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The act of attending the execution of a document and bearing witness to its authenticity, by signing one's name to it to affirm that it is genuine. The certification by a custodian of records that a copy of an original document is a true copy that is demonstrated by his or her signature on a certificate.
An attestation is a declaration by a witness that an instrument has been executed in his or her presence according to the formalities required by law. It is not the same as an Acknowledgment, a statement by the maker of a document that verifies its authenticity.
An attestation clause is frequently found in legal documents that must be witnessed if they are to be valid, for example, a will or a deed. It states that the instrument has been completed in the manner required by law in the presence of the witness who places his or her signature in the designated space.
n. the act of witnessing a signature for the purpose of declaring that a document (like a will) was properly signed and declared by the signer to be his or her signature. (See: attest)
attestationthe signature of witnesses to the making of a will or execution of a deed. In English law, it is now a requirement that wills and deeds be attested by two witnesses. Such a witness is called an attesting witness. Where a deed, will or other instrument is executed in the presence of another and that other records the fact by signing his name on it, he is said to be an attesting witness. It should be emphasized that what is being witnessed is the signature rather than the document itself For Scotland, see REQUIREMENTS OF WRITING.
ATTESTATION, contracts and evidence. The act of witnessing an instrument of
writing, at the request of the party making the same, and subscribing it as
a witness. 3 P. Wms. 254 2 Ves. 454 1 Ves. & B. 362; 3 Marsh. 146; 3 Bibb.
494; 17 Pick. 373.
2. It will be proper to consider, 1. how it is to be made 2. bow it is proved; 3. its effects upon the witness; 4. its effect upon the parties.
3.- 1. The attestation should be made in the case of wills, agreeably to the direction of the statute; Com. Dig. Estates, E 1 and in the case of deeds or other writings, at the request of the party executing the same. A person who sees an instrument executed, but is not desired by the parties to attest it, is not therefore an attesting witness, although he afterwards subscribes it as such. 3 Camp. 232. See, as to the form of attestation, 2 South. R. 449.
4.-2. The general rule is, that an attested instrument must be proved by the attesting witness. But to this rule there are various exceptions, namely: 1. If he reside out of the jurisdiction of the court; 22 Pick. R. 85; 2. or is dead; 3. or becomes insane; 3 Camp. 283; 4. or has an interest; 5 T. R. 371; 5. or has married the party who offers the instrument; 2 Esp. C. 698 6. or refuses to testify 4 M. & S. 353; 7. or where the witness swears he did not see the writing executed; 8. or becomes infamous; Str. 833; 9. or blind; 1 Ld. Raym. 734. From these numerous cases, and those to be found in the books, it would seem that, whenever from any cause the attesting witness cannot be had secondary evidence may be given. But the inability to procure the witness must be absolute, and, therefore, when be is unable to attend from sickness only, his evidence cannot be dispensed with. 4 Taunt. 46. See 4 Halst. R. 322; Andr. 236 2 Str. 1096; 10 Ves. 174; 4 M. & S. 353 7 Taunt. 251; 6 Serg. & Rawle, 310; 1 Rep. Const.; Co. So. Ca. 310; 5 Cranch, 13; Com. Dig. tit. Testmoigne, Evidence, Addenda; 5 Com. Dig. 441; 4 Yeates, 79.
5.-3. When the witness attests an instrument which conveys away, or disposes of his property or rights, he is estopped from denying the effects of such instrument; but in such case he must have been aware of its contents, and this must be proved. 1 Esp. C. 58.
6.-4. Proof of the attestation is evidence of the sealing and delivery. 6 Serg. & Rawle, 311; 2 East, R. 250; 1 Bos. & Pull. 360; 7 T. R. 266. See, in general, Starkie's Ev. part 2, 332; 1 Phil. Ev. 419 to 421; 12 Wheat. 91; 2 Dall. 96; 3 Rawle's Rep. 312 1 Ves. Jr. 12; 2 Eccl. Rep. 60, 214, 289, 367 1 Bro. Civ, Law, 279, 286; Gresl. Eq. Ev. 119 Bouv. Inst. n. 3126.