The two most frequently requested types of notarizations are acknowledgments and jurats, but many people are not aware of the distinction between them. Here are some key points to keep in mind:
What is an acknowledgment?
An acknowledgment is a declaration made by a signer, who has had their identity verified, to a Notary or notarial officer stating that they have willingly signed a document for its intended purpose. This type of notarization requires the signer to appear in person before the Notary, who must positively identify the signer according to the state’s rules. The signer can sign the document before or in the presence of the Notary, and must acknowledge that they have signed it.
The majority of states require the signer to be capable of personally and willingly communicating with you while signing the document. Nevertheless, Arizona and Mississippi allow a signer to communicate through a translator present at the notarization. Additionally, in Colorado, a hearing-impaired signer may use a qualified interpreter during the notarization, as long as the interpreter has no beneficial interest in the notarization.
What is a jurat?
A jurat, also known as a “verification upon oath or affirmation” in some states, requires the signer to swear or affirm the truthfulness of the contents of a document to a Notary or notarial officer. This type of notarization requires the signer to appear in person before the Notary and sign the document in their presence. In some states, positive identification of the signer is also required. The Notary must administer a spoken oath or affirmation, and the signer must respond out loud. Silent answers such as a nod of the head are not acceptable.
Acknowledgment and jurat certificates
Because acknowledgments and jurat have different purposes, they require different certificate wording. It is important to use the appropriate certificate for each type of notarization, and to ensure that the wording is acceptable under your state’s rules. Generally, an acknowledgment certificate will contain the words “acknowledged before me” or similar wording, while jurat certificates will contain the words “subscribed and sworn to (or affirmed) before me.”
If you have any questions about the certificate wording or other aspects of notarization, consult your state’s Notary handbook or contact the NNA Hotline for assistance – 1-800-US-NOTARY (1-800-876-6827).