Acknowledgments and Jurats
When someone brings a document to a notary for notarization, the notary will usually complete one of two common notarial procedures- either an Acknowledgment or a Jurat. Both of these notarial actions are very different from one another.
When a California notary performs an Acknowledgment, it means that the signer must “acknowledge” their signature to the notary by signing in front of the notary or, if it had already been signed, communicating to the notary at the time of notarization that the signature already on the document is theirs. This means that a document does not need to be signed in the notary’s presence if the notary is performing an Acknowledgment because the signer will otherwise “acknowledge” their signature to the notary, usually by communicating either verbally or in writing, in the notaries physical presence, something like, “I have already signed the document”. There are other implications relating to the acknowledgment such as holding “authorized capacity” and having an “intent to execute” but that becomes a bit more technical and is not necessary for our immediate discussion.
A Jurat procedure is very different from an Acknowledgment
When a notary administers a Jurat, the signer must be given an oath (or affirmation) by the notary pertaining to the truthfulness of the contents contained in the document. A document that requires an acknowledgment does not require an oath but a Jurat procedure means that the notary has required and obtained an oath from the signer at the time of notarization. In California, there is no specific oath that the notary must use, but NotaryClasses.com makes oath cards available with several different notarial oaths including one that is recommended for completing a Jurat procedure. For example, the notary may ask the signer to raise a hand whereupon the notary asks, “Do you swear upon penalty of perjury that the contents of these documents are true to the best of your knowledge?” The signer will respond affirmatively and the notarial act proceeds by filling out the Jurat wording called a Jurat certificate or a Jurat form.