Chapter 10B.

Notaries.

Article 1.

Notary Public Act.

Part 1. General Provisions.

§ 10B-1.  Short title.

This Article is the "Notary Public Act" and may be cited by that name. (1991, c. 683, s. 2; 2005-391, s. 4.)

 

§ 10B-2.  Purposes.

This Chapter shall be construed and applied to advance its underlying purposes, which are the following:

(1)        To promote, serve, and protect the public interests.

(2)        To simplify, clarify, and modernize the law governing notaries.

(3)        To prevent fraud and forgery.

(4)        To foster ethical conduct among notaries.

(5)        To enhance interstate recognition of notarial acts.

(6)        To integrate procedures for traditional paper and electronic notarial acts. (1991, c. 683, s. 2; 1998-228, s. 1; 2005-391, s. 4.)

 

§ 10B-3.  Definitions.

The following definitions apply in this Chapter:

(1)        Acknowledgment. - A notarial act in which a notary certifies that at a single time and place all of the following occurred:

a.         An individual appeared in person before the notary and presented a record.

b.         The individual was personally known to the notary or identified by the notary through satisfactory evidence.

c.         The individual did either of the following:

i.          Indicated to the notary that the signature on the record was the individual's signature.

ii.         Signed the record while in the physical presence of the notary and while being personally observed signing the record by the notary.

(2)        Affirmation. - A notarial act which is legally equivalent to an oath and in which a notary certifies that at a single time and place all of the following occurred:

a.         An individual appeared in person before the notary.

b.         The individual was personally known to the notary or identified by the notary through satisfactory evidence.

c.         The individual made a vow of truthfulness on penalty of perjury, based on personal honor and without invoking a deity or using any form of the word "swear".

(3)        Attest or attestation. - The completion of a certificate by a notary who has performed a notarial act.

(4)        Commission. - The empowerment to perform notarial acts and the written evidence of authority to perform those acts.

(5)        Credible witness. - An individual who is personally known to the notary and to whom all of the following also apply:

a.         The notary believes the individual to be honest and reliable for the purpose of confirming to the notary the identity of another individual.

b.         The notary believes the individual is not a party to or beneficiary of the transaction.

(6)        Department. - The North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State.

(7)        Director. - The Division Director for the North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State Notary Public Section.

(8)        Jurat. - A notary's certificate evidencing the administration of an oath or affirmation.

(9)        Moral turpitude. - Conduct contrary to expected standards of honesty, morality, or integrity.

(10)      Nickname. - A descriptive, familiar, or shortened form of a proper name.

(11)      Notarial act, notary act, and notarization. - The act of taking an acknowledgment, taking a verification or proof or administering an oath or affirmation that a notary is empowered to perform under G.S. 10B-20(a).

(12)      Notarial certificate and certificate. - The portion of a notarized record that is completed by the notary, bears the notary's signature and seal, and states the facts attested by the notary in a particular notarization.

(13)      Notary public and notary. - A person commissioned to perform notarial acts under this Chapter. A notary is a public officer of the State of North Carolina and shall act in full and strict compliance with this act.

(14)      Oath. - A notarial act which is legally equivalent to an affirmation and in which a notary certifies that at a single time and place all of the following occurred:

a.         An individual appeared in person before the notary.

b.         The individual was personally known to the notary or identified by the notary through satisfactory evidence.

c.         The individual made a vow of truthfulness on penalty of perjury while invoking a deity or using any form of the word "swear".

(15)      Official misconduct. - Either of the following:

a.         A notary's performance of a prohibited act or failure to perform a mandated act set forth in this Chapter or any other law in connection with notarization.

b.         A notary's performance of a notarial act in a manner found by the Secretary to be negligent or against the public interest.

(16)      Personal appearance and appear in person before a notary. - An individual and a notary are in close physical proximity to one another so that they may freely see and communicate with one another and exchange records back and forth during the notarization process.

(17)      Personal knowledge or personally know. - Familiarity with an individual resulting from interactions with that individual over a period of time sufficient to eliminate every reasonable doubt that the individual has the identity claimed.

(18)      Principal. - One of the following:

a.         In the case of an acknowledgment, the individual whose identity and due execution of a record is being certified by the notary.

b.         In the case of a verification or proof, the individual other than a subscribing witness, whose:

i.          Identity and due execution of the record is being proven; or

ii.         Signature is being identified as genuine.

c.         In the case of an oath or affirmation, the individual who makes a vow of truthfulness on penalty of perjury.

(19)      Record. - Information that is inscribed on a tangible medium and called a traditional or paper record.

(20)      Regular place of work or business. - A location, office or other workspace, where an individual regularly spends all or part of the individual's work time.

(21)      Revocation. - The cancellation of the notary's commission stated in the order of revocation.

(22)      Satisfactory evidence. - Identification of an individual based on either of the following:

a.         At least one current document issued by a federal, state, or federal or state-recognized tribal government agency bearing the photographic image of the individual's face and either the signature or a physical description of the individual.

b.         The oath or affirmation of one credible witness who personally knows the individual seeking to be identified.

(23)      Seal or stamp. - A device for affixing on a paper record an image containing a notary's name, the words "notary public," and other information as required in G.S. 10B-37.

(24)      Secretary. - The North Carolina Secretary of State or the Secretary's designee.

(25)      Repealed by Session Laws 2006-59, s. 1, effective October 1, 2006, except as otherwise set forth in the act, and applicable to notarial acts performed on or after October 1, 2006.

(26)      Subscribing witness. - A person who signs a record for the purpose of being a witness to the principal's execution of the record or to the principal's acknowledgment of his or her execution of the record. A subscribing witness may give proof of the execution of the record as provided in subdivision (28) of this section.

(27)      Suspension and restriction. - The termination of a notary's commission for a period of time stated in an order of restriction or suspension. The terms "restriction" or "suspension" or a combination of both terms shall be used synonymously.

(28)      Verification or proof. - A notarial act in which a notary certifies that all of the following occurred:

a.         An individual appeared in person before the notary.

b.         The individual was personally known to the notary or identified by the notary through satisfactory evidence.

c.         The individual was not a party to or beneficiary of the transaction.

d.         The individual took an oath or gave an affirmation and testified to one of the following:

i.          The individual is a subscribing witness and the principal who signed the record did so while being personally observed by the subscribing witness.

ii.         The individual is a subscribing witness and the principal who signed the record acknowledged his or her signature to the subscribing witness.

iii.        The individual recognized either the signature on the record of the principal or the signature on the record of the subscribing witness and the signature was genuine. (1991, c. 683, s. 2; 1998-228, s. 2; 2005-391, s. 4; 2006-59, s. 1.)

 

§ 10B-4: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

Part 2. Commissioning.

§ 10B-5.  Qualifications.

(a)        Except as provided in subsection (d) of this section, the Secretary shall commission as a notary any qualified person who submits an application in accordance with this Chapter.

(b)        A person qualified for a notarial commission shall meet all of the following requirements:

(1)        Be at least 18 years of age or legally emancipated as defined in Article 35 of Chapter 7B of the General Statutes.

(2)        Reside or have a regular place of work or business in this State.

(3)        Reside legally in the United States.

(4)        Speak, read, and write the English language.

(5)        Possess a high school diploma or equivalent.

(6)        Pass the course of instruction described in this Article, unless the person is a licensed member of the North Carolina State Bar.

(7)        Purchase and keep as a reference the most recent manual approved by the Secretary that describes the duties and authority of notaries public.

(8)        Submit an application containing no significant misstatement or omission of fact. The application form shall be provided by the Secretary and be available at the register of deeds office in each county. Every application shall include the signature of the applicant written with pen and ink, and the signature shall be acknowledged by the applicant before a person authorized to administer oaths.

(9)        Repealed by Session Laws 2013-204, s. 1, effective July 1, 2013.

(c)        The notary shall be commissioned in his or her county of residence, unless the notary is not a North Carolina resident, in which case he or she shall be commissioned in the county of his or her employment or business.

(d)       The Secretary may deny an application for commission or recommission if any of the following apply to an applicant:

(1)        Submission of an incomplete application or an application containing material misstatement or omission of fact.

(2)        The applicant's conviction or plea of admission or nolo contendere to a felony or any crime involving dishonesty or moral turpitude. In no case may a commission be issued to an applicant within 10 years after release from prison, probation, or parole, whichever is later.

(3)        A finding or admission of liability against the applicant in a civil lawsuit based on the applicant's deceit.

(4)        The revocation, suspension, restriction, or denial of a notarial commission or professional license by this or any other state or nation. In no case may a commission be issued to an applicant within five years after the completion of all conditions of any disciplinary order.

(5)        A finding that the applicant has engaged in official misconduct, whether or not disciplinary action resulted.

(6)        An applicant knowingly using false or misleading advertising in which the applicant as a notary represents that the applicant has powers, duties, rights, or privileges that the applicant does not possess by law.

(7)        A finding by a state bar or court that the applicant has engaged in the unauthorized practice of law.  (Code, ss. 3304, 3305; Rev., ss. 2347, 2348; C.S., s. 3172; 1927, c. 117; 1959, c. 1161, s. 2; 1969, c. 563, s. 1; c. 912, s. 1; 1973, c. 680, s. 1; 1983, c. 427, ss. 1, 2; c. 713, s. 22; 1991, c. 683, s. 2; 1995, c. 226, s. 1; 1998-228, s. 3; 1999-337, s.3(a); 2001-450, s. 1; 2002-126, s. 29A.21; 2005-75, s. 1. ; 2005-391, s. 4; 2006-59, s. 2; 2009-227, s. 1; 2013-204, s. 1.)

 

§ 10B-6.  Application for commission.

Every application for a notary commission shall be made on paper with original signatures, or in another form determined by the Secretary, and shall include all of the following:

(1)        A statement of the applicant's personal qualifications as required by this Chapter.

(2)        A certificate or signed statement by the instructor evidencing successful completion of the course of instruction as required by this Chapter.

(3)        A notarized declaration of the applicant, as required by this Chapter.

(4)        Any other information that the Secretary deems appropriate.

(5)        The application fee required by this Chapter. (2005-391, s. 4.)

 

§ 10B-7.  Statement of personal qualification.

(a)        The application for a notary commission shall include at least all of the following:

(1)        The applicant's full legal name and the name to be used for commissioning, excluding nicknames.

(2)        The applicant's date of birth.

(3)        The mailing address for the applicant's residence, the street address for the applicant's residence, and the telephone number for the applicant's residence.

(4)        The applicant's county of residence.

(5)        The name of the applicant's employer, the street and mailing address for the applicant's employer, and telephone number for the applicant's employer.

(6)        The applicant's last four digits of the applicant's social security number.

(7)        The applicant's personal and business e-mail addresses.

(8)        A declaration that the applicant is a citizen of the United States or proof of the applicant's legal residency in this country.

(9)        A declaration that the applicant can speak, read, and writes in the English language.

(10)      A complete listing of any issuances, denials, revocations, suspensions, restrictions, and resignations of a notarial commission, professional license, or public office involving the applicant in this or any other state or nation.

(11)      A complete listing of any criminal convictions of the applicant, including any pleas of admission or nolo contendere, in this or any other state or nation.

(12)      A complete listing of any civil findings or admissions of fault or liability regarding the applicant's activities as a notary, in this or any other state or nation.

(b)        The information provided in an application that relates to subdivisions (2), (3), (6), and (7) of subsection (a) of this section shall be considered confidential information and shall not be subject to disclosure under Chapter 132 of the General Statutes. (2005-391, s. 4; 2006-59, s. 3.)

 

§ 10B-8.  Course of study and examination.

(a)        Every applicant for an initial notary commission shall, within the three months preceding application, take a course of classroom instruction of not less than six hours approved by the Secretary and take a written examination approved by the Secretary. An applicant must answer at least eighty percent (80%) of the questions correctly in order to pass the exam. This subsection shall not apply to a licensed member of the North Carolina State Bar.

(b)        Every applicant for recommissioning shall pass a written examination approved by and administered by or under the direction of the Secretary, unless the person is a licensed member of the North Carolina State Bar.

(c)        The content of the course of instruction and the written examinations shall be notarial laws, procedures, and ethics.

(d)       The Secretary may charge such fees as are reasonably necessary to pay the cost associated with developing and administering examinations permitted by this Chapter and for conducting the training of notaries and notary instructors. (2005-391, s. 4.)

 

§ 10B-9.  Length of term and jurisdiction.

A person commissioned under this Chapter may perform notarial acts in any part of this State for a term of five years, unless the commission is earlier revoked or resigned. No commissions shall be effective prior to the administration of the oath of office. Any notarial acts performed before the administration of the oath of office, either the original commissioning or recommissioning, are invalid. (1891, c. 248; Rev., s. 2351; c.s., s. 3176; 1973, c. 680, s. 1; 1991, c. 683, s. 2; 2005-391, s. 4.)

 

§ 10B-10.  Commission; oath of office.

(a)        If the Secretary grants a commission to an applicant, the Secretary shall notify the appointee and shall instruct the appointee regarding the proper procedure for taking the oath at the register of deeds office in the county of the appointee's commissioning.

(b)        The appointee shall appear before the register of deeds no later than 45 days after commissioning and shall be duly qualified by taking the general oath of office prescribed in G.S. 11-11 and the oath prescribed for officers in G.S. 11-7.

(c)        After the appointee qualifies by taking the oath of office required under subsection (b) of this section, the register of deeds shall place the notary record in a book designated for that purpose, or the notary record may be recorded in the Consolidated Document Book and indexed in the Consolidated Real Property Index under the notary's name in the grantor index. The notary record may be kept in electronic format so long as the signature of the notary public may be viewed and printed. The notary record shall contain the name and the signature of the notary as commissioned, the effective date and expiration date of the commission, the date the oath was administered, and the date of any restriction, suspension, revocation, or resignation. The record shall constitute the official record of the qualification of notaries public.

(d)       The register of deeds shall deliver the commission to the notary following completion of the requirements of this section and shall notify the Secretary of the delivery.

(e)        If the appointee does not appear before the register of deeds within 45 days of commissioning, the register of deeds must return the commission to the Secretary, and the appointee must reapply for commissioning. If the appointee reapplies within one year of the granting of the commission, the Secretary may waive the educational requirements of this Chapter. (Code, ss. 3304, 3305; Rev., ss. 2347, 2348; C.S., s. 3173; 1969,c. 912, s. 2; 1973, c. 680, s. 1; 1991, c. 683, s. 2; 2005-391, s. 4; 2006-59, s. 4.)

 

§ 10B-11.  Recommissioning.

(a)        A commissioned notary may apply for recommissioning no earlier than 10 weeks prior to the expiration date of the notary's commission.

(b)        A notary whose commission has not expired must comply with the following requirements to be recommissioned:

(1)        Submit a new application meeting the requirements of G.S. 10B-6, except for G.S. 10B-6(2).

(2)        Meet all the requirements of G.S. 10B-5(b), except for G.S. 10B-5(b)(5), (6), and (9).

(3)        Achieve a passing score on the written examination required under G.S. 10B-8(b). This requirement does not apply if the notary is a licensed member of the North Carolina State Bar, or if the notary has been continuously commissioned in North Carolina since July 10, 1991, and has never been disciplined by the Secretary.

(c)        An individual may apply for recommissioning within one year after the expiration of the individual's commission. The individual must comply with the requirement of subsection (b) of this section. The individual must also fulfill the educational requirement under G.S. 10B-8(a), unless the Secretary waives that requirement. (1991, c. 683, s. 2; 1995, c. 226, s. 2; 2005-391, s. 4; 2006-59, s. 5.)

 

§ 10B-12.  Notarized declaration.

The application for a notary public commission shall contain the following declaration to be executed by each applicant under oath:

Declaration of Applicant

I, ___________________ (name of applicant), solemnly swear or affirm under penalty of perjury that the information in this application is true, complete, and correct; that I understand the official duties and responsibilities of a notary public in this State, as described in the statutes; and that I will perform to the best of my ability all notarial acts in accordance with the law.

                                                                                       ______________________________

                                                                                                    (signature of applicant)

(2005-391, s. 4.)

 

§ 10B-13.  Application fee.

Every applicant for a notary commission shall pay to the Secretary a nonrefundable application fee of fifty dollars ($50.00). (2005-391, s. 4.)

 

§ 10B-14.  Instructor's certification.

(a)        The course of study required by G.S. 10B-5(b) shall be taught by an instructor certified under rules adopted by the Secretary. An instructor must meet the following requirements to be certified to teach a course of study for notaries public:

(1)        Complete and pass an instructor certification course of not less than six hours taught by the Director or other person approved by the Secretary.

(2)        Have at least one year of active experience as a notary public.

(3)        Maintain a current commission as a notary public.

(4)        Possess the current notary public guidebook.

(5)        Pay a nonrefundable fee of fifty dollars ($50.00).

(b)        Certification to teach a course of study for notaries shall be effective for two years. A certification may be renewed by passing a recertification course taught by the Director or other person approved by the Secretary and by paying a nonrefundable fee of fifty dollars ($50.00).

(c)        The following individuals may be certified to teach a course of study for notaries public without paying the fee required by this section, and they may renew their certification without paying the renewal fee, so long as they remain actively employed in the capacities named:

(1)        Registers of deeds.

(2)        Clerks of court.

(3)        The Director and other duly authorized employees of the Secretary.

(d)       Former registers of deeds and clerks of court who have been certified as notary public instructors must apply for commissioning as a notary public but are exempt from the education requirements of G.S. 10B-8 after successful completion of an examination administered by the Secretary.

(e)        Assistant and deputy registers of deeds and assistant and deputy clerks of court must have a regular notary commission prior to receiving a certification or recertification as a notary public instructor.

(f)        The Secretary may suspend or revoke the certification of a notary instructor for violating the provisions of this Chapter or any of the administrative rules implementing it. (1991, c. 683, s. 2; 1998-212, s. 29A.9(a); 1998-228, s. 4; 1999-337, s. 3(b); 2005-391, s. 4.)

 

§ 10B-15: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-16: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-17: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-18: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-19: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

Part 3. Notarial Acts, Powers, and Limitations.

§ 10B-20.  Powers and limitations.

(a)        A notary may perform any of the following notarial acts:

(1)        Acknowledgments.

(2)        Oaths and affirmations.

(3)        Repealed by Session Laws 2006-59, s. 6, effective October 1, 2006, and except as otherwise set forth in the act, applicable to notarial acts performed on or after October 1, 2006.

(4)        Verifications or proofs.

(b)        A notarial act shall be attested by all of the following:

(1)        The signature of the notary, exactly as shown on the notary's commission.

(2)        The legible appearance of the notary's name exactly as shown on the notary's commission. The legible appearance of the name may be ascertained from the notary's typed or printed name near the notary's signature or from elsewhere in the notarial certificate or from the notary's seal if the name is legible.

(3)        The clear and legible appearance of the notary's stamp or seal.

(4)        A statement of the date the notary's commission expires. The statement of the date that the notary's commission expires may appear in the notary's stamp or seal or elsewhere in the notarial certificate.

(c)        A notary shall not perform a notarial act if any of the following apply:

(1)        The principal or subscribing witness is not in the notary's presence at the time the notarial act is performed. However, nothing in this Chapter shall require a notary to complete the notarial certificate attesting to the notarial act in the presence of the principal or subscribing witness.

(2)        The principal or subscribing witness is not personally known to the notary or identified by the notary through satisfactory evidence.

(2a)      The credible witness is not personally known to the notary.

(3),       (4) Repealed by Session Laws 2006-59, s. 8, effective October 1, 2006, and except as otherwise set forth in the act, applicable to notarial acts performed on or after October 1, 2006.

(5)        The notary is a signer of, party to, or beneficiary of the record, that is to be notarized. However, a disqualification under this subdivision shall not apply to a notary who is named in a record solely as (i) the trustee in a deed of trust, (ii) the drafter of the record, (iii) the person to whom a registered document should be mailed or sent after recording, or (iv) the attorney for a party to the record, so long as the notary is not also a party to the record individually or in some other representative or fiduciary capacity. A notary who is an employee of a party shall not be disqualified under this subdivision solely because of the notary's employment by a party to the record or solely because the notary owns stock in a party to the record.

(6)        The notary will receive directly from a transaction connected with the notarial act any commission, fee, advantage, right, title, interest, cash, property, or other consideration exceeding in value the fees specified in G.S. 10B-31, other than fees or other consideration paid for services rendered by a licensed attorney, a licensed real estate broker or salesperson, a motor vehicle dealer, or a banker.

(d)       A notary may certify the affixation of a signature by mark on a record presented for notarization if:

(1)        The mark is affixed in the presence of the notary;

(2)        The notary writes below the mark: "Mark affixed by (name of signer by mark) in presence of undersigned notary"; and

(3)        The notary notarizes the signature by performing an acknowledgment, oath or affirmation, jurat, or verification or proof.

(e)        If a principal is physically unable to sign or make a mark on a record presented for notarization, that principal may designate another person as his or her designee, who shall be a disinterested party, to sign on the principal's behalf pursuant to the following procedure:

(1)        The principal directs the designee to sign the record in the presence of the notary and two witnesses unaffected by the record;

(2)        The designee signs the principal's name in the presence of the principal, the notary, and the two witnesses;

(3)        Both witnesses sign their own names to the record near the principal's signature;

(4)        The notary writes below the principal's signature: "Signature affixed by designee in the presence of (names and addresses of principal and witnesses)"; and

(5)        The notary notarizes the signature through an acknowledgment, oath or affirmation, jurat, or verification or proof.

(f)        A notarial act performed in another jurisdiction in compliance with the laws of that jurisdiction is valid to the same extent as if it had been performed by a notary commissioned under this Chapter if the notarial act is performed by a notary public of that jurisdiction or by any person authorized to perform notarial acts in that jurisdiction under the laws of that jurisdiction, the laws of this State, or federal law.

(g)        Persons authorized by federal law or regulation to perform notarial acts may perform the acts for persons serving in or with the Armed Forces of the United States, their spouses, and their dependents.

(h)        The Secretary and register of deeds in the county in which a notary qualified may certify to the commission of the notary.

(i)         A notary public who is not an attorney licensed to practice law in this State who advertises the person's services as a notary public in a language other than English, by radio, television, signs, pamphlets, newspapers, other written communication, or in any other manner, shall post or otherwise include with the advertisement the notice set forth in this subsection in English and in the language used for the advertisement. The notice shall be of conspicuous size, if in writing, and shall state: "I AM NOT AN ATTORNEY LICENSED TO PRACTICE LAW IN THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, AND I MAY NOT GIVE LEGAL ADVICE OR ACCEPT FEES FOR LEGAL ADVICE." If the advertisement is by radio or television, the statement may be modified but must include substantially the same message.

(j)         A notary public who is not an attorney licensed to practice law in this State is prohibited from representing or advertising that the notary public is an "immigration consultant" or expert on immigration matters unless the notary public is an accredited representative of an organization recognized by the Board of Immigration Appeals pursuant to Title 8, Part 292, section 2(a-e) of the Code of Federal Regulations (8 C.F.R. § 292.2(a-e)).

(k)        A notary public who is not an attorney licensed to practice law in this State is prohibited from rendering any service that constitutes the unauthorized practice of law. A nonattorney notary shall not assist another person in drafting, completing, selecting, or understanding a record or transaction requiring a notarial act.

(l)         A notary public required to comply with the provisions of subsection (i) of this section shall prominently post at the notary public's place of business a schedule of fees established by law, which a notary public may charge. The fee schedule shall be written in English and in the non-English language in which the notary services were solicited and shall contain the notice required in subsection (i) of this section, unless the notice is otherwise prominently posted at the notary public's place of business.

(m)       If notarial certificate wording is not provided or indicated for a record, a notary who is not also a licensed attorney shall not determine the type of notarial act or certificate to be used. This does not prohibit a notary from offering the selection of certificate forms recognized in this Chapter or as otherwise authorized by law.

(n)        A notary shall not claim to have powers, qualifications, rights, or privileges that the office of notary does not provide, including the power to counsel on immigration matters.

(o)        Before signing a notarial certificate and except as provided in this subsection, a notary shall cross out or mark through all blank lines or spaces in the certificate. However:

(1)        Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, a notary shall not be required to complete, cross out, or mark through blank lines or spaces in the notary certificate form provided for in G.S. 47-43 indicating when and where a power of attorney is recorded if that recording information is not known to the notary at the time the notary completes and signs the certificate;

(2)        A notary's failure to cross out or mark through blank lines or spaces in a notarial certificate shall not affect the sufficiency, validity, or enforceability of the certificate or the related record; and

(3)        A notary's failure to cross out or mark through blank lines or spaces in a notarial certificate shall not be grounds for a register of deeds to refuse to accept a record for registration.  (1866, c. 30; 1879, c. 128; Code, s. 3307; Rev., ss. 2350, 2351a, 2352; C.S., ss. 3175, 3177, 3179; 1951, c. 1006, s. 1; 1953, c. 836; 1961, c. 733; 1967, c. 24, s. 22; c. 984; 1973, c. 680, s. 1; 1977, c. 375, s. 5; 1991, c. 683, s. 2; 1998-228, s. 5; 2001-450, s. 2; 2001-487, s. 121; 2005-391, s. 4; 2006-59, ss. 6-12; 2006-199, s. 1; 2011-183, s. 7; 2013-204, s. 1.1.)

 

§ 10B-21.  Notaries ex officio.

(a)        The clerks of the superior court may act as notaries public in their several counties by virtue of their offices as clerks and may certify their notarial acts only under the seals of their respective courts. Assistant and deputy clerks of superior court, by virtue of their offices, may perform the following notarial acts and may certify these notarial acts only under the seals of their respective courts:

(1)        Oaths and affirmations.

(2)        Verifications or proofs.

Upon completion of the course of study provided for in G.S. 10B-5(b), assistant and deputy clerks of superior court may, by virtue of their offices, perform all other notarial acts and may certify these notarial acts only under the seals of their respective courts. A course of study attended only by assistant and deputy clerks of superior court may be taught at any mutually convenient location agreed to by the Secretary and the Administrative Office of the Courts.

(b)        Registers of deeds may act as notaries public in their several counties by virtue of their offices as registers of deeds and may certify their notarial acts only under the seals of their respective offices. Assistant and deputy registers of deeds, by virtue of their offices, may perform the following notarial acts and may certify these notarial acts only under the seals of their respective offices:

(1)        Oaths and affirmations.

(2)        Verifications or proofs.

Upon completion of the course of study provided for in G.S. 10B-5(b), assistant and deputy registers of deeds may, by virtue of their offices, perform all other notarial acts and may certify these notarial acts only under the seals of their respective offices. A course of study attended only by assistant and deputy registers of deeds may be taught at any mutually convenient location agreed to by the Secretary and the North Carolina Association of Registers of Deeds.

(c)        The Director may act as a notary public by virtue of the Director's employment in the Department of the Secretary and may certify a notarial act performed in that capacity under the seal of the Secretary.

(d)       Unless otherwise provided by law, a person designated a notary public by this section may charge a fee for a notarial act performed in accordance with G.S. 10B-31. The fee authorized by this section is payable to the governmental unit or agency by whom the person is employed.

(e)        Nothing in this section shall authorize a person to act as a notary public other than in the performance of the official duties of the person's office unless the person complies fully with the requirements of G.S. 10B-5. (1833, c. 7, ss. 1, 2; R.C., c. 75, s. 3; Code, s. 3306; Rev., s. 2349; C.S., s. 3174; 1973, c. 680, s. 1; 1991, c. 683, s. 2; 1998-228, s. 8.; 2005-391, s. 4.)

 

§ 10B-22.  False certificate; foreign language certificates.

(a)        A notary shall not execute a notarial certificate containing information known or believed by the notary to be false.

(b)        A notary shall not execute a certificate that is not written in the English language. A notary may execute a certificate written in the English language that accompanies a record written in another language, which record may include a translation of the notarial certificate into the other language. In those instances, the notary shall execute only the English language certificate. (2005-391, s. 4.)

 

§ 10B-23.  Improper records.

(a)        A notary shall not notarize a signature on a record without a notarial certificate indicating what type of notarial act was performed. However, a notary may administer an oath or affirmation without completing a jurat.

(b)        A notary shall neither certify, notarize, nor authenticate a photograph. A notary may notarize an affidavit regarding and attached to a photograph. (2005-391, s. 4; 2006-59, s. 13.)

 

§ 10B-24.  Testimonials.

A notary shall not use the official notary title or seal in a manner intended to endorse, promote, denounce, or oppose any product, service, contest, candidate, or other offering. This section does not prohibit a notary public from performing a notarial act upon a record executed by another individual. (2005-391, s. 4.)

 

§ 10B-25: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-26: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-27: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-28: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-29: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

Part 4. Fees.

§ 10B-30.  Imposition and waiver of fees.

(a)        For performing a notarial act, a notary may charge up to the maximum fee specified in this Chapter.

(b)        A notary shall not discriminatorily condition the fee for a notarial act on any attribute of the principal that would constitute unlawful discrimination.

(c)        Nothing in this Chapter shall compel a notary to charge a fee.

(d)       A notary may not charge any fee for witnessing and affixing a notarial seal to an absentee ballot application or certificate under G.S. 163-231.  (2005-391, s. 4; 2013-381, s. 4.7.)

 

§ 10B-31.  Fees for notarial acts.

The maximum fees that may be charged by a notary for notarial acts are as follows:

(1)        For acknowledgments, jurats, verifications or proofs, five dollars ($5.00) per principal signature.

(2)        For oaths or affirmations without a signature, five dollars ($5.00) per person, except for an oath or affirmation administered to a credible witness to vouch for the identity of a principal or subscribing witness. (Code, s. 3749; 1889, c. 446; 1895, c. 296; 1903, c. 734; Rev., s. 2800; C.S., s. 3178; 1973, c. 680, s. 1; 1977, c. 429, ss. 1, 2; 1981, c. 872; 1991, c. 683, s. 2; 1998-228, s. 6; 2005-328, s. 1; 2005-391, s. 4; 2006-59, s. 14.)

 

§ 10B-32.  Notice of fees.

Notaries who charge for their notarial services shall conspicuously display in their places of business, or present to each principal outside their places of business, an English-language schedule of fees for notarial acts. No part of any notarial fee schedule shall be printed in smaller than 10-point type. (2005-391, s. 4.)

 

§ 10B-33: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-34: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

Part 5. Signature and Seal.

§ 10B-35.  Official signature.

When notarizing a paper record, a notary shall sign by hand in ink on the notarial certificate. The notary shall comply with the requirements of G.S. 10B-20(b)(1) and (b)(2). The notary shall affix the official signature only after the notarial act is performed. The notary shall not sign a paper record using the facsimile stamp or an electronic or other printing method. (2005-391, s. 4; 2006-59, s. 15.)

 

§ 10B-36.  Official seal.

(a)        A notary shall keep an official seal or stamp that is the exclusive property of the notary. The notary shall keep the seal in a secure location. A notary shall not allow another person to use or possess the seal, and shall not surrender the seal to the notary's employer upon termination of employment.

(b)        The seal shall be affixed only after the notarial act is performed. The notary shall place the image or impression of the seal near the notary's signature on every paper record notarized. The seal and the notary's signature shall appear on the same page of a record as the text of the notarial certificate.

(c)        A notary shall do the following within 10 days of discovering that the notary's seal has been lost or stolen:

(1)        Inform the appropriate law enforcement agency in the case of theft or vandalism.

(2)        Notify the appropriate register of deeds and the Secretary in writing and signed in the official name in which he or she was commissioned.

(d)       As soon as is reasonably practicable after resignation, revocation, or expiration of a notary commission, or death of the notary, the seal shall be delivered to the Secretary for disposal. (1973, c. 680, s. 1; 1991, c. 683, s. 2; 1998-228, s. 7; 2005-391, s. 4; 2006-59, s. 16.)

 

§ 10B-37.  Seal image.

(a)        A notary shall affix the notary's official seal near the notary's official signature on the notarial certificate of a record.

(b)        A notary's official seal shall include all of the following elements:

(1)        The notary's name exactly as commissioned.

(2)        The words "Notary Public".

(3)        The county of commissioning, including the word "County" or the abbreviation "Co.".

(4)        The words "North Carolina" or the abbreviation "N.C." or "NC".

(c)        The notary seal may be either circular or rectangular in shape. Upon receiving a commission or a recommission on or after October 1, 2006, a notary shall not use a circular seal that is less than 1 1/2 inches, nor more than 2 inches in diameter. The rectangular seal shall not be over 1 inch high and 2 1/2 inches long. The perimeter of the seal shall contain a border that is visible when impressed.

(c1)      Alterations to any information contained within the seal as embossed or stamped on the record are prohibited.

(d)       A notarial seal, as it appears on a record, may contain the permanently imprinted, handwritten, or typed date the notary's commission expires.

(e)        Any reference in the General Statutes to the seal of a notary shall include the stamp of a notary, and any reference to the stamp of a notary shall include the seal of the notary.

(f)        The failure of a notarial seal to comply with the requirements of this section shall not affect the sufficiency, validity, or enforceability of the notarial certificate, but shall constitute a violation of the notary's duties.  (2005-391, s. 4; 2006-59, s. 17; 2013-204, s. 1.2.)

 

§ 10B-38: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-39: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

Part 6. Certificate Forms.

§ 10B-40.  Notarial certificates in general.

(a)        A notary shall not make or give a notarial certificate unless the notary has either personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence of the identity of the principal or, if applicable, the subscribing witness.

(a1)      By making or giving a notarial certificate, whether or not stated in the certificate, a notary certifies as follows:

(1)        As to an acknowledgment, all those things described in G.S. 10B-3(1).

(2)        As to an affirmation, all those things described in G.S. 10B-3(2).

(3)        As to an oath, all those things described in G.S. 10B-3(14).

(4)        As to a verification or proof, all those things described in G.S. 10B-3(28).

(a2)      In addition to the certifications under subsection (a1) of this section, by making or giving a notarial certificate, whether or not stated in the certificate, a notary certifies to all of the following:

(1)        At the time the notarial act was performed and the notarial certificate was signed by the notary, the notary was lawfully commissioned, the notary's commission had neither expired nor been suspended, the notarial act was performed within the geographic limits of the notary's commission, and the notarial act was performed in accordance with the provision of this Chapter.

(2)        If the notarial certificate is for an acknowledgment or the administration of an oath or affirmation, the person whose signature was notarized did not appear in the judgment of the notary to be incompetent, lacking in understanding of the nature and consequences of the transaction requiring the notarial act, or acting involuntarily, under duress, or undue influence.

(3)        The notary was not prohibited from acting under G.S. 10-20(c).

(a3)      The inclusion of additional information in a notarial certificate, including the representative or fiduciary capacity in which a person signed or the means a notary used to identify a principal, shall not invalidate an otherwise sufficient notarial certificate.

(b)        A notarial certificate for the acknowledgment taken by a notary of a principal who is an individual acting in his or her own right or who is an individual acting in a representative or fiduciary capacity is sufficient and shall be accepted in this State if it is substantially in the form set forth in G.S. 10B-41, if it is substantially in a form otherwise prescribed by the laws of this State, or if it includes all of the following:

(1)        Identifies the state and county in which the acknowledgment occurred.

(2)        Names the principal who appeared in person before the notary.

(3)        Repealed by Session Laws 2006-59, s. 18, effective October 1, 2006, and except as otherwise set forth in the act, applicable to notarial acts performed on or after October 1, 2006.

(4)        Indicates that the principal appeared in person before the notary and the principal acknowledged that he or she signed the record.

(5)        States the date of the acknowledgment.

(6)        Contains the signature and seal or stamp of the notary who took the acknowledgment.

(7)        States the notary's commission expiration date.

(c)        A notarial certificate for the verification or proof of the signature of a principal by a subscribing witness taken by a notary is sufficient and shall be accepted in this State if it is substantially in the form set forth in G.S. 10B-42, if it is substantially in a form otherwise prescribed by the laws of this State, or if it includes all of the following:

(1)        Identifies the state and county in which the verification or proof occurred.

(2)        Names the subscribing witness who appeared in person before the notary.

(3)        Repealed by Session Laws 2006-59, s. 18, effective October 1, 2006.

(4)        Names the principal whose signature on the record is to be verified or proven.

(5)        Indicates that the subscribing witness certified to the notary under oath or by affirmation that the subscribing witness is not a party to or beneficiary of the transaction, signed the record as a subscribing witness, and either (i) witnessed the principal sign the record, or (ii) witnessed the principal acknowledge the principal's signature on the record.

(6)        States the date of the verification or proof.

(7)        Contains the signature and seal or stamp of the notary who took the verification or proof.

(8)        States the notary's commission expiration date.

(c1)      A notarial certificate for the verification or proof of the signature of a principal or a subscribing witness by a nonsubscribing witness taken by a notary is sufficient and shall be accepted in this State if it is substantially in the form set forth in G.S. 10B-42.1, if it is substantially in a form otherwise prescribed by the laws of this State, or if it includes all of the following:

(1)        Identifies the state and county in which the verification or proof occurred.

(2)        Names the nonsubscribing witness who appeared in person before the notary.

(3)        Names the principal or subscribing witness whose signature on the record is to be verified or proven.

(4)        Indicates that the nonsubscribing witness certified to the notary under oath or by affirmation that the nonsubscribing witness is not a party to or beneficiary of the transaction and that the nonsubscribing witness recognizes the signature of either the principal or the subscribing witness and that the signature is genuine.

(5)        States the date of the verification or proof.

(6)        Contains the signature and seal or stamp of the notary who took the verification or proof.

(7)        States the notary's commission expiration date.

(d)       A notarial certificate for an oath or affirmation taken by a notary is sufficient and shall be accepted in this State if it is substantially in the form set forth in G.S. 10B-43, if it is substantially in a form otherwise prescribed by the laws of this State, or if it includes all of the following:

(1)        Repealed by Session Laws 2006-59, s. 18, effective October 1, 2006.

(2)        Names the principal who appeared in person before the notary unless the name of the principal otherwise is clear from the record itself.

(3)        Repealed by Session Laws 2006-59, s. 18, effective October 1, 2006.

(4)        Indicates that the principal who appeared in person before the notary signed the record in question and certified to the notary under oath or by affirmation as to the truth of the matters stated in the record.

(5)        States the date of the oath or affirmation.

(6)        Contains the signature and seal or stamp of the notary who took the oath or affirmation.

(7)        States the notary's commission expiration date.

(e)        Any notarial certificate made in another jurisdiction shall be sufficient in this State if it is made in accordance with federal law or the laws of the jurisdiction where the notarial certificate is made.

(f)        On records to be filed, registered, recorded, or delivered in another state or jurisdiction of the United States, a North Carolina notary may complete any notarial certificate that may be required in that other state or jurisdiction.

(g)        Nothing in this Chapter shall be deemed to authorize the use of a notarial certificate authorized by this Part in place of or as an alternative to a notarial certificate required by any other provision of the General Statutes outside of Chapter 47 of the General Statutes that prescribes the specific form or content for a notarial certificate including G.S. 31-11.6, Chapter 32A of the General Statutes, and G.S. 90-321. However, any statute that permits or requires the use of a notarial certificate contained within Chapter 47 of the General Statutes may also be satisfied by the use of a notarial certificate permitted by this Part. Any form of acknowledgment or probate authorized under Chapter 47 of the General Statutes shall be conclusively deemed in compliance with the requirements of this section.

(h)        If an individual signs a record and purports to be acting in a representative or fiduciary capacity, that individual is also deemed to represent to the notary that he or she is signing the record with proper authority to do so and also is signing the record on behalf of the person or entity represented and identified therein or in the fiduciary capacity indicated therein. In performing a notarial act in relation to an individual described under this subsection, a notary is under no duty to verify whether the individual acted in a representative or fiduciary capacity or, if so, whether the individual was duly authorized so to do. A notarial certificate may include any of the following:

(1)        A statement that an individual signed a record in a particular representative or fiduciary capacity.

(2)        A statement that the individual who signed the record in a representative or fiduciary capacity had due authority so to do.

(3)        A statement identifying the represented person or entity or the fiduciary capacity. (2005-391, s. 4; 2006-59, s. 18.)

 

§ 10B-41.  Notarial certificate for an acknowledgment.

(a)        When properly completed by a notary, a notarial certificate that substantially complies with the following form may be used and shall be sufficient under the law of this State to satisfy the requirements for a notarial certificate for the acknowledgment of a principal who is an individual acting in his or her own right or who is an individual acting in a representative or fiduciary capacity. The authorization of the form in this section does not preclude the use of other forms.

______________ County, North Carolina 

I certify that the following person(s) personally appeared before me this day, each acknowledging to me that he or she signed the foregoing document: name(s) of principal(s).

Date: ____________________                              Official Signature of Notary

                                                                        Notary's printed or typed name, Notary Public

               (Official Seal)                             My commission expires: _____________

(b)        Repealed by Session Laws 2006-59, s. 19, effective October 1, 2006, and except as otherwise set forth in the act, applicable to notarial acts performed on or after October 1, 2006.

(c)        The notary's printed or typed name as shown in the form provided in subsection (a) of this section is not required if the legible appearance of the notary's name may be ascertained from the notary's typed or printed name near the notary's signature or from elsewhere in the notarial certificate or from the notary's seal if the name is legible. (2005-391, s. 4; 2006-59, s. 19.)

 

§ 10B-42.  Notarial certificate for a verification or of subscribing witness.

(a)        When properly completed by a notary, a notarial certificate in substantially the following form may be used and shall be sufficient under the law of this State to satisfy the requirements for a notarial certificate for the verification or proof of the signature of a principal by a subscribing witness. The authorization of the form in this section does not preclude the use of other forms.

__________________ County, North Carolina

I certify that (name of subscribing witness) personally appeared before me this day and certified to me under oath or by affirmation that he or she is not a grantee or beneficiary of the transaction, signed the foregoing document as a subscribing witness, and either (i) witnessed (name of principal) sign the foregoing document or (ii) witnessed (name of principal) acknowledge his or her signature on the already-signed document.

Date: ____________________                              Official Signature of Notary

                                                                        Notary's printed or typed name, Notary Public

               (Official Seal)                             My commission expires: ________

(b)        Repealed by Session Laws 2006-59, s. 20, effective October 1, 2006, except as otherwise set forth in the act, and applicable to notarial acts performed on or after October 1, 2006.

(c)        The notary's printed or typed name as shown in the form provided in subsection (a) of this section is not required if the legible appearance of the notary's name may be ascertained from the notary's typed or printed name near the notary's signature or from elsewhere in the notarial certificate or from the notary's seal if the name is legible. (2005-391, s. 4; 2006-59, s. 20.)

 

§ 10B-42.1.  Notarial certificate for a verification of nonsubscribing witness.

(a)        When properly completed by a notary, a notarial certificate in substantially the following form may be used and shall be sufficient under the law of this State to satisfy the requirements for a notarial certificate for the verification or proof of the signature of a principal or subscribing witness by a nonsubscribing witness. The authorization of the form in this section does not preclude the use of other forms. 

__________________ County, North Carolina

I certify (name of nonsubscribing witness) personally appeared before me this day and certified to me under oath or by affirmation that he or she is not a grantee or beneficiary of the transaction, that (name of nonsubscribing witness) recognizes the signature of (name of the principal or the subscribing witness) and that the signature is genuine.

Date: ________________________                     Official Signature of Notary

                                                                        Notary's printed or typed name, Notary Public

                     (Official Seal)                             My commission expires: _________

(b)        The notary's printed or typed name as shown in the form provided in subsection (a) of this section is not required if the legible appearance of the notary's name may be ascertained from the notary's typed or printed name near the notary's signature or from elsewhere in the notarial certificate or from the notary's seal if the name is legible. (2006-59, s. 21.)

 

§ 10B-43.  Notarial certificate for an oath or affirmation.

(a)        When properly completed by a notary, a notarial certificate that substantially complies with either of the following forms may be used and shall be sufficient under the law of this State to satisfy the requirements for a notarial certificate for an oath or affirmation. The authorization of the forms in this section does not preclude the use of other forms.

__________________ County, North Carolina

Signed and sworn to before me this day by (name of principal).

Date: ________________                                      Official Signature of Notary

                                                                        Notary's printed or typed name, Notary Public

               (Official Seal)                             My commission expires: _____________

-OR-

__________________ County, North Carolina

Sworn to and subscribed before me this day by (name of principal).

Date: ________________                                      Official Signature of Notary

                                                                        Notary's printed or typed name, Notary Public

               (Official Seal)                             My commission expires: _____________

(b)        Repealed by Session Laws 2006-59, s. 22, effective October 1, 2006,  except as otherwise set forth in the act, and applicable to notarial acts performed on or after October 1, 2006.

(c)        The notary's printed or typed name as shown in the form provided in subsection (a) of this section is not required if the legible appearance of the notary's name may be ascertained from the notary's typed or printed name near the notary's signature or from elsewhere in the notarial certificate or from the notary's seal if the name is legible.

(d)       In either of the forms provided under subsection (a) of this section all of the following shall apply:

(1)        The name of the principal may be omitted if the name of the principal is located near the jurat, and the principal who so appeared before the notary is clear from the record itself.

(2)        The words "affirmed" or "sworn to or affirmed" may be substituted for the words "sworn to". (2005-391, s. 4; 2006-59, s. 22.)

 

§ 10B-44: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-45: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-46: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-47: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-48: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-49: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

Part 7. Changes in Status.

§ 10B-50.  Change of address.

Within 45 days after the change of a notary's residence, business, or any mailing address or telephone number, the notary shall send to the Secretary by fax, e-mail, or certified mail, return receipt requested, a signed notice of the change, giving both old and new addresses or telephone numbers. (1991, c. 683, s. 2; 1995, c. 226, s. 3; 2005-391, s. 4.)

 

§ 10B-51.  Change of name.

(a)        Within 45 days after the legal change of a notary's name, the notary shall send to the Secretary by fax, e-mail, or certified mail, return receipt requested, a signed notice of the change. The notice shall include both the notary's former name and the notary's new name.

(b)        A notary with a new name may continue to use the former name in performing notarial acts until all of the following steps have been completed:

(1)        The notary receives a confirmation of Notary's Name Change from the Secretary.

(2)        The notary obtains a new seal bearing the new name exactly as that name appears in the confirmation from the Secretary.

(3)        The notary appears before the register of deeds to which the commission was delivered within 45 days of the effective date of the change to be duly qualified by taking the general oath of office prescribed in G.S. 11-11 and the oath prescribed for officers in G.S. 11-7 under the new name and to have the notary public record changed to reflect the new commissioned name.

(c)        Upon completion of the requirements in subsection (b) of this section, the notary shall use the new name. (1991, c. 683, s. 2; 1995, c. 226, s. 3; 2005-391, s. 4.)

 

§ 10B-52.  Change of county.

(a)        A notary who has moved to another county in North Carolina remains commissioned until the current commission expires, is not required to obtain a new seal, and may continue to notarize without changing his or her seal.

(b)        When a notary who has moved applies to be recommissioned, if the commission is granted the, Secretary shall issue a notice of recommissioning. The commission applicant shall then do all of the following:

(1)        Obtain a new seal bearing the new county exactly as in the notice of recommissioning.

(2)        Appear before the register of deeds to which the commission was delivered within 45 days of recommissioning, to be duly qualified by taking the general oath of office prescribed in G.S. 11-11 and the oath prescribed for officers in G.S. 11-7 under the new county and to have the notary public record changed to reflect the new county name. (1991, c. 683, s. 2; 1995, c. 226; s. 3; 2005-391, s. 4.)

 

§ 10B-53.  Change of both name and county.

Within 45 days after the legal change of a notary's name, and if the notary has also moved to a different county than as last commissioned, the notary shall submit to the Secretary a recommissioning application and fee pursuant to this Chapter. The notary may continue to perform notarial acts under the notary's previous name and seal until all of the following steps have been completed:

(1)        The notary receives a transmittal receipt of reappointment due to name and county change from the Secretary.

(2)        The notary obtains a new seal bearing the new name and county exactly as those items appear in the transmittal receipt.

(3)        The notary appears before the register of deeds to which the commission was delivered within 45 days of recommissioning to be duly qualified by taking the general oath of office prescribed in G.S. 11-11 and the oath prescribed for officers in G.S. 11-7 under the new name and county and to have the notary public record changed to reflect the new name and county. (1991, c. 683, s. 2; 1995, c. 226, s. 3; 2005-391, s. 4.)

 

§ 10B-54.  Resignation.

(a)        A notary who resigns the notary's commission shall send to the Secretary by fax, e-mail, or certified mail, return receipt requested, a signed notice indicating the effective date of resignation.

(b)        Notaries who cease to reside in or to maintain a regular place of work or business in this State, or who become permanently unable to perform their notarial duties, shall resign their commissions and shall deliver their seals to the Secretary by certified mail, return receipt requested. (2005-391, s. 4.)

 

§ 10B-55.  Disposition of seal; death of notary.

(a)        When a notary commission is resigned or revoked, the notary shall deliver the notary's seal to the Secretary within 45 days of the resignation or revocation. Delivery shall be accomplished by certified mail, return receipt requested. The Secretary shall destroy any seal received under this subsection.

(b)        A notary whose commission has expired and whose previous commission or application was not revoked or denied by this State, is not required to deliver the seal to the Secretary as provided under subsection (a) of this section if the notary intends to apply to be recommissioned and is recommissioned within three months after the notary's commission expires.

(c)        If a notary dies while commissioned or before fulfilling the disposition of seal requirements in this section, the notary's estate shall, as soon as is reasonably practicable and no later than the closing of the estate, notify the Secretary in writing of the notary's death and deliver the notary's seal to the Secretary for destruction. A personal representative who is not a notary does not have to comply with the provisions of this subsection if he or she provides a statement under oath in any enforcement proceeding that he or she was unaware that the decedent was a commissioned notary public at the time of death.  (2005-391, s. 4; 2013-204, s. 1.3.)

 

§ 10B-56: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-57: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-58: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-59: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

Part 8. Enforcement, Sanctions, and Remedies.

§ 10B-60.  Enforcement and penalties.

(a)        The Secretary may issue a warning to a notary or restrict, suspend, or revoke a notarial commission for a violation of this Chapter and on any ground for which an application for a commission may be denied under this Chapter. Any period of restriction, suspension, or revocation shall not extend the expiration date of a commission.

(b)        Except as otherwise permitted by law, a person who commits any of the following acts is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor:

(1)        Holding one's self out to the public as a notary if the person does not have a commission.

(2)        Performing a notarial act if the person's commission has expired or been suspended or restricted.

(3)        Performing a notarial act before the person had taken the oath of office.

(c)        A notary shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor if the notary does any of the following:

(1)        Takes an acknowledgment or administers an oath or affirmation without the principal appearing in person before the notary.

(2)        Takes a verification or proof without the subscribing witness appearing in person before the notary.

(3)        Takes an acknowledgment or administers an oath or affirmation without personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence of the identity of the principal.

(4)        Takes a verification or proof without personal knowledge or satisfactory evidence of the identity of the subscribing witness.

(d)       A notary shall be guilty of a Class I felony if the notary does any of the following:

(1)        Takes an acknowledgment or a verification or a proof, or administers an oath or affirmation if the notary knows it is false or fraudulent.

(2)        Takes an acknowledgment or administers an oath or affirmation without the principal appearing in person before the notary if the notary does so with the intent to commit fraud.

(3)        Takes a verification or proof without the subscribing witness appearing in person before the notary if the notary does so with the intent to commit fraud.

(e)        It is a Class I felony for any person to perform notarial acts in this State with the knowledge that the person is not commissioned under this Chapter.

(f)        Any person who without authority obtains, uses, conceals, defaces, or destroys the seal or notarial records of a notary is guilty of a Class I felony.

(g)        For purposes of enforcing this Chapter and Article 34 of Chapter 66 of the General Statutes, the following provisions are applicable:

(1)        Law enforcement agents of the Department of the Secretary of State have statewide jurisdiction and have all of the powers and authority of law enforcement officers. The agents have the authority to assist local law enforcement agencies in their investigations and to initiate and carry out, on their own or in coordination with local law enforcement agencies, investigations of violations.

(2)        Any party to a transaction requiring a notarial certificate for verification and any attorney licensed in this State who is involved in such a transaction in any capacity, whether or not the attorney is representing one of the parties to the transaction, may execute an affidavit and file it with the Secretary of State, setting forth the actions which the affiant alleges constitute violations. Upon receipt of the affidavit, law enforcement agents of the Department shall initiate and carry out, on their own or in coordination with local law enforcement agencies, investigations of violations.

(h)        Resignation or expiration of a notarial commission does not terminate or preclude an investigation into a notary's conduct by the Secretary, who may pursue the investigation to a conclusion, whereupon it may be a matter of public record whether or not the finding would have been grounds for disciplinary action.

(i)         The Secretary may seek injunctive relief against any person who violates the provisions of this Chapter. Nothing in this Chapter diminishes the authority of the North Carolina State Bar.

(j)         Any person who knowingly solicits, coerces, or in any material way influences a notary to commit official misconduct, is guilty as an aider and abettor and is subject to the same level of punishment as the notary.

(k)        The sanctions and remedies of this Chapter supplement other sanctions and remedies provided by law, including, but not limited to, forgery and aiding and abetting.

(l)         The Secretary shall notify the North Carolina State Bar (State Bar) of any final decision finding a violation of subsection (a) of this section by a notary who is also an attorney-at-law licensed under Chapter 84 of the General Statutes. The Secretary shall endeavor to provide a copy of any court order rendered under subsection (b), (c), (d), (e), (f), or (j) of this section to the State Bar in cases where the notary is an attorney-at-law licensed under Chapter 84 of the General Statutes. Any referral by the Secretary to the State Bar under this subsection shall be considered a showing of professional unfitness under G.S. 84-28(d), and the State Bar shall administer discipline accordingly.  (1991, c. 683, s. 2; 1993, c. 539, ss. 6-8, 1121; 1994 Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 1995, c. 226, s. 4; 2001-450, s. 3; 2005-391, s. 4; 2006-59, s. 23; 2013-204, s. 1.4; 2013-387, s. 5.)

 

§ 10B-61: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-62: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-63: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-64: Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

Part 9. Validation of Notarial Acts.

§ 10B-65.  Acts of notaries public in certain instances validated.

(a)        Any acknowledgment taken and any instrument notarized by a person prior to qualification as a notary public but after commissioning or recommissioning as a notary public, or by a person whose notary commission has expired, is hereby validated. The acknowledgment and instrument shall have the same legal effect as if the person qualified as a notary public at the time the person performed the act.

(b)        All documents bearing a notarial seal and which contain any of the following errors are validated and given the same legal effect as if the errors had not occurred:

(1)        The date of the expiration of the notary's commission is stated, whether correctly or erroneously.

(2)        The notarial seal does not contain a readable impression of the notary's name, contains an incorrect spelling of the notary's name, or does not bear the name of the notary exactly as it appears on the commission, as required under G.S. 10B-37.

(3)        The notary's signature does not comport exactly with the name on the notary commission or on the notary seal, as required by G.S. 10B-20.

(4)        The notarial seal contains typed, printed, drawn, or handwritten material added to the seal, fails to contain the words "North Carolina" or the abbreviation "NC", or contains correct information except that instead of the abbreviation for North Carolina contains the abbreviation for another state.

(5)        The date of the acknowledgement, the verification or proof, or the oath or affirmation states the correct day and month but lacks a year or states an incorrect year.

(c)        All deeds of trust in which the notary was named in the document as a trustee only are validated.

(d)       All notary acknowledgments performed before December 1, 2005, bearing a notarial seal are hereby validated.

(e)        This section applies to notarial acts performed on or before April 1, 2013.  (1945, c. 665; 1947, c. 313; 1949, c. 1; 1953, c. 702; 1961, cc. 483, 734; 1965, c. 37; 1969, c. 83; c. 716, s. 1; 1971, c. 229, s. 1; 1973, c. 680, s. 1; 1977, c. 734, s. 1; 1979, c. 226, s. 2; c. 643, s. 1; 1981, c. 164, ss. 1, 2; 1983, c. 205, s. 1; 1985, c. 71, s. 1; 1987, c. 277, s. 9; 1989, c. 390, s. 9; 1991, c. 683, s. 2; 1997-19, s. 1; 1997-469, s. 2; 1998-228, s. 10; 1999-21, s. 2; 2001-154, s. 1; 2002-159, s. 27; 2003-38, s. 1; 2004-199, s. 6.; 2005-391, s. 4; 2008-194, s. 5; 2013-204, s. 1.5.)

 

§ 10B-66.  Certain notarial acts validated.

(a)        Any acknowledgment taken and any instrument notarized by a person whose notarial commission was revoked on or before January 30, 1997, is hereby validated.

(b)        This section applies to notarial acts performed on or before August 1, 1998. (2005-391, s. 4.)

 

§ 10B-67.  Erroneous commission expiration date cured.

An erroneous statement of the date that the notary's commission expires shall not affect the sufficiency, validity, or enforceability of the notarial certificate or the related record if the notary is, in fact, lawfully commissioned at the time of the notarial act. This section applies to notarial acts whenever performed.  (2006-59, s. 24; 2013-204, s. 1.6.)

 

§ 10B-68.  Technical defects cured.

(a)        Technical defects, errors, or omissions in a notarial certificate shall not affect the sufficiency, validity, or enforceability of the notarial certificate or the related instrument or document.

(b)        Defects in the commissioning or recommissioning of a notary that are approved by the Department are cured. This subsection applies to commissions and recommissions issued on or after December 1, 2005.

(c)        As used in this section, a technical defect includes those cured under G.S. 10B-37(f) and G.S. 10B-67. Other technical defects include, but are not limited to, the absence of the legible appearance of the notary's name exactly as shown on the notary's commission as required in G.S. 10B-20(b), the affixation of the notary's seal near the signature of the principal or subscribing witness rather than near the notary's signature, minor typographical mistakes in the spelling of the principal's name, the failure to acknowledge the principal's name exactly as signed by including or omitting initials, or the failure to specify the principal's title or office, if any.  (2006-59, s. 24; 2006-199, s. 2; 2013-204, s. 1.7.)

 

§ 10B-69.  Official forms cured.

(a)        The notarial certificate contained in a form issued by a State agency prior to April 1, 2013, is deemed to be a valid certificate provided the certificate complied with the law at the time the form was issued.

(b)        The notarization using a certificate under subsection (a) of this section shall be deemed valid if executed in compliance with the law at the time the form was issued.  (2006-59, s. 24; 2013-204, s. 1.8.)

 

§ 10B-70.  Certain notarial acts for local government agencies validated.

(a)        Any acknowledgment taken and any instrument notarized for a local government agency by a person prior to qualification as a notary public but after commissioning or recommissioning as a notary public, by a person whose notary commission has expired, or by a person who failed to qualify within 45 days of commissioning as required by G.S. 10B-10, is hereby validated. The acknowledgment and instrument shall have the same legal effect as if the person qualified as a notary public at the time the person performed the act. This section shall apply to notarial acts performed for a local government agency on or after October 31, 2006, and before June 30, 2007.

(b)        Any electronic document filed in the Mecklenburg County Register of Deeds office that purports to be notarized in the Commonwealth of Virginia and that contains the typed name of a Virginia notary together with the notary's expiration date shall be given the same legal effect as if the person performed a lawful notarization in Virginia.  (2007-484, s. 27; 2008-194, s. 4.)

 

§ 10B-71.  Certain notarial acts validated when recommissioned notary failed to again take oath.

Any acknowledgment taken and any instrument notarized by a person who after recommissioning failed to again take the oath as a notary public is hereby validated. The acknowledgment and instrument shall have the same legal effect as if the person qualified as a notary public at the time the person performed the act. This section shall apply to notarial acts performed on or after May 15, 2004, and before April 1, 2013.  (2009-358, s. 1; 2013-204, s. 1.9.)

 

§ 10B-72.  Certain notarial acts validated when recommissioned notary failed to again take oath.

Any acknowledgment taken and any instrument notarized by a person who after recommissioning failed to again take the oath as a notary public is hereby validated. The acknowledgment and instrument shall have the same legal effect as if the person qualified as a notary public at the time the person performed the act. This section shall apply to notarial acts performed on or after August 28, 2010, and before January 12, 2012.  (2012-194, s. 65.)

 

§ 10B-73.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-74.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-75.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-76.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-77.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-78.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-79.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-80.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-81.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-82.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-83.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-84.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-85.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-86.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-87.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-88.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-89.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-90.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-91.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-92.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-93.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-94.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-95.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-96.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-97.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-98.  Reserved for future codification purposes.

 

§ 10B-99.  Presumption of regularity.

(a)        In the absence of evidence of fraud on the part of the notary, or evidence of a knowing and deliberate violation of this Article by the notary, the courts shall grant a presumption of regularity to notarial acts so that those acts may be upheld, provided there has been substantial compliance with the law. Nothing in this Chapter modifies or repeals the common law doctrine of substantial compliance in effect on November 30, 2005.

(b)        A notarial act shall be deemed valid if it complies with the law as it existed on or before December 1, 2005. This section applies to notarial acts whenever performed.  (2006-59, s. 24; 2006-199, s. 4; 2013-204, s. 1.10.)