Print Posted on 12/10/2016 in Notary News

Which Texas Notary Laws Mention Jurats? (Very few!)

Which Texas Notary Laws Mention Jurats? (Very few!)


The questions this article will answer are:

  • What Texas laws discuss jurats?
  • May a document be recorded if the certificate is a jurat rather than an acknowledgment?

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Jurats are mentioned few times in Texas laws (relatively speaking).

I spend a great deal of time reading through notary laws for most of the fifty states. While I was updating a publication written for Texas notaries that required me to review laws carefully as I went along, it occurred to me that I wasn’t seeing the word “jurat.”

It was this discovery that was the inspiration for this and many other articles that I have been writing over the years as I have research Texas notary laws.

Out of curiosity, I performed a search on all of the Texas statutes.  I found the term jurat appears in the laws of Texas as follows:[1].

 

“(a) Immediately after the qualification of a notary public, the secretary of state shall send notice of appointment along with a commission to the notary public. The commission is effective as of the date of qualification.

(b) When the commission is issued, the secretary of state shall supply the notary public with:

(1) materials outlining the powers and duties of the office;

(2) a list of prohibited acts; and

(3) sample forms for an acknowledgment, jurat, and verification and for the administering of an oath, protest, and

deposition; and

(4) the identifying number assigned to the notary public.”

  • The word “jurat” appears in the Civil Practice and Remedies Code, Section 132.001 (Unsworn Declarations) in which this section of the law says, generally speaking, that a person who works for the State of Texas may make certain unsworn declarations by writing a statement and that he or she must include a jurat in substantially the following form:

"My name is __________, my date of birth is _________________, and my address is ________, City, State, Zip, U.S.A. 

I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.

Executed in _______ County, State of ________, on (date).

______________________

Declarant”

We can learn from this bit of law that jurats are more about declaring that a statement is true than being a certificate that a notary executes and seals.

  • The Texas Government Code Section 405.019 says that the Secretary of State “annually shall compile a list of those states or territories within the United States that require a notary public to validate a certificate of an acknowledgement, proof of a written instrument, or a jurat by attaching an official seal.” (You can find that list on the Secretary of State’s website.)
  • The Texas Property Code Section 12.001 says that if a document contains a properly notarized acknowledgment or jurat, it may be recorded.

“(a) An instrument concerning real or personal property may be recorded if it has been acknowledged, sworn to with a proper jurat, or proved according to law.

(b)  An instrument conveying real property may not be recorded unless it is signed and acknowledged or sworn to by the grantor in the presence of two or more credible subscribing witnesses or acknowledged or sworn to before and certified by an officer authorized to take acknowledgements or oaths, as applicable.

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(c)  This section does not require the acknowledgement or swearing or prohibit the recording of a financing statement, a security agreement filed as a financing statement, or a continuation statement filed for record under the Business & Commerce Code.

(d)  The failure of a notary public to attach an official seal to an acknowledgment, a jurat, or other proof taken outside this state but inside the United States or its territories renders the acknowledgment, jurat, or other proof invalid only if the jurisdiction in which the acknowledgment, jurat, or other proof is taken requires the notary public to attach the seal.”

  • The Texas Penal Code, in Section 37.07 seems to make the point that if the oath is given in a unregular manner, or it there was some irregularity in the qualification of the person administering the oath, the signer should know that the document is a sworn statement if the document recites that the signer swears to the contents.  (What I learned from this is affidavits begin with a written preamble for a reason.  The preamble says the signer appeared before the notary and swore the facts in the document were true.)
  • The Civil Practices and Remedies Code Section 16.033  mentions the term “jurat” while discussing defective instruments and ways a notarial certificate may cause an instrument to be defective.  Here are a few:

(1) A document is defective if an acknowledgment or jurat doesn’t comply with the applicable law.  Comment:  Obviously, if we are merely students of notary law, but aren’t Texas lawyers, it’s unlikely that we will know all of the applicable laws referenced, however, it’s not a stretch to say that if a notary doesn’t complete a notarial certificate completely and properly with all necessary elements including the notary’s seal and signature, that would be an act of non-compliance with applicable law.  

(2) If a document lacks the signature of a proper corporate office, a partner, officer, manager, or member. Comment:  Notaries who aren’t attorneys cannot be expected to flush out the legal facts that determine if the proper person is signing the document, but a notary must assure that a document is signed before notarizing it.

(3) A document is defective if the acknowledgment is completed as if an individual signed it rather that a signer in a representative capacity. Comment:  Notaries are provided statutory forms for certificates used on documents signed in a representative capacity. Where a document indicates representative capacity on its signature line, notaries should complete the proper certificate (or complete a certificate form that indicates representative capacity pre-attached to the document properly) and state the individual’s name who is signing the document, the entity being represented, and the signer’s title of representative capacity.

  • Barely worth mentioning is the inclusion of the word “jurat” in Texas Insurance Code Section 802.052 but this would not be complete without it.   This section conveys that there’s a form that title insurance companies must submit to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and it must include a signed jurat page, but it doesn’t say that it must be signed by a notary.

 I don’t know if this information was as interesting for you as it was for me, but as a notary law “nerd,” it was enough to inspire me to create a reference book for Texas notaries who, like me, enjoy understanding as much as possible about their laws and rules. 



[1] Link to search performed on all sections of Texas laws on the website of the State of Texas: http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/SearchResults.aspx?CP=1&Code=ZZ&Phrase=jurat [Collected 1/15/16.]

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