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What does (SEAL) next to your name really mean?

Many people are confused by the word (SEAL) at the end of a signature line on a contract. Some think this means the document must be notarized. Others panic because they cannot find their corporate seal.

It can look like this:


Yosemite Sam, individually

Or this:



Wile E. Coyote, President

Historically, the author of important documents would press his or her seal into wax on the document or to close the document to prove their authenticity. It was fairly easy to tell if the document had been opened and read -- because the seal was broken. Whenever I see the word (SEAL), I imagine a king sealing an important document to be delivered to his ministers in a foreign country.

Seals were required on contracts signed by corporations in the 19th century for similar authenticity reasons.

Currently, North Carolina law does not require contracts to be sealed to be valid.

A contract signed "under seal" (with the word (SEAL) or SEAL after the signature) has a 10-year statute of limitations, rather than the 3 years of a regular contract. That means the parties can sue for breach of contract for up to 10 years. In North Carolina, a contract signed under seal is presumed to have underlying consideration, and the party trying to invalidate the contract has the burden of rebutting that presumption.


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