The Language of Real Estate – Learning Real Estate, One Word (or Phrase) at a Time…
A formal declaration made before a duly authorized officer, usually a notary public, by a person who has signed a document; also, the document itself.
An acknowledgment is designed to prevent forged and fraudulently induced documents from taking effect.
The officer confirms that the signing is the voluntary act and genuine signature of a person who is known to the officer or who provides adequate identification.
Though typical, it is not necessary that the person sign in the presence of the officer. The officer is liable for damages caused by the negligent failure to identify the person correctly—for instance, if forgery occurs because the officer accepted verification by telephone.
In most states, a document will not be accepted for recording unless it is acknowledged.
A foreign acknowledgment (one that has taken place outside of the state in which it is to be recorded) is generally valid if it is valid where made.
The signature of the foreign officer is sufficient evidence that the acknowledgment is taken in accordance with the laws of the place where made and of the authority of the officer to take the acknowledgment, thus entitling the acknowledged document to be recorded and, where appropriate, to be read into evidence in any judicial proceeding without further proof of its authenticity. However, for documents signed outside the United States, many states require that the acknowledgment be made by an official at a U.S. Consulate Office.
If any material is crossed out, erased, or changed in the document, the officer should initial these changes if so approved by the parties. Otherwise, the document may not be acceptable for recordation. Because of modern methods of reproducing documents, it is generally recommended that signatures be made in black ink. (See affidavit, apostille, attestation, notary public, recording.)
There are different types of acknowledgment forms for corporations, partnerships, trustees, and attorneys-in-fact.
A typical acknowledgment for an individual’s signature is shown here:
On this __________ day of __________________, 20___,before me personally appeared ___________________________,to me known to be the person(s) described in and who executed the foregoing instrument and acknowledged to me that __________executed the same as ____ free act and deed.
Notary Public
(NOTARY SEAL) My Commission Expires: __________

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