Glossary

Acknowledgment
An acknowledgment is a notarial act in which a Notary certifies that a signer, whose identity is personally known to the Notary or is proven by satisfactory evidence, voluntarily signs a document for its stated purpose. The signer is not required to sign the document in the notary's presence for an acknowledgment; the signer may pre-sign the document or may choose to sign it in your presence. Because you are attesting to the genuineness of the signature, you may not perform an acknowledgment that will be signed at a later time. Even if a document has been pre-signed, the document signer must be in the Notary's presence at the time the Notary performs the notarization.

Commission and Commission certificate
A commission certificate is the certificate issued by the Secretary of State's Office to a Notary. The commission certificate is an individual's proof that he or she has been commissioned as a Notary Public. (A.R.S. ยง 41-311(2)) The commission certificate shows the Notary's name as it appears on the application form, the notary's commission number, the issuance date, and the expiration date of the commission, as well as the Secretary of State's name and signature.

Copy certification
Copy certification is a notarial act in which the Notary certifies that the Notary made a photocopy of an original document that is neither a public record nor publicly recordable.

Credible person
A credible person is a person who personally knows the signer and who either also personally knows the Notary or who presents satisfactory evidence of identity to the Notary. A "credible person" is also known as a "credible witness."

Financial or beneficial interest in the transaction
You have financial interest in the transaction if you will gain (or lose) something of value in the transaction. You have beneficial interest in the transaction if the document will benefit you in some way. Family members are usually considered to have either a financial or beneficial interest in a transaction even if they are not specifically named in the document.

Impartial witness
An impartial witness must have no conflict of interest. This means that, as the Notary, you cannot be a "party to the transaction" or a "party to the instrument" and you cannot have any financial or beneficial interest in the transaction, no matter how small.

Incomplete document
An incomplete document is a document that has not been signed where a signature line is provided or where other obvious blanks appear in the document, or that lacks a notarial certificate.

Jurat
A jurat is a notarial act in which the Notary certifies that a signer, whose identity is personally known or is proven by satisfactory evidence, has made in the Notary's presence a voluntary signature and has taken an oath or affirmation vouching for the truthfulness of the signed document. Some states refer to this as an affidavit. Anytime the words "sworn to before me", "subscribed and sworn to before be", or similar words appear in notarial language in the notarial certificate, you must perform a jurat. Because a signer is swearing/affirming that the information is true, there can be no blank spaces on a document.

Notarial Acts
There are four notarial acts that a notary can perform in Arizona:

  • Acknowledgments,
  • Jurats,
  • Copy Certifications, and
  • Oaths or Affirmations.

Notarial certificate
A notarial certificate is the part of, or attachment to, a notarized document for completion by the Notary that bears the notary's signature and seal, and states the facts that are attested to by the Notary in a particular notarization. The state and county where the notarization takes place is known as the "venue" and is also considered part of the notarial certificate.

Notary Public
A Notary Public is a public officer, commissioned by the Secretary of State to perform notarial acts. A Notary is authorized by state government to administer oaths and to attest to the authenticity of signatures. A Notary serves as an impartial witness.

Oath or Affirmation
An oath or an affirmation is a notarial act or part of a notarial act in which a person made a vow in the presence of the Notary under penalty of perjury, with reference to a supreme being in the case of an oath.

Party to the instrument
An instrument is the document, a signature on which you are notarizing. A party to the instrument is someone who is mentioned in the document either by name or by job title or classification or who would have some kind of beneficial or financial interest in the document. If you are a party to the instrument, then you have an interest in the transaction and are no longer an impartial witness; therefore you could not notarize a signature.

Party to the transaction
"Party to the instrument" means the same as "Party to the transaction".

Personal knowledge of the signer by the Notary
Personal knowledge of the signer by the Notary means that the Notary has familiarity with an individual resulting from interactions with that person over a sufficient time to eliminate reasonable doubt that the individual has the identity claimed.

Satisfactory evidence of identity
Satisfactory evidence of identity means:

  • At least one current form of identification issued by the United States government, or a state, or tribal government containing the following:
    • The individual's photograph,
    • The individual's signature, and
    • The individual's written physical description that includes height, weight, color of hair, and color of eyes.
  • Personal knowledge of the signer by the notary;
  • The oath or affirmation of a credible person who is personally known to the notary and who personally knows the signer; or
  • The oath or affirmation of a credible person who personally knows the individual and who provides satisfactory evidence of identity