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Acknowledgment: A formal declaration before an authorized official (such as a notary public) by a person signing an instrument that such execution is his or her free act and deed.

Acknowledgment Certificate: A written statement in a form at the end of or attached to a document, signed and stamped by an authorized official such as a notary, which states that the official took the acknowledgment of the person who signed the document.

Administer: To discharge the duties of a notary, as in the giving of an oath. A notary administers an oath.

Affiant: The person who makes and signs an affidavit.

Affidavit: A document containing a statement of truth under penalties of perjury, made under oath or affirmation, and signed by the affiant before a notary, that includes a jurat (oath/affirmation statement) signed and sealed by the notary.

Affirmation: A solemn statement of truth made under penalties of perjury, equivalent by law to an oath, but without any reference to a Supreme Being. This statement is legally binding.

Affix: To stamp or impress the notary seal into a document.

Amendment: A change or modification by deletion or addition.

Apostille: A certificate issued by the Arizona Secretary of State attesting to a notary’s authority, usually required for notarized documents being sent out of Arizona to countries that are parties to the international treaty commonly known as the Hague Convention.

Attest: To bear witness to, sign a document as a witness, or certify. To state as truth.

Attorney-in-Fact: An individual authorized by a written power of attorney to act on behalf of another person.

Attribution of Electronic Signatures: The Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) states that an electronic record or electronic signature “is attributable to a person if the record or signature was the act of the person.” That a person performed the act of signing can be proven by a number of methods, just as is done for paper documents. The computer programs used to attach secure signatures can be used to attribute such a signature to the person who owns the secure signature.

Authentication: A process by which the Arizona Secretary of State certifies or verifies the official status and authenticity of a commissioned notary. This is generally for an apostille or a certificate of authority attached to the notarized document, usually when being sent to another country.


Bill of Sale: A document that conveys title or ownership of personal property.


Certificate: A written assurance, or official representation, that some act has or has not been done, or some event occurred, or some legal formality has been complied with. A statement of some fact in a writing signed by the certifying party. A declaration in writing.

Certification Authority: A certification authority (CA) is a trusted third party that issues computer-readable tokens called digital certificates that prove the identity of people using digital signatures to sign electronic documents. This is done by a certification authority obtaining proof of identity. The CA then creates a digital certificate that is associated with that individual’s digital signature. The CA serves a similar purpose as a notary in that its purpose is to prove a person’s identity.

Certified Copy: A copy of a document signed and attested to as a genuine copy by the public official with possession of the original record. A notary may make a certified copy of an original document only if it is not a publicly recordable document such as a birth, marriage, or death certificate.

Certify: To attest as being true.

Codicil: A document modifying the stipulations of a will.

Coerce: To force another into compliance or submission. Never notarize if evidence of coercion exists.

Commission: The certificate issued by the Secretary of State substantiating the notary’s appointment as a notary public, authorizing the notary to perform the official acts of that office, and defining the expiration date of the appointment.

Contract: A binding agreement between two or more individuals or representatives to perform in a certain way.

Conveyance: A document that transfers ownership of real property.


Deed: A document by which a person transfers ownership of real property.

  • Quitclaim Deed: A deed transferring ownership, title, or interest in a real property, but not professing that such title is valid.
  • Warranty Deed: A deed wherein the grantor guarantees clear title to a real property.

Deposition: The testimony of a witness (deponent), under oath or affirmation, usually taken outside of a courtroom, during which attorneys verbally interrogate the witness. The testimony is typically then transferred to a written document and notarized to be used in a court trial.

Digital Signature: A specific type of electronic signature. It provides for a secure signature on an electronic document and can be associated with the document in such a way that any modifications to the document invalidate the signature. It can be proven that the signature belongs to the person who signed it. The digital signature process uses encryption technology.

Document: A written record of information, especially of an official or legal nature. Documents are no longer restricted to paper. Arizona law now recognizes writings and records to include electronic or optical-based information.

Duress: Cruel, unscrupulous, or illegal manipulation of a reluctant or unwilling individual in an attempt to force a desired performance, behavior, or action. If a signer is under duress, refuse to notarize.


Electronic Notarization: An electronic notarization is the process of performing a notarial act according to the laws of Arizona on an electronic document, rather than on a paper document.

Electronic Notary: An electronic notary is a notary public appointed and commissioned in the State of Arizona who performs notarial acts for the execution of electronic documents. Any notary public may perform electronic notarizations if he or she chooses, provided that all the steps of notarization are followed.

Electronic Signature: A.R.S. §41-132 defines an electronic or digital method of identification that is executed or adopted by a person with the intent to be bound by or to authenticate a record. 

Execute a Document: To act as necessary to make a document fully effective, typically by signing before a notary public.

Executor: An individual appointed to carry out the requirements of a will.


Felony: A crime punishable by imprisonment or death.

Free Act and Deed: An individual’s actions performed willingly for purposes stated. One who signs or acknowledges an act in such terms accepts complete responsibility for the act.


Grantee: An individual receiving a deed of real property from a grantor, typically the buyer.  In the case of a power of attorney, “grantee” can be used to mean the attorney-in-fact.

Grantor: An individual transferring a deed of real property, typically the seller. In the case of a power of attorney, “grantor” can be used to mean the principal who is granting power of attorney to the attorney-in-fact.

Grantor: An individual transferring a deed of real property, typically the seller.

Guardian: An individual responsible for a ward and/or the ward’s property.  The ward may be a minor or a person who has been legally declared incapable of managing his or her own affairs.


Identification Document: A current (unexpired) and unaltered document or card that proves the identity of the holder, preferably issued by a governmental office, and which includes all of the following:

  • the holder’s photograph and detailed physical description such as height, weight, and eye color
  • the holder’s signature
  • an official seal of the governmental office that issued the card
  • an identifying number
  • an expiration date

Instrument: A written document.


Judgment: A court declaration stating that one individual owes another, and the amount of the indebtedness.

Jurat: The written notarial certificate on any sworn statement or affidavit completed by the notary public with clear wording and sealed by the notary, attesting that the document was signed and sworn to or affirmed by the signer in the presence of the notary public.


Lease: An agreement between two or more individuals or representatives, where one party is the owner of a certain property and grants to another or others the right to use the property for a specific period of time in exchange for periodic payment of a set price (rent).

Lessee: One who rents property from another.

Lessor: One who rents property to another.

Lien: A legal claim on property that withholds ownership from a debtor until payment is made in full.

Litigation: A lawsuit or legal action.


Medallion Guarantee: A process used to verify signatures on documents related to investment or security transfers.

Misdemeanor: Any crime other than a felony.

Mortgage on Real Property: A document establishing a seller’s or mortgagor’s lien on a property.


Negligence: The failure to use reasonable care.

Notarial Act: Any official act that a notary public is authorized to perform. Arizona notaries are authorized to:

  • take acknowledgments or proofs of written instruments
  • protest instruments permitted by law to be protested
  • administer oaths and affirmations
  • take depositions
  • certify copies of documents not recordable in the public records


Notarial Certificate: A written, signed, and sealed declaration made by the notary as a part of or attached separately to a document, certifying details of the notarial act performed.

Notary Public (Notarial Officer): A public officer appointed by the Secretary of State whose function is to administer oaths and affirmations; to take acknowledgments and proofs; to certify copies of certain documents; and to perform other duties specified by law.


Oath: Any form of confirmation or testimony in which a person gives evidence that he or she is bound by a Supreme Being to tell the truth in a statement. Swearing to a false statement is perjury.


Perjury: Making a false statement under oath or affirmation. Perjury is a felony, often resulting in fines and/or prison.

Personally Known: Known sufficiently by an individual for that individual to have faith and trust in the person’s true identity.

Power of Attorney (POA): A document authorizing a person to act or sign legally in place of another.

Prima-Facie Evidence: Evidence that would, if uncontested, establish a fact or raise a presumption of a fact.

Principal: The person making a power of attorney or will or executing a document.

Proof: A declaration made by a person who saw a document’s execution (signing) take place; a subscribing witness.

Protest: A formal statement made by a notary for a person declaring a failure to pay on a promissory note.


Record: The Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) defines record to mean “information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or that is stored in an electronic or other medium and is retrievable in perceivable form.”

Reasonable Care: Care a person of normal judgment and intelligence would take in a given circumstance. Failure to exhibit such care is negligence.

Rent: Agreed-upon payment to an individual or entity for the use of property for an established period of time.

Representative Capacity: Acting in place of a person, corporation, partnership, trust, or other entity.


Seal: An impression upon wax, wafer, or other moldable material capable of being impressed.

Self-Prove: To establish the validity of (one’s will). In self-proving a will, the testator (or testatrix) and witnesses will swear to and sign an affidavit before a notary public declaring that the document is truly the testator’s will and that it was lawfully executed. The affidavit of execution is attached to the will, but is not a part of the actual will document.

Signature: A person’s name, mark, or symbol at the end of a document added for the purpose of certifying its validity. A signature may be written by hand, printed, or stamped.

Statute: A law established by legislative action.

Subscribe: To sign.

Swear: To put under oath; to administer an oath to a person; to take an oath.


Term: A fixed and definite period of time during which the law prescribes that an officer may hold an office.

Testator: A male person making a will.

Testatrix: A female person making a will.

Arizona Statutes: Legislatively enacted laws governing the state, as opposed to court-decided or unwritten common laws.


Venue: The location where the notarial act actually takes place, usually stated in the following form:

State of Arizona

County of________

Note: If venue on a document is completed before the notary act occurs and states a different state or county than where the notary and signer are standing at the time of the notarization, the venue must be corrected when presented to the notary for the notary act to be valid.


Will: A legal instrument by which an individual disposes of funds and property, to take effect after death.