PA Notaries- Credible Witness for ID

PA

In PA a credible witness is allowed for identification purposes when a signer does not have acceptable ID -IF- that witness is personally known to the notary as well as the signer.

I’ve looked up on several resources that state in PA the credible witness has to fill out an oath/affirmation that gets notarized

" If a credible witness is being used for the proper identification of a customer, the credible witness must complete a verification on oath or affirmation that each of the following is true:

The individual appearing before you as the signer of the document is the person named in the document.

The credible witness personally knows the signer.

The signer does not possess any identification documents authorized by law to establish his or her identity.

The credible witness does not have a direct or pecuniary interest in the record being notarized.

Use of a credible witness requires a separate notarization entry in your journal."

However, I can’t find a form that includes all this anywhere, including the PA Dept of State website.

Am I allowed to create one using an oath/affirmation form?

Who has done this before? What have you done for documentation?

I’ve been running into situations a lot over the past year where an elderly person in a facility needs to get a POA done and has let their license lapse. They have no current form of acceptable ID. They are unable to go to PENNDOT to get a picture ID and are now stuck.

I’m thinking that if I establish relationships with the social service staff where I could say ‘I know them’ - they could be a credible witness for their client in the facility and this could get done for those poor folks stuck in this situation.

Maybe this will help?

http://www.asnnotary.org/?form=CredibleWitnessorWitnesses

“Am I allowed to create one using an oath/affirmation form?”

I’m guessing yes. You’d have to. Also, be careful of this - “I’m thinking that if I establish relationships with the social service staff where I could say ‘I know them’ - they could be a credible witness for their client in the facility and this could get done for those poor folks stuck in this situation.”

Here in Florida, our laws are specific on “personal knowledge” - it states “For purposes of this subsection, the term “personally knows” means having an acquaintance, derived from association with the individual, which establishes the individual’s identity with at least a reasonable certainty.”

Also, here in Florida, staff of hospitals and nursing homes cannot, by law, be witnesses

LindaH- thanks for this reply. I was able to look at what you sent and search for a Credible Witness Affidavit. I now have an acceptable affidavit. In regard to your comment about ‘personal knowledge’- I am acquainted with the Social Service staff of this one facility that consistently refers their patient’s families to me- although it’s on a professional level, not personal. Also your point is well taken as to whether they could be a ‘credible witness’ as they are not allowed to be a witness otherwise.
It’s just a sad situation that folks let their ID’s lapse and get into these situations and nothing can be done for them without the ID.

Yes, it is sad - I run into it here a lot.

I found these proposed rules:

http://www.pacodeandbulletin.gov/Display/pabull?file=/secure/pabulletin/data/vol48/48-35/1351.html

Maybe you know where to look to find out if the proposed rules were actually adopted, but I expect they were.

Included in the rules is:

(b) Credible witness.

(1) The identity of the individual appearing before the notary public may be established by the affidavit of a single credible witness personally known to the notary public and who personally knows the document signer.

(2) A credible witness may not have a direct or pecuniary interest with respect to the record being notarized.

(3) The credible witness shall make a verification on oath or affirmation that the following is true:

(i) The individual appearing before the notary public is the person named in the document.

(ii) The credible witness personally knows the individual appearing before the notary public through dealings sufficient to provide the credible witness with reasonable certainty that the individual has the identity claimed.

Two influential states, California and Florida, require the credible witness(s) to state that the person being identified does not have any of the identification documents recognized in the notary law, and it would be difficult to obtain them. This twist is unique to California and Florida. The other states laws or rules don’t have this requirement. There might be some unofficial advice to prefer identification documents over credible witnesses, but officially, outside CA and FL, it’s just fine to use a credible witness because it would take the signer 15 minutes to fetch his driver license from the parking lot.

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