I have a cat, not a seal
July 9, 2019 10:38 PM   Subscribe

I'm working on my will using a simple form I found online which is acceptable to my state. It's pretty straightforward until the end. YANML.

Right above where I'm supposed to sign in the presence of two witnesses and a notary public is this block of type:

"IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto subscribed my name and affixed my seal at the City of _______________________________________, State of _________________this _____________day of ____________________, 2019, in the presence of the subscribing witnesses who I have requested to become attesting witnesses hereto."

What seal? I don't have a seal. Further down the page, the notary is asked for a seal; that I understand. But what is this seal I'm supposed to affix? Is this just boilerplate for my signature?
posted by bryon to Law & Government (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
That is the notary's paragraph, not yours. The notary has a seal without which the document is not "notarized".
posted by Cranberry at 12:33 AM on July 10 [19 favorites]

That does sound confusing. Can you post a link to a (blank) copy of the form? It might help answerers figure out what's going on.
posted by Johnny Assay at 4:02 AM on July 10

Yes, that is a standard notary paragraph - you don’t fill that out at all. You’ll need to hold off on signing any part of the will until you have the witnesses and the notary present.
posted by firei at 4:05 AM on July 10 [5 favorites]

Fwiw I have had to sign a document where it asks for a seal. This is what my lawyer told me to do.

You could confirm with the notary before signing, considering you will be signing in their presence anyway.
posted by cacao at 6:07 AM on July 10

IAAL, IANYL, IDK your jurisdiction.

Nthing what people have said about this looking like a notary block calling for a notary seal.

One point of nerdy lawyer elaboration -- in my jurisdiction, signatures that meet certain requirements can cause an agreement to be "under seal", which extends the length of time to sue on any matter based on that agreement. Back in the bad old days when dinosaurs walked the earth and George Washington was not yet even a surveyor, people put a document under seal by actually pressing their signet ring into wax next to their signature, writing a particular symbol next to their signature, or pressing the paper between special plates to emboss it.

These days, the extra-time-to-sue persists in certain old-fashioned jurisdictions, but the usual is just to print the word (SEAL) printed next to the signature line and/or say somewhere in the document the document is being executed under seal.

So yeah, you can have documents under seal, and notary seals, but they're different, and in my jurisdiction at least, in neither case does a person signing a document typically have to do anything further than signing at the right time and place.
posted by joyceanmachine at 6:48 AM on July 10

I am a notary. That is the section I fill out. I have a little stamper thing which is what I'm supposed to put there. Basically the notary will stamp the bottom of the page (sometimes there's a box for it) but fills out that sentence.
posted by jessamyn at 8:58 AM on July 10

Here's where I found the template. Scroll down a little and you'll see a Simple Will doc you can click and it'll open a Word document. You'll see the paragraph I posted near the bottom, but at the very bottom of the document is a place for a notary to sign and place a seal.
posted by bryon at 12:37 PM on July 10

This is a holdover from the very old days when there were elaborate formalities attending to solemnly executed documents. They went from a signature plus a wax seal to a signature with the word "seal" (or the initials L.S.) over many centuries. Today, your signature is your seal.

Real documents prepared by lawyers typically don't include this nonsense.
posted by megatherium at 1:53 PM on July 10

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