Verbal Ceremonies Used by a Notary Public
Some of the most common verbal ceremonies used by a Notary Public are Acknowledgments, Oaths, Affirmations and the Oath or Affirmation of a Credible Witness. These ceremonies are vital when notarizing a document for a principal.
The Notary Public should verbally give the oath/affirmation to the principal and the principal should verbally answer the Notary Public. These verbal ceremonies are an important part of a notarization, as the verbal ceremony shows awareness on the part of the principal.
Lets first talk about the difference between an oath and an affirmation. The purpose of an oath and affirmation are the same. Both are given to compel someone to tell the truth.
When giving a verbal oath to someone you are asking that person to swear before God or a higher being they believe in.
When giving a verbal affirmation you are asking that person to affirm under Penalties of Perjury. The Notary Public is asking the principal to affirm the fact that the principal knows that if he/she is lying, that person will need to abide by whatever the modern day laws states for someone committing perjury. In other words in this lifetime, if a person is found to be lying, that person may be going to jail.
These are some of the most common verbal ceremonies that are used by Notary Publics:
"Do you acknowledgment and declare that this is your signature, that you understand this document, and that you willingly signed it this document for the purpose stated within the document?"
"Do you solemnly swear that the statements contained herein are true, so help you God (or whomever the higher being is)"
"Do you affirm under penalties of perjury that the statements contained herein are true?"
Affirmation of a Credible Witness:
When you must administer an affirmation, you will use this wording, "Do you affirm that (principal) is the person named in the document; that this person is personally known to you; that it is your reasonable belief that the circumstances of (principal) are such that it would be very difficult or impossible for him/her to obtain another form of identification or that (principal) does not possess any of the acceptable identification document; and that you do not have a financial interest, nor are you named in the document?"
Oath of a Credible Witness:
If you are administering an oath you will use the following phase, "Do you swear that (principal) is the person named in the document; that this person is personally known to you; that it is your reasonable belief that the circumstances of (principal) are such that it would be very difficult or impossible for him/her to obtain another form of identification or that (principal) does not possess any of the acceptable identification document; and that you do not have a financial interest, nor are you named in the document. So help you God (or your higher being)?"
It is also good practice for the Notary Public to write down in the notary journal if an oath or an affirmation was administered, and if an oath was used who the principal's higher being is.
In this Notary Publics option, to avoid any controversy, it is a good idea to use an affirmation. When using an affirmation you dont need to get into religion with anyone. It also protects you, the Notary, as you dont have your principal swear to a higher being that person may not believe in. If you have him or her swear to God and that person believes in another higher being and you get taken into court, the notarization will be overturned and you as a Notary will be responsible for any damages that might incur.