Mass. places a requirement on out-of-state acknowledgements

It's often been stated in Internet notary-related forums that if an acknowledgement meets the requirements of the place where it is taken, it should be valid in all states, and, as long as it has the right ink color, paper size, and margins, should be able to be recorded anywhere. (Although there was some discussion of a state that requires "husband and wife" in the ack and some notaries aren't willing to certify that.)

I came across a requirement for acknowledgements that are to be used in MA (specifically, be recorded in MA) at:

The website belongs to the Real Estate Bar Association for Massachusetts.

A similar pdf from a law firm is at:


According to them, an acknowledgement must indicate that the signer (and if the signer is a representative, the principal) acknowledged signing the instrument VOLUNTARILY. The ack should contain 'the language “voluntarily for its intended purpose” or “signed as his/her free act and deed,” or similar language to that effect'.

Some states, like CA, do not contain any language indicating the signer or principal acted voluntarily. This would seem to be the rare case where the CA notary could complete a non-standard acknowledgement because it is required in another state.

The trickier acknowledgement would be for a signing by a representative. I would think the traditional VT wording would work for a deed to be recorded in MA. For example

On this 17th day of October, 2017, before me personally appeared Wiley Coyote, to me known to be the person who executed the foregoing instrument, and he thereupon duly acknowledged to me he is the president of Acme Anvil Corp., and he executed the same to be own free act and deed, and the free act and deed of Acme Anvil Corp.

/s/ John Doe
Vermont Notary Public

Notice that the notary is not certifying that the signer actually is the president of Acme Anvil Co., the notary is merely recording that the signer acknowledged that he is the president.

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