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Notary Bulletin

Quiz: The Many Types Of Notarial Acts

Notaries perform many different duties for the public — and it’s easy to lose track of the different acts and what states they’re authorized in. Test your familiarity with common — and uncommon — notarial acts.

Take the Quiz: The Many Types Of Notarial Acts (answers below)




1. The two most common notarial acts are:
A. Acknowledgments and copy certifications
B. Protests and acknowledgments
C. Acknowledgments and jurats
D. Jurats and copy certifications

Answer: C. The two most common notarial acts are the acknowledgment (when a signer is positively identified by the Notary and acknowledges signing a document in the Notary’s presence) and the jurat (when the signer swears or affirms before the Notary that the contents of a document signed in the Notary’s presence are true). Because every U.S. jurisdiction authorizes Notaries to perform these acts, they are the two most common types of notarization performed.

2. A “protest” is:
A. A request for a notarized draft waiver by a conscientious objector
B. A rarely-requested notarial act involving nonpayment of funds
C. A notarized document exempting the signer from paying taxes
D. A formal complaint filed by a signer against a Notary

Answer: B. A protest is a written statement by a Notary or authorized officer verifying that payment was not received on an instrument such as a bank draft. Commonly used in the 19th century, protests are usually not needed today due to changes in the modern banking system. Protests are usually only performed today by Notaries with specialized training by a financial institution or under the supervision of a qualified attorney or bank officer. If you are asked to perform a “protest” and are unsure how to proceed, we suggest you contact the NNA Hotline or your state Notary-regulating agency before going forward.

3. Notaries may perform marriages:
A. In no U.S. state or territory
B. In every U.S. state or territory
C. If they are also commissioned as “prothonotaries”
D. In four states-Florida, Maine, Nevada and South Carolina

Answer: D. Florida, Maine, Nevada and South Carolina authorize commissioned Notaries to officiate weddings as part of their duties.

4. Notaries may administer a verbal oath or affirmation to a signer with no written document:
A. In no state or U.S. territory
B. In every state and U.S. territory
C. Only if the signer is an attorney or judge
D. Only if the Notary is a court employee

Answer: B. Notaries are authorized to administer a verbal oath or affirmation upon a signer’s request in every U.S. jurisdiction. A written document is not required to administer a verbal oath or affirmation. If not required by law, it is recommended that the Notary ask the person taking the oath or affirmation to raise their right hand to emphasize that this is a serious act and should not be taken lightly. Remember that administering a verbal oath/affirmation is still a notarial act and should be recorded in the Notary’s journal. Fees should be charged according to the rules of the state or territory in which the Notary is commissioned.

David Thun is an Associate Editor at the National Notary Association.

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