Notarization Basics - Steps to Proper Notarization
a person appointed by a state government (e.g.,
the governor, lieutenant governor, state
secretary) and whose primary role is to serve the
public as an impartial witness when important
documents are signed.
IT CAN CERTIFY THAT:
▸ The signature on a document is genuine;
▸ The signer agreed to the terms of the document;
▸ The signer of a document acted willingly;
▸ The signer made a statement under oath;
▸ A document was signed on a speciﬁc date.
NOTARIZATION IS AN OFFICIAL CERTIFYING PROCESS.
MOST COMMON NOTARIAL ACTS: JURAT
▸ The purpose of a jurat — also known in some states as a “veriﬁcation upon
oath or afﬁrmation" — is for a signer to swear to or afﬁrm the truthfulness of
the contents of a document to a Notary.
▸ A jurat requires the following steps:
The signer must appear in person before you and sign the document in
In some states, you are required to positively identify the signer.
Notary must administer a spoken oath or an afﬁrmation, and the signer
must respond out loud. Silent answers such as a nod of the head are not
MOST COMMON NOTARIAL ACTS: ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
▸ The purpose of an acknowledgment is for a signer, whose identity has been
veriﬁed, to declare to a Notary or notarial ofﬁcer that he or she has willingly
signed a document.
▸ An acknowledgment requires the following steps:
The signer must physically appear before notary.
Signer must be positively identiﬁed.
The signer may either sign the document before appearing before notary
or in his/her presence.
The signer must declare (acknowledge) signing the document for its
NOTARIZATION BASICS: PERSONAL APPEARANCE
▸ A notary public must always require
that the principal signer personally
appear physically in the presence
of the notary for the notarization of
▸ If the principal signer is not
physically present and before the
notary public at the time of the
notarization, the notary must
decline the notarization. There are
no exceptions to the requirement of
the personal appearance of the
document signer at the time of the
execution of the notarization.
NOTARIZATION BASICS: SCREENING THE SIGNER
Determine Willingness - Making sure
the signer is not being forced to sign
the document. If coercion is suspected -
notary can refuse to notarize.
Determine Awareness - Document
shouldn’t be notarized if a notary have a
reasonable belief that the person
signing the document is not aware of
the signiﬁcance of the transaction.
NOTARIZATION BASICS: VERIFYING IDENTITY
Properly verifying signer’s identity is the
essential duty of Notary Public. General
Identity documents - it always must be
government-issued and contain the
photograph of the holder (driver’s
license, passport, “green” card,
Personal knowledge - which means
that notary personally know the signer.
Credible identifying witnesses - person
who knows the signer and can vouch
for his or her identity.
NOTARIZATION BASICS: DOCUMENT
Notary is not responsible for the contents
of the document, but he should always
scan over the document being presented
for notarization to ensure that the
has been completed and does not
contain blank spaces or incomplete
contains a pre-printed notarial
certiﬁcate or other instructions on how
the notary is to proceed with the
NOTARIZATION BASICS: CREATING A RECORD
‣ Many states doesn’t require that
notaries maintain a journal but it is
always recommended that the notary
maintain a consistent, complete, and
sequential record of every notarial act
performed by the notary.
‣ A good journal entry contains details of
the notarization that are helpful in case
a document or notarization is called into
NOTARIZATION BASICS: NOTARIAL CERTIFICATE
When a notary performs a notarial act the notary must
complete a notarial certiﬁcate. In almost all cases, a
certiﬁcate must include:
The Venue – the place where the notarization is
performed, usually in the format “State of ……
County of ……”.
Personal Appearance – a statement that the signer
personally appeared, typically indicated by the
words “before me”.
Date – the date that the signer personally appeared
before you and you completed the notarization.
Type Of Act – the type of notarial act performed,
indicated by the words “acknowledged” or “sworn
Signature And Seal – the notary must sign his or her
ofﬁcial signature exactly as it appears on ﬁle in the
ofﬁce of the commissioning authority.