Terms and Definitions

The following are common terms and definitions related to notarial duties.

Acknowledged - signer confirmed or admitted to the notary that he or she signed a document.

Acknowledgment - declaration by an individual before a notarial officer that the individual has signed a record for the purpose stated in the record and if the record is signed in a representative capacity, that the individual signed the record with proper authority and signed it as the act of the individual or person identified in the record.

Affidavit - written statement sworn to before an officer authorized to administer an oath. A person "makes" an affidavit by going before a notary or other officer and swearing to the contents of a written document. A notary "takes" an affidavit by administering an oath and completing the certificate.

Affiant - person making a statement under oath.

Before me - act was conducted in the presence of the notary.

Credible witness - a third person who personally knows the document signer and verifies the signer's identity.

Execute - making or completing a signature.

In representative capacity - acting as:

  1. An authorized officer, agent, partner, trustee or other representative for a person other than an individual;
  2. A public officer, personal representative, guardian or other representative, in the capacity stated in a record;
  3. An agent or attorney-in-fact for a principal; or
  4. An authorized representative of another in any other capacity.

Instrument - "document."

Certificate - notary's certificate on an affidavit.

Notarial Act - act, whether performed with respect to a tangible or electronic record, that a notarial officer may perform under the law of North Dakota, including taking an acknowledgement, administering an oath or affirmation, taking a verification on oath or affirmation, witnessing or attesting a signature, certifying or attesting a copy and noting a protest of a negotiable instrument.

Notary public - individual commissioned to perform a notarial act by the secretary of state.

Official stamp - physical image affixed to a tangible record.

Personal knowledge - having an acquaintance, derived from association with the individual, which establishes the individual's identity with at least a reasonable certainty.

Satisfactory evidence - a valid ID card or papers or use of a credible witness.

Stamping device - a physical device capable of affixing an official stamp to a tangible record.

Subscribed - "signature" or "signed."

Verification on oath or affirmation (formerly known as jurat) - declaration made by an individual on oath or affirmation before a notary public that a statement in a record is true.