NOTARIAL SERVICES EXECUTING ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: An acknowledgment is one of the official notarial powers granted by Pennsylvania’s Notary Public Law. Acknowledgments are commonly required on deeds and other documents to be publicly recorded, but may be needed in other situations as well. As a notarial act, an acknowledgment includes two parts. The first part is the oral, formal declaration made by a person who signed a document indicating that the signature is genuine and that signing the document was an act of free will performed for the purposes indicated by the document; this declaration is made by the customer in the presence of a notary. The second part is the notary’s written statement that the person appeared in person, was properly identified, and acknowledged his or her signature. HEARING AFFIDAVITS: An affidavit is one of the official notarial powers granted by the Notary Public Law. As a notarial act, an affidavit is a voluntary, written, sworn statement made in the presence of a notary. However, any other official empowered to administer oaths also may take an affidavit. TAKING AFFIRMATIONS: An affirmation is a solemn, formal declaration with the same binding effect as an oath. It is used in place of an oath when the maker objects to swearing or taking an oath. The word “affirm” would be substituted for “swear” in the language of the oath: “I hereby affirm that the statements above are true and correct.” EXECUTING CERTIFICATES: A certificate is a declaration in writing made by a notary to verify that a statement is accurate and correct. A notary’s certificate can also be used to indicate that a copy of a document is identical to the original. In this case, the written certificate is attached to the copy of the original document. CERTIFYING COPIES: Certifying copies is one of the official notarial powers granted by the Notary Public Law. A notary may issue a certificate attesting that a reproduction of an original document is accurate and exact. TAKING DEPOSITIONS: A deposition is an involuntary, written, sworn statement. It is one of the chief tools of pre-trial discovery by which attorneys for each party in a lawsuit gather information necessary to prepare for trial. A deposition also is used to replace a witness’s personal testimony during the actual trial (usually for people who are ill or otherwise unavailable to be physically present at the trial). ADMINISTERING OATHS: Administering an oath is one of the official notarial powers granted by the Notary Public Law. An oath is a voluntary, oral declaration that the maker will keep a promise or that a statement made is true. It may be based on an appeal to a higher authority. For example: “I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.” NOTARIZING POWERS OF ATTORNEY: A power of attorney is a written document executed by an individual authorizing another to act on his or her behalf. Notarization is required when a real estate or motor vehicle transaction is involved. TAKING PROTESTS: Executing a protest is one of the seven notarial powers granted by law. When a negotiable instrument is presented for payment and refused due to insufficient available funds, for example, the payee or the bank may request a formal protest against the maker. A notary prepares a written protest, which will eventually reach the maker and all endorsers of the negotiable instrument. VERIFICATIONS: Providing verification is a notarial power granted by the Notary Public Law. A verification, which can be sworn or unsworn, is a formal assertion of validity made by a customer. In notarial terms, it is a written declaration made under oath or affirmation (sworn), or upon penalty of perjury (unsworn), that the contents of a document are accurate. NOTARIZING WILLS: A Will is an instrument by which a person declares how his or her property is to be distributed after his or her death. A will is an instrument by which a person declares how his or her property is to be distributed after his or her death.