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How to Get Documents Witnessed the Right Way

You’re thinking of asking a friend to witness your signature. Will the document stand up in court? What are you getting yourself into anyway? You take a chance signing anything at all. A better and the right way is to use a notary public.

When to Use a Notary Public, Not a Friend

Births, adoptions, travel overseas – any vital document can require an official notary’s seal or stamp. An Ontario notary public is authorized to witness signatures and officiate at signings. It’s your assurance the deed is done right. You can use a remote notary for a:

  • mortgage signing
  • prenuptial agreement
  • real estate closing
  • property title transfer

or other government documents. 

Reasons a Notary is the Right Way to Go

Ontario courts consider a notary’s signature legitimate. It verifies your document was signed correctly. That’s not saying your friend can’t be a witness (as long as they are an adult). By overseeing the signing, a notary ensures it’s done right.

What Needs Notarizing

A notarized document is a commitment to something. For example, getting a mortgage. Your original signature, not a photocopy, is required. A notary’s signature, stamp or seal confirms the document was “sworn or affirmed”. In other words, it was signed in front of the notary. If it is already signed, you may be asked to sign again or acknowledge the signature is yours. Now your document is legally binding and witnessed by an impartial professional. 

Why Being Neutral Matters

Someone who stands to gain is not usually who you want to witness legal documents. For that reason, your heirs or spouses cannot validly sign your last will or testament. Hiring a neutral notary public helps ensure your document is not overturned in court. It lets you go into disputes better prepared to win.

Three Ways Notaries Protect You from Fraud

Think about it. With identity theft on the rise, a notary public is in your corner. Notaries prevent fraud by verifying your identity from the start. Second, they watch you sign, on camera or in person. Third, they sign, stamp or seal your documents as an official record of the transaction. Because most Ontario notary publics are licensed lawyers, you have an extra layer of protection.

Don’t be Bullied into Signing

Faith was 17 when she had her first child with Lionel. By 22, she had three preschoolers and multiple bruises from his emotional brow beatings. While Lionel worked his way up as an oil rigger, she stayed home with the kids. The emotional abuse escalated when Lionel found a lucrative job on a North Sea rig and a new companion. By the time Faith arrived at a notary public’s office, she had been bullied into getting a travel letter of consent for the kids to go to England. 

Protect Vulnerable or Elderly Family Members

Licensed notary publics are on the alert for coercion. They prevent vulnerable or elderly adults from being exploited. They verify your family member understands what they are signing and agrees to it. A notary public has a duty to decline if someone is being forced to sign against their will. What Faith really needs is a family lawyer.

11 Documents You Need Notarized to Travel Abroad

You’d be surprised how useful a virtual notary can be. For example, foreign consulates or embassies may ask for proof documents are authentic. If you are travelling abroad, you may need a notarized, authenticated copy of: 

  • birth or adoption records
  • marriage or divorce certificates
  • property titles
  • school admission papers
  • academic transcripts
  • import-export papers
  • incorporation or partnership contracts
  • customs approval certificates

and many more documents.

Using a Virtual Notary for Foreign Travel

Don’t leave authenticating documents until the last minute. Ask the consulate or embassy where you will be travelling before you leave Ontario. Axess Law’s virtual commissioning service can help by notarizing official documents in advance. Our virtual notary will:

1. Make a video call appointment.

2. Email you a link for the call.

3. Verify your identity online.

4. Watch you sign.

5. Notarize your document.

6. Email originals to be authenticated.

Take the Next Step with Confidence

With your documents notarized in advance, you can proceed with confidence. You simply need to contact Ontario Document Services in Toronto at 1-416-325-8416 to authenticate your notarized papers. Only documents with the seal, stamp or signature of an Ontario government appointed notary public are accepted. It’s another reason hiring a notary public in the first place saves you time.

Remote Commissioning is Quick and Easy

Remote notaries know your time is precious and handle your matter as quickly as possible. Urgent request? Just ask. Notarizing your documents can be done in minutes in person. We’re open 7 days a week, at times convenient for your schedule.

Your Flat Fee Ontario Lawyers

Axess Law charges a flat fee for notary services, remote or in person. You pay only $24.99 for the first document and $19.99 for each additional document. Every fifth document is free. If remote commissioning isn’t for you, you can meet us in person at our Ottawa office or any of our six Toronto Walmart, Superstore or other locations. 

Our Convenient Virtual Notary Services

Axess Law’s virtual notary services are convenient and safe. Book an appointment by calling toll free to 1-877-552-9377 or 647-479-0118 in Toronto or use our online booking form. Let us know if you want a notary public to meet with you by remote video call or in person.
Click here to learn more about Axess Law’s notary public services.


It was a pleasure working with Patricia from Axess Law. It was my first time purchasing a home, and was very nervous about every step in the process. I called and emailed Patricia several times with the silliest questions. She answered them all promptly, and provided the best customer service I could ask for. I would recommend Axess Law and particularly Patricia to everyone.

c Cindy Tran

In the past I had to make appointments and waited for days to see a lawyer. Now conveniently this office is at my neighborhood supermarket. I was able to walk in and get my documents signed in less than 30 minutes The staff are courteous and professional. I would recommend anyone. Prompt service.

Joy Stewart Joy Stewart

I am writing this review on behalf of my daughter who completed her first Real Estate condo transaction with AxessLaw. Besides just helping my daughter as a client, they helped her understand every single step involved in the process and the whole process was completed without any problems. I would recommend them to anyone looking for hassle free real estate transaction without thinking twice.

icon Irene Tucker


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