony. 

   B)  Class D felony 2nd offense 3 to 7 years.

   C)  Class E felony ist offense 3 to 4 years.

   D)  The District attorney will decide with the judge in private.

32)  What is an Apostle?

   A)  Something certified for international use.

   B)  A Notary application.

   C)  Class D felony.

   D)  The administrator of a will appointed by the court.

33)  Where is the Notary Public Law located?

   A)  The Public Officer’s Law aka Notary Public License law

   B)  At the local library

   C)  The County Clerk’s Hearing offices

   D)  The County Clerk’s authentication office.

34)  What was completed by a County Clerk when issuing an, “Authentication Certificate” and charging a $3 fee?

   A)  Verified the voter registration.

   B)  Verified the Notary Public signature is authentic.

   C)  Certification of the Notary Court involvement.

   D)  All the above.

35)  Which of the following is, “Professional Misconduct”?

   A)  When a Notary does something while aware it is not procedurally correct.

   B)  Notarizing knowing there is a fake ID involved.

   C)  When the Notary makes a mistake and does the wrong thing.

   D)  A & B

36)  Which of the following people can hold the office of Notary Public?

   A)  A County Sheriff.

   B)  A former Commissioner of Deeds for NYC who was removed from office.

   C)  A & B above.

   D)  A convicted felon.

37)  Can a Notary who is also an officer of a corporation notarize for her own corp.?

   A)  No

   B)  Yes for employees and even fellow corporate officers.

   C)  Yes but only if she is not a party to the instrument individually or as a Co. Rep.

   D)  B & C above are both correct.

38)   Who has some limited rights to practice law as a non-attorney?

   A)  Law students after 2 semesters and have not failed bar exam 2 times.

   B)  Prevention of cruelty officers.

   C)  You practicing law for yourself only.

   D)  All the above.

39)  What is required for an indictment for perjury on an affidavit?

   A)  Affiant saying “I do” or words of like meaning after the oath is read.

   B)  Affiant nodding head yes.

   C)  Affiant putting thumb print in designated box on form.

   D)  All the above.

40)  What is “Laches”?

   A)  A device to lock a Notary logbook safely away from the public.

   B)  getting too many parking tickets.

   C)  The delay or negligence in asserting one’s rights in court.

   D)  None of the above.