As you conduct business or personal matters that involve legal documents, you may come across the requirement to obtain a notarial certificate to verify identities or witness the signing of important paperwork. A notarial certificate is an official document issued by a notary public to authenticate the identity of individuals signing critical legal forms.

Notaries are public officers appointed by state governments to serve the public as impartial witnesses. They are authorized to administer oaths and affirmations, take acknowledgements, and verify the authenticity of signatures.

Obtaining a notarial certificate provides an extra layer of fraud prevention and security for legal documents and contracts. The notary’s seal and signature on a notarial certificate help prevent the falsification of signatures and deter individuals from denying the authenticity of their signature or the document’s contents.

Notarial certificates are commonly required for documents like deeds, mortgages, powers of attorney, affidavits, and oaths. Understanding what a notarial certificate is and how notaries function can help ensure your important legal paperwork is properly verified and witnessed.

What Exactly Is a Notarial Certificate?

A notarial certificate, also known as a loose leaf certificate might be a notary acknowledgement, jurat (oath), or copy certificate, is a sworn statement by a notary public that verifies a person’s identity and acknowledges that individual signed a document freely and willingly.  It will look a little something like this:

Idaho Acknowledgement Notary Certificate
Idaho Acknowledgement Notary Certificate

How is a Notary Certificate different from a Digital Certificate

There is a level of confusion coming from different states referring to Notary Certificates as Digital Certificates.  Here is our ultimate guide on Digital Certificates.  Essentially they are encrypted files that will go into each document a notary conducts online that to verify they were indeed the notarizing party.

Purpose of a Notarial Certificate

The purpose of a notarial certificate is to authenticate the identity of the notary as well as identify the signer and the fact that they signed the document voluntarily. It helps prevent fraud and ensures that the person signing is who they claim to be. A notarial certificate also allows the document to be recorded and used in court as evidence.

What’s Included in a Notarial Certificate

A notarial certificate will vary state to state but will typically contain the following information:

  1. The venue, which identifies the state and county where the notarization is taking place.
  2. The date the notarization is performed.
  3. A statement confirming the identity of the signer based on government-issued photo ID.
  4. A sworn statement that the signer personally appeared before the notary, is known to the notary or was identified, and signed the document voluntarily.
  5. The signature and seal or stamp of the notary public. The seal must match the notary’s name exactly.

In summary, a notarial certificate authenticates documents and the identities of those who sign them. By signing and sealing the certificate, a notary public swears that proper procedures were followed and the signer appeared and acknowledged signing voluntarily. This allows businesses, governments, and individuals to have confidence in the legitimacy of the signed documents.

How Is a Notarial Certificate Different From a Notary Public Certification?

A notarial certificate is an official document signed and sealed by a notary public to authenticate the facts of a notarial act. It contains details about the specific notarization, including the names of the parties involved, the type of notarial act performed, the date, and the place of notarization.

In contrast, a notary public certification is a statement by State Commissioning office that a notary public has been granted the powers of a Notary Public. It does not contain the specific details about the notarial act, but provides authorization to the notary public.

Key Differences
  • A notarial certificate provides the specifics of the notarization, while a notary public certification only confirms that an individual’s signature was notarized on a given date.
  • A notarial certificate is sealed with the notary’s official seal, adding an additional level of authentication. A notary public certification typically does not require a seal.
  • A notarial certificate may be required for certain legal and official purposes as evidence that a notarization was properly performed. A notary public certification is less formal and may not meet the same legal requirements.
  • A notary public certification simply states that an individual appeared before the notary. A notarial certificate details the type of notarial act, such as an oath or acknowledgment, that the notary performed.

In summary, while a notary public certification can serve to verify the notarization of a signature, a notarial certificate provides a more comprehensive and authoritative authentication of the facts and details of a notarial act. Both documents allow parties relying on a notarization to have confidence in the integrity and legitimacy of the notary’s official acts.

When Performing a Notarization, When Must a Notary use a Notary Certificate?

As a notary public, there are certain situations where you must complete a notarial certificate to legally authenticate a document or transaction.

When Performing Acknowledgments

When administering an oath or taking an acknowledgement, you must complete a notarial certificate. An acknowledgement formally confirms the identity of a person signing a document and their willingness to sign said document. The certificate serves as legal proof that proper notarization procedures were followed.

When Witnessing or Attesting to a Signature

If you are witnessing or attesting to someone’s signature on a document, a notarial certificate must be included. The certificate confirms that the person signed the document in your presence, allowing you to verify their identity.

When Certifying True Copies

When certifying that a copy of an original document is a true and accurate copy, a notarial certificate must be attached. The certificate confirms that you compared the original and copy side by side, and that the copy is verbatim to the original. This allows copies to serve as legally valid documents.

When Performing Jurats

A jurat is a notarization where a person signs a document and swears or affirms that the statements in the document are true. When administering a jurat, you must complete a notarial certificate. The certificate serves as evidence that the signer appeared before you, swore or affirmed that the contents of the document are truthful, and signed the document in your presence.

In summary, as a notary you must use a notarial certificate when taking acknowledgements, witnessing signatures, certifying copies, or performing jurats. The certificate legally validates these notarial acts and the documents they relate to. Be sure to always include a notarial certificate when performing these types of notarizations.

Notarial Certificate Conclusions

With a complete understanding of what a notarial certificate entails, you can now appreciate the importance and legal significance of this document. Notarial certificates verify the identity of the signer and the signing of official documents to help prevent fraud.

By having a notary public authenticate the signing of critical paperwork, you gain an extra layer of protection and security. Don’t take the notarization process lightly – make sure you fully understand what you’re signing and that all information on the documents is accurate before meeting with a notary.

Notarial certificates may seem like a small technicality but they serve an important purpose in authenticating your most important life events and business transactions.