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September 2, 2013

Notary Perjury and Oaths

Notary Perjury

What is Notary perjury? Is that when a notary lies under Oath or when an Affiant lies under Oath to a Notary Public or other state official? In real life there is no such thing as Notary perjury — there is only regular perjury. Don’t get caught lying under Oath — tell the truth!

Penalty of perjury
If you swear under Oath to a Notary Public, you have made a solemn Oath under the penalty of perjury. Lying under Oath is a Felony and Federal crime punishable by jail time of up to five years. The problem is that Notary Oaths are not always very clear. The Notary might have you swear to a document, but what are you actually swearing to? Are you swearing that the document is true, or that you will follow the terms in the document, or both?

What types of things do people lie about?
People might lie about what their legal name is. Sometimes people want to use an alias. Sometimes the name a person has on the Title of a property might not exactly match the name on their identification document which could cause a lot of confusion and legal issues. Another common lie that I might have been told for years (no evidence either way) is on the Occupancy Affidavit. Borrowers can get a discounted interest rate if they claim to live in the building (house) they are borrowing on. The Occupancy Affidavit makes that borrowers swear that they are residing in the property as their primary residence. But, it is common for borrowers to lie and be using the property as an investment property or second home — an example of “Notary perjury”.

People don’t always take the Oath seriously
My biggest objection to being a notary was that people didn’t take Oaths seriously. I sometimes had to ask people multiple times to raise their right hand all the way up — no, not two inches up — all the way up. Mumbling an inaudible “yes” just doesn’t cut it with me. I think that as a Notary Public, you should remind your Affiants of how serious and formal the Oath actually is. I would also tend to think that your Oath takers will be more likely to tell the truth if they are aware of how serious an Oath is and if they are aware of how they could be subject to penalties of perjury should they lie. I have never heard of anyone being punished for lying under Oath to a notary. I have only heard of people getting in trouble for fraud. But, keep people honest in any case! Being a Notary Public is a serious profession that protects the integrity of signatures and society!

You might also like:

Can a Notary get in trouble?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21429

Penalties for notary misconduct and fraud
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21315

When are you required by law to give Oaths as a Notary?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21017

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July 10, 2019

When you say I DO – it’s not what you think

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — Tags: , , — admin @ 3:05 am

First the title, the entry has nothing to do with a marriage ceremony. Perhaps my details delve into a situation with greater risk. At the wedding the question is “do you take ,,,,,”. My question is (with some variations) – Do you swear or affirm that these are your signatures, that you read and understood these documents; and that the statements contained are true and correct to the best of your knowledge and belief.

I’m waiting for a yes, or I do. Very rarely (actually only once in 10+ years) do I receive a NO. But, sometimes I get a “yeah” or “whatever” or “if you say so” – how colorful. I ask the affiant if they would give the same reply in a courtroom in front of a Judge. Anger them and they have the full power to “contempt of court” you and off you go to the “window bars motel” for a few days. I don’t have that lofty power so all I can do is ask the flippant affiant for a simple yes or no.

It still amazes me that some take “the oath” lightly. They don’t understand that a notarized document is a serious matter. I ask “do you know what perjury is?” Sure, is the common answer, “it’s when you lie in court”. Are you aware that a falsehood in a sworn statement – for example the one you just signed, bears the same crime – perjury? Huuuh, you ain’t a judge. Right you are, but I am an officer of the New York State Department of State, sworn and holding a commission.

You’re serious. Yes I am and so is signing a document and swearing before a notary public. With me the oath refers to the written word; in court it’s the spoken word. That is the only difference.

Well, there is one little exception to the above paragraph. That’s when I attend a deposition to swear in a witness. Do you swear that the testimony you are about….. I do lots of those and have a script giving “for the record” covering: time, place, names, my commission number and current expiration date, etc. OK, enough rambling, time for the shocking perception of what I do.

It seems that most people don’t have a clue what notarization means. Just a few of the comments I have received: doesn’t your stamp make the document accurate? Your stamp just means that I signed it, it can contain a pack of lies; how would you know? My lawyer sent it to me, I never read what the attorney sends, and does it matter? Can this be used against me?

Folks, a properly notarized document can “usually” be admitted into evidence in a court of law – exactly as if you had appeared and given the testimony contained in the document. It IS serious, don’t take it lightly. Let me phrase it slightly differently: notaries are considered as being “officers of the court” exactly the same as the bailiff that swears you in on the witness stand.

I said it before and will repeat it again: Do you swear or affirm that these are your signatures, that you read and understood these documents; and that the statements contained are true and correct to the best of your knowledge and belief. “Fish” stories with buddies are one thing, often lies to be sure. But, have that fish story notarized, tip: you better have that fish on your wall!

You might also like:

The notary was in court due to a suspicious marriage
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20034

Ken’s list of things a notary might goof on
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19427

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February 17, 2019

Can a Notary get in trouble?

Can a Notary Public get in trouble? Can a Notary get in legal trouble? The answer is yes, but it might surprise you how it happens.

In my experience running a site where we have listed 55,000 Notaries to date, the only Notaries I have heard of who ended up in jail willfully engaged in very serious fraud involving real property. They falsified documents in order to steal property basically. This is the worst thing a notary can do and the penalties can be ten or more years in prison.

However there are other things a Notary can do where they might get fined, lose their commission, or get reprimanded.

1. A California Notary must maintain a journal to the standards of the state. The state of California audits Notary journals regularly by asking Notaries to mail in particular copies of pages of their journal If you are putting more than one document per journal entry, missing signatures, thumbprints (if applicable) or anything else, you can get a warning, get fined, or lose your commission for good. If you rely on your notary commission to make a living, obey the laws of the state — they will check up on you.

2. Falsifying a date in a notary certificate. Don’t do that. It is fraud. It might help your signer, and they might bribe you but you could lose your commission over that.

3. Omitting an Oath. Most Notaries think administering Oaths is a joke. If you get caught by a judge for failing to administer an Oath you could get fined, lose your commission, or possibly go to jail for perjury if you issued a written statement stating that an Oath had indeed been issued.

4. Goofing on your notary test with 123notary. The worst thing that can happen is that we might want you to study up and try again.

5. Sending a loose certificate in the mail. Very illegal, but people will ask you to do this. You can lose your commission over just one incident so don’t do it.

6. You might notarize someone who is John W Smith in the document but whose ID says John Smith and you might be notarizing the wrong person who is committing fraud.

But, there are other ways a Notary can get in trouble that are not the fault of the Notary.

1. Someone could give you a false ID and impersonate someone else. You might end up in court because of this, but as a witness not a defendant.

2. The FBI might investigate fraud that was done by a signer or someone impersonating you.

3. Someone can copy the impression of your notary seal and make a false certificate using it.

4. Someone you notarize might have a real ID, but have the same exact name as someone else and impersonate them.

5. An elderly person might be getting taken advantage that you notarized. They might not remember much in court so make sure your elder signers know what is going on. It is still risky if they know what is going on because by the time they get to court they might be completely senile.

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February 1, 2019

The Me Too Movement affects Notaries in the workplace at a bank

Filed under: Humorous Posts — Tags: , , , — admin @ 7:32 am

Me Too Movement Meets the Bank Notary

In this era of sensitivity when it comes to unwanted sexual behavior in the workplace, even bank notaries need to be mindful.

Male co-worker: (to female notary) “Ooh, I love your seal.”

Female notary: “I’d like to have HR ram it up your rear end for sexual harassment.”

Male co-worker: “Wait. How is having something rammed up my rear my end not sexual harassment?”

Female notary: “Typical guy. With you, everything’s sexual.

Male co-worker: “Are you willing to sign an affidavit swearing under penalty of perjury that with me, everything’s sexual?”

Female notary: “Why ‘affidavit’? Sounds like ‘David’. Why not ‘affiMary?’

Male co-worker: “Look, I realize we all need to be more sensitive and attuned to sexual equality. But isn’t that a little nuts?”

Female notary: “Nuts?”

Male co-worker: “As in ‘crazy,’ not… you know!”

Just then, the boss arrived and asked the female notary, “Can I see your journal?”

Female notary: “You may be my boss, but I’d really appreciate it if you keep your suggestive comments to yourself, sir. How much of my journal do you need to see?”

Boss: “I need to review the misfeasance report.”

Female notary: “Misfeasance? Why not… Miz..feasance?”

Just then, Matt Lauer and Harvey Weinstein enter the bank.

Matt: (to female notary): “Sweetheart, I need to get something notarized.”

Female notary (beaming): “You’re Matt Lauer!”

Harvey Weinstein: (to Matt): “Hey! Don’t call her sweetheart. That’s sexist!”

Female notary: (to Weinstein) “Shut up, you pig.”

You might also like:

The sexting notary
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19727

Notary Sexual Harassment Issues
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19698

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January 29, 2019

Can a Notary go to jail for Notary fraud?

Can a Notary go to jail for Notary fraud?
Can a Notary go to prison for Notary fraud?

Notaries very rarely end up in jail. There are many illegal things that Notaries to almost daily. However, the law seems to rarely catch up with them unless a crime is committed where there are damages. Additionally, if the crime was committed with intent to steal, embezzle, or harm someone, the Notary would be in a lot worse trouble.

Notaries typically do not administer Oaths for Jurats. Those that do, typically administer an Oath in my opinion incorrectly. I test Notaries regularly and this is how I know. It is illegal to sign a Jurat that makes you claim that you supervised an Oath when in fact you did not. That might be considered perjury, although I am not an Attorney and cannot say with any certainty. However, Notaries very rarely get in trouble for omissions in their duty.

The only time I have heard of a Notary going to jail was one who assisted in fraud involving real property. The Notary falsified paperwork, probably Deeds of some sort and helped someone steal someone else’s property. That Notary got put away for a long time.

However, Notaries end up in court regularly for things that signers did fraudulently. Some signers alter documents after they were notarized. Other signers committed identity fraud. Once in a while, someone will forge a notary seal and pretend to be a particular Notary. It is common those these acts of fraud to result in a Notary being supoenaed to court or at least being investigated.

So, unless a Notary does something intentionally to cause financial harm to another person, it is unlikely that they will end up in jail — but, then.. who knows…

You might also like:

All mortgage fraud is investigated by the FBI
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20995

Penalties for Notary misconduct, fraud and failure of duty
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21315

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January 24, 2019

California Acknowledgment

The 2018 California Acknowledgment is a little different than before. Please reference this link:
http://notary.cdn.sos.ca.gov/forms/notary-ack.pdf

Above the venue (county & state), there is a box that says, “A Notary Public or other officer completing this certificate verifies only the identity of the individual who signed the document to which this certificate is attached, and not the truthfulness, accuracy or validity of that document.”

Note:
The meaning of this statement is that the Notary’s job is to identify the signer properly. Additionally, the Notary certifies that the signer appeared before the Notary on a particular date. It is not the Notary’s right, responsibility or job to verify, ascertain or know if the corresponding document is true or not. However, if the Notary knows the document is false, then he/she should contact the state notary division and check the handbook to see if you are allowed to notarize documents that you know are fake. Last I heard, a California Notary should not notarize documents that are not truthful, but that information could be outdated.

State of California
County of _________________

On (date) before me, (name of notary or officer) personally appeared (name(s) of signer(s)) 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 acknowledged to me that he/she/they executed the same in his/her/their authorized capacity(ies), and that by his/her/their signature(s) on the instrument the person(s), or the 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 ______________________________ (Seal)

Note:
It is considered perjury if the Notary enters false information on a certificate. This applies more vigorously to Jurat certificates. It common for Notaries to claim in writing that they administered an Oath when they either did not administer an Oath, or did not administer a relevant Oath based on the signer swearing to the truthfulness of the document. A California Notary may charge $15 for executing an Acknowledgment.

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You might also like:

The name on the ID vs. the Acknowledgment, Document and Signature
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20186

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

When do I need to use a California all purpose Acknowledgment?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20133

California Notary Acknowledgment and Jurat Information
http://www.123notary.com/California/acknowledgment_jurat.asp

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January 17, 2019

Notary Etiquette 104 — General Tips

Filed under: Etiquette — Tags: — admin @ 3:19 pm

GENERAL TIPS
Return to Table of Contents for – Notary Etiquette 104
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1. Dress for success.
Business casual is great. People get complaints more for dressing poorly than for being a horrible Notary. So, go to Men’s Wearhouse first, and then buy that Notary course you were thinking of. And remember — it’s not what you know — it’s how you look! Notaries who show up in shorts and flip-flops get some serious complaints and even a bad review on their profile. In short, don’t dress like me.

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2. Forms you should carry
Carry loose Acknowledgment, Jurat and other certificates in your Notary Carry All Bag that you purchased from the NNA. Carry a thumb printer, wipes, and pens with you. Nothing is worse than a Notary that doesn’t have pens except one who wears flip-flops. Having good professional equipment makes you look like you know what you are doing even more than actually knowing what you are doing.

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3. Arrive on time
Nothing is worse than a late notary other than one who wears flip-flops.

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4. Follow up punctually
If you have to get the FedEx back, do so immediately. Do not wait to drop a package unless you are waiting for a callback. If you wait 90 minutes or more for a callback, consider that title needs their docs back and it might make sense to just drop it. That is a judgment call, so think carefully about it. If you get emails, answer them asap.

You have to be available after signings for up to the rescission date and sometimes later. If you become unreachable after the signing, you will get very serious complaints. The worst complaints we get about notaries are that they were rude, or unresponsive after they had completed work.

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5. Don’t be rude
If someone is rude to you, don’t reciprocate. Your reputation is on the line. You can get penalized for being rude even if the other person deserves it. So, watch yourself!

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6. Animals
If you are uncomfortable with animals in the room with the signing, you can politely ask if the animal can be put behind a firmly closed door. Dog owners assume that since they enjoy Fido jumping over them that it’s okay that Fido jumps all over you — after all, it’s okay because Fido’s a nice doggy.

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7. Where to sit
You are the facilitator of the signing, and you call the shots where people sit at the signing. It is often easier if you sit at the head of the table with husband and wife sitting next to each other. That way when person #1 signs and turns over the document, the second person can turn it over and sign it assembly line fashion.

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8. Tips for Jurats
In a Jurat, the signer has a choice of doing an Oath or Affirmation. Many Notaries today are very politically correct to the point where they assume that the borrower will be offended by an Oath and by default only do an Affirmation. This is offensive to those who want an Oath and also not legal. It is up to the borrower to choose which type of Notary act to choose, so just say,

“To execute a Jurat, we will need a statement made under the penalty of perjury as to the truthfulness of the document… would you prefer to swear under Oath under God or affirm on your honor?”

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9. Leaving a business card
At the end of the signing it is not bad manners to give them a business card. You never know when they will need another notarization.

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10. Do you answer the phone during a signing?
It is generally a bad idea to have phone calls during the signing. Some signing companies forbid this altogether. However, you might not be able to get your next job unless you answer your phone. So, if the phone rings, give the caller a minute before you cut them off. It is rude to answer the phone only to tell someone you can’t talk, and it is rude to the borrowers to have a long conversation with someone unrelated to the loan. This is a judgment call. However, it is sometimes hard to get a chance to talk to a Notary due to the fact they are always busy, because they are either at a signing, between signings, eating, or at church — with notaries this busy there is no good time to talk to them… ever!

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Please Also Read:

Best marketing resources for Notaries. This entry goes over active vs. passive marketing in detail
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16322

Notary etiquette from Athiest to Zombie
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=13718

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December 30, 2018

When are you required by law to do Oaths?

As we all know, state notary laws differ from state to state. Since I live in California, it is difficult for me to know what all the Notary laws are in other states. Sometimes I create a chart as a cheat sheet to know which states require certain things and which ones don’t. However, every state I have read about (I read handbooks for all states so you will have a problem fooling me — they are all online except for NC if I remember correctly) requires Oaths and has Oaths in the handbook as an official duty of a Notary Public. So, I am going to write some quiz pointers about Oaths below.

1. Oaths are an official Notary act in all states.
If I am wrong, show me your state notary handbook and show me the omission of Oaths.

2. Affirmations are an official Notary act in almost all states…
Or perhaps, now they are in all states. Not sure…

3. If you see the words — SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN (or affirmed) TO BEFORE ME BY…
This is Oath documentation verbiage. It is NOT the Oath itself, but the documentation that you administered an Oath or perhaps Affirmation. If you sign a form stating the above verbiage and do not administer an Oath, you have just committed fraud on a Notarial certificate which is a crime. I am not sure what type of crime it is, but it might be fraud, or even perjury which is a Federal crime punishable by up to five years in jail per infraction. Gulp. Please consult an Attorney to see what type of crime he/she thinks it is as my opinion is a layperson opinion and not legal advice.

4. My state doesn’t require Oaths.
I hear this every day. Your state DOES require Oaths, however your state doesn’t require you to read the handbook that says you have Oaths as an official duty. Moreover, your state doesn’t explain how to administer an Oath or WHEN to administer an Oath. I can blame your state, but this is also your fault if you go through life engaging in criminal negligence because you did not bother to learn when and how to administer Oaths.

5. We don’t do Oaths in my state.
Some people claim that Oaths might be an official Notary act in their state, but that it is never done. This is also not true. Carmen (who does sales for 123notary) does loan signings for out of state documents all the time and every single package has at least one Oath that is part of a JURAT.

6. If you see the word AFFIDAVIT in the title of a document.
The word Affidavit customarily means that the document is to be sworn to before a state official commissioned with the capacity to administer Oaths such as a Judge, Notary Public, Justice of the Peace, etc. If you see the word Affidavit, it is possible, although unlikely that you will execute an Acknowledged signature on that form. 99% or more of the time you will execute a Jurat, and Jurats by definition require the signer to sign (subscribe) in front of you and swear under Oath as to the truthfulness of the document.

7. Are you swearing to the identity of the signer, the signature or the truthfulness of the document.
Many Notaries administer Oaths to me over the phone on quizzes and make me repeat my name several times. However, the Oath for a document is regarding whether or not the document is true or not, and NOT to my identity. However, if the document makes me specifically swear to my name or name variations then I would have to swear to my identity. Additionally, an Oath on a document does not require the Affiant (signer) to swear to whether or not they signed it or whether or not they signed it on their own free will unless their state specifically requires it or unless the cheat sheet for the Oath requires it. As a general rule, an Oath on a document must be regarding the truthfulness of the document as the primary focus. Any other considerations are secondary or perhaps not necessary or perhaps should be left out.

8. Why Oath cheat sheets are dangerous
If you do not know the legal requirements of an Oath on a document in your state, you might not administer a passable Oath if you read off the cheat sheet. In my opinion which is based on logic, but not on law, an Oath on a document must be about the truthfulness of the document. If your cheat sheet for an Oath says, “Do you solemnly swear you signed this document.” — that would lead to an incomplete notarization because you never swore to the truthfulness of the document.

9. I don’t do Oaths, I only do Refinances.
Newsflash — Every refinance I have ever seen has at least one Oath. If there is an Affidavit such as a signature affidavit, identity affidavit, or occupancy affidavit, customarily there will be an Oath. If you do Refinances, you are required to do Oaths as part of fulfilling the statements on the Jurat certificate(s).

10. Oaths on oral statements or without Jurats
You might be asked to give an Oath on an oral statement. There might not be any paperwork involved other than your journal. You need to read up on how to do this. You might also be asked to give an Oath on a document that does not have a Jurat. You would have to ad-lib to come up with verbiage so practice on random documents to get the feel of it.

11. Remote court attendance.
Florida state allows certain witnesses to appear in court by phone. A Notary must swear them in from their remote location. This type of Oath requires the Notary to look at their ID, read it to the judge and do the TV court Oath of how you swear to tell the truth, whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God.

12. Penalties for wrong or omitted Oaths.
Notaries rarely get in trouble for omitting a required Oath or refusing to administer an Oath. But, there are times when they do. Here are the things that could happen to you. Why take chances? It is like leaving your door unlocked.

(a.) REVOKED COMMISSION — Your commission could be revoked. I heard of several Notaries in Oklahoma who did not administer Oaths on loan documents.

(b.) OVERTURNED LOANS — The loan that had documents with required Oaths could be overturned by a Judge if they find out that the Notary did not administer an Oath.

(c.) GETTING SUED — The Notary could get sued by the Lender because there will be serious financial damages for the Lender because the Notary omitted a legally required Oath. Damages might be $20,000 or more if you get caught. People don’t get caught often — but when they do…

(d.) FINES — Certain states fine Notaries for misconduct and omissions. Failing to administer a required Oath in California used to have a $750 fine per incident. Now, it might be $1500. I am not sure of the exact fine, but it should be in that neighborhood.

(e.) JAIL — I have heard, and this may or may not be true, that making a false statement about an Oath on a certificate is perjury. The penalty for perjury is a jail sentence of up to five years per incident. So, you could end up in jail if the Feds or your state start checking up on Notaries to see if they are administering Oaths. They are not checking up now, but they could start any time.

(f.) LOSE LISTING — 123notary sometimes removes people for disciplinary reasons. If we find out that you do not obey Notary laws, we normally steer you to some educational materials. But, if you have a complete disregard for law, order, and common decency, you could lose your listing. We normally as a handful of Notary questions and will accept a very low average since most Notaries do not know their stuff. However, if you score under 50% on our quiz whether oral or written, you will most likely be in trouble with us. Although we are not commissioned to enforce laws, I do enforce who I list and that is my right and authority as owner of this site.

SUMMARY
Although Notaries only get in trouble for not administering an Oath once in a blue moon, it is illegal not to fulfill your duties as a Notary Public, and it only takes minutes to read up on when and how to administer Oaths. There is no reason for this type of blatant negligence and criminal behavior. So, please become an expert at administering Oaths. Your first step should be to read your state handbook and see what they say about Oaths. They probably do not do a complete job of teaching it which is part of the problem. The NNA and 123notary have materials as well, and you could consult an Attorney. Although Oath procedure is not taught properly by the states (not even California) you are still legally required to give Oaths and give logical and correct sounding Oaths.

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You might also like:

Should you use book wording for Oaths or improvise?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19660

Airline meals verses Notary Oaths & Affirmations
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19549

Oaths – How Notaries completely screw them up!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19369

Oaths and the art if improvisation
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19367

Notary Public 101 – Oaths, Affirmations, Jurats & Acknowledgments
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19500

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December 24, 2018

Acknowledgment FAQ

Filed under: Notary Acts & Certificates — admin @ 9:39 am

What is an Acknowledgment? Or, should I say, what is a Notary Acknowledgment or Notarized Acknowledgment? Why is it missing the “e” after “g”? Is that a typo, and should it be spelled Acknowledgement? No, it is not a typo.

Notaries commissioned in the various fifty states have a variety of Notary acts that they may perform. Some are common ones that are practices in virtually every state, although they sometimes have name variations and sometimes the rules for these acts can change slightly from state to state as well.

Common Notary acts that are almost completely universal include:

Acknowledgments — an act where the signer acknowledges having sign a document and acknowledges in the physical presence of the notary public, but does not have to sign in front of the Notary except in a handful of states (it’s complicated).

Jurats — an act where the signer or “affiant” must sign the document in the physical presence of the Notary Public as well as swear or affirm under the penalty of perjury to the truthfulness of the content of the document.

Oaths — a purely verbal act where the affiant must swear under Oath under God to the truthfulness of an oral or written statement.

Affirmations — a purely verbal act where the affiant must affirm under Oath on their honor to the truthfulness of an oral or written statement. Please note that Oaths and Affirmations are not the same act, but can be used interchangeably and carry the same legal weight and significance.

How does a signer Acknowledge their signature?
Does the signer say, “I hereby proclaim that I, the party of the first part, the signing party withstanding , have signed the foregoing instrument herein, and thereto, and therefor acknowledge the same in my capacity as an individual so-on and so forth.” The truth of the matter is that you can simply place the signed document in front of the Notary Public (in most states, exceptions apply) and ask him if he/she can notarized it with an Acknowledgment, or you can just say, “I signed this, please notarize it.”

What are the requirements for Acknowledgment wording or Acknowledgment verbiage?
All states require some sort of Acknowledgment verbiage. The requirements differ from state to state. Many states require certain components or facts to be covered in the wording while others might require exact state specific wording. It is best to ask an Attorney what wording is necessary in your case. Many Notaries do not carry pads of Acknowledgments with them (although they should) and it is up to you to make sure that notarial wording is either embedded in the document or attached on a loose certificate that is stapled to the document.

Who can perform a Notary Acknowledgment?
As a general rule, a Judge, Notary, Justice of the Peace, and perhaps a few other legal professions may execute Acknowledgments. When in doubt, ask an Attorney for a state specific answer.

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
When I studied to be a Notary Public, my teacher said you Acknowledge a signature, Execute a Jurat and Administer an Oath. This is not true. The Notary is not the one who acknowledges signatures. The SIGNER acknowledges the signature and then the Notary CERTIFIES that the signer acknowledged the signature by virtue of filling out an Acknowledgment Certificate. Here are some basics on Acknowledgments.

1. The signer acknowledges having signed the particular document.

2. The signer must physically personally appear before the Notary for such an act.

3. The signer does NOT have to sign before the Notary according to most if not all states such as AK, IA, SC, SD, VT, and WV. Lenders might require the borrower to sign in the presence of the Notary, but that is a particular Lender’s standard and not necessarily a state standard or even a best practice.

4. The Notary must positively identify the signer using identification documents acceptable to their state which normally include Drivers Licenses, State issued identification photo ID’s, Passports, and Military ID’s. Other ID might be accepted on a state by state basis. You can look that up in your handbook. Also, see our section on identification.

5. The Notary should ideally keep a journal entry of all Notarial acts even if their state does not require this.

6. There should be Acknowledgment wording appropriate or acceptable to your state inscribed within the document, or you can attach a loose acknowledgment form with a staple.

7. After you fill out the certificate form, you sign and stamp the page (some states allow you to write in your seal information without a stamp.) Make sure your stamp is clear and not smudgy otherwise the county recorder has the right to reject the Notarization.

8. Note — some states require the Notary to ask the signer to attest to the fact that they signed the document in their own free will. Please be aware if your state has any unusual requirements or special wording on forms.

9. A California Notary faces many restrictions as to what type of out of state forms they can use. Please check the California Notary Handbook to see what you can accept and what you can’t otherwise you could get in trouble particularly if it is a recorded document.

10. There is an optional and additional information section in Acknowledgments which helps identify the document that the certificate corresponds to. This includes the document name, document date, number of pages, and other pertinent information.

Resources

Basic Notary Acts — Acknowledgments
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19500

Acknowledgment vs. Acknowledgement
http://grammarist.com/spelling/acknowledgment-acknowledgement/

Legal definition of Acknowledgment (does not necessarily apply to notary profession)
https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/acknowledgment

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

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December 6, 2018

Jurat – Definition

A Jurat is a Notary act where the signer or affiant must sign and swear (or affirm), both in the presence of the Notary Public. The signer gets to choose whether they wish to swear under God under Oath or affirm on their honor — both acts are done under the penalty of perjury.

Jurats are the second most common Notary act next to Acknowledgments.

There is no prescribed Oath verbiage, however, the word swear should be used, and there should be a reference to the truthfulness of the document. The Notary could have the affiant raise their right hand and ask, “Do you solemnly swear under God and under the penalty of perjury that this document is true and correct to the best of your knowledge?”

A Jurat also requires a Jurat certificate. And the certificate must confirm to state specific rules and have state specific verbiage. Verbiage differs from state to state, but the language, “Subscribed and sworn to before me by (name) on (date)” is common.

Related Links

Jurat wording step by step
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=7875

What is a Jurat?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=6937

Notary verbiage for Jurats
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2088

Notary Public Information
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20075

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