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The notary's most important responsibility is properly identifying the principals to a transaction in order to notarize their signatures on documents that will be used to close and insure a real estate transaction.

Transactions involving principals with no identification or no acceptable identification are unique and present challenges for the person acting as the notary public.

Here are some solutions. If the principal has no identification, the identity can be established under some states' notary statutes by the oaths of one or two credible witnesses. The notary public first must establish the identities of the credible witnesses by the presentation of paper identification documents.

Under oath, the credible witnesses must affirm:

  • The individual appearing before the notary public as the signer of the document is the person named in the document;
  • The credible witnesses personally know the signer;
  • The credible witnesses reasonably believe the circumstances of the signer are such that it would be very difficult or impossible for the signer to obtain acceptable identification;
  • The signer does not possess any of the identification documents authorized by law to establish the signer's identity; and
  • The credible witnesses do not have a financial interest in the transaction.



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