Notaries and Jurats

August 12, 2023


Notary Publics (Notaries) are people who complete training, pay fees, and get registered and licensed by their State to verify who is signing documents.

Notaries must keep updating their training and pay fees for renewals to keep their notary registration status current in their state.

Notarization is the procedure where a person signs documents and/or gives an oath, after they prove who they are with identification (such as a driver’s license or passport, and usually a thumbprint).

Notarization is a bit cumbersome and old fashioned. It takes time, and is paper-intensive. It is not always very profitable to have a career providing notary services, unless you successfully specialize in some way.

Notarization costs about $10 in California and $5 in Colorado, and the notary does a lot of work for that small fee. Even if you are already personally known to them, you still have to show them your ID every time.

I predict that one day this will be done with more technology, perhaps with a thumb-print and ID scanner, connected to the internet, to (e.g.) a Secretary Of State web site.

The two most common types of notary wordings/procedures are the Acknowledgment and the Jurat.

An Acknowledgment describe the procedure of witnessing, documenting, stamping, and endorsing of documents.

Sometimes acknowledgment notarization is accomplished by endorsing a page that is attached to the original signed document, as an additional separate page. Other times, the notarization is done by stamping and endorsing the same document as will be signed by the person.

A notary public verifies who the signer of the document is, and documents that the same person actually signed it. The person acknowledging that they are signing, must be ready to produce a driver’s license or some other proof of existence, and must sign the notary’s journal. A Notary Acknowledgment is required for any document which must be recorded by the Court, County Recorder, or Recorder of Deeds.

Typical documents that need notarization include deeds, deeds of trust, mortgages, assignment of judgments, satisfaction of judgments, powers of attorney that may involve real estate, some leases, and various other kinds of documents. An Acknowledgment is one of the most common types of notarial acts. In executing an Acknowledgment, the notary certifies that:

1) The signer personally appeared before the notary.

2) The signer was positively identified by the notary.

3) The signer acknowledged to the notary that the signature was freely made for the purposes stated in the document.

Typical notary language might be: “State of California, County of San Mateo: (signed and sealed) On August 1, 2016, before me, a notary public for said state, personally appeared NAME, personally known to me, or proved to be said person by proper proof, and acknowledged that he executed the above Deed”.

The actual wording is different in every state, and sometimes changes each year.

The exact notary wordings and general requirements are usually located somewhere at the Secretary Of State office, for each state.

www.coordinatedlegal.com/SecretaryOfState.html is a good link to find the Secretary Of State office for your state.

After verifying the identity of the signer, and taking a thumbprint and getting paid, the notary signs the acknowledgment, and puts on their seal, which is usually a rubber stamp. Some notaries still use a metal embossed seal to create raised lettering, which verifies the originality of the document.

If the notary does not use a metal embossing seal, sign the document in blue ink, so you can make sure everyone knows you have an original copy. (It is a good idea to always use blue ink so that people will more easily know the document is an original.)

Most notaries staple all the documents together, if you need to make copies of your documents, upon your request, some will not staple them together.

The Jurat (Pronounced Jur-At) is Latin for “been sworn”, the portion of an affidavit in which a person has sworn that the contents of his/her written statement is true, verified and filled in by the notary public, with the date, name of the person swearing, the place where sworn, and the name of the person before whom the oath was made.

Jurats usually include wordings such as: “Sworn to this ___ day of ____, by (Persons Name), before me, a notary public for said state and county. (Signature of Notary), Notary Public” and “This is my own free act and deed.”

A Jurat is a “written affirmation”, that is basically one step beyond what a Acknowledgment is, as described earlier.

In executing a Jurat, a public notary certifies:

1) The signer personally appeared before the notary at the time of the notarization.

2) The signer was positively identified.

3) The notary witnessed the signature at the time of the notarization.

4) An oath or affirmation was administered (i.e. “Do you solemnly swear”)

The main difference from the Acknowledgment to the Jurat, is that the Jurat is sworn under oath, and the Acknowledgment is not.

As with Acknowledgments, Jurat wording and procedures vary by state. In California, California Code – Section 8211 covers notary laws.

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