An acknowledgment certificate indicates that the signer:
a) personally appeared before the Notary,
b) was identified by the Notary, and
c) acknowledged to the Notary that the document was freely signed.
Contrary to popular belief, documents requiring acknowledgments do not need to be signed in the notary’s presence in most states even though the latter would be highly preferred whenever possible.
The confusion comes from the fact that the signer must appear before the Notary at the time of notarization to acknowledge that he or she freely signed for the purposes stated in the document.