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Back to the Basics: Types of Notarial Acts

back to the basics: jurat versus acknowledgement

One of the most confusing aspects of first becoming a notary is understanding the difference between the various notarial acts. The most common ones being jurat and acknowledgement. There are key differences, and key words, that can help you decipher which one to administer.

Jurat
A jurat is an individual swearing to the truthfulness of the contents of a document. For a jurat, the individual must be present in front a notary at the time they sign a document. They must also recite an oath stating the contents of the document are the truth—the notary will verbally administer the quote. The jurat not only testifies the person was the one who signed the document, but it also demonstrates the signer knew the contents of the document and swore to the truth of them. As with any notarial act, the person must be physically present at the time of the notarization.

Acknowledgement
An acknowledgment allows the notary to verify the identity of a signer and for the signer to attest the signature on the document is their own and they signed freely. They are not swearing to the truthfulness of the contents of the document, they are solely confirming they were the ones who signed it. Though, the signer must be physically present for the acknowledgment, they do not have to sign the document in front of the notary public.

An easy way to remember them is jurat pertains to the content and an acknowledgement pertains to the signature. With both ensure you have completely filled out the certificates—correctly. Each certificate has differing blanks. For instance, the jurat certificate specifies the county while an acknowledgment certificate does not. If you are not sure which notarial act should be administered, remember you cannot advise which one should be. If the signer does not know, please ask them to contact the individual who will receive the document, whoever administered it or a lawyer. For help identifying notary acts or for more notary information please visit our website or contact us at 800.821.0831.