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What Notaries Need To Know About Hybrid Certificates

new-hybrid-writing-3-resize.jpgUpdated 4-26-19. Some Notary certificates contain language for both an acknowledgment and a jurat — known as a “hybrid Notary certificate” — which can cause confusion during notarizations. Here's what you need to know if you are presented with a hybrid certificate. 

What Is A Hybrid Notary Certificate?

A hybrid certificate combines two Notary acts — typically an acknowledgment plus a jurat or oath — into one combined certificate. Here are a few examples:

Example 1. Acknowledgment Plus Jurat
An officer of a corporation must acknowledge his signature on a contract and swear or affirm that they are an officer of the corporation. The wording on the Notary certificate might include the phrases:

“… before me appeared (name of signer), who being by me duly sworn (or affirmed) did say that he is the president of XYZ Corporation, …and that said (name of signer) acknowledged said instrument to be the free act and deed of said corporation.”

Example 2: Signature Witnessing Plus Acknowledgment
Another type of hybrid certificate combines a signature witnessing (a notarization in many states requiring the document to be signed in front of the Notary) and an acknowledgment. The wording in such a case would read:

“Signed and acknowledged before me on (date) by (name of signer).”
 

Certificate of Trust

 

Example 3: Certificate Of Trust
Finally, a third example of a hybrid certificate is notarizing a Certificate of Trust, containing both acknowledgment wording and evidence of the signer taking an oath. (See illustration.)

How To Complete Hybrid Certificates

If you are confronted with a hybrid Notary certificate, follow these guidelines:

1. Recognize the certificate as a hybrid and determine your course of action

In order to spot a hybrid, you’ll need to know the typical acknowledgment and jurat forms in your state so that you can quickly identify the differences when they appear. 

2. Perform all actions stated in the hybrid certificate

Many Notaries may blindly “stamp and sign” whatever wording appears on the document without reading the certificate. The risk is that the Notary is certifying facts that might not have taken place (like administering an oath).

So, if the hybrid requires you to take the signer’s acknowledgment and administer an oath, do both. If the wording says, “Signed and acknowledged before me,” you must actually witness the signature and have the signer acknowledge signing the document. The signer couldn’t sign the document before coming to acknowledge his or her signature to you.

3. Record the hybrid in your journal

Many states, including California, Florida and Texas, either require Notaries to keep a journal or recommend the practice. Make sure to note that you completed a hybrid certificate. If you are unsure what type of notarization you performed, briefly describe it.

4.  Charge the correct fee for the notarization 

Just because the notarial certificate combines two notarial acts doesn’t mean you can double charge your customer. Default to charging for one notarization unless your state laws clearly and explicitly allow you to charge for both. 

State Laws And Hybrid Certificates

It’s your job to make sure that any certificate wording you use complies with the requirements of your state. So it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with those requirements before completing a hybrid certificate because some states do not allow them.

California, for example, prohibits the use of hybrid certificates in many cases. If the documents will be filed in California, the Notary must complete a jurat or acknowledgment certificate prescribed by the state, but not a form that combines both. If, however, the document is going to another state and requires an acknowledgment, a Notary may be able to complete a hybrid acknowledgment certificate in which the signer acknowledges their signature and is stated to have taken an oath.

New York requires an all-purpose acknowledgment certificate to be used for documents affecting real property in the state. Notaries in New York would not be allowed to use a hybrid certificate for these documents.

If you need help with a hybrid Notary certificate or have other questions, NNA members can contact the Notary Hotline for assistance. 

Kelle Clarke is a regular contributing writer to the NNA.

Additional Resources:

State Law Summaries

28 Comments

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L. A. Rust

18 May 2015

Excellent information to know and have at hand. Suggest that a copy be made and kept in your Journal for easy access and reference -- better to "have it and not need it than to need it and not have it."

Wanda Williams

18 May 2015

I had not heard of this type of document before. Thank you for providing education on this! I now know what to look for if I come across a document like this.

Cynthia Cione

18 May 2015

In CA, it it is to be filed in CA, would you just cross out the one on the page and attach a jurat & acknowledgement?

jerry_lucas@msn.com

18 May 2015

Colorado notary law is silent on the subject of hybrid certificates. But, a hybrid certificate is shown in the Colorado probate code for a self-proving affidavit, signed by witnesses, and attached to a last will and testament. I write Ack+Jurat in my journal. Hybrid certificates are not required to be taught in state-approved Colorado Notary Training, but I provide my students with the information, along with other advanced topics.

Jack Crawford

18 May 2015

Since CA has very specific wording for Jurats it would seem that if the words "subscribed and sworn to" appear in the certificate, the safest and simplest action for a CA notary to take would be to attach a loose CA Jurat certificate. Or couldn't we have the signer or the agency requesting the notarization clarify which notarial act they need performed? It's situations like this that demonstrate the need for some type of national standardization at least for the most common notarial acts and certificate wording. Also, an example of why the NNA is such a valuable resource. Thank you for keeping us informed.

Teresa Ware

18 May 2015

Being a newbie at this.....the information provided is very helpful.

Kathy Perry

02 Jun 2015

i agree with with the comment that in CA a notary should attach a loose Jurat certificate and appreciate the NNA for listing this as a topic of interest. I have seen these and I'm glad to know how best to process them.

Brenda

17 Nov 2015

i have a question about tip #4, I thought the Notary service was free of charge? I am a new notary in Alaska...

National Notary Association

17 Nov 2015

Hi Brenda. Fees for Notaries Public are not currently addressed in the Alaska Statutes. Setting and charging fees is left entirely up to the Notary’s discretion.

Donna J R Conne

11 Apr 2016

May I add praise for addressing tricky issues such as this. Agreed, always read the language. If I see "signed (or "executed") before", "sworn", and "acknowledged" in any combination I automatically use both certificates. (from CA)

Elaine Dougher Wisz

11 Apr 2016

Thank you for clarifying this tricky issue for California notaries.

Lily T.

11 Apr 2016

Could you please clarify the statement made in the article copied below? It sounds as though you are presenting two conflicting statements: "If the documents will be filed in California, the Notary may complete a jurat or acknowledgment certificate prescribed by state, but not a form that combines both. If, however, the document is going to another state and requires an acknowledgment, a Notary may be able to complete a hybrid certificate in which the signer acknowledges their signature and takes an oath. However, a Notary could not complete a hybrid acknowledgment-jurat certificate appearing on a document to be sent out of state."

National Notary Association

20 Apr 2016

Hello Lily. There are some acknowledgment certificates that say, for example, that a corporate officer is acknowledging the signature and contains a statement that the officer swore or affirmed that the seal of the corporation on the document belongs to the corporation. This type of acknowledgment may be completed by a Notary if the document is being filed out of state. We reviewed the paragraph and we will edit it for clarity.

Barbara McKee

11 Apr 2016

Good information to know and have. Printing for future reference is a must! Thanks.

Anthony

11 Apr 2016

Surely, as this is one document it should be either an Acknowledgment or a Jurat but not both. Has it been approved by the state of California?

P Bloom

18 Apr 2016

In the case of California, we are required by law to have the disclaimer on both the Acknowledgment and Jurat. If we are performing both, don't we have to have both performed AND attached?

National Notary Association

19 Apr 2016

Hello. It depends what the wording actually says and where are the documents being filed-for example, if the documents are being filed in California or outside of California. If the certificate contains the phrase, “subscribed and sworn” then the CA Notary must attach and use a CA jurat certificate regardless of where the document is filed. However, if the wording says “acknowledged and sworn before me” and the documents are being filed out of state, then the Notary may complete the hybrid wording.

Vickee

17 Apr 2017

For California, the comment above by NNA to P Bloom, the last statement says "if the wording says "acknowledged and sworn before me" and the documents are being filed out of state, then the Notary may complete the hybrid wording.", the Notary must then also go ahead and give the oath? The original example said "signer acknowledges their signature and is stated to have taken an oath" which I interpreted meant took an oath from someone else.

JIm N

19 Apr 2017

The document being filed in California and executed outside of the state would have to conform to the notary requirements of the state where executed. California must accept a document notarized outside of the state despite their filing requirements. Has this changed?

National Notary Association

20 Apr 2017

Hello Jim. The article is addressing the issue of what certificate wording a Notary may use to complete a notarization in their own state. California requires its Notaries to use the certificate wording prescribed by state law. CA Notaries cannot complete jurat or proof of execution certificates that come from out of state. In most cases, that would prevent a CA Notary from completing a hybrid certificate from another state.

Rachel

19 Apr 2017

Thanks for the information. I just encountered one of these hybrids the other day for the first time. It was titled "Notary Acknowledgement" but had full wording of a Jurat. Because California is so strict, I attached a loose Jurat certificate. I'm glad I did. Good to know this may come up from time to time!

Melissa

20 Apr 2017

But for CA you can't decide for them which to use; they have to tell you. I'd ask them and then perform the act they requested (both if they asked) and attach loose certificates.

Cheryl Studley

24 Apr 2018

I come across these hybrids often as I notarize real estate documents from various states as part of my position supporting a real estate investment attorney. I usually call the title company or, if a plat map then the surveyor's office directly. I explain the difference in the two notarial forms and have them make the decision as to which form they require. Most of the time it's an acknowledgment.

Donna J. R. Conne

27 Apr 2018

I've faced this often. Since CA demands that a JURAT must be CA compliant no matter in which state it's being used, I always attach a jurat and an acknowledgement. I can't sign any acknowledgement that says I took an oath unless our Secretary of State says so

Joey Ortez

29 Apr 2019

I've seen numerous "Application for Certified Copy of Birth Record" forms FROM Counties in CA that have a "Sworn Statement" just above where the signer attests to the validity of info in the application. Then directly below it is a full "Acknowledgement Certificate" printed on the application. How confusing is this for a notary? When I notarize these I record it as an Acknowledgement, but I make sure to put in the notes that it was and "Acknowledgement of Sworn Statement as printed from _____ County". Have I been doing this wrong considering this statement from the article??? "California, for example, prohibits the use of hybrid certificates in many cases. If the documents will be filed in California, the Notary must complete a jurat or acknowledgment..." If the state must approve each county's use of this form, surely they would ha e prohibited said county from creating a hybrid document, right?

National Notary Association

30 Apr 2019

Hello. Just because a government agency prepares a document does not necessarily guarantee that the Notary can use any pre-printed certificate wording included. Please see this article for more information: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2016/11/questions-notarizing-unusual-government-forms

Susie G

29 Apr 2019

I'm confused. I thought in California that you can only do one notary per document. Either a Jurat OR an Acknowledgment, never both. Please clarify. Whenever I've run across these hybrids, I have had the client choose which certificate to use and I attached a loose Jurat or Acknowlegement.

Kay Suggs

14 May 2019

Regarding Item 3 - Journals are recommended, but not required, in the State of Florida.

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