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Fillable Form Notary Acknowledgment

Notary Acknowledgment is a declaration used for legal documents as proof that a specific person signed it. The signature of a mayor, a judge, or an authorized official must be affixed to the document to be acknowledged.

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What is a Notary Acknowledgment?

A Notary Acknowledgment is a declaration used for legal documents. It is used to verify the identity of the signer or affiant and as proof that the signer or affiant has affixed his or her signature on the legal document freely and on his or her own will. The signature and notary seal of a notary public, mayor, judge, or authorized official must be affixed to the document to be acknowledged.

A notary public, or also referred to as a notary or public notary, is a person assigned by the government to verify an individual’s important legal transactions. For any document to be considered legal, the notary public or designated officer must witness the signing of important legal documents.

To verify your identity, the notary public or designated officer may ask for proof of your identity, in the form of photo identification. If you (the signer or affiant) want to have a complete Notary Acknowledgment, you may submit documents that will prove your identity. These documents may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Passport book or passport card
  • State identification card
  • Company-issued identification card
  • Government-issued identification card
  • Military identification card

Additionally, the notary public or designated authority must also observe and verify the willingness of the signer or affiant to sign the legal documents. Furthermore, he or she must also see how much the signer or affiant knows about the content of the said legal documents.

The notary public or designated officer cannot notarize any kind of document without a notary certificate. If the document you plan on submitting does not have a notary certificate, the notary public or designated officer will not be able to completely notarize your document since it does not fulfill the minimum statutory requirements. In cases like this, your document will be rejected.

Moreover, if the notary public or designated officer decides to notarize your document even without it having a notary certificate, he or she will be subject to appropriate disciplinary actions.

For instance, to get a Notary Acknowledgment in the State of California, the signer or affiant will be required to appear in front of the notary public or designated officer to confirm his or her identity and signature. The signer or affiant will not be required to sign the legal document in the presence of the notary public or designated officer in the State of California.

Some people may mistake a Notary Acknowledgment for a Jurat or an Affidavit. Although these three notarial acts are the most commonly known acts, some individuals still get confused between the three.

A Jurat is used when the notary public or designated officer administers an oath or affirmation to the signer or affiant swearing to the content of a certain legal document. When a Jurat is used, the signer or affiant must affix his or her signature on the legal document in the presence of the notary public or designated officer.

On the other hand, a Notary Acknowledgment is only used to verify the identity of the signer or affiant and to confirm whether or not he or she signed the legal document. Using a Notary Acknowledgment simply means that the notary public or designated officer has acknowledged the signature of the signer or affiant. The signer or affiant does not have to swear to the truthfulness or validity of the legal document.

An affidavit is also different from a Notary Acknowledgment. An affidavit is used by individuals to formally legitimize a claim. There are many types of affidavits which include the following:

  • Affidavit of Domicile
  • Affidavit of Heirship
  • Affidavit of Marriage
  • Affidavit of Residence
  • Affidavit of Service
  • Affidavit of Death
  • Financial Affidavit
  • Affidavit of Identity
  • Affidavit of Title
  • Gift Affidavit
  • Small Estate Affidavit

A Notary Acknowledgment merely acknowledges the signer or affiant affixing his or her signature on the legal document. There is no need for the signer or affiant to declare that his or her statement regarding a certain type of subject is true and factual.

All three notarial acts are similar to each other. All three notarial documents also require the presence of a notary public or officer, but the contents of these documents and their purposes differ.

A complete Notary Acknowledgment must have the following information:

  • Venue
    • State
    • County
  • Current date of signing using the format: Day-Month-Year
  • Full legal name of the notary public or designated officer
  • Title of the notary public or designated officer
  • Full legal name of the signer or affiant
  • Statement acknowledging the signer’s or affiant’s signature and execution of the legal document
  • Signature of the notary public or designated officer
  • Notary seal of the notary public or designated officer

How to fill out a Notary Acknowledgment?

To fill out a Notary Acknowledgment, you must provide the following information:

State of

Enter your state.

County of

Enter your county.

Statement of the Officer


Enter the current date of signing using the format: Day-Month-Year.


Enter the day of signing.


Enter the month of signing.


Enter the year of signing.

Notary Public or Officer Name

Enter the full legal name of the notary public or designated officer witnessing the signing of the legal document.

Notary Public or Officer Title

Enter the title of the notary public or designated officer witnessing the signing of the legal document.

Affiant Name

Enter the full legal name of the signer or affiant.


Enter a statement acknowledging the signer’s or affiant’s signature and execution of the instrument.

By filling out this Notary Acknowledgment, you (the notary public or designated officer) are certifying under the penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing paragraph stated above is true and correct.

Notary Public or Officer Signature

Have the notary public or designated officer affix his or her signature.

Notary Public or Officer Name

Have the notary public or designated officer enter his or her full legal name.

Notary Seal

Have the notary public or designated officer enter his or her notary seal.

Frequently Asked Questions About a Notary Acknowledgment

What is the purpose of a notary acknowledgment?

Here are some of the general purposes of a notary acknowledgment:

  • To prove the identity of a person signing a document, including his or her physical presence in front of the notary.
  • To verify that the said person is aware of what he's about to sign.
  • To verify that the sworn statement made by this person is truthful and accurate regarding every aspect of the transaction.
  • This legally binding act can be utilized by individuals who are involved with court disputes, real estate transactions, recording documents pertaining to property ownership, and others.

What are the two types of acknowledgment?

Generally speaking, there are two types of acknowledgment (one may also call them "notarizations"), each requiring different documents and information to complete the process successfully; these are known as acknowledgments and jurats.

An acknowledgment is used to prove that a person signed a document in front of the notary, whereas a jurat verifies the accuracy of information provided by an individual under oath or affirmation (based on such factors as age, mental capacity, etc.) for court proceedings.

What does a notary acknowledgment do?

A notary acknowledgment is used to record the signature of a person who is making a sworn statement or oath before signing certain legal documents.

The notary acknowledgment indicates that at the time of this execution, the signer personally appeared before the notary public and acknowledged that he was signing this document voluntarily, that it contained all of his representations, warranties, covenants, and agreements with respect to the signing of this document, and that he declared under penalty of perjury that he was authorized to sign this document on behalf of the party in such capacity. The notary will also normally require identification before executing a notarial act.

Notaries public in some states may refuse to conduct notarizations if they feel that the transaction is fraudulent or the signer may be committing an unlawful act.

Some common notarial acts include: administering oaths and affirmations, taking an acknowledgment, witnessing or attesting to a signature, certifying a photocopy of a document that is a true copy of the original (certifying documents), and executing certain types of power of attorney. Notaries may also perform a multitude of other duties associated with the closing of a real estate transaction.

What happens in a Notary Acknowledgment?

A person signs something in front of the notary public acknowledging they are who they claim to be. That will fulfill one of your obligations as a notary public if you are taking an acknowledgment for the state. The second thing usually done is the person makes an oath or affirmation before signing. An oath states facts, whereas an affirmation merely affirms what has been stated without any religious implications behind it.

Notarization & Certification acts as proof of the originality and attestation of something else written down which is either handwritten or printed. If notarization is required, it can also be used as proof of identity over the age of 18.

In the United States, Notary Acknowledgments are under each individual state jurisdiction. Each state has its own acknowledgment form which they must use when a notary public certifies that a person appeared in front of them and acknowledged something to them. This certification also happens to be proof of who somebody claims to be if their signature exists on this document. Additionally, for some states, an oath or affirmation is required by law before the signer may make their mark on said certificate even though it’s not necessary everywhere.

Notaries who take acknowledgments from individuals need to safeguard themselves from identity theft and fraud because it can happen. Oftentimes, a person claiming to be someone else will ask the notary public to witness their signature on a document that requires an acknowledgment by law, or there is some other reason for taking an acknowledgment from this particular person.

In the end, every state has vastly different laws when it comes to notarizations and acknowledgments. If you are uncertain about the requirements of your specific jurisdiction, consult with a local attorney who specializes in Notary Public Law before delivering certification.

When is a notary acknowledgment used?

A notary acknowledgment is used in many situations. It can be to prove your identity, to show that you are a notary public or that you have witnessed someone signing a document. They are common when you sign a contract for your home, car, or even when opening a bank account. Moreover, when you buy or sell a home, real estate titles need to be signed in the presence of a notary. This way, it allows both buyer and seller to confirm that they are legally bound by their signatures on the document.

A notary acknowledgment is a "notarial act" that many states require before a notarized signature can be recorded properly against a deed or other type of property transfer. In some cases, the notary should only complete the acknowledgment if all parties involved agree with what is stated in the document - but even when this isn't necessary for recording purposes, the practice is normally still followed since it may make things easier later down the road. Once completed, it can help make sure that no one will have issues with what was recorded at a later date.

In order for the acknowledgment to be valid, it must truly reflect that all parties involved voluntarily signed their name(s) on the document. In most states, this will require that they sign in the presence of the notary public - and sometimes may also require a notarial appearance before another government official who is authorized to oversee oaths and affirmations.

For example, if a person disputes having signed a deed or contract after you have presented it as evidence in court, an acknowledgment can help prove that your signature was real and made without force or coercion from anyone else. Under such rare circumstances as those where you need to provide proof of your identity or other related matters around signing documents, an acknowledgment can help make sure that your statement is accepted as valid.

What Is A Notarial Act?

A notarial act is a certain set of procedures that must be followed whenever a notary public is present and an attestation is required. The exact requirements for these acts vary by state and by the type of document involved, but it generally entails:

  • Identifying those with whom you are meeting;
  • Recognizing them as who they say they are;
  • Taking their acknowledgment/signature on a legal document; and
  • Witnessing any signatures made outside your presence.

As such, many people use the term "notarial act" to equate with what most laypeople would understand as "witnessing a signature." However, this is only one part of what constitutes a notarial act. Since defining witnessing a signature as a notarial act would exclude most of the other things that Notaries do, we will instead define a notarial act as:

An official and legally binding procedure performed by a commissioned and qualified (i.e., trained) Notary Public; during which time the Notary uses his or her powers under state law to attest to an individual's identity and acknowledgment on a document or electronic data; and then is given legal effect as evidence of such identification.

Note that this definition includes three important elements:

  1. A factual finding
  2. An attestation
  3. Legal effect

Those are key because they distinguish it from witnessing signatures, for example, which notaries public also perform but should not be considered part of their official duties.

Clearly, the first and arguably most important part of a notarial act is that it involves an official and legally binding procedure. This means two things: First, that the Notary must follow certain legal requirements to complete the task; and second, that other people can rely on this as evidence in court proceedings if necessary. The specific requirements vary by state but generally include such things as:

  • Taking an oath or affirmation from those with whom you are meeting;
  • Following strict procedures for taking their acknowledgment or signature on a document;
  • Witnessing any signatures made outside your presence;
  • Performing due diligence to confirm that each signer appeared before you personally (this includes contacting everyone's references when required);
  • Having each signer or their representative personally appear before you;
  • Keeping a journal of all notarial acts you perform (and if electronic, signing it with your private key);
  • Keeping the document original plus two photocopies for your record book; and
  • Providing a certificate to all parties whose signatures have been properly acknowledged.

Beyond these legal requirements, there are other general best practices that should be followed in order to ensure that notarial acts are performed in an efficient and professional manner. For instance, making sure to keep yourself informed on current notary laws is very important because they can change from state to state or even over time based upon specific court rulings. Your professional ethics should also include instructions on how to handle any situations outside your normal practice. Knowing how to handle situations ahead of time can save you problems later on.

The second part of the definition states that a Notary's acts are "attested" or witnessed on a document or electronic data. This means the presence of two people who are able to certify certain facts about what they have seen and heard during the process of completing the required tasks on a document.

Lastly, note that a notary's acts are given "legal effect" as evidence in court proceedings. This means that when your notarized and acknowledged documents, electronic data are presented in court, or both, the other side cannot challenge your personal qualifications or the validity of your notarial acts. This is important because otherwise, you could have to travel back to that location where you performed that notarial act just to show yourself and repeat all the same things you said during your hearing testimony. Even more importantly, this means that someone else can use it as evidence without having to come to court themselves.

What should a notary acknowledgment have?

A notary acknowledgment should have the following information:

  • State, county, and date of the notary commission — Many are dated the day after they are signed.
  • The name of the person before whom the acknowledgment is made (the "testator" or "declarant") — It must be a specific individual, unless it is for an instrument that does not take effect until another specified event occurs.
  • The title of the document (i.e., "last will and testament" or "codicil")
  • The name of the person whose signature is being acknowledged (usually one to three words)
  • Seal (optional, but required in some states) — The notary's commission expiration date (optional, unless state law requires inclusion). The notary's printed name (first, middle initial, last), commission expiration date, and notary seal.
  • The signature of the notary at the end of the acknowledgment

Notarization is not valid unless it has all six elements. The first five are self-explanatory, but some states require that a notary include his or her printed name, middle initial, and last name. Some notarial acts are valid even though the notary left out some of these items, but your state's laws should be consulted on this issue.

Who uses a notary acknowledgment?

A notary acknowledgment is used by an individual or business to prove that the person who signed a document did so in front of them. A notary public can either be an individual or part of a company. The purpose of having one is to provide proof that the signer was physically present for this signing, and also to confirm that it took place before their eyes.

What are some common mistakes people commit when signing notarizations?

Here is a list of some of the common mistakes people make when signing notarizations.

  • Misidentifying themselves to the notary — They must either sign as an individual or business entity and should be one that has authority to sign on behalf of that company/entity. The person's name on the ID they present to the notary should match what is on the document.
  • Notarizing a contract that was not signed in front of them — This will make it an invalid signature and there's no way for a notary to know whether or not this happened unless they were physically present when the signing took place. A notary should never notarize a document unless someone has signed it in front of them.
  • Not having the person sign in the journal — A notary must have proof that a signature was made if they're being asked to provide an affidavit or testimonial for their service. This means they need to have the person's signature logged into their journal as well as the person's ID they used to verify their identity.
  • Notarizing a blank page — This is not valid and the document has to already contain the text that it will be notarized on. A notary can refuse to sign on a blank sheet of paper and should always ask what the document is for if this happens.
  • Notarizing a signer's initials instead of their full signature — A notary should only place an 'X' by the person's initials if they can't make out what is written in the blanks. If it's legible, the person needs to sign their name like they would on any other document.
  • Notarizing a power of attorney if the signer is not present — Although it may be valid, some states require that both parties to this agreement appear before a notary and acknowledge what they're signing. A notary should also never notarize their own signature on any documents that need to go through the courts.
  • Notarizing a blank signature line — Like signing on an empty sheet of paper, this also doesn't make the document valid since the signer is supposed to fill in their name before it gets notarized. A notary should always ask what the document is for if they see one of these sections. If the signer doesn't want to fill it out, they should not be asked to.
  • Notarizing a document without having read it — In order to prevent fraud and other legal issues from occurring, a notary must always review the content as well as the signatures on any document that is requested to be notarized. They can refuse to sign if they see anything that is suspicious.
  • Notarizing a document using the wrong wording — A notary must use specific wording for their stamp as well as what they write in their journal, so if something is incorrect it makes the whole process invalid. They must always follow the laws of their state and should also have a notarial manual to help them with any questions.
  • Notarizing a document without verifying the signer's identity — A notary must always make sure that a person is who they say they are and should also know where their signature appears on a passport or ID. They can't use someone else's ID for this purpose either since it defeats the purpose of having one in the first place.
  • Notarizing a document without the signer being present — If someone is requesting to have their signature notarized, they need to be physically there. A notary can refuse service if the person who wants this isn't there or refuses to sign in front of them for whatever reason.

What does a notary acknowledgment prove?

A notary acknowledgment proves that a person knows about an act, that he or she agrees with it, and that the person signs it of his own free will. Moreover, notarial records are public, which means that anyone can examine them. However, notarizations are often used for private acts - mostly to certify copies of documents.

What is the difference between an affidavit and an acknowledgment?

An affidavit and an acknowledgment are two distinct legal documents used in a variety of circumstances. Some people are confused by the terms and their meanings, so they mistake one for the other. This practice can be considered sloppy or even irresponsible in some cases because it could have serious implications for your legal rights. A simple explanation of what each document is will help you understand which to use when creating formal legal agreements.

An affidavit is a document that contains a written statement made under oath. The person making the statement, called the "affiant", agrees to tell the truth by swearing or affirming to it in front of either a notary public or another type of official, such as a court clerk. The document must also include the date and the affiant's signature. An affidavit is most commonly used in court proceedings or administrative hearings to record statements made by witnesses and experts involved in the case before it goes to trial.

An acknowledgment is a document that typically contains a statement confirming that certain actions were performed as required by law. In most cases, the document is signed "under penalty of perjury", meaning that the person signing it believes he could be prosecuted if he knowingly makes a false statement on the form. The completed acknowledgment must also include the date and the signature of a notary public or another authorized official. An example would be a form submitted by the executor of an estate in which he or she agrees to carry out the instructions contained in a will.

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