An acknowledgment or notary acknowledgment is a brief statement that usually appears at the end of a legal document—such as a contract, will, trust, power of attorney, power of attorney for health care, deed, mortgage, or deed of trust—and serves as certification of the acknowledgment by the person signing the legal document (the document signer) that the document signer is the person identified in the legal document and the person whose signature appears on the legal document; that the document signer voluntarily signed the legal document; that the document signer understands the contents of the legal document and agrees to be bound by its terms; and that the document signer is signing the document for its intended purpose.
The acknowledgment or notary acknowledgment is signed by a notary public and certifies the spoken acknowledgment by the document signer who signed the contract, will, trust, power of attorney, power of attorney for health care, deed, mortgage, deed of trust, or other legal document.
The acknowledgment or notary acknowledgment typically identifies the state and county in which the document is being acknowledged and includes a brief statement such as “The foregoing instrument was acknowledged before me on this _____ (date) day of ______ (month), _________ (year) by ___________ (document signer).” This statement is followed by the notary public’s signature and official stamp or seal.
Unlike a legal document that includes a jurat, a legal document that includes an acknowledgment may be signed prior to appearing before a notary, or in the notary’s presence. But the notarization must be completed by the notary public in the document signer’s presence.