What is a Subscribing Witness?

What is a Subscribing WitnessAlthough a rare event in the day-to-day life of a mobile notary, there are times when you will encounter the following scenario:

You may wonder, how then can this document be properly notarized?

Believe it or not, this document can be properly notarized using a Subscribing Witness (California Civil Code section 1196).

A Subscribing Witness is an individual who meets all the following requirements:

  1. The subscribing witness must personally know the person who signed the document; and
  2. Under oath, the subscribing witness must prove that the person who signed the document is the person described in the document; and
  3. Under oath, the subscribing witness must say that they either personally witnessed the signer sign the document or must have personally heard the signer acknowledge that they did in fact sign the document in question; and
  4. Under oath, the subscribing witness must confirm they were asked by the signer of the document to act as a witness and that he/she did so; and
  5. Under oath, the mobile notary must verify the identity of the subscribing witness by credible witness whom not only MUST personally know the subscribing witness but ALSO personally know the notary public; and
  6. The credible witness must be able to prove their identity using a California legally accepted identification document; and
  7. The subscribing witness must sign the mobile notary's legal journal; and
  8. The credible witness must either sign the mobile notary's legal journal or the notary must record the credible witness's the type of identification that was used to verify the identity of the credible witness.

Simple, right? Perhaps an example will help this explain this:

Let's say that a CEO was leaving on a vacation but needed to sign a document that needed to be notarized. She signs it and leaves it for her assistant to notarize and send to the appropriate party.

Now, the assistant is the subscribing witness in this case. In order for this document to be legally notarized, she will need to find someone she personally knows AND who personally knows a notary public. If she does not know someone who personally knows a notary public then this document cannot be properly notarized. If she personally knows a notary public that does not help either, unless they both have a mutual friend in common!

A couple of notes:

If you would like to schedule a mobile notary or loan signing service in Orange County, please call us at (888) 399-9936. We have agents available 24x7.