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A sealed contract or deed is a written document that, when „sealed”, is distinguished from a contract. An act is a formal document that gives a clear indication that a person or organization is making its most sincere promise that it will fulfill its contractual obligations. An act has the legal effect of one or the other: at common law, documents signed under seal were considered more reliable and therefore received more compliance and protection of the law in the form of a longer limitation period – much longer. In some states, the limitation period for sealed contracts is 20 years. Some States that have not adopted the concept of the seal nevertheless recognize the solemnity of treaties signed under seal in other jurisdictions. What does all this mean? Now that it relates to the terms of the written contract, very little. The essential conditions of a contract are in no way modified by the inclusion of the word „SEAL” in the signature line. The language of the contract is the language of the contract, and there is not much that these four letters can do to change it. In the past, seals were affixed to written contracts to demonstrate the intention of the parties to be legally bound by the terms and conditions they contain. Originally, the courts required these seals to be made of wax. However, over time, the formality of this requirement diminished and courts began to accept other ways to „seal” a written instrument, including embossing on paper.

Today, jurisdictions that still recognize sealed documents simply require the inclusion of the word „SEAL” in the signature line. Despite their lesser importance, seals are still used on contracts, usually printed on paper. Seals can also be important when it comes to limitation periods. For example, in the District of Columbia, there is a 12-year statute of limitations for prosecutions of a sealed instrument. Ordinary contracts have only a duration of three years. The Uniform Commercial Code expressly rejects the concept of sealing in contracts for the sale of goods, and sealed signature can also be detrimental in other situations. For example, given the speed at which technology is evolving, technology providers would not be served by a 20-year limitation period. Conversely, in a real estate transaction, a buyer would prefer a deed signed under seal. The common law rule, which required that an act done by an individual be sealed in order to be effectively performed, was finally abolished in 1989 by the Property Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1989.

The Act implemented the recommendations of the Law Commission of England and Wales in its 1987 report Deeds and Escrows[8] and replaced Siegel with the requirement that the document explicitly state that it was executed as a document and that it had to be attested. [9] The other states that still have the distinction have largely modified it to such an extent that the seal is of little importance. For these States, the question of whether a treaty is under lock and key may have implications. In law, a seal affixed to a contract or other legal instrument has special legal significance at different times in the jurisdictions that recognize it. In common law courts, a contract that was sealed („made under seal”) was treated differently from other written contracts (which were „made on hand”), although this practice gradually fell out of favor in most of these jurisdictions in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The legal term seal results from the wax seal, which has been used throughout history, among other things, for authentication. In addition to substitution for consideration, other consequences of the seal that have been held at least historically include:[2] Changes to documents introduced in 1989 also apply not only to businesses such as government ministers or Church of England bishops. Thus, if a sole proprietorship is to perform an act, it must continue to do so using an official seal.

[17] So, does placing „(seal)” next to the signature blocks on a contract really make a contract enforceable for a longer period? The answer depends on the state laws that govern the contract. In Maryland and Virginia, the addition of this single word itself does not extend the application period. If „(seal)” appears next to the signatures, the court will consider whether the parties knowingly intended the contract to be subject to the longer limitation period […].

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