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Notary Notes

The Diference Between an Oath or Affirmation and a Verification on Oath or Affirmation

by PAN
If you are confused as to the difference between an oath or affirmation and a verification on oath or affirmation, you are not alone. Although the names may sound the same, these notary acts serve separate functions.

Oath or affirmation

An oath is a public declaration based on an appeal to a higher power that the person taking the oath will keep a promise or perform a duty faithfully.

An affirmation is a pledge equivalent to an oath but without any reference to a higher being.

For example, as a notary, you may be asked to swear in a new school board member or other elected official. After properly identifying the person you are to swear in, you administer an oath or affirmation: 

Do you, Mary Smith, solemnly swear ( or affirm) that you will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon you as a School District board member under the Constitution and laws of this Commonwealth? (So help you God?)

An oath or affirmation may be verbal or in writing. If in writing, the oath or affirmation will be sighned in your presence.

An oath or affirmation may also be administered whenever an individual must delcare or promise that a statement he or she will give or has given, is the truth, such as in a deposition or when testifying in court.

 Do you Jack Jones solemnly swear (or affirm) that the statement you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

Verification on oath or affirmation

With a verification on oath or affirmation, an oath or affirmation is an essential component of this particular notary act. A customer whose document is being notarized must take an oath or affirmation and sign the document in front of you. A verification on oath or affirmation (previously known as an affidavit) is a delcaration made by the customer that a statement in the document is true.

For examp, a customer brings you a school district residency document, in which the customer must swear or affirm that he or she and their childrn reside in the school district. Your responsibilities for a verification on oath or affirmation are:

1.  Demand your customer's personal appearance.

2.  Properly identify your customer.

3. Administer an oath or affirmation to the customer and listen for their affirmative response (I swear, or I do).

4.  Watch your customer sign the document.

5. Compare the signature on the document to the signature on the identification, if there is a signature on the presented identification.

6.  Complete the notary wording:  Signed and sworn to (or affirmed) before me on _______ by _________________ (name of individual making the statement).

7.  Place your stamp and signature on the document.

8.  Make an entry in your journal.

Remember: an oath or affirmation is a declaration that the customer will perform h is or her duties faithfully or that a statement he or she is making is true. A verification on oath or affirmation is a declaration that a statement in a document is true.

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