I have some basic (but important) questions regarding Oaths/Affirmations in the state of New Jersey. The context is that I am getting a dispute with some attorneys about this and I need to backup my answers with laws I can show them. I appreaciate all of your time in helping with this matter.
Question 1: Do you actually have to verbally administer the Oath/Affirmation on a Jurat? (AKA, ask the borrower to raise their right hand and ask the “Do you swear/affirm to…”)
Context: I know 100% that the answer is YES. But I need help finding something from NJ state law to back this up. I know the NNA has articles on this, but nothing directly quoted from NJ that I can find. These attorney types seem to want to battle this out until I get something concrete specific for NJ.
Question 2: Why would a Jurat be required in a home loan document?
Context: I know the answer to this to, however if you guys have any more examples you wanna share feel free. This will help the attorney’s accept the answer.
Question 3: If an oath/affirmation was not verbally completed, what are the possible consequences?
Context: Again, I know the answer is that… amount other things… the notary can get into legal trouble. But I need a little assistence finding NJ state law examples. Either in the form of court cases or specificly listed laws. Something I can use to refference the law.
Thank you again so much! I am also doing research on my own, but I seem to not be getting through to the attornies, and thought one of you guys might be able to help.
I’m baffled why attorneys are giving you pushback on this - not sure what happened here - however
As to #1 - it’s in your notary manual under “definitions” - your manual is based on NJ Statutes - in fact they’re copied pretty much verbatim
“Acknowledgment” means a declaration by an individual before a notarial officer that the individual has signed a record for the purpose stated in the record and, if the record is signed in a representative capacity, that the individual signed the record with proper authority and signed it as the act of the individual or entity identified in the record."
“Verification on oath or affirmation” means a declaration, made by an individual on oath or affirmation before a notarial officer, that a statement in a record is true."
So - translation - “declaration made by an individual” would mean they must verbally declare they are signing for the purposes of the document or declaring the statements in the document is true.
Raising hand? Should be done as it’s a long-established procedure - some do, some don’t. Not raising the hand does not invalidate the notarization…IMO
#2 - there are some docs in a loan pack where the signers are swearing to the truth of the statements - hence the oath or affirmation. Examples in my mind are the Affidavit of Occupancy, and the Survey Affidavit, - there probably are many others now.
#3 - not sure how “an oath/affirmation was not verbally completed” so not going to address it. I would think you asked the people if all the statements were true and correct to the best of their knowledge and belief, to which they affirmatively replied and signed.
Not sure what you’re going through but hope everything works out for you. If attorneys are going after you about something I’d suggest notifying your E&O carrier and possibly consulting your own attorney.
I don’t understand the basis of your question. But, in my professional opinion, we as Notaries are required to administer either an oath or affirmation. It takes less than 20 seconds to administer. It sets the tone for the signer that you are a professional and the documents they are signing may have serious consequences. So just do it and move on.
Just a note:
I have my own ‘job sheets’ which is a homemade form I use to take down details of a signing job.
On the back of the job sheet (using a duplex laser printer, I put the wording for swearing/affirmig on the reverse:
Do you solemnly swear that the contents of the ____________________________ [ affidavit | evidence | document(s) ] that you have given and set your name upon are true, correct and complete to the best of your knowledge and ability, and that you are subscribing thereto of your own free will and accord, SO HELP YOU GOD?
Do you state and affirm, under the penalty of perjury, that the contents of the ___________________________ [ affidavit | evidence | document(s) ] you have given and set your name upon are true, correct and complete to the best of your knowledge and ability, and that you are subscribing thereto of your own free will and accord?
I’ve used that wording in multiple states (including NJ) with attorney approval, unless the law firm or signing agency has alternate wording. As long as the signer responds in the affirmative, the oath is made. By using a standard, written wording, I have documentation of what exactly was sworn or afffirmed.
This is awesome information, and I appreciate you taking the time to write this out. I should clarify that I am not being pursued legally about this. But a few attorneys and real estate agents have given me a hard time about doing it because and I quote “no other notary has done it” or “it is a waste of time”. Specifically, they have used it as a bad review point to agencies I have worked with. Ofcourse, I have never been one to bend rules because “everyone else is/isn’t doing it”. However if I am going to contest the word of an attorney/real estate agent/signer about it then I really need to have my facts 100% straight and irrefutable with sources to back them up. Hence, I posted the question.
Honestly, it seems like the problem is that there are a number of notaries who skip this, and when one comes around that cares about the integrity of the job they are the ones that come into question.
I agree with you, however the issue comes with pushback from other parties in the transaction. Specifically attorneys and real-estate agents. So I wanted to get all my “ducks in a row” so to speak so that I have material for a solid response to why it must be done other then “because NNA told me to”. In fact, most attorneys I have worked with don’t know who the NNA even is, so it carries no weight to say it. I needed something written in law specifically addressing it.
This is an excellent suggestion. Thank you!
The reason I put a standardized swear/affirm wording as a reference is that it is the only oath wording i use (unless otherwise instructed). If the oath is called into question, i can state all the notary details (date, time, location, ID, etc.) as well as the exact wording of the oath underlying the sworn statement, which should meet the spirit and requirements of most states. By my experience (and cursory research), not all states have detailed oath procedures.
But you got me interested.
I searched on Lexis (what I use for Iegal research ) and found a decent amount of detail in NJ Revised Statutes, Title 41, especially the following:
I’ve given the Justia links, as not many people have the justification, or even a reason, to shell out for a Lexis contract.
I’m sure that most of our colleagues here can search their states’ statute web sites for the words “oath”, “affidavit” or ‘sworn statement’
Hope this is helpful.