Jurat Definition

Learn more about what a jurat means in business.

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jurat definition

The definition of a jurat is a certificate added to an affidavit stating when, before whom, and where it was made. The examples of a jurat would be used by a notary public or other officials when something is notarized, sworn to under threat of perjury, or other situations where it has to be proven who was present, when they were present, and where the document or other writing was made. As do many legal words and concepts, the word derives from the Latin term jurat meaning “to swear.”

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Examples of a Jurat

A notary public is a person who goes through special training and is appointed by a state official, after taking an oath of office, to serve the public as an impartial witness in performing a variety of official fraud-deterrent acts related to the signing of important documents. The main job of a notary is confirming, through checking official identification like a driver’s license or passport, that a person who is signing a legal document is actually that person. 

One type of legal document that people have to sign is an affidavit that details certain information known by the person signing the affidavit. This person is called the affiant. Because affidavits are legal documents signed outside the presence of a judge, a notary public must attach their signature and seal, swearing that the person who signed the document is who they say they are. A notary public administers an oath or affirmation to the affiant, who verifies the truths listed in the affidavit under penalty of perjury.

Other examples of the use of a jurat can be seen in instances where legal documents need to be signed, such as property transfer documents, such as deeds. Another example would be certain types of estate planning documents, such as wills and trusts. Every state will have specific requirements for how certain legal documents need to be executed. Another example is someone signing an affidavit to be attached to a legal document such as a pleading in litigation. 

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Any legal document that requires someone’s signature to be used for legal purposes, such as being submitted to a court for evidentiary purposes, has to be signed by a notary public. The jurat disadvantages are the steps that someone has to go through to make it legal. A jurat requires the following steps:

  1. The signer must physically appear in person and sign the document in the presence of the notary.
  2. In most states, the notary must positively identify the signer by showing proper identification, such as the signer’s driver’s license, state-issued ID, passport, or some other official identification.
  3. The notary must administer a spoken oath or an affirmation, and the signer must respond to the oath or affirmation out loud. Silent answers such as a nod of the head are not acceptable.

The advantages of a jurat are that business and legal documents can be executed in a way that ensures a process that everyone can trust. It deters fraud by establishing that the signer is the person they claim to be and knows what document they’re signing and that they’re a willing participant in the transaction.

Summary

A jurat is a certificate added to an affidavit stating when, before whom, and where it was made. It’s used by notary publics for the signing of business documents and legal papers.

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Disclaimer: The content on this page is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

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