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Notarization is a fraud-deterrent process that assures the parties of a transaction that a document is authentic. Notarization is performed by a Notary Public, who will check the signer’s identification, volition and awareness, and keep key details of the notarization in the Notary’s “journal of notarial acts”, and sign and seal the document that is being notarized. There are several types of notarial acts, and the most common ones are: acknowledgments, jurats, and certified copies.

Acknowledgements are for a Notary Public to certify that the signatures on the document belong to signers present in front of the Notary Public. Documents conveying ownership or important rights, such as real property deeds, powers of attorney, and trust, usually need to be acknowledged by a Notary Public.

Jurats are for a signer to swear to a Notary Public that the statements in the document are true. An example is an affidavit.

Certified copies are a copy of the original document certified by the Notary Public that is true, exact and compete as the original document. Such as a certified copy of a birth certificate.

[Last updated in August of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]