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Notary Oath and Affirmations: What You Need to Know

Becoming a notary is not too hard of a process. While it’s a career that requires very little training, it’s something that needs to be taken seriously. There are a lot of laws that need to be followed, and even the smallest mistake can cause a notary to get sued or even face criminal penalties. 

Besides notarizing documents, notaries may also have to perform oaths and affirmations. To become a notary in Florida, the notary must also take a notary oath of office. Learn more about notary oaths and the processes involved. 

What Are Oaths and Affirmations?

Oaths and affirmations are similar but have a crucial difference. A notarized oath is a statement or promise made to God or a higher power. An affirmation, on the other hand, does not mention a deity and is made on someone’s personal honor. Both are legally binding, so if a person does not abide by their notarized oath or affirmation, they can be charged with perjury. 

The Oath and Affirmation Process

Specific procedures must be followed. The oath taker must appear physically before the notary and cannot appear remotely. Make sure you have proof of identity before starting the process. The oath taker must then raise their right hand, but while the oath is administered, they can then place their right hand over their heart.

Then it is time to administer the actual oath. While some states have specific notary oath wording that must be followed, Florida does not. You have freedom and can pose it as a question or statement. Appropriate notary oath wording may include something along the lines of: “Do you solemnly swear that the statements in this document are true to the best of your knowledge and belief, so help you God?” Some notaries may remove the reference to God and use “affirm” instead of “swear.”

For witness testimony, the notary may use different verbiage, such as “Do you swear or affirm that the evidence you are about to give will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?” No matter which statement is used, the oath taker must swear the truthfulness.

When doing an oath or affirmation for a court hearing, always have your notary number and expiration date on hand in case the judge requests it. Always confirm the person’s identification if you do not personally know them. Also, be sure to use the correct verbiage. In court hearings, you should use the term “evidence” rather than “testimony.”

As a notary, you need to speak clearly and take the act seriously. Do not crack jokes. You also need to record the oath or affirmation in your journal, as you would with every notarization act. 

Keep in mind that every state has different rules and procedures, so make sure you follow them.

Contact Us Today

The Florida Notary Association has everything you need to become a successful notary. We can also help with any concerns you may have about the notary oath of office. Contact us today to learn more, get your questions answered, or schedule an appointment.