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February 7, 2017

Notary Wording

Notary Wording Varies from State to State
There is no official American Notary wording. Notary verbiage differs from state to state, and varies based on what type of Notary act you are having done. There are various common types of notarizations such as Acknowledged signatures, Jurats, Oaths and Affirmations. The vast majority of notarizations are Acknowledgments whose wording states that the signer appeared before the Notary, was positively identified, and signed the document.

Notary Certificates — what type of wording is included.
Your typical Acknowledgment or Jurat Certificate will include several sections with wording.

1. Venue
The venue states the state and county where the notarization is taking place. Please note that the Notary is not always commissioned in the county where the notarization is taking place. So, if you are in Orange county, but the Notary is from San Diego, please make sure they put the venue county based on where the notarization is taking place, and not where they live.

2. Boiler Plate Wording
The main body of the text could be worded in an infinite variety of ways, but normally state the date of the signing, name of the signer, the name of the Notary, the fact that the signer appeared before the Notary, the fact that the signer signed the document, and if an Oath was included (Jurats by definition have Oaths) then the fact that the signer swore before the Notary. The verbiage “subscribed and sworn to before me this (date)” is commonly used in many states especially in New York where the cabbies enjoy the swearing part more than any other part of the Notarization.

3. The Signature Section
The bottom of the notary wording or notary verbiage has room for the Notary’s seal which might mean their signature or their official notary stamp. In most states the Notary signs and stamps, or might even emboss with a non-inked embosser as a secondary form of stamp.

Types of Acknowledgments
Normally, when people want to be Notarized, they ask the Notary if they can notarize a Jurat for them. In actuality, most Notarizations are for Acknowlegments. Normally people can use an All Purpose Acknowledgment, but in Ohio, there is such thing as a Corporate Acknowledgment and Attorney in Fact Acknowledgment.

Where Can You Find Your State’s Wording?
If you visit our find a notary page, you can click on your state and find current notary wording for your state. Or Google your states notary wording. Example: “California Acknowledgment Wording.”

Sample California Jurat Verbiage

State of California
County of Lake

Subscribed and sworn to (or affirmed) before me on this 5th day of January, 2017, by Jedadiah Goldminer, proved to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence to be the person(s) who appeared before me.

(Seal)

Signature_______________________

Loose Certificates
Many documents have preprinted notary wording on them. However, it is legal to attach a loose certificate form using a staple. NNA is a great source for Notary certificate pads such as Acknowledgment Certificates, Jurat Certificates, and even Copy Certification by Document Custodian if you want to get fancy.

Filling out the Forms
It is common on Notary certificate forms to have sections where there is he/she/they or signature(s). You have to cross out the non-applicable word(s). If you are Notarizing a woman, cross out the he and the they and the (s). If you are notarizing a man and a woman in the same notary act, cross out the he and the she, but keep the (s). If you are notarizing a man who used to be a women — your guess is as good as mine — good luck, you’ll need it.

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Notary Boiler Plate Wording
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November 22, 2016

Definition of Oath

This article deals with Oaths in general as well as how Oaths are significant in the Notary Profession.

What is an Oath?
An Oath is a solemn and formal statement of fact or promise that is worded in a sacred or official way. An Oath is a formalized vow normally taken before others in a formal situation.

Types of Oaths
It is common for people to take an Oath or swear under Oath when becoming a public official which would be called being sworn into office. People also take Oaths when they get married or when they are sworn into court as a defendant, plaintiff, Attorney, witness or juror. People take an Oath of citizenship when becoming a citizen. Those in the medical profession take a hippocratic Oath. But, zookeepers do not need to take a rhinocratic Oath contrary to popular belief.

Hand Gestures
It is common in the United States for people to raise their right hand with their palm facing forward at the beginning of an Oath proceeding. Different parts of the world might have different hand gestures or no hand gestures.

Some People Refuse Oaths
Some Christians refuse to swear under Oath as they always tell the truth (or claim to.) They seem to not understand that the purpose of the Oath is not to prove to themselves that they are telling the truth, but to impress upon others that they are — while the others might not have the same opinion as to the integrity of the affiant. The Notary profession now allows for Affirmations instead of Oaths for those religious people who don’t believe in oaths.

Affirmations
An Affirmation is a formal statement that currently carries the same and identical weight and meaning as an Oath. A Notary Public can swear someone in using an Affirmation instead of an Oath merely by substituting verbiage. Instead of saying, “Do you solemnly swear that this document is true and correct?” you could say, “Do you solemnly affirm that this document is true and correct?”

Affiant
An affiant is the person who swears under Oath typically in a written statement called an Affidavit.

Affidavit
An Affidavit is a written document, often a legal document where the Affiant swears before a Notary Public as to the truthfulness of the document.

Jurat
A Jurat is an official Notary act where the affiant swears under Oath to the truthfulness of a written statement or document. Some Jurats have handwritten statements written by the signer who is also the affiant. Others are drafted up by an Attorney, government or professional agency.

Notarial Oath
Jurats are not the only Notary act that can have an Oath. Notaries use Oaths in many aspects of their work. Notaries take an Oath of Office to get sworn into duty when their commission begins. Notaries routinely swear in Credible Witnesses who are used to identify a signer who doesn’t have identification. Notaries swear in Subscribing Witnesses as well who witness people signing a document. There are also just plain Oaths that Notaries administer. The Oath might not be written or recorded. If Notary administers an Oath, they should indicate in their journal that they gave an Oath regarding a particular subject and have the Oath taker (affiant) sign the journal in that corresponding entry.

Acknowledgments with Oaths
Acknowledged signatures normally do not have Oaths, but they could have an accompanying Oath. Acknowledgments allow the signer to sign before they see the Notary Public. However, the Oath would have to be taken in the presence of a Notary Public.

Oaths in Mortgage Loan Signings
Mortgage loan signings normally contain several affidavits such as the Signature Affidavit which requires a sworn Oath. So, if you perform Loan Signings, be prepared to be an expert at the art of Oath giving.

Question
If Physicians take a Hippocratic Oath, what type of profession would take a Rhinocratic Oath?

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May 9, 2013

What is a notary public?

What is a notary?

A notary is a state appointed public official that is authorized to conduct certain types of official acts such as Acknowledgments, Jurats, Oaths, Affirmations, Protests, and sometimes other notary public acts. Since notaries are appointed by their respective states, the laws for notary conduct and what types of official notary acts a notary can do vary from state to state.

Notary Acknowledgments & Identification Requirements
A notary public can execute acknowledgments. Acknowledgments are the most common notary act representing about 80% of all acts done by notaries! The notary must positively identify a signer as the first step in executing an acknowledgment. Identification requirements vary from state to state, but most states allow state issued identification cards, drivers licenses, and passports. As a general rule, any government issued photo-ID with a serial number, expiration date, and physical description is accepted. Social security cards, credit cards and green cards are not acceptable.

Identification through Credible Witnesses
Some states allow a notary to positively identify a signer through the use of credible witnesses who must be identified by the notary and then swear under Oath as to the identity of the signer. Personal knowledge of the signer used to be allowed in most states, but in recent years, notaries are required to rely on more “hard” forms of identification.

Notary Journals
After the identification process is over, the notary must fill in a journal entry in his/her official journal of notarial acts. Not all states require journals, but they should because the journal is the only record of a transaction that the notary has, and can be used in an investigation or in court after the fact in a few critical cases where fraud is suspected! The signer is required to sign the notary journal which is one of the most important parts of the notary process.

Notary Certificates
The notary must fill out an Acknowledgment Certificate with state specific Acknowledgment verbiage. The Acknowledgment wording can be embedded in the last page of the document, or could be added and stapled as a loose form.

The official notary seal
Notaries typically affix their seal to the notary certificate area in a document or on a loose certificate. This is a very official way that notaries finalize their notary acts. Notaries may use an inked rubber seal. Some states allow a notary public to also use an non-inked embosser which leaves a raised impression in a piece of paper — as a supplemental seal to deter fraud through page swapping.

Jurats
A Jurat is a notary procedure where the notary administers an Oath. The signer has to raise his/her right hand and swear under Oath to the truthfulness of a document or statement in a Jurat form. Additionally, the signer must sign the document in front of the notary for a Jurat, where they can sign long ahead of time for an Acknowledgment. Identification requirements for Jurats vary from state to state. Jurats represent roughly 18% of all notarial acts!

Oaths and Affirmations
Notaries can perform or administer Oaths or Affirmations for clients. They should record such acts in their bound and sequential journal as well. Wording for Oaths is really up to the notary, but some standardized or formal wording is recommended such as, “Do you solemnly swear that the contents of this document are true and correct to the best of your knowledge?”. Or, “Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?”. The Oath verbiage depends on the situation and the document. However, it should be formal, and the Affiant (Oath taker) must raise their right hand definitively for this type of act. An Affirmation is the same as an Oath except for the fact that the word God is omitted from the Affirmation Verbiage.

Protests
This is an antiquated notary act where someone can protest the non-payment of a bill. I have never met a notary who has actually conducted such a notary act, but most states still include this as one of their official acts.

Acts allowed only in specific states
New York allows notaries to do Safety Box Openings as an official notary act while most other states do not. Rhode Island has something called a Marine Protest which is only an official notary act in Rhode Island. Various states allow notaries to act as a Witness as an official notary act as well. Additionally, please consult your state’s notary division for information about Apostilles and Authentications which typically involve either a local county recorder, the Secretary of State’s office, or a local embassy.

Documents that are commonly notarized.
Many notaries notarized Power of Attorney documents frequently. Notaries are advised not to draft such documents as they are legal documents. However, notaries can notarize signatures on such documents.

Affidavits of all sorts are normally notarized with a Jurat since they are to be sworn to (usually). The notary is forbidden from recommending a particular notary act over another, but they are not prohibited from stating what is “usually” done.

Wills can be notarized by a notary, however, it is generally frowned upon unless given written instructions from an Attorney!

Notaries can not notarize vital records such as Birth Certificates or Marriage Certificates.

A Notary Public can notarize Real Estate or Mortgage documents or loan documents except in certain Attorney states such as Massachusetts or Georgia where there are restrictions. Common loan documents that might be notarized could include Deeds of Trust, Signature Affidavits, Grant Deeds, Quit Claim Deeds, Occupancy Affidavits, and many more!

Where can I find a notary?
123notary has thousands of mobile notaries distributed throughout the United States that you can find on our Find a Notary page. They typically charge a travel fee and specialize in loan documents. To find a stationary notary, please consult your local yellow pages, or call pack & ship places in your area.

How can I become a notary?
Each state has a Secretary of State or Notary Division that appoints notaries. Please visit our state contact page, and contact your state’s notary division for details. Typically, you need to be 18 years old, not have a felony on your criminal record, be a citizen (some states require this), or in many states be legally residing in the United States. Most states have a Notary Public Application Form, and a Notary Public handbook for you to study from. You are normally required to pay an Application fee for becoming a notary, and there could be other fees for recording your Notary Oath of Office as well as the fee for your Stamp, Journal, and other related fees.

Is it worth it to become a notary?
It can be very rewarding to be a notary. You can make a lot of extra money in your spare time if you have a way to attract clients. You can meet new people, and learn new things. Mobile notaries who are good at what they do can make a full time living driving around doing loan signings. You can get a job more easily if the boss knows you are a notary, as that is a skill in high demand at many offices.

Tweets:
(1) A notary is a state appointed public official authorized to conduct certain types of official acts such as Jurats …
(2) A notary public can execute Acknowledgments, Jurats, Protests, Oaths, Affirmations…
(3) A quick guide to being a notary including: journals, seals, identification, witnesses, jurats, oaths & more…

I want to learn more!
Visit our GLOSSARY of notary and mortgage terms, and read more articles in our blog!

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February 2, 2011

Interesting and uncommon notary acts

Notary Acts
 
There are various types of notarial acts, and the rules and types of acts vary from state to state.  In this blog entry, I’ll go over all of the types of notary acts that I can find information about, and introduce some of the points that differ from state to state.  The states associated with each specific act are NOT necessarily the ONLY states associated with those acts, but are the state(s) that we are referencing.
 
Acknowledgment
An acknowledgment is the most common notary act and accounts for roughly 80% of all notarizations with Jurats being in second place.  Many states allow notaries to charge a maximum fee per notarized signature, while Florida’s fees are based on how many times you affix your stamp when executing an acknowledgment.
 
Affirmation
An affirmation is a type of Oath where there is no mention of a higher power (God).
 
Attesting to a Document’s Validity (AR)
This is a notary act that is peculiar to Arkansas.  I don’t recall seeing this as a possible notary act in any other state. Please visit our Arkansas Notary page for more information.
 
Authentication, Apostilles, and Magistracies (General)
These are general notary public procedures common to most states. However, less than 1% of notaries know how to do such notary acts, and you normally have to contact your state notary public division to learn the rules.  The process of getting one of these generally takes a minimum of a few days, and the price is usually high.
 
Certified Copies (WA)(CA)
Some states allow Certified copies of powers of attorney such as California.   Other states often allow a notary to make certified copies of any type of document.  New York doesn’t allow any type of certified copies. The type of documents that a notary may certify copies of vary from state to state.  Washington allows a notary to charge $10 per certified copy of any document for example.
 
Copies of Journal Entries
California notary law allows a small fee of 30 cents per entry for notaries to charge if a member of the public needs a copy of a specific journal entry.  The notary should be careful to make sure that all other transactions recorded in the journal do not show up on the photocopy sent to the individual making the inquiry to protect people’s privacy.
 
Depositions – Certifying Depositions (AR)
Most states use the term, “Take a deposition” while Arkansas allows notaries to certify a Deposition.  Some states allow a fee for the Deposition and then another fee for each oath to each witness.  Rules vary from state to state.
 
Document Copy Charges (CO)
Colorado notary law allows a notary to make copies of documents and charge for this act.  This act ensures that the copied document is a real copy and not a different document or one that is slightly altered.  If you are in another state that doesn’t have this type of notary act, its still advisable to witness the photocopying of documents that are to be certified as copies. Its also not a bad idea to make a notation on the document that you witnessed it being photocopied even though thats not an official act outside of Colorado that we are aware of.
 
e-Notarizations
Rules for e-notarizations differ from state to state.  The main point is to use an electronic journal to record transactions and for the documents to be online or electronic documents.  e-signings are signings where some of the documents are online while others are printed out.  A regular journal is used when doing an e-signing although the signature on the document is electronic.
 
Jurat
This is the second most popular notary act.  A Jurat requires the signer to sign the document before the notary and to take an Oath before the notary as well regarding the document or verbiage.  Several years ago, Jurats did not require identification in many states, but as of 2011, almost all states require the signer / affiant to be positively identified for this notary act.
 
Marine Protest (RI)
Rhode Island is the only state we have seen to have a separate fee for a marine Protest.  A Protest is an act where
someone Protests non-payment of a bill.  A Marine protest or sea protest is a statement where a captain or officer can include relevant details about the ship, voyage, cargo, drafts, date of departure, date of arrival in next port. This type of act is used if unfavorable weather conditions were encountered.  The Marine protest will protect the vessel and their owners from further claims brought forward by charterers, shippers, and cargo receivers.
 
Non-Certified Copies (VA)
Virginia allows for notaries to make copies that are not certified.  A non-certified copy if for information only and is not accepted for legal purposes such as school enrollment or applying for a drivers license or passport.
 
Oath
Most if not all states allow notaries to take Oaths.  An Oath is a solemn promise or statement where the affiant swears that they are telling the truth.
 
Photocopying & Supervising Photocopying (AR)
In Arkansas, a notary can get paid to photocopy documents or supervise the photocopy of documents. 
 
Proof of Execution
This notary act requires a subscribing witness who sees the principal sign a document.  The subscribing witness appears before the notary public.  This act is the only notary act where the actual signer doesn’t appear before the notary.
 
Protest
This type of notary act is where an individual protests the nonacceptance or non-payment of money owed.
 
Safe Deposit Openings (NY)
Here is a unique notary act only allowed in New York and Florida that we are aware of.  The notary must witness the opening of a safe deposit box and record the contents of the box in a certificate, but not in their journal.  Please click on the link to read the details.
 
Taking a Renunciation of dower or Inheritance (SC)
Please see the South Carolina notary division’s website for details on this unique notary act.
 
Verification – Taking a verification upon an Oath or Affirmation (DE)(PA)
Please consult the Delaware or Pennsylvania’s notary division website for more information on this unique act.
 
Weddings (ME), (SC), (FL)
Notaries in Maine, South Carolina, and Florida can solemnize weddings.  Notaries need to be familiar with the procedure and proper wedding etiquette to provide this type of service.
 
Witnessing an Absentee Ballot (FL)
Notaries are not allowed to charge for this notary act in Florida, or California. 
 
Witnessing or Attesting to a Signature (DE)
Attesting to a signature simply means witnessing a signature, and then signing your own name to document that fact that you witnessed a signature.  Delaware is one state of many that considers being a witness an official notary act.

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