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As a Notary Public, one of the most crucial functions you perform is administering oaths and affirmations. This responsibility is essential for ensuring the validity and authenticity of legal documents and statements. In this blog post, we will explore the significance of administering oaths and affirmations. We will shed light on the process to help clients and fellow notaries understand this important aspect of notarial duties.

What are Oaths and Affirmations?
Oaths: An oath is a solemn, formal declaration made to attest to the truthfulness of the statement they are making. It carries a spiritual or religious significance, often invoking a higher power as a witness to the commitment to tell the truth.

Affirmations: An affirmation, on the other hand, is a similar declaration, but it is a secular alternative to an oath. Affirmations allow individuals who have an objection to swearing an oath other options. These objections are due to relying on swearing to religious or personal beliefs. Affirmations can be accomplished without involving a higher power. Both oaths and affirmations serve the same purpose: to ensure that the information provided by the individual is truthful and accurate.

When are Oaths and Affirmations Used?
Notaries often administer oaths and affirmations in various situations, such as:

  1. Jurats: A jurat is a notarial certificate in which the notary certifies that the signer appeared before them, made a solemn oath or affirmation, and signed the document in their presence. A Notary Jurat Stamp found here: can aid in accomplishing this task.
  2. Witnessing Signatures: In some cases, when individuals sign important documents, such as affidavits or legal contracts, they may be required to make an oath or affirmation. The affirmation confirms that the information provided is true and accurate.
  3. Depositions: During depositions, a witness may be required to take an oath or affirmation to truthfully answer questions under penalty of perjury.
  4. Testimonies and Statements: When individuals provide written or verbal statements to be used as evidence in legal proceedings, they may be required to make an oath or affirmation. This oath or affirmation pertains to the accuracy of the information.
    The Process of Administering Oaths and Affirmations:
  5. Identify the Individual: Before administering an oath or affirmation, the notary must identify the person making the statement. This often involves checking identification documents to ensure they are the person they claim to be.
  6. Explain the Oath/Affirmation: The notary explains to the individual the significance of the oath or affirmation they are about to take. It’s essential to ensure that the person understands the gravity of their commitment to telling the truth.
  7. Choice between Oath and Affirmation: The notary asks the individual if they prefer to take an oath or affirmation. Some people may have religious objections to oaths and may opt for an affirmation instead.
  8. Recite the Oath/Affirmation: The notary then asks the individual to recite the oath or affirmation aloud. For an oath, the person may raise their right hand, while an affirmation requires no specific physical action.
  9. Witnessing and Certification: Once the oath or affirmation is taken, the notary completes the jurat or certificate, indicating that the individual made the declaration in their presence.

The Notary’s Role in Upholding Integrity:
Administering oaths and affirmations is vital to upholding the integrity and authenticity of legal documents and statements. By carefully executing this responsibility, notaries play a crucial role in maintaining credibility. Notaries ensure credibility of legal processes and ensuring that the truth prevails. As a Notary Public, you have the power to make a positive impact on the legal system and society as a whole. Always approach your role with utmost professionalism and understanding of the significance of administering oaths and affirmations. Remember, the trust placed in you by clients and the legal system is a testament to your commitment to justice and truth.

About the Author: Thomas McTague is the owner of Anchor Rubber Stamp Co. Inc. and with nearly 30 years of experience in the Notary Industry.