From NNA: How To Complete An Acknowledgment In FL
You can read the original article here: How To Complete An Acknowledgment In FL
Updated 10-16-17. Even though an acknowledgment is one of the most common types of notarization, it often confuses many Notaries — new or experienced. The purpose of the acknowledgment is to positively identify the signer and verify that the signature is theirs.
Acknowledgments are required for all types of documents, such as adoption documents, parental permission slips, mortgages, deeds of trust and powers of attorney.
Here are five steps to performing an acknowledgment:
1. Require Personal Appearance
The signer must personally appear before you at the time of the notarization, though the document may be signed prior to the signer appearing before you. [Note: Only Montana and Virginia allow the personal appearance requirement to be satisfied via webcam under specific circumstances. Texas specifically prohibits Notaries from taking an acknowledgment by phone.]
2. Review The Document
Scan the document to make sure it is complete, has no blank spaces or missing pages, and includes a Notary certificate. The certificate tells you what type of notarization to perform. Without it, the signer will need to indicate whether they need an acknowledgment, jurat or other notarial act, and you’ll need to provide and attach the appropriate certificate form.
3. Screen The Signer And Verify The Facts
Screen the signer’s identity according to your state’s requirements, ask them if they signed or are signing willingly and watch to verify that they are aware of what they are doing. If the document has already been signed, the signer must acknowledge to you that the signature is theirs. If there is no signature, watch the signer sign the document.
4. Record The Notarization
Complete a detailed record in a bound journal about the facts of the notarization: the date and time, a description of the document, the type of notarization, the signer’s name and address, how the signer was identified, the fee collected, and the signer’s signature. Some states require specific information to be recorded; you must know and follow these requirements.
5. Complete The Notarization
Fill out, sign, and affix your official seal to the Notary certificate. The wording requirements for acknowledgment certificates varies from state to state. Some states require specific wording while other states provide Notaries general guidance. In California, for example, an acknowledgment certificate must be worded exactly as it appears in state law. Florida does not require exact wording, but the certificate must include elements spelled out in Florida Statutes,117.05, including the venue, name of signer, type and date of notarization, form of identification used, the Notary’s signature, name and seal, and a statement the signer personally appeared before the Notary. Georgia, on the other hand, does not prescribe specific wording for acknowledgment certificates. Make sure to review and follow your state’s requirements.
Always remember that the Notary may not decide what type of notarial act is appropriate for a given document. If there is no certificate provided that tells you what to do and the signer is uncertain, refer them back to the person or agency that provided or will receive the document for instructions.
Cindy Medrano is the Social Media Specialist at the National Notary Association.