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Notarization Types: Jurat, Acknowledgment, Oaths

As California Notaries Public, there are a few different types of notarizations and authorized acts that a Notary Public has. If you have a document requiring notarization by a Notary Public, sometimes it indicates what type of notarization act is required, such as an acknowledgment, or a jurat. However, occasionally a document will just say “notarize” and not include the type of notarization that is required. Or if you are choosing to have a document you drafted yourself notarized, you often are unsure of what type of notarization you need.

A California Notary Public is prohibited from choosing the type of notarizing act that is needed unless it specifies in the document itself. So if it is not indicated, you will be asked to decide which type of notarization you want performed. How are you to know the difference between an acknowledgment, jurat, oath, affirmation, etc.? This article will help clarify the differences between them and allow you to properly choose which notarization type you require.

An Acknowledgment is the most frequently used form of notarization. The requirements to have an acknowledgment performed are as follows: the signer must be present in front of the Notary at the time of the request, the signer must have satisfactory identification, and they must either acknowledge signing the document or sign in the presence of the Notary Public. An acknowledgment is simply used to verify that the person did indeed sign and execute the document and were properly identified. This type of notarization does not verify the capacity of the person signing the document, i.e. the notarization will not state whether you are a CEO, doctor, single, married, borrower, lender, etc. The acknowledgment certificate will only include the name of the person(s) that signed.

A Jurat is substantially similar to the Acknowledgment in that it meets all of the requirements as the acknowledgment, however, it also requires that the document must be signed in front of the Notary Public. Signing must not occur until after an oath is administered to the signer.
The oath is administered prior to the execution of the document in which the signer swears, under penalty of perjury, that the contents, statement, and within the document are true, correct, and accurate to the signers knowledge.

It is best practice to not sign a document that needs to be notarized until you are in front of a Notary Public, and until the Notary directs you to sign and execute the document in their presence.

Jurat vs Acknowledgment:
The main difference between an acknowledgment and a Jurat is the requirement of taking an Oath prior to signing or not.
Jurats are most commonly seen with court documents, affidavits, and any documents that require the signer to make statements that would require them to swear that said statements are true.

    Notaries are often asked whether they can stamp, seal, and sign the document that is presented for notarization, however this is often not the case

When a signer wants the document itself to be stamped, the document must require exactly the precise wording for an Acknowledgment or Jurat in the state of California. If the document does not have the proper wording, the notary cannot place their seal on the document and must place the seal on a loose notary certificate and then attach that certificate to the original notarized document.
We absolutely cannot place seals on documents that do not contain the proper notary certificate wording, please do not ask, as it is prohibited.