1. The person signing an affidavit must have knowledge that the facts shown in affidavit occurred. That person takes an “oath” that the content is correct and true.
2. The person signing an affidavit and the Notary Public who administers the oath (3 below) must sign the affidavit together in the same room at the same time.
3. A Notary should administer the following oath prior to the notary’s signing an affidavit:
Do you solemnly swear that the contents of this affidavit signed by you are correct and true?
• When administering the oath, both parties should raise their right hand.
• NOTE: This is necessary only for affidavits – not for acknowledgements.
4. The date shown on the line “Subscribed and sworn to before me…” must be the date that the signer signs the affidavit AND the Notary signs the “jurat.” If this is not correct as an affidavit form prints out, print out a new affidavit form with the current date.
• NOTE: The Berrien County Record computer is programmed to prevent printing an affidavit of publication before the last scheduled publication date, but when it is printed, it will print with the date it is printed entered in the jurat. If the affidavit is not signed until a later date, the date must be changed. This is properly done by printing the affidavit with the correct date inserted, as instructed above.
5. The person who signs a document other than an affidavit or a certificate “acknowledges” that signing. See definition of “acknowledgement” below. The notary takes an acknowledgement.
• NOTE: No “oath” is required for an acknowledgment.
• NOTE: Signature of the document may occur prior to the acknowledgement.
6. The Notary “acts” wherever the Notary is when taking an acknowledgment or administering an oath.
• Where the property is located is irrelevant – the place where the oath is administered or acknowledgment taken is what matters.
• If the Notary has been commissioned in the County where acting, the Notary does not need to add “Acting in the County of [that County],” but it acceptable to do so.
7. The Notary must sign her or his name exactly as that name appears on the application for commission as a notary.
8. The foregoing are reminders of good practices and some statutory obligations. Each Notary is individually responsible for knowledge of and compliance with all statutory requirements for notaries.
Some definitions from statutes pertaining to notaries (MCL §§55.261-55.313) – emphasis added
“Acknowledgment” means the confirmation by a person in the presence of a notary public that he or she is placing or has placed his or her signature on a record for the purposes stated in the record and, if the record is signed in a representative capacity, that he or she is placing or has placed his or her signature on the record with the proper authority and in the capacity of the person represented and identified in the record.
“Notarial act” means any act that a notary public commissioned in this state is authorized to perform including, but not limited to, the taking of an acknowledgment, the administration of an oath or affirmation, the taking of a verification upon oath or affirmation, and the witnessing or attesting a signature performed in compliance with this act and the uniform recognition of acknowledgments act, 1969 PA 57, MCL 565.261 to 565.270.
“Jurat” means a certification by a notary public that a signer, whose identity is personally known to the notary public or proven on the basis of satisfactory evidence, has made in the presence of the notary public a voluntary signature and taken an oath or affirmation vouching for the truthfulness of the signed record.