2009 Texas Code
CIVIL PRACTICE AND REMEDIES CODE
TITLE 6. MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS
CHAPTER 121. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS AND PROOFS OF WRITTEN INSTRUMENTS  

CIVIL PRACTICE AND REMEDIES CODE

TITLE 6. MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

CHAPTER 121. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS AND PROOFS OF WRITTEN INSTRUMENTS

Sec. 121.001. OFFICERS WHO MAY TAKE ACKNOWLEDGMENTS OR PROOFS.

(a) An acknowledgment or proof of a written instrument may be

taken in this state by:

(1) a clerk of a district court;

(2) a judge or clerk of a county court;

(3) a notary public;

(4) a county tax assessor-collector or an employee of the county

tax assessor-collector if the instrument is required or

authorized to be filed in the office of the county tax

assessor-collector; or

(5) an employee of a personal bond office if the acknowledgment

or proof of a written instrument is required or authorized by

Article 17.04, Code of Criminal Procedure.

(b) An acknowledgment or proof of a written instrument may be

taken outside this state, but inside the United States or its

territories, by:

(1) a clerk of a court of record having a seal;

(2) a commissioner of deeds appointed under the laws of this

state; or

(3) a notary public.

(c) An acknowledgment or proof of a written instrument may be

taken outside the United States or its territories by:

(1) a minister, commissioner, or charge d'affaires of the United

States who is a resident of and is accredited in the country

where the acknowledgment or proof is taken;

(2) a consul-general, consul, vice-consul, commercial agent,

vice-commercial agent, deputy consul, or consular agent of the

United States who is a resident of the country where the

acknowledgment or proof is taken; or

(3) a notary public or any other official authorized to

administer oaths in the jurisdiction where the acknowledgment or

proof is taken.

(d) A commissioned officer of the United States Armed Forces or

of a United States Armed Forces Auxiliary may take an

acknowledgment or proof of a written instrument of a member of

the armed forces, a member of an armed forces auxiliary, or a

member's spouse. If an acknowledgment or a proof is taken under

this subsection, it is presumed, absent pleading and proof to the

contrary, that the commissioned officer who signed was a

commissioned officer on the date that the officer signed, and

that the acknowledging person was a member of the authorized

group of military personnel or spouses. The failure of the

commissioned officer to attach an official seal to the

certificate of acknowledgment or proof of an instrument does not

invalidate the acknowledgment or proof.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Amended by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 891, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1,

1987; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 18, eff. Sept. 1, 1995;

Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 986, Sec. 2, eff. June 15, 2001.

Sec. 121.002. CORPORATE ACKNOWLEDGMENTS. (a) An employee of a

corporation is not disqualified because of his employment from

taking an acknowledgment or proof of a written instrument in

which the corporation has an interest.

(b) An officer who is a shareholder in a corporation is not

disqualified from taking an acknowledgment or proof of an

instrument in which the corporation has an interest unless:

(1) the corporation has 1,000 or fewer shareholders; and

(2) the officer owns more than one-tenth of one percent of the

issued and outstanding stock.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 121.003. AUTHORITY OF OFFICERS. In a proceeding to prove a

written instrument, an officer authorized by this chapter to take

an acknowledgment or a proof of a written instrument is also

authorized to:

(1) administer oaths;

(2) employ and swear interpreters; and

(3) issue subpoenas.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 121.004. METHOD OF ACKNOWLEDGMENT. (a) To acknowledge a

written instrument for recording, the grantor or person who

executed the instrument must appear before an officer and must

state that he executed the instrument for the purposes and

consideration expressed in it.

(b) The officer shall:

(1) make a certificate of the acknowledgment;

(2) sign the certificate; and

(3) seal the certificate with the seal of office.

(c) The failure of a notary public to attach an official seal to

a certificate of an acknowledgement or proof of a written

instrument made outside this state but inside the United States

or its territories renders the acknowledgement or proof invalid

only if the jurisdiction in which the certificate is made

requires the notary public to attach the seal.

(d) The application of an embossed seal is not required on an

electronically transmitted certificate of an acknowledgement.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 603, Sec. 1, eff. June 14,

1995; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 95, Sec. 1, eff. May 11, 2001.

Sec. 121.005. PROOF OF IDENTITY OF ACKNOWLEDGING PERSON. (a)

An officer may not take the acknowledgment of a written

instrument unless the officer knows or has satisfactory evidence

that the acknowledging person is the person who executed the

instrument and is described in it. An officer may accept, as

satisfactory evidence of the identity of an acknowledging person,

only:

(1) the oath of a credible witness personally known to the

officer; or

(2) a current identification card or other document issued by

the federal government or any state government that contains the

photograph and signature of the acknowledging person.

(b) Except in a short form certificate of acknowledgment

authorized by Section 121.008, the officer must note in the

certificate of acknowledgment that:

(1) he personally knows the acknowledging person; or

(2) evidence of a witness or an identification card or other

document was used to identify the acknowledging person.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 90, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1,

1997.

Sec. 121.006. ALTERATION OF AUTHORIZED FORMS; DEFINITION. (a)

An acknowledgment form provided by this chapter may be altered as

circumstances require. The authorization of a form does not

prevent the use of other forms. The marital status or other

status of the acknowledging person may be shown after the

person's name.

(b) In an acknowledgment form "acknowledged" means:

(1) in the case of a natural person, that the person personally

appeared before the officer taking the acknowledgment and

acknowledged executing the instrument for the purposes and

consideration expressed in it;

(2) in the case of a person as principal by an attorney-in-fact

for the principal, that the attorney-in-fact personally appeared

before the officer taking the acknowledgment and that the

attorney-in-fact acknowledged executing the instrument as the act

of the principal for the purposes and consideration expressed in

it;

(3) in the case of a partnership by a partner or partners acting

for the partnership, that the partner or partners personally

appeared before the officer taking the acknowledgment and

acknowledged executing the instrument as the act of the

partnership for the purposes and consideration expressed in it;

(4) in the case of a corporation by a corporate officer or

agent, that the corporate officer or agent personally appeared

before the officer taking the acknowledgment and that the

corporate officer or agent acknowledged executing the instrument

in the capacity stated, as the act of the corporation, for the

purposes and consideration expressed in it; and

(5) in the case of a person acknowledging as a public officer,

trustee, executor or administrator of an estate, guardian, or

other representative, that the person personally appeared before

the officer taking the acknowledgment and acknowledged executing

the instrument by proper authority in the capacity stated and for

the purposes and consideration expressed in it.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 121.007. FORM FOR ORDINARY CERTIFICATE OF ACKNOWLEDGMENT.

The form of an ordinary certificate of acknowledgment must be

substantially as follows:

"The State of ____________,

"County of ____________,

"Before me ____________ (here insert the name and character of

the officer) on this day personally appeared ________________,

known to me (or proved to me on the oath of ________________ or

through __________________ (description of identity card or other

document)) to be the person whose name is subscribed to the

foregoing instrument and acknowledged to me that he executed the

same for the purposes and consideration therein expressed.

(Seal) "Given under my hand and seal of office this ________ day

of ____________, A.D., ________."

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 90, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1,

1997.

Sec. 121.008. SHORT FORMS FOR CERTIFICATES OF ACKNOWLEDGMENT.

(a) The forms for certificates of acknowledgment provided by

this section may be used as alternatives to other authorized

forms. They may be referred to as "statutory forms of

acknowledgment."

(b) Short forms for certificates of acknowledgment include:

(1) For a natural person acting in his own right:

State of Texas

County of ____________

This instrument was acknowledged before me on (date) by (name or

names of person or persons acknowledging).

(Signature of officer)

(Title of officer)

My commission expires: ________

(2) For a natural person as principal acting by

attorney-in-fact:

State of Texas

County of ____________

This instrument was acknowledged before me on (date) by (name of

attorney-in-fact) as attorney-in-fact on behalf of (name of

principal).

(Signature of officer)

(Title of officer)

My commission expires: ________

(3) For a partnership acting by one or more partners:

State of Texas

County of ____________

This instrument was acknowledged before me on (date) by (name of

acknowledging partner or partners), partner(s) on behalf of (name

of partnership), a partnership.

(Signature of officer)

(Title of officer)

My commission expires: ________

(4) For a corporation:

State of Texas

County of ____________

This instrument was acknowledged before me on (date) by (name of

officer), (title of officer) of (name of corporation

acknowledging) a (state of incorporation) corporation, on behalf

of said corporation.

(Signature of officer)

(Title of officer)

My commission expires: ________

(5) For a public officer, trustee, executor, administrator,

guardian, or other representative:

State of Texas

County of ____________

This instrument was acknowledged before me on (date) by (name of

representative) as (title of representative) of (name of entity

or person represented).

(Signature of officer)

(Title of officer)

My commission expires: ________

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 121.009. PROOF OF ACKNOWLEDGMENT BY WITNESS. (a) To prove

a written instrument for recording, at least one of the witnesses

who signed the instrument must personally appear before an

officer who is authorized by this chapter to take acknowledgments

or proofs and must swear:

(1) either that he saw the grantor or person who executed the

instrument sign it or that that person acknowledged in the

presence of the witness that he executed the instrument for the

purposes and consideration expressed in it; and

(2) that he signed the instrument at the request of the grantor

or person who executed the instrument.

(b) The officer must make a certificate of the testimony of the

witness and must sign and officially seal the certificate.

(c) The officer may take the testimony of a witness only if the

officer personally knows or has satisfactory evidence on the oath

of a credible witness that the individual testifying is the

person who signed the instrument as a witness. If evidence is

used to identify the witness who signed the instrument, the

officer must note the use of the evidence in the certificate of

acknowledgment.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 121.010. FORM OF CERTIFICATE FOR PROOF BY WITNESS. When

the execution of a written instrument is proved by a witness, the

certificate of the officer must be substantially as follows:

"The State of ____________,

"County of ____________.

"Before me, ________ (here insert the name and character of the

officer), on this day personally appeared ____________, known to

me (or proved to me on the oath of ____________), to be the

person whose name is subscribed as a witness to the foregoing

instrument of writing, and after being duly sworn by me stated on

oath that he saw ____________, the grantor or person who executed

the foregoing instrument, subscribe the same (or that the grantor

or person who executed such instrument of writing acknowledged in

his presence that he had executed the same for the purposes and

consideration therein expressed), and that he had signed the same

as a witness at the request of the grantor (or person who

executed the same.)

(Seal) "Given under my hand and seal of office this ______ day

of ____________, A.D., ____________."

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 121.011. PROOF OF ACKNOWLEDGMENT BY HANDWRITING. (a) The

execution of an instrument may be established for recording by

proof of the handwriting of persons who signed the instrument

only if:

(1) the grantor of the instrument and all of the witnesses are

dead;

(2) the grantor and all of the witnesses are not residents of

this state;

(3) the residences of the grantor and the witnesses are unknown

to the person seeking to prove the instrument and cannot be

ascertained;

(4) the witnesses have become legally incompetent to testify; or

(5) the grantor of the instrument refuses to acknowledge the

execution of the instrument and all of the witnesses are dead,

not residents of this state, or legally incompetent or their

places of residence are unknown.

(b) If the grantor or person who executed the instrument signed

his name to the instrument, its execution must be proved by

evidence of the handwriting of that person and at least one

witness who signed the instrument. If the grantor or person who

executed the instrument signed the instrument by making his mark,

its execution must be proved by the handwriting of at least two

of the witnesses who signed the instrument.

(c) Evidence taken for proof of handwriting must give the

residence of the testifying witness. A testifying witness must

have known the person whose handwriting is being proved and must

be well acquainted with the handwriting in question and recognize

it as genuine.

(d) Evidence offered for proof of handwriting must be given in

writing by the deposition or affidavit of two or more

disinterested persons. The evidence must satisfactorily prove to

the officer each of the requirements provided by this section.

The officer taking the proof must certify the witnesses'

testimony. The officer must sign, officially seal, and attach

this certificate to the instrument with the depositions or

affidavits of the witnesses.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 121.012. RECORD OF ACKNOWLEDGMENT. (a) An officer

authorized by law to take an acknowledgment or proof of a written

instrument required or permitted by law to be recorded must enter

in a well-bound book and officially sign a short statement of

each acknowledgment or proof. The statement must contain the date

that the acknowledgment or proof was taken, the date of the

instrument, and the names of the grantor and grantee of the

instrument.

(b) If the execution of the instrument is acknowledged by the

grantor of the instrument, the statement must also contain:

(1) the grantor's known or alleged residence;

(2) whether the grantor is personally known to the officer; and

(3) if the grantor is unknown to the officer, the name and

residence of the person who introduced the grantor to the

officer, if any.

(c) If the execution of the instrument is proved by a witness

who signed the instrument, the statement must also contain:

(1) the name of the witness;

(2) the known or alleged residence of the witness;

(3) whether the witness is personally known to the officer; and

(4) if the witness is unknown to the officer, the name and known

or alleged residence of the person who introduced the witness to

the officer, if any.

(d) If land is charged or conveyed by the instrument, the

statement must also contain:

(1) the name of the original grantee; and

(2) the name of the county in which the land is located.

(e) The statements of acknowledgment recorded by the officer are

original public records, open for public inspection and

examination at all reasonable times. The officer must deliver the

book to his successor in office.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 121.013. SUBPOENA OF WITNESS; ATTACHMENT. (a) On the

sworn application of a person interested in the proof of an

instrument required or permitted by law to be recorded, stating

that a witness to the instrument refuses to appear and testify

regarding the execution of the instrument and that the instrument

cannot be proven without the evidence of the witness, an officer

authorized to take proofs of instruments shall issue a subpoena

requiring the witness to appear before the officer and testify

about the execution of the instrument.

(b) If the witness fails to obey the subpoena, the officer has

the same powers to enforce the attendance and compel the answers

of the witness as does a district judge. Attachment may not be

issued, however, unless the witness receives or is tendered the

same compensation that is made to witnesses in other cases. An

officer may not require the witness to leave his county of

residence, but if the witness is temporarily present in the

county where the execution of the instrument is sought to be

proven for registration, he may be required to appear.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 121.014. ACTION FOR DAMAGES. A person injured by the

failure, refusal, or neglect of an officer to comply with a

provision of this chapter has a cause of action against the

officer to recover damages resulting from the failure, refusal,

or neglect of the officer.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 121.015. PRIVATE SEAL OR SCROLL NOT REQUIRED. A private

seal or scroll may not be required on a written instrument other

than an instrument made by a corporation.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 268, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1,

1993.

Disclaimer: These codes may not be the most recent version. Texas may have more current or accurate information. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site or the information linked to on the state site. Please check official sources.