Online Notary Course  for California

Part 4, Section 6
Signature By Mark

At some point you may be asked to notarize a document for a person who physically cannot sign their name.  They may make a mark, for example, an “X” on the signature line, and this mark must be witnessed by two people (not including the notary). 

The person signing the document by mark must prove their identity to the notary with a driver's license, passport, etc., just like anyone else would be required to.

One of the witnesses should legibly print the name of the signer next to the signer’s mark, and then also in the notarial journal.  Both of the witnesses must then sign the document.  Since the witnesses are acting only in the capacity of witnesses, you do not need to establish their identities. 
Civil Code § 14

However, if one of the witnesses is also acting as a credible identifying witness, then their identity would have to be established by personal knowledge by the notary and proved by a valid identification document (such as a driver’s license or passport) or, if there are two credible identifying witnesses, they may use valid identification to prove their identities, and they must sign the journal.  One of the credible identifying witnesses may also sign as one of the two required witnesses to the mark.

For the document to be recorded in California, county recorders require the following statement to be written or typed on the document, and signed by the witnesses:

(NAME OF SIGNER), being unable to write, made his/her mark in our presence and requested the first of the undersigned to write his/her name, which he/she did, and we now subscribe our names as witnesses thereto.

Signature of Witness

Signature of Witness

If this procedure is done correctly, the mark is considered a perfectly valid signature, and you may use a standard notarial certificate to complete the notarization.

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All rights reserved. Revised: 07/14/09.