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Frequently Asked Questions

Making sure you understand the notarization process is beneficial to make your notary appointment as efficient and effective as possible. We have provided a list of commonly asked questions that we have received. If you have any additional questions feel free to reach out so we can assist.

Notary Basics

We want you to feel comfortable and ready for your notary appointment. Check out the information below!

What is a Notary?

A notary public is an officer commissioned by the Michigan Secretary of State to serve as an unbiased and impartial witness on business, public, and other documents. The most common function of the notary is to prevent fraud by attesting to the identity of a person signing a document. A notarization on a document certifies that the person whose signature is entered on the document personally appeared before the notary, established his or her identity, and personally signed the document in the presence of the notary.

A commissioned Notary is authorized to perform three (3) types of notarizations.

  1. Acknowledgments,

  2. Administer Oaths or Affirmations (Jurat), and

  3. Witness or Attest to a Signature

Acknowledgment

An acknowledgment confirms the identity of the signer who acknowledges that they have signed the record. An acknowledgment does not require that a record be signed in the Notary's presence.

In executing an acknowledgement, a Notary guarantees that the signer:

  • personally appeared before the Notary

  • was positively identified using personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence

The acknowledgment notarization is not part of the document and it does not affect its validity. Typically, they are executed on deeds and other documents that will be publicly recorded by a county official.

Jurat:
Oaths and Affirmation

Jurat notarizations are required for transactions where the signer must attest to the content of the document, such as all affidavits and pleadings in court. It is a certification on an affidavit declaring when, where and before whom it was sworn. However, jurat notarizations do not prove a document is true, legal, valid or enforceable.

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

  • personally appeared before the Notary

  • was positively identified using personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence

  • was given an oath or affirmation by the Notary attesting to the truthfulness of the document and

  • signed the document in the Notary's presence as the Notary is certifying that the signer attested to the truthfulness of the document contents under penalty of perjury

When administering oaths, parties should raise their right hands. The left hand may be used in cases of disability. Following the oath, the signer must answer affirmatively i.e.: I do or Yes.

Witness or attest to a signature

The act of witnessing or attesting a signature is like a jurat, except that it does not require the signer to take an oath or affirmation. It is used when establishing the signing date is of major importance.

In witnessing or attesting to a signature, a Notary guarantees that the signer:

  • personally appeared before the Notary

  • was positively identified using personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence

  • signed the document in the Notary's presence

Prohibited documents

​A notary in the State of Michigan is prohibited from authenticating / notarizing the following documents:

  • Documents that make a claim regarding or purports to affect citizenship, immunity, allegiance to a government or jurisdiction, sovereignty, or any related matter.

  • Any document the Secretary of State has reasonable cause to believe the document may be used to accomplish any fraudulent, criminal, or unlawful purpose.

  • Documents where the notary is listed in the beginning of the document.

  • Documents where the notary is attesting to or stating the whole document.

  • Documents with the term, Notario Publico/Notaria Publica. Document may use the term Notario/Notaria, but not Notario Publico/Notaria Publica.

  • Documents notarized by an Out of State notary.

  • Out of State Vital Records

  • Business documents with no affiliation in Michigan

  • US Immigration and Naturalization Paperwork.

  • Documents that are to be used in the United States

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