Signature by Mark

Signature by Mark

© 2010 Kim Giancaterino. All Rights Reserved.

Signature by Mark

Recently I’ve had a few clients who were unable to sign their names for various reasons. When this situation arises for a California notary public, the law provides a solution. The person is allowed to sign the document by mark, usually by making an “X” on the signature line.

It’s not as simple as it sounds, and there are a few requirements to keep in mind. The person signing the document by mark has to go through the same identification process as any other signer. In order to meet the state requirement for satisfactory evidence, proper identification must be presented to the notary. When that isn’t possible, two credible witnesses must be present to vouch for the signer.

Signature by Mark – Step by Step

The signer’s mark must be witnessed by two people who sign their names as witnesses on the document. The first witness writes the signer’s name next to the mark, then signs his or her name as Witness #1. The second person signs as Witness #2. By signing, the witnesses are only verifying that they saw the signer make a signature by mark.

Let’s look at the example below. Steve Ross is the signer of this document. We’ll assume he has a valid form of identification. However, since he’s unable to sign his name, Steve makes a mark. In this case he draws an “X.”

Sally Carter is acting as Witness #1. Sally witnesses Steve making the mark, then writes his name next to it. She then signs her own name as Witness #1.

Mike Baker is also present during this process. Mike signs his name as Witness #2.

Signature by Mark

Signature by Mark Journal Entry

The next step is for the signer to make their signature by mark in the notary public journal. This mark must be witnessed by someone who then writes the signer’s name in the journal, and then signs his or her own name as witness.

Witnesses aren’t required to provide identification to the notary public, unless they’re also acting as credible witnesses. This assumes the person making the mark doesn’t possess a valid form of identification.

Always Maintain a Valid Form of Identification

It can’t be stressed enough how important it is to possess a valid form of identification at all times. A state-issued identification card or senior citizen card can be easily obtained. Unfortunately, many people who no longer drive or travel neglect to take this important step.

If you’re responsible for the care of an elderly friend or family member, take the time to secure an identification card for them. Assembling credible witnesses takes a bit of coordination, especially if you’re dealing with multiple documents. More importantly, it often proves exasperating and confusing for signers in fragile health.

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2021 Notary Public Handbook (Secretary of State)

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