Notary Terms

Common Notary Terms are listed here for you to review. These are the most common terms you will use. If you have not yet taken your notary exam, you will see many of these words so go ahead and become familiar with them.

Don't become overwhelmed. It is enough right now just to become familiar with the terms. The more you use them, the deeper your understanding will be.

Before you know it, these words will become second nature to you.


I have linked to the more common Notary Terms below. Simply click on the link provided at the end of this page.


Acknowledge: To admit the existence, or truth of a statement and accept responsibility.

Acknowledgment: A formal declaration made to authoritative witness by the person who executed thedocument that it was freely executed.

Acknowledgment Certificate: A written statement, affixed to an agreement, signed and sealed by anauthorized official that states in a form, usually prescribed by law, that the official took the acknowledgment ofthe person who signed the agreement.

Administer: To give or apply in a formal way. (this is my favorite notary term...sounds like something a doctor would say)

Affiant: One who makes a swearing statement in an affidavit.

Affidavit: A written declaration made under oath before a notary public or other authorized officer.

Affirmation: To declare positively or firmly; maintain to be true. An affirmation replaces "swearing beforeGod."

Affix: To secure (an object) to another; to attach; add to.

Apostille: Authentication document for Hague Convention members.

Appointment: The act of designating for an office or position.

Attest: To affirm to be correct, true, or genuine; corroborate.

Authenticate: To prove or verify as genuine.

Certificate: A document testifying to a fact, qualification, or promise; or 2) A written statement legallyauthenticated.

Certified Copy: A document certified by a notary to be a true and correct copy of the original.

Civil Action: Not a criminal action. A lawsuit for the purpose of protection of private (not public) rights andcompensation for their violation. (I would not worry about this notary term for now...just interesting)

Civil Liability: The responsibility and obligation to make compensation to another person for damages causedby improper performance of duties and acts.

Closing Agent: Closing agents can be the lender, escrow, title, closing service companies, etc. A closing agent actually performs the closing process, which includes, disbursement of funds, the issuing of title insurance, if applicable and recording of the deed. In addition, the closing agent, if a notary, can also notarize the applicable documents in the loan package. (pay close attention to this notary term as well as the notary term "signing agent" below)

Commercial Paper: 1) Any of various short‐term negotiable papers originating in business transactions; or 2) Adocument whose purpose is to transfer money such as a check, bill of exchange or draft.

Commission: A document describing the notary's appointment and term of office.

Credible Witness: A believable witness worthy of confidence. Creates a chain of personally known individuals from the notary public to the signer of a document.

Dispose: To store in an orderly manner. In relation to notarial journal, to store for seven years.

Duress: Constraint by threat, coercion.

Embosser: A pliers‐like device, that when squeezed together with paper between the jaws, makes raised areasand indentations on paper. Used as a protection device. Not an official notary seal; but may be used in addition to the official notary seal.

Errors and Omission Insurance: An insurance policy designed for the protection of the notary when held liablefor honest mistakes. The insurance policy absorbs the notary's costs and financial liabilities up to an agreedlimit. (I have described this notary term in detail...see the Navigation Bar on the upper left side of this page...)

Felony: A crime more serious than a misdemeanor and punishable by a more stringent sentence.

Journal of Notarial Acts: Notarial journal prescribed by law to record notarial acts.

Jurat: An affidavit declaring when, where, and before whom it was sworn. (Old Latin Notary Term)

Jurisdiction/Venue: The locality where a cause of action occurs. The state and county where a notarizationtakes place.

Loose Certificate: A document with notarial wording that is separate from, and attached to, the document being notarized. It is used when no wording is provided on the document, when that provided wording does not comply with the state's requirements, when there is no room for the notary seal on the document, or when a pre-printed certificate has already been used by another notary in the case of multiple signers.

L.S. (locus sigilli): Indicates where the official notary seal imprint is to be placed. Latin term Locus Sigilli means"place of the seal."

Misconduct: Behavior not conforming to prevailing standards or laws.

Misdemeanor: An offense of lesser gravity than a felony for which punishment may be a fine or imprisonment.

Notary Journal: An official record book of notarizations performed by a notary. Required by law in several states. All entries must be in chronological order and have all required fields completed at the time of notarization. If must be kept under the direct and exclusive control of the notary and kept in locked and/or secured area.

Notary Public: A person commissioned by a state government to serve the public as an impartial witness with duties specified by law. The notary has the power to witness the signing of documents and to administer oaths.

Notary Seal: An official stamp or embosser used by a notary to seal notarizations. It must be kept under the direct and exclusive control of the notary.

Notary Signing Agent: National Notary Association is using this name for a Notary Public that is trained to do loan document signings, see Signing Agent.

Oath: A statement by a person who asserts it to be true, calling upon God as witness.

Official Notary Seal: An official stamp or embosser used by a notary to seal notarizations. It must be kept under the direct and exclusive control of the notary.

Personally Known: Familiarity with an individual resulting from interactions with that individual over a period of time sufficient to eliminate every reasonable doubt that the individual has the identity claimed.

Power of Attorney: A legal instrument authorizing one to act as another's agent or attorney.

Resignation: Written statement that one is resigning a position or office.

Revoke: To cancel or rescind.

S.S. or SCT: Indicates where the notarization is performed. Latin term Silicet means "in particular" or "namely."Commonly referred to as jurisdiction.

Satisfactory Evidence: Sufficient means of identifying a signer which meets criteria set forth by law.

Sanctions: The penalty for noncompliance specified in a law or decree.

Signing Agent: A Notary Public who has been trained to handle the execution and notarization of mortgage, refinancing and real estate transactions.

Signing Service: A company who subcontracts signing appointments to "Loan Document Signers" (Notary Public) for signing of loan documents and notarization. The sole purpose of this company is to act as a "Gobetween" company, between the client and the notary public".

Subscribe: To sign one's name in attestation, testimony, or consent.

Subscribing Witness: A person who appears before the notary on behalf of the principal. The subscribing witness must have been requested and/or authorized by the principal to get the document notarized, must swear under oath or affirmation that they either saw the principal sign the document or heard the principalacknowledge that they signed the document, must sign the document before appearing in from of the notary or in the notary's presence, must establish identity through personal knowledge of the notary or through the oath or affirmation of a credible witness known to the subscribing witness and the notary, and must sign the notary's journal.

Suspend: To cause to stop for a period; interrupt.

Swear/Sworn: To make a solemn promise; to vow, usually before God.

Testimonium clause: At the end of many documents and certificates that follows the form "witness my handand seal" or some variation thereof.

Venue / Jurisdiction: The locality where a cause of action occurs. The state and county where a notarization takes place.

Verification: A confirmation of the truth of a theory or fact.

Waiver of Fees: A statement which waives or gives up the right to charge for notarial services.

Witness: A person who watches an action take place.


Most of these notary terms can be found in Black's Law Dictionary. Again, you job here is not to memorize these notary terms, just familiarize yourself with them for now.

All of these notary terms will become second nature to you soon...

Notary Terms for "notary seal" can be found here.

Additional Notary Terms

Some additional notary terms you will use often have been defined in detail in the links below. You will need a working knowledge of these terms, but again, it is not necessary to memorize each one. Just be able to describe them in general terms.

Title Claim

Title Insurance

HUD-1 Settlement Statement

Apostille

X-Mark Signature

Electronic Signature

Fingerprinting

Certifying Copies Loan Modifications Reverse Mortgage