- July 29, 1997
- All New York State Office Counsel, Managers and Agents
- Adoption of a Uniform Acknowledgment Form in New York
Chapter 179 of the Laws of 1997, signed into law on July 8, 1997, adds a new Section 309-a to the New York Real Property Law and establishes a uniform acknowledgment from (as well as a uniform acknowledgment form for a subscribing witness) for conveyances and other instruments, within New York State, relating to real property. Prior to the enactment of this new statue, real estate practitioners were required to use different forms of acknowledgment (i.e., individual, corporate, attorney-in-fact, partnership, etc.) depending upon the identity and capacity of the party that executed a conveyance or other instrument affecting real property in New York. The new statute creates one form of acknowledgment that can be utilized either by a person or entity, acting in his/her/its own or in a representative capacity. The term "person" is broadly defined under the statute to include a natural person, corporation, foreign or limited partnership, foreign or domestic limited liability company, real estate investment, business or other trust, custodian, nominee or attorney-in-fact. This also applies to the new acknowledgment form for subscribing witness.
Compliance with the new acknowledgment form will be phased in over a period of two years. Accordingly, both presently existing acknowledgment forms as well as the new uniform acknowledgment may be utilized until September 1, 1999. This will allow practitioners to use up existing legal forms containing the existing acknowledgment while at the same time become familiar with the new form. However, on and after September 1, 1999, the new form of acknowledgment (or one which substantially conforms with it) must be utilized in New York State on conveyances and other instruments.
The new statute only addresses acknowledgments taken within New York State. Accordingly, acknowledgments taken in another state or country which conform either to our law or the law of the state in which they are taken, will continue to be acceptable in New York. Please note however, that the adoption of the uniform acknowledgment in New York does not alter the requirement that instruments executed in a foreign country either contain an acknowledgment accompanied by an Apostille (where that country is a signatory of the Hague Convention which authorized the use of the Apostille) or be acknowledged before a Consular Officer of the United States. Documents executed in foreign countries must still meet this requirement.
Chapter 179 also made a technical change to the existing acknowledgment form contained in Section 309, by adding the words "she" and "they" in each part of the acknowledgment form where the word "he" appears. For example, the first line of the existing acknowledgment form now reads:
On the day of in the year , before me personally came
to me known, who by me being duly sworn, did depose and say that he/SHE/THEY RESIDE(s) at . . . . .".
This change has also been incorporated into the new acknowledgment form.
A copy of the new statute containing the uniform acknowledgment (and the form for subscribing witness) is available through the New York City office.
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.