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September 4, 2018

Who does what in an Acknowledgment?

Notary Acknowledgments

What baffles me is that virtually none of our Notaries on our site can adequately describe any Notary act without Carmen or myself teaching them one by one. I cannot teach everyone by hand and I do not get paid for that either. So, here is my dissertation on how Acknowledgment procedure is typically misinterpreted by Notaries which can lead to legal issues.

QUESTION — What is an Acknowledgment?

WRONG ANSWERS
1. The signer verifies that the document is correct
2. The Notary verifies that the document is correct
3. The Notary must witness the document being signed (only a few states require this)
4. The Notary acknowledges that the signer signed
5. “You” acknowledge the signature — who is “you?” Is it the Notary or the signer? Ambiguous and therefore not correct.
6. The signer must swear to the truthfulness of th document. (you must be thinking of a Jurat.

NOTE
Some states such as Massachusetts have laws regarding signing under duress and require the signer to state, claim or swear (not sure which) that they signed a notarized document on their own free will. I do not know state Notary laws and you have to be responsible for knowing the laws of the state(s) you are commissioned in. Please do not confuse swearing that you signed a document on your own free will with swearing to the truthfulness of the document, because one of those two Oaths does not constitute or substitute the other as they are two separate and unique practices.

RIGHT ANSWER
An Acknowledgment is a Notary act where a signer appears before a Notary Public, and acknowledges (sometimes nonverbally which is convoluted but true) that they signed a particular instrument (document) by virtue of the fact that they say, “please notarize this.” The Notary then identifies the signer normally by virtue of a current government photo ID, credible witnesses, or sometimes personal knowledge. The Notary does NOT verify if the document is correct. The Notary checks to make sure the signature on the document matches the signature in the ID and Notary journal. All three should match. The Notary then certifies that the signer appear before him/her, was positively identified, and that the signer Acknowledged signing the document. The Notary does not acknowledge or verify anything other than the fact that the signature matches their ID and the Notary journal (common misconception). The verb for the action of the Notary could be construed as “certifying” by virtue of the fact that the Notary’s job is to fill out an Acknowledgment “certificate” form for the Notary act.

1. The signer APPEARS before the Notary.
2. The signer ACKNOWLEDGES having signed a document (past tense, does not have to sign before the Notary.)
3. The Notary checks the signer’s IDENTIFICATION, or uses credible witnesses, or personal knowledge depending on state laws where you are.
4. The Notary has the signer sign a JOURNAL ENTRY. Not all states require a journal but you should keep on for legal reasons.
5. The Notary COMPARES the signature on the document, journal and ID for consistency.
6. The Notary fills out an Acknowledgment Certificate certifying that:
(a) The signer personally appeared
(b) Was proven to be the person named in the document
(c) The signer acknowledged having signed the document.

Once again, the signer does not verify the document is true. The signer does not verify signing the document, they ACKNOWLEDGE having signed the document. The document (in most states) can be signed prior to appearing before the Notary. The Notary does not verify the document is true.

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You might also like:

The new acknowledgment form for transgender people
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19658

Notary Acknowledgment Wording
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18858

Notary Public 101’s guide to Notary Acts
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19500

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April 9, 2018

When do I need to use a California All-Purpose Acknowledgment?

Filed under: California_Notary,Other Guest Bloggers — Tags: — admin @ 10:42 am

When do I need to use a California All-Purpose Acknowledgment?
A Notary Public in California only needs to use the notarial language found in an All Purpose Acknowledgment if the document is being filed in California.

California Civil Code Sec 1189 ( c ) allows a Notary to use the preprinted acknowledgment language from another state as long as the Notary is not required to determine or certify in which capacity the signer is signing the document. Certifications are prohibited for Notaries to perform by California law. Notaries are not required to even include the disclaimer at the top of the notarization which essentially states that the Notary Public completing the notarization is only verifying the identity of the signer and not the “truthfulness, accuracy or validity of the document”.

A document that many Notaries see and something that I see brought to my office often at A1 Live Scan Fingerprinting and Notary Services in downtown Los Angeles is Form TSP-70 which is the Thrift and Savings plan Financial Hardship In-Service Withdrawal Request form. This form has preprinted Notarial Language for Acknowledgment and has specific instructions for the Notary that reads in relevant part, “Notary:……No other acknowledgement is acceptable (see instructions)”.

When you see forms such as TSP-70 that is being sent or filed in another state or jurisdiction, use the preprinted form as long as you are not being asked to certify the capacity in which the signer is signing the document.

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You might also like

Who does what in an Acknowledgment?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20108

Notary Public 101’s guide to Acknowledgments & other Notary Acts
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19500

The new acknowledgment form for transgender people
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19658

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April 5, 2018

The name on the ID vs. the Acknowledgment, Document, and Signature

Filed under: Technical & Legal — admin @ 11:08 pm

As a Notary, you will be confronted by a myriad of inconsistencies. Names on identifications don’t always match names on documents. We have discussed this multiple times in our John Smith examples where the name on the ID is shorter than the name on the document which in my examples is normally John W. Smith. However, I want to introduce the complexities of name variations in an organized way.

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RULE #1: The name on the ID must prove the name on the Acknowledgment
The name on the ID is not always identical or “matching” the name on the document. I do not like the term “matching” because it has multiple connotations and therefor is not clear. The name on the identification must PROVE the name on the Acknowledgment as a minimum.

Example
The name on the ID says John Smith.
The typed name on the document says John William Smith
The signature on document says John William Charles Smith
The name on the Acknowledgment cannot say more than John Smith otherwise you are notarizing someone whose name you cannot prove.

Whether or not your state approves you notarizing a signature that is longer or not matching the name on the identification is between you and your state. But, according to sensible practices, the main thing is what name you are Acknowledging the person as, because that is your job as a Notary. As a Notary, you have to prove the identity of the signer and certify that information in the form of a Notary certificate. What goes on the certificate must be true under the penalty of perjury in California and must be true in other states otherwise it could be considered fraudulent. In this example, you can prove the signer is John Smith, he over signed the document which the Lenders don’t usually mind, and you notarized him once again as John Smith — nothing more, nothing less.
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RULE #2: The typed name on the document ideally exactly matches the signature, but, if the Lender says it’s okay, an over signed version of the same name would suffice.

i.e. If the typed name says John William Smith, then the signature could be John William Charles Smith.
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RULE #3: The name on the Acknowledgment can be an exact match of the signature if provable by ID, or a partial match of the signature that is proven by the identification.

i.e. If the signature says John William Charles Smith, you can notarize the signature as that name if it that name variation is entirely provable based on the ID, or you can notarize him as John Smith as the ID proves that name.
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RULE #4: The typed name on the document is supposed to match the name on Title.

The recording agency has a particular name on title, and loan documents are supposed to match the name on title. Sometimes people change their name on title using Grant Deeds and Quit Claim Deeds and which form you use to change a name on title depends on what state you live and your individual situation, and I am not trained in these matters, (sorry.)
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Rule #5: Just because you are obeying sensible practices and the law doesn’t mean the Lender won’t get mad and fire you.

The Lender wants the name notarized based on how the name reads on the documents as a general rule. Usually times you can get away with notarizing a shorter version of the name for legal reasons. If you have a situation where you have a choice between breaking the law and pleasing the Lender, choose obeying the law. If you have a choice between pleasing the Lender and taking liberties identifying someone which is a wishy-washy point in the legal code in many states (look up your state’s requirements for proving someone’s name — many states only say that you have to check their ID, but not see if the names exactly match) then you have a judgement call.

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Summary of rules using fortune cookie English

1. Name on ACKNOWLEDGMENT must be proven by name on IDENTIFICATION

2. Name on ACKNOWLEDGMENT must be part or whole of name on SIGNATURE

3. Name on SIGNATURE can match exactly or be a longer variation of TYPED NAME on document.

4. TYPED NAME on document should MATCH name on TITLE

5. LENDERS want name on the Acknowledgment to match TYPED NAME on document, but this is not always legally possible.

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You might also like:

The ID says John Smith
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19953

What’s your sign? A guide to spotting fake ID’s.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19638

Credible Witnesses – the ins and outs
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19634

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January 26, 2018

The new acknowledgment form for transgender people

Filed under: Humorous Posts,Popular on Facebook (very) — admin @ 11:28 am

With all of this politically correct nonsense going on, there will soon be an official change to Notary paperwork so that the LGBT community’s needs will be represented. The current form (I made this up) says:

On (date), before me (name of notary) personally appeared (name of signer) who proved to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence to be the person who’s name is subscribed in the within instrument, and acknowledged to me that he/she/they executed the same in their his/her/their authorized capacity(ies), and by his/her/their seal on the instrument, the person(s) acted and executed the instrument.

But, as of January 1st, 2019, the new form will read.

On (date), before me (name of Notary) personally appeared (name of signer) who proved to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence to be the person who’s name is subscribed in the within instrument and acknowledged to me that

(he/she/he who used to be a she/she who used to be a he/he who dresses like a she/she who dresses like a he/T/they)
executed the same in his/her/it’s complicated/their authorized capacity(ies), and by his/her/unclear/it’s/their seal on the instrument, the person(s) acted and executed the instrument.

Additional information
The signer’s “assigned” gender is male/female
The signer’s “current” gender is male/female/ambiguous/depends on how long the line is to the bathroom
The gender indicated on the identifcation is male/female
The sex change or change in dress happed before/after when the ID was issued.

On a brighter note, I had lamb with shishito peppers. I asked the waitress if shishitos had genders. The male could be a he-shito, and the female a she-shito. She said it didn’t work like that. I told her that was for the best, because what if we got a transgender-shito? That would be confusing.

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You might also like:

Who does what in an Acknowledgment?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20108

We are a notary directory and therefore should not discuss certain topics.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20073

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November 13, 2017

Notary loses $4000 in legal fees because fraud adds name to Acknowledgment certificate.

When I was a Notary and was handed some other Notary’s work, I normally saw that the he/she/they and capacity(ies) that needed cross outs did not have cross outs. By omitting the cross outs you cannot know if the signer is a single man, woman, or multiple people. California no longer allows Notaries to verify capacity which leaves one less thing to cross out.

If you as a Notary omit to cross out the she/they on an Acknowledgment for a single man, someone could add another name to the certificate and get away with it undetected. Notaries can be extremely negligent and don’t get caught — usually. But, I catch them by the dozen every day and penalize them on my site. I throw hundreds of Notaries off my site for failing my over the phone Notary quizzes. And others stay on the site but I deduct points from their point algorithm results which makes it very hard for them to upgrade. You might not take doing your job correctly seriously, but I do.

And then the Notaries who take their job seriously, but have been doing it wrong for 20 years and think that their work is flawless. I will catch you. I will expose many things you are not doing or are doing incorrectly. Better that I catch you rather than ending up in court with legal fees for not filling out forms correctly. Being a Notary is not rocket science. There is no reason for such negligence!

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Penalties for Notary misdeeds and misconduct
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http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19614

10 risks to being a Mobile Notary Public
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19459

The FBI is at your door and names you as a suspect!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20013

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November 30, 2016

Notary Acknowledgment Wording

If you are a Notary, or want to get something Notarized, you will have to deal with Notary wording and perhaps Notary Acknowledgment Wording. There are various types of Notary acts, and Acknowledgments are the most common with Jurats in second place. The process of getting something notarized normally involves the signer personally appearing before a Notary Public, showing ID, signing a journal, etc. The Notary needs to fill in the notary wording on the certificate and then sign and stamp the paperwork. Here are some facts about Acknowledgments.

(1) Certificates
The instrument that contains Notary Acknowledgment wording is called a “Certificate.” A certificate can be a separate piece of paper that is added by staple to a legal document. Or, the certificate wording could be embedded in the document below the signature section. In either case, the Notary certificate must contain notary verbiage specific to the state requirements where the notarization is taking place. The format of the certificate typically includes a venue, body of the acknowledgment and then a signature area at the bottom. There is often an additional or optional information section as well. The Notary’s seal must be affixed near the signature section of the certificate whether it is a loose certificate or boiler plate wording embedded in the actual document.

(2) State Specific Wording
If the notarization is being recorded in one state, but being notarized in another, then the Notary Acknowledgment wording must be substantially similar to the approved and required state wording where the document is being recorded. Notary Acknowledgment Wording differs from state to state. You can Google your state’s Notary wording if you like, or visit our find a notary page for more detailed information.

(3) Jurats
Please also keep in mind that some people call all Notary forms a “Jurat” while a real Jurat is substantially different from an Acknowledgment as it contains an Oath (by definition) and requires signing in the presence of a Notary. State rules for Jurats also differ from state to state, so you need to find out what the rules are in the state that you are being Notarized in are.

(4) Sections in an Acknowledgment

(a) Venue (State of Nevada; County of Clark)
(b) The words, “Appeared before me”
(c) The date (i.e. 08-04, 2012)
(d) That the signer acknowledges signing the instrument that their name is subscribed to within
(e) Name of the signer and the notary.
(f) Proof of identity of the signer
(g) Signature (seal) of the notary
(h) A place for the notary to affix their official notary seal.

(5) Optional Information
There is also an additional information section on Acknowledgments where you can indicate the number of pages in the document, the document name, and other identifying factors. To deter fraud, it is a prudent habit to fill out as much additional information as possible and even get a thumbprint on the certificate as well as in the journal.

(6) Sample Acknowledgment Wording

State of California
County of Los Angeles

On 5-15-2011 before me, John Doe, notary public, personally appear Joe Barber who proved to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence to be the person whose name is subscribed to the within instrument and who acknowledged to me that he executed the same in his authorized capacity and by his signature(s) on the instrument the person, or entity upon behalf of which the person acted, executed the instrument.

I certify under PENALTY of PERJURY under the laws of the state of California that the foregoing paragraph is true and correct.

WITNESS my hand and official seal

—————————————— (affix stamp here)
(Signature of Notary)

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You might also like:

Use 123notary to Find a Notary
Find a Notary

Can you send a loose Acknowledgment?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16168

California Acknowledgment Wording Explained
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8459

Optional Information on Acknowledgment Certificates
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4407

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November 10, 2016

Acknowledgment or AcknowledgEment?

Are you in the Notary profession or getting a notarization done? You might want to get some information straight. There are various types of Notary terms out there that you should probably be familiar with. Common terms include: Notary Seal, Venue, Scilicit, Locus Sigilli, Acknowledgment, Jurat, Affidavit, Affiant, Affirmation, Oath, Protest, etc.

The spelling of Notary terms i.e. Acknowledgments
In the Notary Profession, there are various types of Notary acts done. Roughly 80% of Notary acts done are Acknowledgments. But, the Notarial spelling of AcknowledgEment should NOT have an “e” after the “g” — e.g. — Acknowledgment.

Legal issues with “Notary Acknowledgement”
Although I have never heard of any legal consequences for spelling Notarial words incorrectly, it is just good form and a sign of a good upbringing to spell terms correctly. If you can master spelling Notary Acknowledgment correctly, then you can try to master funny looking Latin terms for the Notary industry like Locus Sigilli which means the location of the stamp.

Where can I learn more?
123notary publishes all types of blogs about Notary issues, notary terminology, marketing, and other technical issues. We also publish comedy blogs especially for Notaries which sometimes strike a chord. We have keyword fees for various notary terms, not to mention categories on the right of our blog where you can browse all types of technical and non-technical notary issues.

You might also like:

See our string on the term: Acknowledgment
http://blog.123notary.com/?tag=acknowledgment

Jurat

Humorous Posts

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March 16, 2016

Can you send a loose acknowledgment? You should hear the answers

I asked a Notary the following questions.

Can you send a loose Acknowledgement if the Grant Deed you already Notarized and send it had a smudgy seal?

The Notary said, that yes you could. You just attach it to the Grant Deed.
I replied back that if you attach the certificate to the Grant Deed, that it would no longer be loose. It is kind of like asking if a virgin can be sent in the mail and you say — yes, she just has relations with Tim and then you can send her. If the virgin had relations with Tim she would no longer be a virgin just like the Acknowledgment Certificate on the Grant Deed would no longer be loose if it were attached to the Grant Deed. On a brighter note, if Tim were the only lady that the “virgin” had relations with, at least she would not be considered to be “loose” like the acknowledgment whose final words were, “Baby, I’ll attach myself to any document… anywhere… any time…”

Legal or not?
Many Notaries feel that it is fine to send a loose Acknowledgment in the mail. This is actually not legal in most states. Acknowledgments should be attached by a stable to the document they are associated with. If the stamp was smudgy on the initial acknowledgment, some states might allow you to destroy the original acknowledgment and add another non-smudgy one in its place. But, no state will allow there to be two acknowledgments for one Notarization floating around. That is just plain crazy.

California?
California wants Notaries to completely re-do smudgy signings. You would have to go back and visit the signer all over again, get a new signed journal entry, and do the Notarization as if you were doing it for the first time if God forbid — there was a smudge.

Summary
The way to handle Acknowledgments with smudges varies from place to place. But, you need to know what the law says so you don’t do something stupid. Most Notaries that I talked to do not have a thorough understanding of the law about this topic.

You might also like:

10 tight points on loose certificates
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15449

Sending loose certificates is illegal
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2470

Notary Certificates, Notary Wording & Notary Verbiage
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1834

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February 17, 2016

If the lender has the Notary change a date on the Acknowledgment

I ask this question just to see if I can throw a curve ball at the Notaries.

Question:

If the Lender asks the Notary to change a date on the Acknowledgment, who initials the change? The Notary, the Signer, or both?

Common Answers

(1) That is illegal. I wouldn’t do it.
Commentary: It is illegal to falsify a date on a Notary certificate. But, if you change a date, you might be changing it from a wrong date to the correct date. “Oh, I didn’t think of that…” Besides, we are not asking you if it is legal to change the date, we are asking who initials.

(2) The borrower
Commentary: The borrower or signer has no business writing anything in the certificate section as that is the exclusive jurisdiction of the Notary. At this point the Notary being asked the question normally says, “Oh, I thought you meant the document.” If I meant the document, I would not have said the Acknowledgment.

(3) Both
Commentary: Only the Notary can touch the certificate section.

What about California
I have heard that in California you cannot fix a certificate. You have to notarize it all over again. Hmmm.

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You might also like:

Can you send a loose acknowledgment?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16168

10 tight points on loose certificates
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15449

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November 7, 2013

California Acknowledgment Wording Explained

California Acknowledgment Wording Explained

The most common notary act in the United States is the Acknowledgment. Acknowledged signatures represent roughly 80% of notary acts; with Jurats comprising of most of the remainder.

Here is some sample California Acknowledgment Wording.

State of _____________
County of ____________

On _________ before me, ________________________________________,
(name of notary public )
personally appeared _____________________________________________
who proved to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence to be the person(s)
whose name(s) is/are subscribed to the within instrument and who acknowledged
to me that he/she/they executed the same in their authorized capacity(ies),
and by his/her/their signature(s) on the instrument the person(s), or entity
upon behalf of which the person(s) acted, executed the instrument.

I certify under PENALTY of PERJURY under the laws of the state of California
that the foregoing paragraph is true and correct.

WITNESS my hand and official seal.

____________________________
(Signature of Notary)

Please note that the top section of the certificate wording is called the venue which consists of a documentation of the state and the county. Next comes the body of the acknowledgment certification which documents the date, the name of the notary, the name of the signer who personally appeared before the notary, the fact that the signer was identified properly (they use the term satisfactory evidence to mean that the signer had ID, or was identified through the use of credible witnesses).

The most critical part of the California Acknowledgment Verbiage is that the signer acknowledges subscribing to the within instrument. This simply means that the signer claims that they signed the document. They could have signed hours, months, or years before seeing the notary — and it doesn’t matter so long as they appear before the notary to “acknowledge” that they signed the document. Additionally, the signer must sign the California Notary Journal as well.

Witness my hand and official seal is confusing California Acknowledgment verbiage. A seal, in notary verbiage, could refer to a signature or an official notary stamp (confusing). The notary must sign and affix his/her/its notary seal to the California Acknowledgment Certificate. Please note that the stamp may not be placed over any signatures or wording otherwise it voids the seal.

Please also note that there are lots of (s), is/are, he/she/they, within the text. The notary is expected (many do not do this though) to cross out the inappropriate text near the forward slashes. If you are doing a notarization for a single man, then cross out the she and they and (s) in name, unless he has more than one name being used in the notarization (which would be an interesting case).

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