Glossary: Witnessed

In legal terms, witnessed means a person must see or “witness” the person sign a legal document. Most legal forms require at least two witnesses to sign the document. Many documents must also be notarized.

For some legal forms such as wills, the person acting as the witness cannot be related to you or named in the document itself. It would be unethical for a person named as a beneficiary in a will to also witness your signature.

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Requirements vary from state to state but as a general rule, witnesses must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be of legal age
  • Must confirm the identity of the person signing the document
  • Must be of sound mind ie mentally competent
  • Must be a neutral third-party
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