Pennsylvania notaries public are authorized to perform the six notarial acts described below. If
there is no notarial wording on the record, the notary is not authorized to decide for the
customer what notarial act is needed. However, the notary may describe the notarial acts to help
the customer make the decision.
Taking oaths and affirmations.
An oath is a public declaration, usually based on an appeal to a higher power, that the person
making the declaration will keep a promise or perform a duty faithfully. An affirmation is
equivalent to an oath but without reference to a higher power. Oaths or affirmations may be
spoken (for example, an oath of office) or may be written and signed by the customer.
Taking verifications on oath or affirmation.
A verification on oath or affirmation certifies that the customer took an oath or affirmation and
signed a statement in the notary’s presence. The customer is responsible for the truth and
accuracy of the statement to which the verification on oath or affirmation is attached.
An acknowledgment is a statement by the customer that he or she signed a record, intended to
sign the record and knew what he or she was doing at the time. Acknowledgments are required
on records (for example, mortgages, deeds, wills, and powers of attorney) that will be recorded
in the public record.
Witnessing or attesting signatures.
The notarial wording to witness or attest a signature state that the notary was present and saw
the customer signs the record. Unlike other notarial acts, witnessing or attesting a signature does
not require the customer to take an oath or affirmation, or to acknowledge his or her signature.
Certifying or attesting copies of records or deposition transcripts.
A notary is authorized to certify or attest that a copy of a record or a deposition transcript is a
complete and accurate reproduction of an original record or transcript. The notary must have
the original record or transcript and the copy in hand to make the comparison.
Pennsylvania notaries are authorized to issue protests under Section 3505 of the Uniform
Commercial Code (13 Pa.C.S. §3505). This notarial act is extremely rare. A notary who issues a
protest not in accordance with Section 3505 may face disciplinary action.
A notary is legally prohibited from telling a signer what certificate they should get.
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