At some point in one’s life, a person would have to execute a notary acknowledgment for some legal purpose. This usually comes with an affidavit, a written document filed by an affiant as evidence in a court case. There are two types of judicial notarizations, namely a notary statement or acknowledgment and a jurat. Read on to learn more about these documents.

Notary Acknowledgements

What is a notary acknowledgment?

A notary acknowledgment is a type of official declaration before a qualified official that comes with an affixed signature. In most cases, this public official is a notary public although, in several states, this could be a mayor, a judge or some other authorized official.

You can make a notary template for an acknowledgment in two ways. First, use the acknowledgment language as a part of the original document. Second, you can add the acknowledgment language in a different sheet of paper, then attach this to the document.

Whichever you prefer, make sure that you complete the notary form and it bears the signature of the notary public. A proper acknowledgment must include the expiration or commission number. All forms filed at the Register of Deeds office should get notarized to prove the verification of the signatures therein.

The Register won’t accept documents that aren’t notarized or those improperly notarized. It is, therefore, important for documents filed at the Register to be properly notarized, otherwise the filers would just waste their time and money. The liability of the lender, attorney or closing agent may also get questioned.

Notary Statements

How does a notary acknowledgment differ from a jurat?

The most common notary acts are notary acknowledgments and jurats. Many signers still get confused as to which applies to their needs. Even notary publics themselves find it hard to remember these at times. So what makes them different?

  • What is a jurat?
    In its simplest meaning, you use a jurat if the signer swears to the contents of a document. To complete a jurat, the notary public should administer an affirmation or oath to the signer. Another requirement is for the signer to affix his/her signature with the notary as a witness.
  • What is a notary acknowledgment?
    On the other hand, you use a notary acknowledgment or a notary statement to confirm the signer’s identity. It also serves as a confirmation that they signed the document. There’s no swearing or affirming the validity or truthfulness of the document, it’s simply an acknowledgment that the signer affixed his/her signature to the document.
    In some states, a signer isn’t required to affix his signature with a notary public as a witness but they are still required to physically appear in front of the notary to verify their signature. Although it’s important that notary publics know the difference between a jurat and an acknowledgment, they’re prohibited in some states to determine which certificate the signer plans to use.
    Going against this is equal to practicing law without a license. What the notary can do is ask the signer about their preference. If the signer doesn’t know, the notary can refer the signer to the one who created the document.

Acquiring a notary acknowledgment

As stated earlier, a notary acknowledgment which is also known as a notary form or a notary template, helps establish the identity of the affiant. It’s also used to declare to the notary public, the signer’s willingness to affix his/her signature on the notary signature block template. Follow these procedures when making this document:

  • It’s the duty of the notary to positively verify the identity the signer based on the rules of the notary’s state.
  • The signer can sign the document before they appear in front of the notary or in the presence of the notary.
  • The signer should acknowledge or declare signing the document for its stated purpose.

Unlike a jurat where the signer has to be physically present when signing the document in front of the notary, an acknowledgment does not require his presence. But the signer in the case of an acknowledgment still needs to affirm or swear that he signed the document without duress and under their own free will.

Notary Forms

Notary acknowledgments and other notarized documents

Mostly important agreements these days need notarization. But what does this requirement really mean? A notarized document gets certified by a notary public. A notary public is an official tasked to verify the identity of each person whose signature appears on a document, they witness the signings, and mark the document using a seal or a stamp.

This process ensures the legitimacy of all the signatures in the document. Here are some important things to consider when it comes to notary statements, acknowledgments, and other similar documents:

  • Verification of identity
    The notary public will require the signatories to provide some identification. He records the details about these identification documents for every individual who signs the document.
  • Willingness of the signers
    Notary publics will also look for any indication that the signers aren’t coerced into affixing their signatures on the document and that they’re doing so under their own free will.
  • Capacity to make sound decisions
    Notary publics must also see to it that signers understand what they’re signing. If the signatories are under the influence, under medication or aren’t able to fully understand what’s going on, the notary can’t proceed with the notarization.

The process of notary acknowledgments and similar documents

Ideally, a document can be easily notarized by just visiting a notary public. If you want the process to go as smoothly as possible, keep these things in mind:

  • Provide the required official Identification
    A notary public will ask you for some identification to prove that you’re who you claim you are. Such identifications should bear a photograph, like a driver’s license, a government-issued ID or a passport.
    The requirements can vary, depending on which state you live in. If the notary public is in doubt about your identification, he/she has the right to decline to notarize the document.
  • Sign at the appropriate time
    If you’re having a document notarized, don’t sign it without the notary public present. Bring your document without your signature to the notary as he needs to see you sign the document most of the time.
  • Pay the fees
    You need to pay the notary public a modest amount to have your documents notarized. How much depends on where you get them notarized. Fees paid help the notary public in operation as they need to keep up with all of the changes in laws as well as for the maintenance of their records.

Notary Templates

Where can you get a notary acknowledgment?

You can have your notary form and any other legal documents notarized in different places:

  • Financial institutions
    A bank or a credit union is a good place to encounter a notary public, especially if you are a client. They may even do it for free. If you’re not, the notary public will still willingly have your document notarized for a minimal fee.
  • Other businesses
    Almost all big businesses employ a notary public. But be sure to call first before making the trip as the services for notarization may vary for different locations. Businesses which offer this service may include:
    Shipping stores
    Office supply retailers
    Money transfer or check cashing stores
    Law offices and tax preparers
    Some convenience stores and car dealers
  • Search on the internet
    If you cannot locate a notary public, you can always go online. Just type “notary public” and your city. There should be a couple of names that would pop up on your monitor. There are also mobile notaries who could travel to your office, home or any other place to help you out with your documents.
  • Online
    You can also have your documents notarized online. However, you have to make sure that they will accept this method before proceeding. In many cases like real estate transactions, they require a physical signature.
    Some instances when using an online notarization can make sense is for quickie transactions or if you were under time constraints. Notary for online work will still require identity verification and a video recording of you signing the document.

What does it mean not to have your document notarized?

When you have a document notarized, this means that the signature which appears on it gets authenticated by a qualified official, usually, a notary public. Most of the time, the notary public doesn’t even have to read your document, they only verify that you signed the document in front of them.

Some people even get their documents notarized even when these contain some kind of illegal activity. In some cases, people have documents notarized which contain information which isn’t enforceable under the laws of the state. In such a case, this renders the document useless.

A notary public won’t provide legal advice either. Therefore, you must know what the document contains before you sign it. If you don’t have your document notarized, the entity you submit it to might not accept it, especially if they required the notarization of the document first.

TemplateLab September 10th, 2019