The Statewide Title Newsletter and Legal Memorandum

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Issue  39  Article  90
Published:  10/1/1998

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The Ten Commandments of Signatures
David Benbow, Attorney At Law

Commandment I Statute N.C.G.S. 22-2

  1. All contracts to sell or convey any lands and
  2. All mineral leases and
  3. All leasing of lands exceeding 3 years shall be VOID unless:
  1. in writing
  2. signed by the party to be charged or by some other person by him lawfully authorized.


Commandment II Spouse

Always have both spouses to sign for sellers unless titled in one name alone and power to convey alone is contained in some legal document.



Commandment III "X." Signing with a mark.

Be sure that the person is competent. Have "Mark" witnessed by two disinterested witnesses.



____________________________________________ (SEAL)


John A. Jones*

*Always type out or write out person’s name under this line.










Commandment IV Power of Attorney

Have attorney check it. Have person having power to sign for another sign other’s name, put his or her name and put "Attorney in Fact."


_____________________________________________ (SEAL)

Krista S. Benbow


_____________________________________________ (SEAL)

  1. David Benbow

Her Attorney-In-Fact




Commandment V Estates (BE CAREFUL)


Rule 1.

If estate has not been closed – always get Executor, Executrix, Administrator or Administratix to sign contract.


Rule 2.

If real estate is titled in husband and wife’s name and one dies and the other is selling, have surviving spouse sign – whether there is a will or not. Automatically goes to surviving spouse under Right of Survivorship.


Rule 3.

If Estate is still open and spouse is Administrator or Executor, the spouse signs twice – once as Administrator / Executor and once as heir.


Rule 4.

If there is a will and the Executor has power to convey under the will, only the Executor needs to sign – although you will run into some attorneys who will insist that all heirs and their spouses sign too, because title to property passes immediately at the death of the owner.


Rule 5.

If the Estate is already closed, all heirs and their spouses must sign. The usual time to close an estate is one year.



Commandment VI Minor

Person under the age of 18. Must petition the court for guardian. Guardian can sign after court approval.



Commandment VII Incompetent Person

Test: Incompetent person cannot conduct everyday business affairs due to diminished mental capacity. Court must be petitioned for guardian. Guardian can sign after court approval.



Commandment VIII Amendment to Contract

Paragraph 21 on back of standard purchase form calls for signatures on all amendments.



Commandment IX Forgeries

Accept no forgeries. MAKE NO EXCEPTIONS!



Commandment X Attorney

Call an attorney when in doubt!



Editor’s Note: This excellent list has been graciously provided by David Benbow and is designed as an informational tool to assist your clients in executing documents. It is not an exhaustive list nor are the forms of execution necessarily exclusive. However, it should provide a reliable guide for your clients.

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