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Acknowledgment or Jurat?

It’s as easy as ‘Form A’ or ‘Form B’

It’s as easy as ‘form a’ or ‘form b’. Once you’ve completed your pre-notary checklist, you know that you and your signers are ready to go! The signers have been identified, documents are completed (no blanks), and the signer willingly signed the document. What now? you complete a notary certificate. There are two major notary certificates that are most commonly used. The first certificate is (A) an ”acknowledgement’ and the second certificate is (B) a ‘jurat’. That’s it. 

San Diego Notary, person signing document at kitchen table

Which certificate, acknowledgment or jurat?

So which certificate do you choose? The acknowledgement or the jurat? Well, it’s not up to the notary to decide. It’s up to the person requesting the notary services. By providing them with a certificate, you’re also providing legal advice. That’s saved for the attorneys. We can explain the difference between the two forms while letting them choose the option that fits them. If the notary verbiage is already provided, problem solved. For the documents that don’t have notary verbiage provided, let’s learn about the two main notarial acts.

Notary ‘Acknowledgments’

The acknowledgement is the most common form used within notary services. There will be many occasions when documents requiring notarization will already have this verbiage printed on the document. Sometimes it will be incorrect according to California standards. Sometimes it wont be provided at all. It is important to recognize it, affirm it is correct, and fill it out accordingly.

The California Acknowledgment can be found here:

Purpose of the acknowledgment

The purpose of an acknowledgement is to indicate that a signer appeared before a notary and “acknowledged” they signed a paper. The notary fills out the acknowledgment certificate reaffirming “Yes, they signed that”.

It doesn’t matter where or when the signer may have signed the document, it may have been 15 years ago. That is ok. The signer provides ID, identifying themselves as the signer, they indicate that they did sign the document, and the notary may proceed with acknowledgment. That’s it. The notary acknowledgment certificate would then be filled out by the notary with the present day info, the date the signer appeared before the notary, the county they met in, etc.

Documents that may request acknowledgments.

  • Deeds
  • Grant Deeds
  • Quitclaim Deeds
  • Deeds of Trusts
  • Trusts
  • Certifications of Trust
  • Declarations of Trusts
  • Assignments
  • Powers of Attorney
  • HIPAA Waivers
  • Advance Health Care Directives
  • Compliance Agreements

Notary ‘Jurats’

The Jurat is the second most common type of notary.  The jurat is typically chosen by signers for ‘sworn statements’ or ‘affidavits’. It is important to familiarize yourself with the jurat wording. It can be identified by the words “subscribed and sworn”. Jurats provided by other agencies may be incorrect or incomplete by California’s standards and therefore require correct wording to be attached. 

The California Jurat can be found here:

Purpose of the jurat

The Jurat indicates that someone has sworn an oath or affirmed truthfulness before you, the notary.  If someone is swearing, it is common that the jurat verbiage is provided with their document to be notarized. The notary administers an oath or affirmation with the signer when the jurat is chosen as the notarial act.

Requirements of the jurat

  1. The signer swears or affirms the truthfulness and accurateness of the document before the notary.
  2. The signer signs the document in front of the notary.
  3. The California jurat verbiage must be provided, no other state’s wording suffices.

Affirmation: “Do you solemnly affirm that the statements in this document are true to the best of your knowledge and belief?”

Oath: “Do you solemnly swear that the statements in this document are true to the best of your knowledge and belief, so help you God?”

Documents that may request jurats.

  • Affidavits
  • Sworn Statement
  • True and Accurate
  • Copy of Vital Records (Birth, Marriage, School, Etc)
  • Occupancy Affidavits
  • Name Affidavits
  • Affidavit of Death of
  • Joint Tenants
  • Affidavit of Death of Trustee
  • Declarations

Does the signer choose an acknowledgment or a Jurat?

If the signers are looking for a statement indicating that they signed the document and nothing more, this *may* very well be the acknowledgment. If the signer’s documents indicate “swearing”, this *may* very well call for a jurat. Remember, ultimately it’s not for the notary to decide.

Your signer should choose which certificate, have them contact the receiving agency.

Ultimately, the decision is for your signer. If your signer is unsure, it is a good procedure to have the signer get in touch with the document’s receiving agency. Otherwise, find an industry professional. An attorney is always best concerning legal advice.

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