A notarial certificate is a written statement, signed and sealed by a notary public, certifying the facts of a notarial act. The two most common types of notarial acts a notary will be asked to perform are administering oaths and taking acknowledgements. Oaths and acknowledgements are different notary acts and will require different notary wording/language. Therefore, check with your state laws to ensure you are using the appropriate wording.
A jurat is a notary’s certification that they have administered an oath or affirmation to the signer and that the signer swears and affirms the truthfulness of the document’s content.
In order for the jurat to be properly executed, the signer must sign the document in the presence of a notary. Pre-signatures are not allowed. Documents that require oaths or affirmations are written sworn statements, affidavits, or applications.
An acknowledgement is a declaration that the signer understood the contents of the document and that they consent to the terms and conditions in the document. Acknowledgements can be signed prior to meeting with a notary, or in the notary’s presence, but they must be signed in order for it to be a valid notarized document. Acknowledgments typically are power of attorneys, contracts, or any document where the signer has to agree to the terms of the content.
A Notary Certificate is Always Required
There is never an instance where a notary certificate is not required for a notarial act. You cannot proceed with a notary act without completing a notarial certificate. As the notary, you are prohibited from making the choice on which type of notary certificate is required.
This is the signer’s choice, however as the notary, you can explain the different types of certificates and then ask the signer to choose the type they want. If a document does not have the correct notary wording on the certificate or no certificate at all, the notary can either hand-write or type the notarial wording on the face of the document below the signer’s signature or attach a loose certificate behind the document.
A loose certificate must have the correct jurat and/or acknowledgement wording and also have the proper notarial language. Most jurat and acknowledgement forms are free and downloadable. Be sure to check with your state laws to ensure you are using the correct version.
Can a Notary notarize out-of-state certificates?
The best way to handle out-of-state certificates is to first determine what type of notarization is required. If the wording on an out-of-state certificate is unfamiliar, read through the rest of the wording and check for words such as “acknowledged” or “subscribed to me” in the document wording.
Next, review the venue and county information. The venue and county must always appear on the notary certificate and reflect where the notarization was performed. If the venue is not correct, the notary should cross it out and enter the correct information. As a best practice, always initial the change.
Next, check with variations on the certificate for your specific state certificates, such as , “Before me.” or “Before me, the undersigned”. If these variations are in the statutory, then it would probably be acceptable to use.
Lastly, when in doubt, use a loose certificate that complies with your specific state laws after confirming with the signer on which type of certificate they need. Always play it safe by using the correct notarial certificate to prevent rejections of the document.
It is not just the role of the notary to ensure documents are properly signed, but the notary also needs to ensure the signature is signed correctly on the document. The signer is required to sign his or her name exactly how their name appears on the document.
If a signer normally signs their name with their initials, this form will not suffice for notarized documents. Even if the signer doesn’t go by their legal name, for document purposes, they will need to sign their legal name on the notarized documents.