Notarization: The Different Types Of Notarial Acts
If you have a document that is to be notarized, sometimes it indicates on the document what type of notarization needs to be done, sometimes you just choose to have something notarized and it has no indication, or sometimes the person sending you the document simply states “get notarized” with no further information. There are two primary types of notarization, one is called an Acknowledgment, and the other is called a Jurat. How do these two types differ? Is one “better” than the other? Why do I, the customer, have to choose? Cant you just stamp and sign on the page I have?
A Notary Public cannot tell the client what type of notarization they need unless it clearly states from the contents of the document, or is indicated from the notary certificate present on the document. If it is not stated, a Notary may explain the different between the two, and it is up to the client to decide which one they need or want to have completed.
In order for notarization to occur, the type of notarization must be selected. A Notary Public cannot simply sign date and stamp on a document that does not have the appropriate notary certificate verbiage and requirements. It is illegal to do so. And just because other notaries have done it, does not mean that it is a valid notarization, or that we will do it. We work strictly by the laws that are set by the Secretary of State of California.
An acknowledgment has a few requirements that help explain the type of notarization, one is that the signer must be present in front of the notary, the signer must be identified by satisfactory evidence, and they also must either sign in front of the notary, or acknowledge having previously signed the document. The acknowledgment does not certify the capacity of the person signing the document, but does indicate that the signers state they are signing in their authorized capacity that they claim within the document.
A Jurat is similar to an acknowledgment in that it requires personal presence of the person signing the document, but it also requires that the person signing the document take an oath or affirmation, under penalty of perjury, stating that the contents and statements in the documents are truthful. Once an oath or affirmation is administered, the signer is then permitted to sign and date the document in the presence and oversight of the Notary. Documents requiring a jurat need to be signed in the presence of the Notary, so it is best practice to not sign a document to be notarized until you are in front of the notary, incase it is a jurat and you cannot tell. If you have already signed, the notary will ask you to resign and redate the document in their presence after being administered an oath, or affirmation.
The big difference between the two: Oath (jurat) or No Oath required (acknowledgment). Acknowledgments are most commonly seen. Jurats are required for certain types of documents, and often it is indicated. Jurats are frequently utilized in court documents and affidavits.
A question a notary receives very often: can you put your seal/stamp on the document i am notarizing?
The answer to this question varies. If you have the appropriate notary wording and meet the requirements for a notarization in california, then the seal can be placed on the document. If the requirements are not met, and the notary certificate is not on the document, then the seal will only go on the certificate which will be attached to the document. We will not stamp a document that does not have proper requirements for notarization, no matter how much you want us to or state that the receiving party wants us to. It is prohibited, and will not be done. And just putting our stamp on a document will not make the document notarized, so we ensure we do our job legally, and correctly, according to California state law.