Bulletin: TX2016001

Date:
January 18, 2016
To:
All Texas Issuing Offices
RE:
UNDERWRITING - Texas Notary Seals

Dear Associates:

Texas House Bill 1683 requires (1) the Secretary of State to issue an identifying number to each notary when a commission is issued or renewed, and (2) the notary’s seal must include that identifying number. The effective date of the bill is January 1, 2016. Although the hearings on the bill indicate that there is no intent that existing notaries obtain new seals with their identification numbers until their commissions are renewed, the actual bill language does not defer the new seal requirement for existing notaries. 

While the intent may be clear, there is a concern the Bill’s specific requirement for the identifying number on the seal could be used to challenge the validity of an acknowledgment or jurat that lacks the number. There are Texas cases holding that a recorded deed with an acknowledgement that is technically defective may not constitute constructive notice of the deed to third parties. There is a two year statute of limitations to make a defective acknowledgment claim; however, the exposure would exist during those two years. 

The safest course of action for all Texas notaries is to replace their notary seals with one that includes their identification number. Every notary in your office that notarizes deeds or affidavits may want to order a new seal containing their individual Texas number as soon as possible. Texas notaries should already have unique identification numbers since the Texas Secretary of State has been issuing unique identification numbers to notaries for over 20 years. These can be found on the notary license/commission. We have confirmed these numbers will not change. If you are being asked to accept a document acknowledged by a notary outside your office, you should require that their identification number be shown. We will accept an acknowledgment with the ID number shown as part of the stamp, or typed or handwritten onto the document.  

If you have any questions relating to this or other bulletins, please contact a Stewart Title Guaranty Company underwriter.

For on-line viewing of this and other bulletins, please log onto www.vuwriter.com.

THIS BULLETIN IS FURNISHED TO INFORM YOU OF CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS. AS A REMINDER, YOU ARE CHARGED WITH KNOWLEDGE OF THE CONTENT ON VIRTUAL UNDERWRITER  AS IT EXISTS FROM TIME TO TIME AS IT APPLIES TO YOU, AS WELL AS ANY OTHER INSTRUCTIONS. OUR UNDERWRITING AGREEMENTS DO NOT AUTHORIZE OUR ISSUING AGENTS TO ENGAGE IN SETTLEMENTS OR CLOSINGS ON BEHALF OF STEWART TITLE GUARANTY COMPANY. THIS BULLETIN IS NOT INTENDED TO DIRECT YOUR ESCROW OR SETTLEMENT PRACTICES OR TO CHANGE PROVISIONS OF APPLICABLE UNDERWRITING AGREEMENTS. CONFIDENTIAL, PROPRIETARY, OR NONPUBLIC PERSONAL INFORMATION SHOULD NEVER BE SHARED OR DISSEMINATED EXCEPT AS ALLOWED BY LAW. IF APPLICABLE STATE LAW OR REGULATION IMPOSES ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS, YOU SHOULD CONTINUE TO COMPLY WITH THOSE REQUIREMENTS.

References

Bulletins Replaced:
None
Related Bulletins:
None
Underwriting Manual:
None
Exceptions Manual:
None
Forms:
None