Notary Acknowledgments and Jurats
Notary Acknowledgment Certificates
In the certificate of acknowledgment, the notary public certifies:
- That the signer personally appeared before the notary public on the date indicated in the county indicated;
- To the identity of the signer; and
- That the signer acknowledged executing the document.
An acknowledgment requires:
- The signer must appear in person before the notary.
- The notary must positively identify the signer in accordance with their state’s laws.
- The signer may either sign the document in the presence of the notary, or sign the document before appearing before the notary
- The signer must declare (acknowledge) signing the document for its intended purpose.
The signer must be able to directly communicate with the notary that they willingly signed the document. The state of Arizona is the exception to this rule. Arizona permits a signer to communicate with a notary through a translator, as long as the translator is also present.
Notary Jurat Certificates
The jurat is identified by the wording “Subscribed and sworn to (or affirmed)” contained in the form. In the jurat, the notary public certifies:
- That the signer personally appeared before the notary public on the date indicated and in the county indicated;
- That the signer signed the document in the presence of the notary public;
- That the notary public administered a spoken oath or affirmation*; and
- To the identity of the signer.
Note: A jurat cannot be affixed to a document mailed or otherwise delivered to a notary public whereby the signer did not personally appear, take an oath, and sign in the presence of the notary public, even if the signer is known by the notary public. Also, a notary public seal and signature cannot be affixed to a document without the correct notarial wording.
*There is no prescribed wording for the oath or affirmation, but an acceptable oath would be “Do you swear or affirm that the statements in this document are true?” When administering the oath, the signer and notary public traditionally each raise their right hand but this is not a legal requirement.
As you can see, the wording on acknowledgments and jurats are distinct. A jurat certificate cannot be used for an acknowledgment, and vice versa.