Bulletin: NY000170

Date:
May 03, 1999
To:
All New York State Counsel, Managers and Agents
RE:
Acknowledgments Revisited (Chapter 197 of the Laws of 1997 and Chapter 596 of the Laws of 1998)

Dear Associates:

The situation regarding acknowledgments in New York State has become almost comical. In Bulletin No. NY000157 , we reported on the original statutory formulation and the various interpretations made by the counsel's office of the NY Department of State. Since that time, the legislature has amended the statute (Sections 309-a and 309-b of the Real Property Law), modifying the simplified acknowledgment form, and creating a situation where there are now separate forms required for in-state and out-of-state acknowledgments.

Add to that the Department of State interpretation regarding corporate acknowledgments taken out of state, and it appears that there will be at least six separate forms of acknowledgment:

a) The general in-state form (used for all persons and entities, except subscribing witness, taken in New York)

b) The general out-of state form (there is a statutory tension between sections 309 and 309-b; a corporation is a person as defined for use of the 309-b form, but that form is by official interpretation of the Department of state unavailable for corporate acknowledgments taken out of state )

c) The two corporate forms, which, on and after September 1, 1999 cannot be used for corporate acknowledgments taken inside New York State, but must be used only for corporate acknowledgments taken out of state, unless a form of acknowledgment is used under the local law of the jurisdiction in which the acknowledgment is taken and a certificate of conformity is attached.

d) The two subscribing witness forms (one for in-state and one for out-of-state).

Lastly, I suspect that there will be an increasing need for the use of the certificate of conformity when an acknowledgment is taken outside New York State, and the format is not one of the official forms.

The main changes are the additions of venue information within the body of the out-of-state acknowledgments, and the deletion of the apparent requirement that the acknowledgment state after the words "before me," the words, "a notary public of the State of New York."

Note: Military acknowledgments remain unaffected, as the federal statute mercifully overrides the state law.

The updated forms are available by calling the New York City Office or by accessing the Business Practices on Virtual Underwriter via the Web at http://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:
NY000157 Acknowledgments (Chapter 197 of the Laws of 1997) Official Interpretation from the Department of State
Underwriting Manual:
1.16 Acknowledgments
Exceptions Manual:
None
Forms:
None