Which form should be used when completing a notary?
An acknowledgment is the most frequently completed notary form in California. The notary is stating that the signer appeared before the notary, was identified by the notary, and acknowledges to the notary that the signature is their signature. It does not have to be signed in the presence of the notary, but the signer does have to acknowledge the signature in front of the notary and provide their verifying identity document.
Acknowledgements are used most often for contractual issues, such as Deeds of Trust, where the signer is agreeing to the terms of the document but is not making a personal statement.
A jurat is used when the signer is making a statement of truth. The notary is stating that the signer appeared and signed the document in front of the notary, the notary swore the signer to tell the truth, and the notary identifies the signer with an identity document. The jurat must be signed in the presence of the notary. If it is already signed, the signer must sign it again.
The jurat is used for statements of the signer. For example, an Owner's Affidavit is a statement saying that the signer owns a particular property. With a jurat, the signer is swearing under oath that they own the property. If they are not telling the truth, they are considered to have made a false statement in public and are guilty of perjury.