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Updated: Feb 14, 2022

What is an Acknowledgement?

The purpose of Acknowledgement is for the signer, whose identity has been verified, to declare to a notary or notarial officer that he or she has willingly signed a document.

Acknowledgement requires the following steps:

1. The signer must physically appear before you.

2. You must positively identify the signer according to your state’s rules, which varies as per local laws.

3. The signer may either sign the document before appearing before you, or in your presence.

4. The signer must declare (acknowledge) signing the document for it’s intended purpose.

5. The term “Character” in an acknowledgement certificate means that the “Officer” performing the notarial act must indicate his title that gives him or her the legal authority to do so.

6. The signer must be able to directly communicate with you that he or she willingly signed the document. One exception to this rule is the state of Arizona, whose state law permits a signer to communicate with Notary indirectly through a translator who is also physically present at the notarization site.

Important things to remember about Acknowledgement

1. Notaries can’t choose the type of notarial act for a signer. You may describe the difference between an Acknowledgement and a Jurat and let the signer decide which one is needed. Unless you are an attorney you are not authorized to advise the signer to choose any of the notarial acts as it is considered an unauthorized practice of law for a Non-Attorney Notary to advise a signer regarding what notarization is required for a document.

2. It is recommended that any document requiring a notary seal be signed in front of the notary public to avoid any unnecessary mistakes or delays.

3. The date of execution of the document and the date of notarization do not have to match on a document that contains an acknowledgement certificate.

4. Other than Notary public, the acknowledgment statute includes the list of other officers who may take an acknowledgement that will be recognized within territories of the United States.

5. A notary must never execute an acknowledgement certificate with pencil because the certificate may be altered after it leaves the notary public.

6. A notary cannot notarize a document without a notary certificate. If a document doesn’t have a notary certificate, it does not meet the minimum statutory requirement.

What is an Acknowledgment Certificate and how is it different from a Jurat?

As acknowledgements and jurats are for difference purposes, each requires it’s own certificate wordings. You cannot use one form in place of the other.

In general, an acknowledgement certificate will contain the words “acknowledged before me” or a similar statement. If you have any questions about the certificate format, check your state’s Notary handbook.

You may find state specific forms from the Secretary of State website of the state you are located in. For instance, if you are located in North Carolina, you may visit website here.

How to deal with documents with two notarial certificates

If a document contains two different notarial certificates, two notarial ceremonies must be performed.

1. The notary public must take the acknowledgement of the signer that he signed the instrument for the purposes stated therein as his own free act.

2. The signer must swear to the truthfulness of the statements of affidavit under the penalties of perjury by invoking a deity.

Expediting the Legal Process

Despite their importance, getting documents notarized can be an extremely tedious task. Court cases may take a long time to resolve but getting your affidavit notarized doesn’t have to.

Online Notarization services eliminate the need for in person notarizations by allowing people to connect with a notary public online through the internet.

Sample Acknowledgement Form


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