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Uncovering the Most Common Types of Notarizations: What You Need to Know

Updated: Mar 12

Notaries are essential in ensuring the authenticity and legality of various documents, and they must understand the difference between common notarial acts to perform their duties correctly. In this article, we will discuss the most common types of notarizations.

The first type of notarization is an acknowledgment, which is often required for documents regarding valuable assets such as deeds, mortgages, and deeds of trust. To perform an acknowledgment, the signer must appear before the notary, and the notary must positively identify them before they acknowledge that the signature on the document is theirs and that they signed it willingly. Although it is common for the client to sign the document in front of the notary, they may sign it before bringing it to the notary and acknowledge that the signature is theirs.

A jurat is another type of notarization that is performed when a signer needs to swear or affirm that the contents of a document are true. The signer must appear before the notary, sign the document in their presence, and then the notary must administer an oath or affirmation, depending on the signer's preference. Administering the oath or affirmation is crucial because the signer affirms that the document's contents are true, and they may be prosecuted for perjury if they are not. Some jurisdictions require proof of identity for a jurat.

In some cases, a client may require the notary to administer an oral oath or affirmation rather than as part of a written document. The signer should choose between an oath, a solemn pledge to a Supreme Being, or an affirmation, a solemn pledge on the individual's personal honor.

Copy certification is a common notarial act that confirms that a reproduction of an original document is a full, true, and accurate transcription or reproduction of the original. However, nearly half of the US states bar notaries from performing this type of notarization. To perform a copy certification, the document custodian takes the original document to a notary who will make a photocopy of the document and complete a certificate for the copy certification to confirm that the photocopy is a true, accurate, and complete copy of the original.

Lastly, some states, such as Colorado and Pennsylvania, authorize notaries to perform signature witnessing, where the notary certifies that the individual appearing before them is who they claim to be, and the signature on the record is the signature of the individual before them. The difference between a signature witnessing and an acknowledgment is that the notary witnesses the document being signed.

Notaries must be familiar with these common types of notarizations to perform their duties properly. If you need notary services in the Atlanta area, please visit to find a mobile notary near you.

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