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Notary Certificates (Acknowledgment, Jurat, Oath, Affirmation)

1.  An acknowledgment is one of the most common types of notary certificates.  According to Colorado notary law (CRS 12-55-205), the notary certifies that:

The signer personally appeared before the notary at the time of the notarization.
The signer was identified by the notary using satisfactory evidence.
The signer acknowledged to the notary that the signature is their signature, and it was freely made, for the purposes stated in the document.

Sample acknowledgment
Do you acknowledge, 
that your name is [Name], 
that you are of sound mind, with legal and authorized capacity,
that you have read and understand this document,
that you are signing for the purposes stated in this document, 
and that you are signing it, or have signed it, willfully and knowingly, as your free act and deed?

Sample Acknowledgment Certificate  (sample form)

State of Colorado,  County of _______________

The foregoing instrument was acknowledged before me this _____ day of __________, 20____,
by ______________________________.  


_________________________        
Notary Public Signature                        

(Notary Seal)

Note that a document with an acknowledgment is not a sworn statement.  The signer is not taking any oath or affirmation that the information in the document is true and correct.  An acknowledgment is used to indicate that the signer is willfully and knowingly signing the document for the purposes stated in the document.

The 2010 Model Notary Act comments regarding acknowledgment state that the principal does not make any statement regarding the truthfulness or accuracy of the contents of the document.  The comments for a jurat state that no commitment of conscience regarding the truthfulness or accuracy of the contents of the document may be inferred from an acknowledgment

Since no sworn statement is being made, an agent with an authorized power of attorney may sign an acknowledgment on behalf of another person (principal).

An acknowledgment is usually found on these types of documents: 
real estate deeds, powers of attorney, living will, parental permission, contracts, agreements, leases, letters, releases, settlements, transfers, assignments, garnishments and liens.

2.  A jurat is another common type of notary certificate.  According to Colorado notary law (CRS 12-55-110), the notary certifies that:

The signer personally appeared before the notary at the time of the notarization.
The signer was identified by the notary using satisfactory evidence.
The notary witnessed the signer's signature, at the time of notarization, and it was freely made, for the purposes stated in the document.
An oath or affirmation was administered.  (An acknowledgment does not require an oath or affirmation.)

The notary may read aloud any provided oath or affirmation from the document and must obtain a positive and unequivocal (clear, unmistakable) response from the principal.

Sample oath or affirmation
Do you solemnly swear, or affirm, under penalty of perjury, 
that what you are about to say is true, 
that your name is [Name], 
that you are of sound mind, with legal and authorized capacity,
that the statements in this [Document Name] are true and correct, to the best of your knowledge and belief, 
that you have read and understand this document, and agree to its purpose, 
and that you are signing it, willfully and knowingly, as your free act and deed
[so help you God]?

Sample Jurat Certificate  (sample form)

State of Colorado,  County of _______________

Subscribed and sworn to, or affirmed, before me this _____ day of _______________, 20____,
by ______________________________.


_________________________        
Notary Public Signature                        

(Notary Seal)

A jurat may be an oath (sworn under God), or an affirmation, (without mention of God).  Providing false information is a serious offense, punishable under penalty of perjury.

Note that a jurat is used for a sworn statement.  Jurat in Latin means "he or she swears".  The signer takes an oath or affirmation that the information in the document is true and correct.  A jurat is used to indicate that the signer is willfully and knowingly signing the document for the purposes stated in the document.

A jurat is usually found on these types of documents, known as verifications: 
affidavits and depositions. 
Jurats are also found on statements, affirmations, applications, registrations and certificates.  It is also used for a credible witness who vouches for the identity of the signer, and for a subscribing witness who proves a document's execution.

Since a sworn statement is being made, an agent with an authorized power of attorney may not sign a jurat on behalf of another person (principal).  The principal must make the sworn statement and sign the jurat.

Affidavits: Important Notice  

If an acknowledgment certificate is used on an affidavit or deposition, the signer is not making a sworn statement before the notary.  Courts have ruled that an acknowledgment may not be used as a substitute for a jurat.  Some lawyers are trained to search for defective affidavits to ask the court to reject them as evidence.  Even if the title and wording of the document is consistent with an affidavit, a document may not be considered as an affidavit, and may be rejected or dismissed as evidence, if the notarial certificate does not contain the correct jurat wording.

Lawyers, paralegals, document preparers and document users should learn and understand the different types of notarial certificates available under state law, and select the appropriate type of certificate.  Be aware that many document preparers are not notaries and may not know notary laws.

For more information, please read the Citations Regarding Notarizing an Affidavit.

Disclaimer: We are not responsible for any delay, problem, loss or damages if we notarize a document that includes the wrong type of notarial certificate that you provide or select.

Release: If you provide or select an acknowledgment certificate on an affidavit or any other type of sworn statement, you accept all responsibility and liability resulting from the use of an acknowledgment, rather than a jurat certificate, and release us from all liability.

Affidavit Procedure:  If the document is an Affidavit, or if the heading or preamble states that the signer, affiant or deponent is making a statement under oath, before God, affirmation, penalty of perjury, duly sworn, sworn statement, deposes or says, but there is no jurat attached, the notary may place the signer under oath or affirmation, may ask for signer's approval to line through the acknowledgment and replace it with jurat wording, or may request written instructions if the signer requires an acknowledgment, or may decline to notarize the document if it contains an acknowledgment.  If the affidavit contains a split jurat certificate, with the venue at the top, the notary completes the venue and any preamble or introductory statement regarding the signer being duly sworn, including the signer's name.

Citations Regarding Notarizing an Affidavit

1.  Where an affidavit is called for, an acknowledgment will not suffice." (Pina v. Simon-Pina 544 So. 2d 1161)

2.  Archie's [**3] motion merely contains a certificate by a notary public that "the foregoing instrument was acknowledged before me this 22nd day of March, 1994, by Antonio Archie, who is personally known to his attorney and who did take an oath." An "acknowledgment," even under oath, is nothing more than a confirmation by Archie that the signature is genuine. It is not equivalent to swearing under oath that the facts alleged are true and correct." (Archie v. State 660 So. 2d 348)

3.  The notary public may not take an acknowledgment of execution in lieu of an oath, if an oath is required. (Florida Statute F.S. 117.03, Administration of Oaths)

4.  An affidavit without a notary’s seal is not properly notarized and therefore, is defective. Venable v. State, 113 S.W.3d 797, 800 (Tex. App.- Beaumont 2003, pet. ref’d)

5.  A valid affidavit must include "a certificate by a competent officer that the writing was sworn to by the person who signed it," known as a jurat.  Acme Brick v. Temple Associates, Inc., 816 S.W. 2d 440, 441 (Tex. App - Waco 1991, writ denied)

6.  A document bearing a simple "acknowledgment" is not an affidavit.  An acknowledgment is merely an admission that the parties signed the document in question, and does not prove the document contains true and correct Id. factual statements.   Perkins v. Crittendon, 462 S.W. 2d at 567-568.

7.  A document bearing a notary's attestation that "certifies" that the person who signed the document stated that it is true and correct is defective because it lacks the requisite swearing or affirmation.  State v. LeBlanc, Inc. 399 S.W. 2d 919, 922 (Tex. Civ. App. - Houston 1966, no writ)

8.  Notary failed to verify identity and failed to place expert witness under oath for a jurat on an affidavit of merit for a medical malpractice lawsuit.  Affidavit was rejected by Court of Appeals as being defective and not considered an affidavit at all because it contained a false jurat and was not properly notarized.  Glancy v Steinberg, 2003 WL 21465239 N.W.2d-MI

9.  Colorado Supreme Court ruled that a petition that was circulated for signatures was invalid because it contained a defective affidavit, lacking the required wording that the circulator has "read and understands the laws governing the circulation of petitions".  Loonan v. Woodley, 882 P.2d 1380 (Colo. 1994)

Colorado law:
10.  CRS 12-55-110 (1) Every notary public is empowered to:
(a) Take acknowledgments and other unsworn statements
(d) Take depositions, affidavits, verifications, and other sworn testimony or statements.

11.  CRS 12-55-119 If an oath or affirmation is administered by a notary in writing, a jurat certificate must be used, stating that the statements were made before the notary, under oath or affirmation.

12.  CRS 12-55-207 An acknowledgment certificate indicates that the signer appeared before the notary, acknowledged their signature, and executed the instrument for the purposes therein stated.  (No sworn statement is made before the notary.)

13.  CRS 18-8-503. Perjury in the second degree.
(1) A person commits perjury in the second degree if, other than in an official proceeding, with an intent to mislead a public servant in the performance of his duty, he makes a materially false statement, which he does not believe to be true, under an oath required or authorized by law.
(2) Perjury in the second degree is a class 1 misdemeanor.

14.  To make a valid oath, for the falsity of which perjury will lie, there must be in some form, in the presence of an officer authorized to administer it, an unequivocal and present act by which the affiant consciously takes upon himself the obligation of an oath. Rogers v. People, 161 Colo. 317, 422 P.2d 377 (1966).

15.  No presumption of oath-taking is held to apply where the notary's testimony was equivocal on the issue of whether the oath was taken. Rogers v. People, 161 Colo. 317, 422 P.2d 377 (1966). [perjury conviction overturned where notary probably did not administer oath]

16.  Colorado Notary Law Monograph, Michael L. Shea, JD, pg 10, Notarial Duties: Based on Rogers v. People (1966), the Colorado Supreme Court expects a notary to administer an oath or affirmation where the principal "swears" to the truthfulness of the statement.

17.  Colorado Notary Handbook, Definitions: Affidavit- A written declaration made under oath or affirmation before a notary public or other authorized officer, in which the signer swears or affirms that the statements or declarations in the document are true.

18. Colorado Notary Law Primer, 3rd ed., National Notary Association

pg. 29, Depositions and Affidavits: An affidavit is a signed statement made under oath or affirmation by a person called an affiant, and it is used for a variety of purposes, both in and out of court. For both a deposition and an affidavit, the Notary must administer an oath or affirmation and complete some form of jurat, which the Notary signs and seals.

pg. 30,  In an affidavit, the Notary’s certificate typically sandwiches the affiant’s signed statement, with the venue and affiant’s name at the top of the document and the jurat wording at the end. The Notary is responsible for the venue, affiant’s name, and any notarial text at the beginning and end of the affidavit. The affiant is responsible for the signed statement in the middle.

pg. 30,  Depositions and affidavits require jurat certificates.

pg. 31,  A jurat requires the principal to take an oath or affirmation.

19.  Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure (CRCP) Rule 108 Affidavits- An affidavit may be sworn to either within or without this state before any officer authorized by law to take and certify the acknowledgment of deeds conveying lands.   Cross references: For officers authorized to take acknowledgments of deeds, see §§ 24-12-104, 24-12-105, and 38-30-126 to 38-30-135, C.R.S.

20.  Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure (CRCP) Rule 110 Miscellaneous- (a) Amendments. No writ or process shall be quashed, nor any order or decree set aside, nor any undertaking be held invalid, nor any affidavit, traverse, or other paper be held insufficient if the same is corrected within the time and manner prescribed by the court, which shall be liberal in permitting amendments.

21.  Black's Law Dictionary: Affidavit- a written or printed declaration or statement of facts, made voluntarily, and confirmed by the oath or affirmation of the party making it, taken before an officer having authority to administer such oath.

22. 
Merriam-Webster Dictionary: Affidavit- a sworn statement in writing made especially under oath or on affirmation before an authorized magistrate or officer. Origin: Medieval Latin, he has made an oath, from affidare.

23.  Removal from office for certifying affidavit without administering oath.  No notary public shall certify to the affidavit of a person without administering the appropriate oath or affirmation to the person.  Ohio Statute 147.14

24.  Trial court rejected lien notice document because it contained an acknowledgment certificate, but statute required a verification or sworn statement.  HAMS Company v Electrical Contractors of Alaska, Inc., 563 P.2d 258, 262 (Alaska 1977)

25.  Lien was rejected because it was not sworn or verified by affidavit as required by state law.  Tefco Construction Co. Inc. v Continental Community Bank & Trust Co., 829 N.E.2d 860 (Ill App Ct 2005)

[End of Citations Regarding Notarizing an Affidavit]

 

3.  Hybrid Certificate-  Occasionally, a document will have a certificate that combines the wording for an acknowledgment and a jurat such as:  "Subscribed, sworn to and acknowledged before me".  Except for a self-proving will, CRS 15-11-504, a hybrid certificate is not prescribed under Colorado law.  We may ask for clarification to determine if you want an acknowledgment, a jurat, or both certificates to be included.  We may also examine the document to see if it refers to the signer being under oath or affirmation, indicating a sworn statement is being made, with a jurat certificate being required.

4.  Blanket Oath/Affirmation/Acknowledgement for Multiple Documents-  

Do you solemnly swear or affirm, under penalty of perjury,

that your name is: [full name of signer(s)],

that the signature you will place on these documents is your usual and customary signature,

that you acknowledge you are signing these documents voluntarily, 

for the purposes and consideration stated,

and that the statements made in any affidavits are true and correct,

to the best of your knowledge and belief?

Once the oath/affirmation/acknowledgment is administered, advise the signer(s) that they will remain under oath/affirmation/acknowledgment through the entire signing process.  Each time you come to a notarized document, remind the signer(s) that they are still under oath/affirmation/acknowledgment.

5.  CRS 15-11-502 (1)(c). Witnessed or notarized wills

A Colorado will shall be signed by the testator and either: signed by at least two witnesses, or acknowledged by the testator before a notary public.

A holographic will (handwritten) is described in CRS 15-11-502 (2).

6.  CRS 15-11-504. Self-proved will

(1) A will that is executed with attesting witnesses may be simultaneously executed, attested, and made self-proved by acknowledgment thereof by the testator and affidavits of the witnesses, each made before an officer authorized to administer oaths under the laws of the state in which execution occurs and evidenced by the officer's certificate, under official seal, in substantially the following form:

I, _______________, the testator, sign my name to this instrument this _____ day of __________, 20_____, and being first duly sworn, do hereby declare to the undersigned authority that I sign and execute this instrument as my will and that I sign it willingly (or willingly direct another to sign for me), that I execute it as my free and voluntary act for the purposes therein expressed, and that I am eighteen years of age or older, of sound mind, and under no constraint or undue influence.

____________________
Testator

We, ____________________, ____________________ the witnesses, sign our names to this instrument, being first duly sworn, and do hereby declare to the undersigned authority that the testator signs and executes this instrument as his/her will and that he/she signs it willingly (or willingly directs another to sign for him/her ), and that he/she executes it as his/her free and voluntary act for the purposes therein expressed, and that each of us, in the conscious presence of the testator, hereby signs this will as witness to the testator's signing, and that to the best of our knowledge, the testator is eighteen years of age or older, of sound mind, and under no constraint or undue influence.

____________________                    ____________________
Witness                                                   Witness


THE STATE OF COLORADO
COUNTY OF _______________

Subscribed, sworn to and acknowledged before me by ____________________, the testator, and subscribed and sworn to before me by ____________________ and ____________________, witnesses, this _____ day of __________, 20__.

____________________
(SIGNED)                                        (SEAL)

____________________
(Official capacity of officer)

(2) A will that is executed with attesting witnesses may be made self-proved at any time after its execution by the acknowledgment thereof by the testator and the affidavits of the witnesses, each made before an officer authorized to administer oaths under the laws of the state in which the acknowledgment occurs and evidenced by the officer's certificate, under the official seal, attached or annexed to the will in substantially the following form:

THE STATE OF COLORADO
COUNTY OF _______________

We, ____________________, ____________________, and ____________________, the testator and the witnesses, respectively, whose names are signed to the attached or foregoing instrument, being first duly sworn, do hereby declare to the undersigned authority that the testator signed and executed the instrument as the testator's will and that he/she had signed willingly (or willingly directed another to sign for him/her ), and that he/she executed it as his/her free and voluntary act for the purposes therein expressed, and that each of the witnesses, in the conscious presence of the testator, signed the will as witness and that to the best of his/her knowledge, the testator was at that time eighteen years of age or older, of sound mind, and under no constraint or undue influence.

____________________
Testator

____________________                    ____________________
Witness                                                   Witness


Subscribed, sworn to, and acknowledged before me by, ____________________, the testator, and subscribed and sworn to before me by ____________________ and ____________________, witnesses, this _____ day of __________, 20___.

____________________
(SIGNED)                                        (SEAL)

____________________
(Official capacity of officer)

(3) A signature affixed to a self-proving affidavit attached to a will is considered a signature affixed to the will if necessary to prove the will's due execution.

HISTORY: Source:. L. 94: Entire part R&RE, p. 998, § 3, effective July 1, 1995.L. 2001: (2) amended, p. 887, § 3, effective June 1.L. 2009: (1) and (2) amended, (HB 09-1287), ch. 310, p. 1683, § 13, effective July 1, 2010.

7.  In a signature witnessing or attesting, the notary certifies that:

The signer personally appeared before the notary at the time of signing.
The signer was identified by the notary using satisfactory evidence.
The notary witnessed the signer's signature, at the time of notarization, and it was freely made. There is no acknowledgment wording in the certificate and no oath or affirmation is administered.  

Sample language
Are you [signer's name]?  Are you signing this document, willfully and knowingly, as your free act and deed?

Sample Signature Witnessing Certificate  (sample form)

State of _______________,  County of _______________

Signed or attested before me this _____ day of _______________, 20____,
by ______________________________.


_________________________        
Notary Public Signature                        

(Notary Seal)

Note: It is not the duty of a notary to select the proper type of certificate.  We are not responsible for any loss or damages if we notarize a document which includes the wrong type of notarial certificate.

8.  Adding a Notary Certificate to a Document  

If the document does not contain an acknowledgment, jurat, or other notary certificate, a notary may add a stamp impression of the requested notary certificate, or attach (staple) a separate sheet (loose certificate) containing the requested notary certificate.  The signer must state or choose the type of notary certificate desired.  If needed, the signer should seek legal advice in selecting the proper certificate.  We are not responsible for any loss or damages if we notarize a document which includes the wrong type of notarial certificate.

9.  Certified Copy by Notary  (sample form

                                                                    Certified Copy by Notary
State of Colorado,  County of ____________________

I, ______________________________, a Notary Public, in and for said state, do certify that on this date, ____________________, I carefully compared with the original, the attached facsimile of the document ______________________________, and the facsimile I now hold in my possession.  They are complete, full, true and exact facsimiles of the document they purport to reproduce. 
                                                                                                                                            (Notary Seal)
_________________________        _____________________
Notary Public Signature                        My commission expires:
                                                                                                                              

A signed written request (sample certified copy request form) for a certified copy must be presented from the person who brings the original document.  The request must state:

Request for Certified Copy by Notary Public

1.  A certified copy or facsimile of the document cannot be obtained from the office of any clerk and recorder of public documents or custodian of documents in this state; and

2.  The production of a facsimile, preparation of a copy, or certification of a copy of the document does not violate any state or federal law.

Type of document: ______________________________
Requestor Name:  ______________________________    Signature:  ______________________
Requestor Address:  ____________________________    Date: _______________
                                     ____________________________

10.  Certificate of Notarial Record (Sample Form)

                                                                    Certificate of Notarial Record
State of Colorado,  County of ____________________

I, ______________________________, a Colorado Notary Public, certify that I have reviewed the notarial record(s) held in my custody, on this _____ day of __________, 20____, and hereby verify the following facts as stated in the notarial record(s).  

Date/Time      Type             Address Where Notarized                      Document Description    
_________    ________    ______________________________    ______________________________
_________    ________    ______________________________    ______________________________
_________    ________    ______________________________    ______________________________

_____  [Initials] No notarial record(s) were found matching the description for the month and year requested.

Signer's Name(s)                 Signer's Address                             ID Description                                 Fee      
____________________    __________________________    _________________________    ____   
____________________    __________________________    _________________________    ____ 
____________________    __________________________    _________________________    ____ 

Additional Information
__________________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________________

Request Date        Requestor Name              
_____________    ____________________                                                           (Notary Seal)

                                                                   My commission expires:
_________________________        _____________________                      
Notary Public Signature                          

A written request (see form below) for a certificate of a notarial record must be submitted by the person making the request.  Satisfactory photo ID may be required.  Notaries do not keep copies of notarized documents, except for certified copies made.

Request for Certificate of Notarial Record

1.  I hereby request a certificate of the notarial record for the following notary journal entry or entries.
2.  I will not use the requested information for any criminal or illegal purpose.
3.  I will show my photo ID to the notary or I will include a copy of my photo ID with my request or payment.
4.  I understand there is a fee of $5 per record for this service, which includes retrieval of the information and  the preparation and delivery of the certificate.  Payment is attached or is due upon receipt of the requested certificate.
5.  I understand the notary does not provide legal advice and does not keep copies of notarized documents, except for certified copies made.
6.  Please deliver the certificate (check one):  [   ] by mail   [   ] by e-mail

Month    Year      Name of Signer(s)                Document Type
_____    _____    ____________________       ______________________________
_____    _____    ____________________       ______________________________

Requestor Name:      ____________________________    
Requestor Address:  ____________________________    
                                     ____________________________
Phone:                        ____________________________
Email:                         ____________________________

Signature:                   _________________________
Date:                           _________________________

Mail request and payment to:  

11.  Vital Records

A notary may not certify vital records such as a birth, marriage or death certificate, or a divorce decree.
For more information on obtaining copies of vital records, please see:

Vital Records, birth and death certificates, El Paso County Dept of Health and Environment

Marriage license and copies, El Paso County Clerk and Recorder

Birth and death certificates, Colorado Dept of Public Health and Environment

Marriage and divorce verifications, Colorado Dept of Public Health and Environment

Vital records, links to all Colorado counties, www.vitalrec.com

Colorado Vital Records, county records contact information from VitalRecordsUS.com

12.  Corporate and Institutional Records and Documents

Copies of articles, bylaws, minutes, resolutions and original records kept by companies should be obtained from the company.

Copies of original college course transcripts should be obtained from the college.

13.  CRS 15-14-102. Definitions. (5) "Incapacitated person" means an individual other than a minor, who is unable to effectively receive or evaluate information or both or make or communicate decisions to such an extent that the individual lacks the ability to satisfy essential requirements for physical health, safety, or self-care, even with appropriate and reasonably available technological assistance.

14.  Signature by Proxy CRS 12-55-110.5 provides a procedure for notarizing for a person (the principal) with a physical limitation or disability.  If the principal is aware and willing to sign, but unable to sign, due to a physical limitation or disability, the principal may appoint another person, not the notary, as their agent, to sign for the disabled person.   The appointed agent must sign the principal's name, at the direction and in the presence of the principal, and in the presence of the notary.  Under or near the signature, the following words shall appear: "Signature written by (Agent's Name) at the direction and in the presence of (Name as signed), on whose behalf the signature was written."

15.  Deposition Information follow Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP), Federal Rules of Evidence (Rules 1000-1007), and Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure (CRCP).  FRCP Rule 30 governs oral depositions.  FRCP Rule 31 governs written depositions.

Find a Legal Videographer, Certified Court Video Specialist (CCVS) or Certified Deposition Video Specialist (CDVS) member of the American Guild of Court Videographers (AGCV), or find a Certified Legal Video Specialist member of the National Court Reporters Association (NCRA). 


Deposition Oath/Affirmation

"Do you solemnly swear, or affirm, under penalty of perjury, that the testimony you are about to give will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, [so help you God]?"

Certificate of Oath or Affirmation

State of Colorado
County of _______________

  In my capacity as a Notary Public for the State of Colorado, I certify that on the _____ day of __________, 20__, at time ______ AM/PM, ____________________, as deponent, personally appeared before me, and was personally known to me, or produced satisfactory evidence of identification, and took an oath or affirmation, for the purposes of giving sworn testimony in the matter of: _______________________________________________________________________________________________.

__________________________   
Notary Signature                                                  [Notary Seal]    

__________________________
Notary ID Number                            

____________________
My commission expires

 

[Deposition transcript here]
[Signature of Witness]

Deposition Certified by Notary

State of Colorado
County of _______________

I, _____________________, a Colorado Notary Public, certify that, pursuant to ______________________________ (stipulation, notice or court order) the deposition of ______________________________, Witness, was duly taken before me at __________________________________________________ (place) on this date ____________________ at time __________. The said Witness was first duly sworn in, or affirmed, by ____________________, according to law to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and thereupon did testify as set forth in the attached transcript of testimony. The testimony was recorded in my presence by using ______________________________ (audio recording, video recording, or stenography), under my direction.

I further certify that the above deposition is a full, complete and true record of all the testimony given by the said Witness.
__________________________             ____________________
Notary Public                                                 My commission expires

 

 
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