Notary Resources

Administer an Oath or Affirmation

One of the most important duties of the Notary is to administer oaths and affirmations, which are solemn promises of truthfulness or fidelity made by a signer, witness, or new office-holder. An affirmation is a pledge on one's personal honor, but both are legally equivalent and subject the oath-taker or affirmant to penalties for perjury. Both may be notarial acts in their own right -- as "swearing in" a new public official -- or they may be part of the process of performing an acknowledgment or jurat notarization.

It is customary for the Notary to ask the oath-taker or affirmant to raise a right hand in a pledging gesture or to place it over one's heart. The Notary has discretion to require any bit of ceremony -- such as placing one's left hand on a Bible or other revered text -- that the Notary believes will be most compelling by appeal to the individual's conscience. Oaths and affirmations should be taken seriously and always administered with a degree of formality.

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