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Thread: Do contracts require witnesses?

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    Platinum Member Mike C's Avatar
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    Do contracts require witnesses?

    Hi to all the legal boffs.

    I know that the law requires some contracts (such as a will and a marriage) to be signed by two witnesses.

    But do other contracts - such as a loan or employment contract or a business agreement need to be signed by witnesses?

    I have read that the purpose of witnesses only really comes into play if the person who signed the contract says that they did so under duress or claim that they did not sign ... and generally the witnesses are then untraceable as no other information appears other than their signatures ... which kind of makes it moot.
    An education isn't how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It's being able to differentiate between what you do know and what you don't. - Anatole France

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    Gold Member Houses4Rent's Avatar
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    We sign mandates and leases also with witnesses, but my wife does all that without the other perty being present. It has never been challenged (even in eviction proceedings) as you said its totally useless as nobody can decipher any signatures. I am sure one could sign as Mickey Mouse or XXX and it will be ok.
    So if in doubt put a witness line in and nobody can complain about missing witnesses later.
    Houses4Rent
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    Platinum Member desA's Avatar
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    Please ensure that each contract is witnessed by two witnesses. They also need to initial each & every page in the lower right hand side.

    A very real reason for this is to prevent contract forgery. I know about this first-hand! It happens - even in large public companies - believe you me.
    In search of South African Technology Nuggets(R), for sale & trading in South East Asia.

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    Gold Member Houses4Rent's Avatar
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    We have one witness who does not initial each page. I had 2 evictions in 7 years and I had no problems to have these leases recognised as legally valid.
    Houses4Rent
    "We treat your investment as we treat our own"
    marc@houses4rent.co.za www.houses4rent.co.za
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    Global Residential Property Investor / Specialized Letting Agent & Property Manager

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    Platinum Member desA's Avatar
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    ^ You may want to check that with your attorney. The time may come when you wish you had had the two witnesses, as outlined.
    In search of South African Technology Nuggets(R), for sale & trading in South East Asia.

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    Platinum Member sterne.law@gmail.com's Avatar
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    The purpose is not for legal compliance but for evidence purposes where a dispute arises.
    Anthony Sterne

    www.acumenholdings.co.za
    DISCLAIMER The above is merely a comment in discussion form and an open public arena. It does not constitute a legal opinion or professional advice in any manner or form.

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    Platinum Member desA's Avatar
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    ^ So, zero, one, or two witnesses required/recommended?
    In search of South African Technology Nuggets(R), for sale & trading in South East Asia.

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    Diamond Member Blurock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Houses4Rent View Post
    We sign mandates and leases also with witnesses, but my wife does all that without the other perty being present. It has never been challenged (even in eviction proceedings) as you said its totally useless as nobody can decipher any signatures. I am sure one could sign as Mickey Mouse or XXX and it will be ok.
    So if in doubt put a witness line in and nobody can complain about missing witnesses later.
    You may only realise your folly when you get challenged in court. When you need proof of evidence - see that it is there. Compliance means that you do the right things right. Rules are there to protect you, not just to challenge you.

    I have seen many clever guys who challenged the system, come short when they least expected it.
    Excellence is not a skill; its an attitude...

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    Bronze Member Beancounter's Avatar
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    It is not a legal requirement for certain contracts to be signed and initialled by witnesses. Verbal agreements are also binding. It becomes a problem when the contract is being disputed or a party claims that they didn't sign wilfully. Refer law of contract.

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    Platinum Member sterne.law@gmail.com's Avatar
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    It makes sense to get a witnesses ID number.
    However given our technology today. I actually just video record the handing over of documents or signatures.
    Anthony Sterne

    www.acumenholdings.co.za
    DISCLAIMER The above is merely a comment in discussion form and an open public arena. It does not constitute a legal opinion or professional advice in any manner or form.

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    desA (21-Jun-14), Mike C (18-Jun-14)

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