Many legal documents must be signed in front of witnesses. Some also require attestation statements, or clauses which verify that the witnesses watched the correct individuals put their signatures to the document. Some of these statements go a step further by also having witnesses vouch for the validity of the document's content. The clauses generally appear above or below the witnesses' signatures and include wording such as "signed and sealed in my presence."
Documents With Attestation Clauses
Examples of documents that frequently include attestation statements are wills, deeds and insurance forms. An attestation statement in a will generally requires the witnesses to confirm the document is, in fact, a will and that they saw the maker freely sign it. Insurance companies routinely require physicians to attest to the genuineness of their signatures on medical records and insurance forms, as well as to the accuracy of document contents. Property deeds generally require that a notary public sign an attestation statement acknowledging the parties appeared and freely signed the deed on the date stated. If a document is signed under oath, such as an affidavit for court, a notary's attestation also includes wording such as, "subscribed and sworn before me John Doe signed the foregoing document on June 2, 2013."
Maggie Lourdes is a full-time attorney in southeast Michigan. She teaches law at Cleary University in Ann Arbor and online for National University in San Diego. Her writing has been featured in "Realtor Magazine," the N.Y. State Bar's "Health Law Journal," "Oakland County Legal News," "Michigan Probate & Estate Planning Journal," "Eye Spy Magazine" and "Surplus Today" magazine.