As a mobile notary public, I have encountered this dilemma. The signer is elderly and no longer drives, so his/her driver’s license is expired. His/her wallet was lost or stolen with their identification.
What is done if a signer for a document requiring notarization does not have proper government issued identification? Two credible witnesses can be used to identify the signer. The credible witnesses should not be named in the document, nor have a financial interest in it, nor be a spouse or immediate family member and should have personally known the signer for at least a year. They will present their current driver’s license, state identification or passport to the notary public. Their identification information is entered in the notary public’s journal.
They swear or affirm the following oath to identify the signer (Civil Code section 1185(b)(1)(A)(i)-(v)):
1. The individual appearing before the notary public as the signer of the document is the person named in the document;
2. The credible witness personally knows the signer;
3. The credible witness reasonably believes that the circumstances of the signer are such that it would be very difficult or impossible for the signer to obtain another form of identification;
4. The signer does not possess any of the identification documents authorized by law to establish the signer’s identity; and
5. The credible witness does not have a financial interest and is not named in the document signed.
Lastly, they sign the notary public’s journal.
One credible witness can be used if the notary public and the signer know the credible witness.
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