Those that regularly prepare documents, which will be recorded, probably take it for granted everyone knows which form of acknowledgment or notary to use in a document. However, we regularly receive inquiries requesting advice as to what form of acknowledgment to use in a document.
The form of acknowledgment to use is the one prescribed by the state where the document is to be recorded, notwithstanding the fact the document may be prepared in another state. For example, a document prepared and signed in Texas, that assigns or conveys property in Oklahoma, should contain an Oklahoma form of acknowledgment.
Part of the confusion or misunderstanding as to the proper form of acknowledgment to use may be due to the statement of state and county immediately preceding the acknowledgment form. The identification of the state and county refers to the county and state where the document is signed, followed by the form of acknowledgment for the state where the property that is the subject of the document is located, and the document will be recorded. For example, a document signed and notarized in Midland County, Texas, by an individual that is conveying property in the state of Oklahoma, would use the following form of acknowledgment. It identifies the county and state where the document is signed, followed by the text of an Oklahoma acknowledgment form.
State of Texas
County of Midland
Before me, ____, in and for said state, on this ____ day of ____, ____, personally appeared ____, to me known to be the identical person who executed the within and foregoing instrument and acknowledged to me that ____ executed the same as ____ free and voluntary act and deed for the uses and purposes therein set forth.
||Notary Public in and for the State of Texas
Many states have adopted short forms of acknowledgments, that consist of one or two sentences. Some states recognize a uniform form of acknowledgment, resulting in acknowledgment forms for many states being virtually identical. These common forms are very useful in a transaction involving multiple states. Rather than using a separate form of acknowledgment for each state, one form can be used, with the notation of the states it is applicable to.
When preparing a document that will be recorded, care should be taken in using the correct form of acknowledgment. While the County Clerk may record an improperly acknowledged document, if challenged, the document may be deemed invalid, or void, as if it had never been recorded.