Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Jurat vs. Acknowledgement - Notary 101

This is one of the first things a notary should learn, but it still seems to cause confusion. Even the Secretary of State has problems getting it right (see the comment on the Certified True Copy post). So it seems a good time for a basic refresher. A notarial act requires one of two types of wording, either a jurat or an acknowledgement.

A jurat is required when a signer is swearing to the content of the document. A notary attests that the signer personally appeared before them, was given an oath or affirmation by the notary swearing to the truthfulness of the document, and signed the document in the notary's presence. An example of this kind of wording is "Subscribed and sworn to by ______ before me on the _____ day of ___."

An acknowledgment is used to confirm the identity of the document signer and acknowledge that they signed the document. They are not swearing to the truthfulness or validity of any statement. An example is "Acknowledged by ______ before me on the ____ day of ____." Per the Michigan Secretary of State, a signer is not required to sign the document in the presence of a notary. They must, however, personally appear in front of the notary to confirm their signature.

Although it is important to know the difference, it is not up to the notary to determine the correct wording.

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