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Can you notarize this for me?

“Do you need an Acknowledgment or a Jurat?”

Understanding what a Notary Certificate/Seal is.

When someone asks a notary to notarize a document for them, the notary must find specific language contained in the document to complete the notarization. To understand what the purpose is for notarizing and what language is required, please read the following:

BLACK’S LAW (a legal dictionary) defines a notary certificate as “A document in which a fact is formally attested.” In notarizing any document, the notary completes, signs, and seals the certificate wording to indicate WHAT the notarization has CERTIFIED.

So… what is a “certificate?”

The certificate wording will answer four basic questions. (1.) It will state when and where the notarization took place. (2.) It will have a statement of particulars that will provide what type of notarization was performed. (3.) It will identify the signer(s). (4.) It will provide what steps or procedure the notary did to complete the notarization.

The certificate will contain specific notarial wording that provides the notary with instruction as to what the notary is to do.

  • Is the notary going to acknowledge the signature on the document as that of the person signing (“acknowledgment”)? EXAMPLE LANGUAGE: "On this 2nd day of May, 2019, personally appeared John Doe, to me known to be the person who executed the foregoing instrument and acknowledged that he executed it as his free act and deed."


  • Is the notary certifying a sworn statement of the signer that he/she expressed before them (a “jurat” or more widely known a sworn statement or an oath)? EXAMPLE LANGUAGE: "Sworn to and subscribed before me, the undersigned notary public, this 3rd day of May, 2020."

This certificate PROVES and becomes the EVIDENCE as to what the certificate states. The document notarized then becomes legally valid and binding when executed by all parties and the proper certificate is executed and attached by the notary.

Remember: the acknowledgment states that he/she is the person who signed the document and the jurat is one where the notary took an oath from the signer who stated that the information contained in the document is true, or that the signer is swearing of its truthfulness.

If a document that someone is wanting notarized does not contain the required language that the notary can attest to (the “facts” of the notarization), a certificate must be attached to the document. Some notaries, myself included, have several stamps with the proper certificate language (acknowledgment or jurat), or separate certificates. These can be easily added to a document as the notarial certificate.

So, when someone comes to me and tells me that they “just want me to notarize this paper” or that “they were told to get this notarized” … there is more to it than just signing my name. I am making sure that the document is going to withstand the legal scrutiny of the requirement of the notarization and securing and upholding the public records.

Thanks for reading. I hope this helped you understand notary “language”.

Come back again real soon.


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