- November 16, 2001
- All Issuing Offices in West Virginia
- Notaries Public
Recently, we have had to address claims based upon defects in notarization of deeds of trust recorded in West Virginia. The cases involved Maryland Notaries Public traveling to West Virginia to take acknowledgements in the homes of the borrowers. During subsequent bankruptcy proceedings by those borrowers, the Trustee in Bankruptcy stripped the lien of the deed of trust from the property and seized the property to be sold in order to pay unsecured creditors, including the insured lenders. The Trustee reasoned that the defect in the Notarization was sufficient under West Virginia law to render the defective notarization of the lien of the deed of trust void against the property.
All issuing agents must familiarize themselves with the requirements for West Virginia Notaries Public. Among the requirements are:
1. The Notary must be a person who is authorized to take acknowledgements in the jurisdiction in which the act occurs.
2. The Notary may not be a party to the transaction. A person named as the Trustee in a Deed of Trust must not also notarize the signatures of the grantors of the Deed of Trust.
3. A West Virginia Notary must affix his certificate under or near his signature. The certificate must be a rubber stamp which contains:
a. The words "Official Seal";
b. The name of the Notary exactly as his/her signature;
c. The words "Notary Public", "State of West Virginia" and "My commission expires [date]";
d. The Notary's home or business address in West Virginia; and,
e. A serrated or milled edge border enclosing the information.
Agents must inspect the Notary on any instrument which is to be insured. Do not insure any transaction which fails to comply with the above.
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.