Loose Notary Certificates: Jurats and Acknowledgements
What’s the Difference?
Acknowledgements and Jurats are two of the most common acts notaries perform. They cannot both be used on the same document, however using one or the other during a notary signing is a required.
Acknowledgements are certificates that confirm and verify the identity of a signer, and for the signer to declare that they willingly signing the document and personally appeared before the notary.
Jurats require personal appearance before a notary and are used when a client swears to, or affirms the truthfulness of a document to the notary. Jurats require that the client sign the document in the presence of the notary at the time of the signing appointment. Acknowledgements, however, can be signed prior to physically appearing before the notary.
Who Chooses the Type of Notarization to be Performed?
The signer always determines the type of notarization act they require. Notaries can explain the difference between the two types of notarizations to educate the signer, but making the decision for the signer is something a notary should never do.
What Types of Documents Require a Loose Notary Certificate?
Any document that fails to contain the correct notary language will require a loose notary certificate to be attached. Any documents that don’t comply with your state’s requirements don’t provide enough room for the notary stamp, or if another notary previously used the preprinted certificate, are all reasons to attach a loose notary certificate.
How to Attach a Loose Notary Certificate
It is very important that the notary completes the loose certificate correctly. This includes signing, dating, and stamping the document. The loose notary certificate should also be signed and dated by the signer if the document does not have a place for a signature. If there are blank spaces on the certificate that are considered non-applicable, the notary should draw a line in that space to acknowledge it has not been left blank on accident. Once the notarization is complete, the notary should be the one to attach the loose certificate to the document to ensure that it won’t be removed. Generally, the loose certificate is attached behind the document and stapled left of the margin. The notary should also remind the signer that the document and certificate should remain attached to deter fraud or re-attachment to other documents. As a best practice when dealing with loose certificates, I also like to write on the document that the loose certificate is being attached to: “see attached notary loose certificate”.
Loose notary certificates are quite simple and are very commonly used during notarizations. Sometimes you won’t discover that a document needs a loose certificate until you are already at the signing. Notaries should always carry multiple loose certificates in case one is ever needed. To recap: when dealing with loose certificates, remember the following three things:
- Always let the signer choose the type of notarization.
- Make sure the loose notary certificate is executed correctly (and completely).
- Staple the loose certificate behind the document and make a note, “see attached notary loose certificate”.
Do you have any thoughts on loose certificates? We’d love to hear about your own notary experiences in dealing with this common situation. Feel free to send us a message and if you would like to read more, please enjoy our article on How to attract and retain clients.