Acknowledgment Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Acknowledgment, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Acknowledgment?

n. acknowledgment is a declaration or avowal of one’s own act, to give it legal validity. It is the act of the grantor going before a competent officer and declaring some action or deed to be recorded legally as his own. Also the certificate of the officer who that such a declaration has been made to him is an acknowledgement. The officer having this power can be judges of supreme court or justices of the county court or justices of the quorum of the state or of the circuit and county courts. It is required in USA that the certificate of an acknowledgment in court must be under the seal of the court.

History and Meaning of Acknowledgment

The term "acknowledgment" has been used in the legal context for centuries to refer to the act of publicly acknowledging or recognizing a certain fact or event. In its legal sense, acknowledgment specifically refers to the act of formally declaring one's own act or deed before a competent legal officer to give it legal validity. This process is intended to ensure that the grantor of a legal document is the person they claim to be and that they have acted freely and willingly.

In the United States, an acknowledgment is typically conducted by a notary public, a person authorized by the state to administer oaths, witness signatures, and perform other legal duties. The notary public acts as a neutral third party who verifies the identity of the signatory and ensures that they sign the document voluntarily and without duress. Once the notary public has completed the acknowledgment, they will usually affix their official seal to the document to signify that the acknowledgment is valid.

Examples of Acknowledgment

  1. A homeowner signs an acknowledgment form when they take out a mortgage loan to buy their house. The acknowledgment form confirms that the homeowner understands the terms of the loan agreement and agrees to repay the loan according to those terms.

  2. An artist signs an acknowledgment agreement with a gallery that agrees to represent their work. The acknowledgment agreement confirms that the artist has read and understands the terms of the representation agreement and agrees to abide by them.

  3. A divorcing couple signs an acknowledgment of service form when they receive legal papers from the court. The acknowledgment form confirms that they have received the papers and understand that they must respond to them within a certain period of time.

Legal Terms Similar to Acknowledgment

  1. Affidavit: A written statement made under oath, typically used as evidence in court proceedings.

  2. Certification: A formal declaration that a person or document meets certain standards or requirements.

  3. Jurat: A declaration by a notary public that a document was signed and sworn to before them.