What are the Signature and Witness Requirements for a Promissory Note?

On its own, a signed Promissory Note has the legal force of a contract. But to strengthen the validity and ensure the enforceability of the Promissory Note, there are steps the lending maker can take with Witnesses, signatures and even a notary.

So who should be a Witness on a Promissory Note? Any “disinterested person” (i.e. any person not a party to the Note) can be a Witness to the signing of a Promissory Note.

It is preferable that there be two separate Witnesses. These two Witnesses can be the same for each person signing the Note; there is no need to have four different persons (two for each signator) sign as witnesses to a Promissory Note.

If the Note is not witnessed when it is signed, the Note is still a contract that is 100% enforceable in a court of law. The witnesses simply provide authenticity that they saw an agreement reached by the signers of the Note.

But these witnesses are not absolutely required in all states. Note, however, that if the matter of enforcing a Promissory Note reaches a Court for settlement, the existence of Witnesses to the Note’s signatures will certainly shorten the legal process.

The same holds true for notarizing a Promissory Note: no state requires a Promissory Note to be notarized to make it valid and enforceable. But should a court action be required to collect on the note, a notary’s signature almost automatically ensures the Court will uphold the existence of the agreement.

A Promissory Note is used to ‘get it in writing’ on a loan of money or property between two people, even between family members. It’s always a good idea to make clear the terms of a loan in advance, in writing. To easily create such a note, see the complete details that can be found here on Standard Legal’s Promissory Note legal forms software.