This is a notary public service announcement…..:)
Please notaries DO NOT use your notary stamp where you see just the word ‘seal’. I have posted a couple of definitions of the term ‘seal’ from a couple of places below.
“Seal” after a signature is not just another word for signature. It is a remnant from the days when seals were actually used and impressed in wax. A document under seal in some jurisdictions has legal ramifications. It may extend the statute of limitations for legal actions taken under the document. It may eliminate the necessity for proving consideration on a contract. It may do both.”
“In the law, a seal affixed to a contract or other legal instrument has had special legal significance at various times in the jurisdictions that recognise it. In the courts of common law jurisdictions, a contract which was sealed (“made under seal”) was treated differently from other written contracts (which were “made under hand”), although this practice gradually fell out of favour in most of these jurisdictions in the 19th and early 20th century. The legal term seal arises from the wax seal used throughout history for authentication (among other purposes).
Originally, only a wax seal was accepted as a seal by the courts, but by the 19th century many jurisdictions had relaxed the definition to include an impression in the paper on which the instrument was printed, an embossed paper wafer affixed to an instrument, a scroll made with a pen, or the printed words “Seal” or “L.S.” (standing for the Latin term locus sigilli meaning “place of the seal”).”
So, it appears by these definitions this was something that was used in 19th and 20th century when folks used wax seals. But for some reason, new notaries seem to want to affix their notary seal on loan documents everywhere they see the term ’seal’. In my opinion, I believe that this is the number one mistake made by newly appointed notary public/signing agents. I get calls here about this at 123notary.com all the time. This is why it is so important to understand what is to be notarized and what is not. Notaries remember you ONLY affix your seal to places that the signer has SIGNED and there is ‘notarial wording’ (wording such as: appeared, sworn/affirmed before, along with the state, city, etc.) that is present below the signature. NEVER EVER affix your notary seal/stamp to anything that has just the world ‘seal’ and/or that has no notary wording. You always must have some sort of notarial wording present after the signature. Doing otherwise, will get into big trouble with the hiring party not to mention the Secretary of State. Also depending on the situation and the request you may need to attached a notarial certificate. You should keep both acknowledgments and juarts for your specific state handy. And also please remember that you are notarizing the SIGNATURE on the document not the document itself.
Regrettably, just recently, I advised 2 notaries to reprint and go back out to the signers to re-sign due to this error. Glad they called me so they could get it done correctly before they returned the documents. I often wonder why the lenders still use documents that are are outdated and confusing….
You might also like:
Cross out and initial, or use a fresh form?
The ID says John Smith
Affirmations: Pleasing the politically correct while offending the traditional people.