February 20, 2013

Acknowledgment vs. Jurat

In the context of estate planning, the services of a notary are often required. For example, a client might create a trust and need to transfer ownership of their home into the trust. This requires a trust transfer deed, which may be in the form of a grant or quit-claim deed. Since the deed has to be recorded to give proper notice to third-parties, notarization of the signature is required.

The two most common types of notarial acts are an acknowledgment and jurat. 


An acknowledgment is a formal declaration made in the presence of an authorized officer, such as a notary public by someone who signs a document and confirms that the signature is authentic. Black's Law Dictionary (8th ed. 2004).

Technically, California law does not require that the actual signer appear before the notary. This is in contrast to a jurat which does require personal appearance before the notary. Through a complicated process, witnesses can vouch for the signature's authenticity provided they appear before the notary. Still, you will save the notary plenty of befuddlement if you personally appear before the notary and sign the document, since many notaries do not know the exact procedure for this and would have to look it up.

An acknowledgment is most freqeuntly used with a deed execution.

The following is how an acknowledgment should be worded:


State of California
County of _____________________________)

          On _________________________ before me, __________ (insert name and title of the officer) personally appeared _______, who proved to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence to be the person(s) whose name(s) is/are subscribed to the within instrument and acknowledged to me that he/she/they executed the same in his/her/their authorized capacity(ies), and that by his/her/their signature(s) on the instrument the person(s), or the entity upon behalf of which the person(s) acted, executed the instrument.

I certify under PENALTY OF PERJURY under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing paragraph is true and correct.

WITNESS my hand and official seal.

Signature ______________________________ 


A jurat is a certification added to an affidavit or deposition stating when and before what authority the affidavit was made. Black's Law Dictionary (8th ed. 2004).

The jurat certifies that the signer personally appeared before the notary when they signed the document. Govt C § 8202. That is, the signer was physically present when they signed it. Also, the notary is required to administer an oath or affirmation to the signer which requires that the signer attest to the document's truthfulness. Govt C § 8202.

An example of where a jurat is used is when there is the death of a trustee. Whereby an "Affidavit of Death of Trustee" is required and such is recorded with the appropriate County Recorder's Office.

The following is how a jurat should be worded:

State of California
County of _______________

          Subscribed and sworn to (or affirmed) before me on this ____ day of _______, 20__, by ________________, proved to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence to be the person(s) who appeared before me.