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Do You Know the Difference Between a Jurat and an Acknowledgment?


Two of the most common types of notarial certificates that may be attached to a document are the Acknowledgment and the Jurat. Take a look at some of the differences between the two:


An acknowledgment certificate indicates that the signer

  1. personally appeared before the Notary,

  2. was identified by the Notary, and

  3. acknowledged to the Notary that the document was freely signed.

Contrary to popular belief, documents requiring acknowledgments do not need to be signed in the Notary's presence in most states, even though the latter would be highly preferred when possible.

The confusion comes from the fact that the signer must appear before the Notary at the time of notarization to acknowledge that he or she freely signed for the purposes stated in the document.


Documents requiring a jurat must be signed in the Notary's presence, as indicated by the typical jurat wording, "Subscribed (signed) and sworn before me..."

In executing a jurat, a notary guarantees that the signer:

  1. personally appeared before the Notary,

  2. was given an oath or affirmation by the Notary, and finally

  3. signed in the Notary's presence.

To summarize, jurats are used primarily when dealing with sworn statements.

Did You Know . . .

While it is important for a Notary Public to understand the difference between an acknowledgment and a jurat, in most states, Notaries are not permitted to recommend or determine which type of certificate a signer may use. To do so would be considered practicing law without a license.

A Notary may present a sample of the two for the signer to choose from.


If you are unsure which form is required for your document, it is best practice to consult with whom the form is for. It never hurts to give the authority receiving the documents a call! For more tips and information please visit the National Notary Association (NNA).

An alternative for a signer who cannot ascertain which certificate to use would be to ask the Notary to affix both types, which is a perfectly acceptable request.

About The Author

Olivia Jade Kelly is an entrepreneur and owner of Jade's Notary, where she serves as a dully commissioned notary public for the State of Wisconsin and a certified Loan Signing Agent as well as certified Remote Online Notary. In addition to being the owner of Jade's Notary, Olivia is the proud owner of Visions of Jade, LLC, where she utilizes her years of experience as a virtual assistant and consultant. For more information as well as to shop my store click Visions of Jade, LLC.

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