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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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November 15, 2018

The Starbucks Oath Question

Filed under: Technical & Legal — Tags: , — admin @ 10:25 am

I created a quiz question for written quizzes about Starbucks. It is a very interesting and caffeinated question. Here it is…

A Notary goes to a signing.

The Affiant asks for an Oath on a document that is an Affidavit that reads, “I love Starbucks.”

The Notary proceeds to attach a Jurat…
and made a statement that was, “Do you solemnly affirm that you are the one who signed this document and that your name is John Smith?”

What did the Notary do wrong?

COMMON RESPONSES

1. Ask for ID?
Many Notaries feel the Notary should ask for ID. It is true that Notaries are responsible for identifying people. However, that is not central to this question and since the document, certificate, and journal entry have not been completed or stamped, that is irrelevant at this point. Unfortunately, Notaries tend to get sidetracked on irrelevant details that are not central to situations while missing very critical points that can get them in trouble. Talking about ID at this point would be going off on a tangent, especially if that is the only thing you mentioned — although in most states you probably would have to identify the signer.

2. Create a journal entry.
Yes, you should ideally create a journal entry. But, that too is not central to the question at hand.

3. The notary used Acknowledgment wording.
I have never heard of a state that makes you take an Oath while doing an Acknowledgment except perhaps that Massachusetts wants to make sure the signer signed on their own free will and makes them make some sort of statement confirming that fact.

4. Make sure the venue has the correct information.
This document has no venue, and Oaths in all states but Florida (not completely sure about this by the way) do not have certificates. Certificates have venues, but if you don’t have a certificate, you don’t have a venue. Oaths once again typically do not have certificates, and therefore do not have venues.

CORRECT RESPONSE

1. The Notary did three things wrong

(a) The Notary added a Jurat when he was asked for an Oath. Although Jurats have Oaths or Affirmations, Oaths do not have Jurats. Humans have diabetes, but diabetes does not have humans. So, please do not assume that an Oath has a Jurat. An Oath can be done as an independent notary act, and most Notaries don’t know this because they do not read up on Notary tutorials, nor do they ever do Oaths as independent acts. In fact, most Notaries do not do Oaths as part of Jurats either — they just skip over it and assume nobody will notice, or they think that filling out the subscribed and sworn written verbiage is the actual Oath (which is not true because Oaths are verbal by definition.) An Oath is a purely verbal act, however, in Jurats there is a written documentation that accompanies and documents the verbal act.

(b) The Notary gave an Affirmation when he was asked to administer an Oath which is bad for two reasons — one, because the notary did not do what he was asked and, two, because the notary CHOSE the Notary act on behalf of the signer which you are not allowed to do. Only the signer or client can choose the Notary act. So, what the Notary did looks like it is bad service, but also illegal.

(c) The statement the notary made was about the signature and the name of the affiant, but not about the content of the document. The Affiant asked for an Oath on their document, so therefore, the Oath should be made purely on the content of the document.

“Do you solemnly swear that this document is true and correct to the best of your knowledge so help you God?” — would be okay.

“Do you solemnly swear that you love Starbucks? — is paraphrasing and is okay assuming you don’t butcher the statement in any way that detracts from the logic of the statement.

“Do you solemnly swear that you love Starbucks, so help you the Starbucks Goddess.” — if you are politically correct and have multiple choice for what divine entity you want to swear to, you might be able to get away with this one. Read your state notary handbook and see if they allow swearing to the Starbucks Goddess, or as I call her — The Goddess of Caffeine.

“Please raise your right espresso…” (fill in the rest according to your imagination.)

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You might also like:

Notary Starbucks – charging for waiting time while sipping Sumatra
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18926

The Starbucks Signing in the 30 point course
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14291

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

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November 13, 2018

The Delaware Oath revisited

Filed under: Technical & Legal — Tags: , — admin @ 10:22 am

I have started asking questions that intentionally lead you into going off on an unnecessary and illogical tangent. Notaries go on tangents all the time. So, if I have multiple choice answers or questions that would lead an illogical person off track, I get to see who is on the ball and who is not. Here is a scenario that I ask about a lot.

An Affiant appears before a Notary and asks for an Oath on a document that says, “I live in Delaware.”
The Notary declined the job because the Notary is an Illinois Notary, and not a Delaware Notary. What did the Notary do wrong and what should the notary have done?

COMMON ANSWERS

1. The Notary should have checked the ID.
If you are going to decline a Notary job, checking ID will not help. If your state requires identification for Oaths (most if not all probably do although I don’t know that for a fact) then identify the person and keep a journal entry.

2. Just change the venue to Illinois.
The document has no venue. It just says, “I live in Delaware.” The word Delaware is part of a statement and not a venue. If your state requires a certificate for Oaths, the certificate would have a venue, but most states do not have certificates for Oaths. No certificate = no venue.

3. He should look up Delaware wording
There is no state specific wording for Oaths in any state that I have heard of. Check your handbook for a real answer as I am not educated in state notary law although I read ALL the handbooks from all states regularly. An Oath is just an Oath and the notary or signer have the freedom to word it and craft it as they see logical and appropriate.

4. He should use Illinois wording on the Oath.
Once again, you do have to follow the notary laws in your state regardless of where a document is going to be recorded or where the custodian of the document is located. However, the document is NOT a Delaware document. It is a document that has no location at all — it merely states that the Affiant lives in Delaware.

5. The Notary should say, “Do you solemnly swear that you live at such and such an address in Delaware so help you God?”
This Notary is adding content that is not on the document. You can’t do that. Just administer an Oath as to the content of the document.

6. Add a Jurat
In this question you are giving an Oath only if you follow instructions. Oaths do not have Jurats, but Jurats have Oaths or Affirmations. You were not given permission to add a Jurat either, and might be considered UPL to choose the Notary act on behalf of the Affiant.

7. Just give an Oath.
The correct answer is to just give an Oath based on the content of the document. There is no state specific wording necessary. You could say, “Do you solemnly swear that the contents of this document are true and correct?” Then the Affiant must say, “I do.”

This question is really an easy question that tests whether you do your job, or get sidetracked by inconsequential details. You would be surprised at how many notaries just cannot do their job the minute they get distracted by something tiny that throws them off.

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October 17, 2017

Notary Public 101 — Basic Notary Acts

Return to table of contents for Notary Public 101.

BASIC NOTARY ACTS

Each state has a different list of official Notary acts. Some state handbooks don’t make it clear if certain actions are considered “official” notary acts or not. However, all states or the vast majority have Acknowledgments, Jurats, Oaths, and Affirmations. Many also have Protests and Proofs of Execution, while only a few have Witnessing, Attesting, immigration form filling, and depositions as acts. There are a few more acts I will not mention as they are obscure and very state specific. Let’s focus on the main acts that we will hold you responsible for knowing.

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

When I studied to be a Notary, 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 a signature. The SIGNER acknowledges the signature and then the Notary CERTIFIES that the signer acknowledged the signature by virtue of filling out the Acknowledgment Certificate. Here are some basics on Acknowledgments.

1. The signer acknowledges having signed the 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 and 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 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.

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JURATS

Jurats are a Notary act where the signer or affiant by definition signs and swears (and/or sometimes affirms) before the Notary. Jurat wording differs from state to state. However, some basic verbiage includes the phrase, “Subscribed and sworn to before me.” What does this mean? This means that the document was signed in the physical presence of the Notary Public as well as sworn to before the Notary Public at the signing. In an Acknowledged signature you can sign prior to seeing the Notary, but you acknowledge before the Notary. A Jurat is completely different. Modern verbiage for Jurats sometimes says, “Subscribed and sworn or affirmed to before me.” This does not mean that you can administer an Oathfirmation and mix the Affirmation and Oath verbiage. This means that you can have the client choose if they want an Oath or Affirmation and do one or the other. Don’t mix these Notary acts unless your state specifically says you can.

Many Notaries are unaware that when executing a Jurat, you do need to administer an Oath particular to the document being signed. Please see our commentary on Oaths below. Failing to administer an Oath on a Jurat is illegal and could void the legal completeness of the document. Some states additionally will reserve the right to suspend your commission if you omit a legally required Oath.

“Subscribed and sworn to before me” is NOT Oath verbiage! That is the written documentation that you gave an Oath. When you ask the affiant to raise their right hand, do NOT utter the words, “subscribed and sworn to before me.” otherwise they will think you are an idiot and there will be no way for them to respond unless they repeat. Start an Oath with, “do you solemnly swear” after they have raised their right hand.

A good Oath for a document could be, “Do you solemnly swear under the penalty of perjury that the information in this document is true and correct to the best of your knowledge, so help you God?” Then the other person says, “I do.” Then you pronounce them “man and document” by the powers vested in you.

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OATHS

Not all Notarial acts include a written document or written certificate. Some are purely oral. Oaths and Affirmations are oral acts where most states do not have a certificate for the Oath. You should write in your journal if you administered an Oath and where it says, “Name of document” you should write that you gave an Oath about a particular topic. You do not write the actual verbiage of the Oath in your journal. You might write, “Oath regarding military duty” or “Oath of citizenship,” etc.

Oath verbiage is generally up to the Notary and few states have any actual requirements for what you should say. However, common sense and tradition dictate certain things about Oath verbiage.

Raise Your Right Hand — you traditionally have the signer raise their right hand before swearing under Oath.

Solemnly – it is traditional to ask the signer if they solemnly swear. An Oath is a solemn occassion and swearing to a Notary is as official as swearing to a judge in a court of law.

Swear — you must use the word “swear” in an Oath otherwise it is no longer an Oath.

Document or Statement — in an Oath you should make a reference to the content you are swearing to. It might be a document, or a statement you are about to me. Just make sure you reference the content in a way that makes sense. Asking someone to swear to “the information” is not as precise as asking them to swear to the truthfulness of “this document” while pointing to the document.

God — Oaths traditionally refer to God. If someone doesn’t like God, rather than remove God from the Oath, do an Affirmation INSTEAD of an Oath.

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Correct Oath wording for a Notary to make for a Document
“Please raise your right hand. Do you solemnly swear that the document you signed is true and correct to the best of your knowledge, so help you God?” — The answer would be, “I do.”

Wrong Oaths for a Document
“Do you solemnly swear that the statement you are about to make is true?”
“Do you solmenly swear that the information you provided is true?”

Commentary
If you are swearing to a document there is no statement you are about to make. There is a document you already signed that you swear to. You cannot swear to a statement you are not going to make — that is nonsense. The information in the document might have been provided by a Lender or Attorney, so don’t make them swear to WHO provided the information. Just have them swear that it is true.

Administering an Oath
When you are a Notary and you give or supervise an Oath to someone, you are administering an Oath. When you administer an Oath there are two ways to do it. You either ask an Oath question such as the ones mentioned above, or you say, “Repeat after me.” Repeating after me is really tenous as every three words the affiant has to repeat those words and it is like being six years old doing the pledge of allegience. How annoying!

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AFFIRMATIONS

An Affirmation is similar to an Oath. The are equal in their significance and used during the same situations. Affirmations are legal in most states. Check your state’s handbook to see if they are used in yours and if there is any state specific wording that you must use. However, you cannot mix and match the wording in an Affirmation. If your client wants to do an Affirmation, you use the word Affirm or State rather than swear, and you do not mention God. Leave God out of it! Other than that, the verbiage is the same as an Oath, so help you nobody!

To better understand choosing Oaths vs. Affirmations or mixing them up together read this fun article about Airline Meals versus Oaths and Affirmations.

To administer an Affirmation for a document just say, “Do you solemnly affirm or state that the information in this document is correct?” or for a purely oral statement just say, “Do you solemnly affirm or state that the statement you are about to give is true and correct?”

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PROOF OF EXECUTION

Not all states allow proofs of execution, but it is a traditional Notary act that I would like you to know about. In a proof of execution, the principal who is the one who signs the document signs when a subscribing witness is witnessing his signature. The definition of a subscribing witness is one who watches someone else sign. Then the subscribing witness appears before a Notary and swears under Oath that he/she witnessed so and so signing the document. I have never heard of this act being done, but for less formal documents, it is often allowed and it is interesting to read about as it is so unusual.

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PROTESTS

Not all states have protests. Protests are normally done by people working in banking to protest the non-payment of a bill or bounced check. We do not hold our Notaries responsible to understand this act although it is good to know what it is.

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August 5, 2017

Oaths and the art of improvisation

Jazz musicians are famous for their ability to improvise. Con-artists know how to ad-lib. Notaries are also required to know a little about improvisation. The problem is that the states require Notaries to know how to administer Oaths when those very same states do not instruct Notaries on the art of Oath giving.

Beginnings and endings
A good Oath begins with some formalities. Remember, that Oaths are by definition formal, and should be formal. Lying to a Notary Public under Oath is an act of perjury and should not be tolerated!

“Please raise your right hand. Do you solemnly swear… (body of Oath) so, help you God?”

There is a beginning of an Oath which must include the word “swear” otherwise in my book it isn’t an Oath. Then, the Oath should ideally end with so, help you God? For those who want to leave God out of it, you can administer an affirmation instead of an Oath which uses the word Affirm and refers to no God. However, you must NOT use the term affirm in an Oath. You cannot mix and match notarial acts and their respective verbiages. Oaths use the term swear, Affirmations use the term affirm, state, or perhaps attest.

Bodies of Oaths
The body of an Oath would really depend on the context. As an Oath creator, you have to create Oaths that are useful, and make sense based on the situation. Sometimes there is some prescribed wording that you must use. Using prescribed wording does not let you off the hook for understanding the Oath. You must understand the Oath and its parts otherwise you won’t know if the prescribed Oath makes sense or not. If there is no prescribed wording, you can ad-lib or use a cheat sheet. But, if you lose your cheat sheet and cannot perform, people will think you are an idiot, and I run into this problem with Notaries a lot. Below are some examples of how I would create an Oath for various purposes.

PLEASE RAISE YOUR RIGHT PAW!

Marriage
“Do you solemnly swear to take this man/woman as your lawfully wedded husband/wife for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in smartness and senility (let’s be realistic), until death do you part, so help you God/Godess?”

Oath of Office as a Notary Public.
“Do you solemnly swear that you will uphold all of the laws relating to Notaries Public in the state of California, and faithfully discharge your duties as a Notary Public for the duration of your term, so help you God, the Secretary of State, and perhaps the NNA Hotline (if they still have one?)”

Oath for Military
“Do you solemnly swear to defend the constitution of the United States for the duration of your term as a Military Officer in the United States Army and defend the USA against all enemies foreign and domestic, and not abandon your duties for light and transient causes (or loophole clauses), so help you God?”

Rental Oath for Agnostics
“Do you solemnly swear to be a good tenant in this apartment for the duration of your year lease, and thereafter if you should stay beyond the contracted terms of this agreement, so you help you God… if there is one?”

Jurat Oath
“Do you solemnly swear that the contents of this document are true and correct to the best of your knowledge and that you agree to and will abide by the terms within if any, so help you God?”

ID Oath
“Do you solemnly swear that this is a true identification card for you as an individual and that it was not forged, counterfeited or falsified in any way, shape or form, so help you God (and the DMV?)”

Court Oath
“Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?” (standardized wording here and not ad-libbed in this situation.)

COMMENTARY
Please notice that my Jurat Oath included the requried word, “swear” and refered to a particular document and not just to thin air. You swear to something particular and not to thin air.

Please also note that my Notary Oath included the term, the state in question, the act of defending the laws of the state and being dutiful in discharging your duties. It is important to mention all of the relevant components of what a person is swearing to. Can you picture a Notary Oath where the new Notary is only asked if they swear they will be a good Notary for an undefined period of time? Ludicrous!

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You might also like:

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

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

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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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We caught a bunch of frauds using Notary Verbiage
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September 20, 2016

Their Signature

Their Signature

Let’s use, as a working definition of Their Signature; “somebody’s name written by him or her in a characteristic way”. Long ago, about a decade, I was often asked to provide “legible” signatures that matched the name signing. I tried that a few times, mostly with dismal failure. More often than not, the signature was totally illegible – more like artwork than written script handwriting.

Now let’s go back a lot further in the past, about two thousand years. Commercial transactions were common then as they are now. Most did not read or write, they made their mark. It was the seal of the Notary, who knew the affiant that validated the “mark”. Nothing has really changed. It is still the Notary who is supporting the validity of the signature.

They can sign many ways, with a pen, with a brush (artsy?), using their hands, feet, knees or mouth to hold the instrument of signing. Keep in mind the Americans with Disabilities Act. We must make reasonable accommodation to all who qualify for our seal. The signature does not have to be the same as, or even similar to the one on their ie: driver license. A lost limb or even both arms does not preclude notarization. Pen held in mouth is fine, the signature will be vastly different – but that really does not matter. Many elderly people have hands that shake, but their minds remain crystal clear.

Their “signature”, however written is the second aspect of accepting the Notary Oath. The first part is communicating a “yes” to the Oath; the signature is the written agreement. As mentioned – often the signature does not match the ID. Of course the picture must. There is one signature that (at least in NY State) must match – and that one is mine. My signature is recorded with the county clerk and for it to be authenticated; my signature on the document must be the same as my officially recorded one. Thus my signature cannot change.

To me what really counts is their printed name somewhere to indicate exactly who is being notarized. If it’s in my “loose ack” – I get to print the name. Sometimes it’s not that clear on the document, that is when I ask them to print their name under their signature. Notaries must take care to delimit their notarization to those actually given the oath and ID checked. When there are “other” places for signature, I often add “by affiant name” to the “sworn to and subscribed”.

Signatures vary greatly. I have seen perfectly formed cursive handwriting, squiggles and minor works of art with flourishes. Many bear no relation whatsoever to the name. Sometimes the same thing is on the ID, sometimes not. It’s my job to determine who they are, not to critique how they write their name. It would be so much more “absolute” if a DNA sample were to be added. Some think a thumbprint would be best; but not everyone has a thumb.

So, I am not a handwriting nanny. When the instructions mandate “clearly written” I tell the affiant what they “require” – and accept what they do. Usually I ask for their routine, standard signature “the way you would sign a check”. In my experience people object to being told “how to sign”. The signature, stamp and seal of the Notary makes whatever it is “Kosher”.

You might also like:

Your signature needs work
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15051

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Identification requirements for being notarized
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4299

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February 24, 2014

A social media site for Notaries — Affiant

For centuries, notaries have been complaining that they were bored, and had trouble meeting friends. They frequently said that they had no friends because there was nowhere to meet people. Then, during the 60’s, there were the be ins, and the love ins and the sign ins. During that decade, the notary public community didn’t complain as much because they were too high to know the difference. But, then in the 10’s (I’m the first person to call this decade the 10’s), notaries once again felt very lonely. If only there were a solution. If only there were a social media site for notaries. Of course the real reason notaries are lonely is because they complain all the time and nobody wants to hang around with them as a result. The second reason nobody hangs around with notaries, is that most notaries don’t answer their phone (at least when we call). But, one guy came up with the solution!

Affiant — a social media site for notaries

Meet new friends on Affiant. Affiant is so good, you will SWEAR BY IT. Members on this site are called Affiants. You can not be a member unless you love the site so much that you swear by it. After all, one who is sworn in to do an Oath, be definition is an Affiant!

Notaries around the country, and even in foreign countries flocked to this new and fascinating site. There were forums, events, lectures, guest speakers and more that all coordinated on Affiant.

How do you become a member of Affiant? The sign-up procedure is easy. You need to be sworn in with a notarized Oath. The Oath verbiage reads:

“I solemnly swear that I swear by Affiant. I think Affiant is so wonderful and great, that it is the best thing that ever happened to the notary — besides 123notary — and nobody paid me to mention the 123notary part either!”

Join Affiant today!

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Includes Apps for the new iPhone 7
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Disney Notary World, and a lot more
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Yes, it’s the Notary dating show
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Tweets:
(1) For centuries, notaries have been complaining that they are bored & have trouble meeting friends.
(2) During the 60’s there were the be ins, love ins and sign ins (for hippy notaries)
(3) Notaries complain they’re bored & have trouble making friends
Now there’s “Affiant,” a social media site 4notaries!
(4) Meet new friends on Affiant – a social media site for notaries. Affiant is so good, you’ll SWEAR BY IT.

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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!

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When are you required by law to give Oaths as a Notary?
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August 21, 2013

What is a Jurat?

Many people do not fully understand what a Jurat is. The term Jurat is loosely (and incorrectly) used to describe any notarial form. “Just mail me a Jurat” is a common request (that happens to be illegal). Never mail loose certificates. A Jurat is one of many types of notarial acts. Common notary acts include: Acknowledgments, Jurats, Oaths, Affirmations, Protests, and some states allow witnessing, safety box opening, Proofs of Execution and other notary acts. Notary acts and laws differ from state to state.

A Jurat is a Notary Act that typically requires the signer to be identified, although laws in the past in many states did not require the signer to be identified (believe it or not).

The distinguishing characteristic of a Jurat is that it has an accompanying Oath — AND the signer must sign the document before the Notary Public. An Acknowledged signature may be signed hours, days or years before it is notarized! The wording for the Oath is up to the notary. Unfortunately, many notaries are not very good at administering Oaths and some skip the procedure altogether (which is illegal).

You can attach Jurat wording to a document. Or, just write a quick statement that you intend to swear to on a Jurat form. But, if you need an Acknowledgment certificate, don’t ask for “A Jurat”. It is not the same thing legally. Also, please note that the notary is legally forbidden from deciding what type of notarization you need. So, if your Attorney or document custodian doesn’t tell you what type of notarization you need, please ask them before the notary shows up! Good luck!

Tweets:
(1) The term Jurat is loosely (and incorrectly) used to describe any notarial form.
(2) “Just mail me a Jurat,” is a common, but illegal request!
(3) A #Jurat is a notary act requiring the signer 2sign before the notary, swear & be identified.

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Jurat wording step by step
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