Friday, June 14, 2013

PROPER ACKNOWLEDGMENTS BY NOTARY PUBLICS IN PRE-NUP AGREEMENTS

Real Property Law § 309-a codified model language to be used in a certificate of acknowledgment involving a signer who was not acting on behalf of a corporation and indicated that an acknowledgment should read as follows (or "conform substantially" with the following): "On the [insert date] before me, the undersigned, personally appeared [insert name of signer], personally known to me or proved to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence to be the individual(s) whose name(s) is (are) subscribed to the within instrument and acknowledged to me that he/she/they executed the same in his/her/their capacity(ies), and that by his/her/their signature(s) on the instrument, the individual(s), or the person upon behalf of which the individual(s) acted, executed the instrument"

The danger of not following this language in prenupital agreements (which require proper certificate pf acknowledgments) is revealed in the May 30, 2013 decision in GALETTA v. GALETTA, 2013 NY Slip Op 3871 - NY: Court of Appeals 2013

In that case, there was a prenupital agreement and in the certificate of acknowledgment relating to the husband's signature, the "to me known and known to me" phrase was inexplicably omitted, leaving only the following statement: "On the 8 [sic] day of July, 1997, before me came Gary Galetta described in and who executed the foregoing instrument and duly acknowledged to me that he executed the same."  The court found that the parties' prenuptial agreement was invalid.

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