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Signing Agent State Restrictions

Most states allow Notary Signing Agents to perform loan signing services during real estate closings. However, there are 19 states that have additional requirements for or limitations on performing loan signings.

  • States that require attorney involvement or where attorney involvement is customary: Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Vermont and West Virginia.

    In Illinois, North New Jersey, New York, North Carolina and Ohio, attorney involvement in a real estate closing may be customary.
  • States that require a professional license: Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota and Virginia.
  • States that limit Notary fees: Nebraska and Nevada.
  • States with loan limitation requirements: Texas.

Attorney Closing States

The terms "attorney closing state" or " attorney-only state" are commonly used to refer to certain states that require a lawyer to attend or supervise the closing of real estate transactions.

State law or courts in these states have determined that real estate transactions involve legal concepts and rights.

As such, they have concluded a non-attorney — including a Notary Signing Agent — who explains these legal concepts and rights to a seller, buyer or borrower at a closing has engaged in the unauthorized practice of law.

In attorney closing states, lawyers for the buyer and seller ensure the legal requirements of the purchase or refinance loan are met, and that the interests of both are protected.

While an attorney must be present, a Notary Signing Agent may still perform the notarization of loan documents.

In addition, by custom or practice an attorney may be involved in a real estate closing in the following or in parts of the following states:

  • Illinois
  • North New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio

States With Notary Signing Agent Restrictions


Attorney involvement required: Connecticut law prohibits out-of-state attorneys and persons who are not Connecticut attorneys from conducting real estate closings for most mortgage loans.

Home equity lines of credit, loans that don't require the issuance of a title insurance policy, and loans for property located in other states are excluded.


Attorney involvement required: Only a Delaware attorney may conduct the closing of a sale or refinance of Delaware real estate.


Attorney involvement required: The Georgia Supreme Court affirmed a State Bar advisory opinion concluding that a real estate closing is the practice of law and requiring a Georgia attorney to be present or involved in real estate closings.


Attorney may be involved: An attorney may be involved in certain real estate closing transactions by custom or practice.


Professional license required: Bulletin 135 issued by the Indiana Insurance Department states that anyone — including a Notary Signing Agent — who conducts a real estate closing must hold a title insurance producer license.


Professional license required: The Maryland Insurance Administration issued Bulletin 16-34 clarifying that persons conducting a real estate closing must hold a title insurance producer license.

Under the Insurance Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland 10-101(m), a title insurance producer independent contractor who is under the supervision of a licensed and bonded title insurance producer may also perform real estate closings.


Attorney involvement required: Massachusetts G.L. 222(e) prohibits a Notary who is not a Massachusetts attorney from conducting a real estate closing. However, a non-attorney Notary who is employed by a lender may notarize a document in conjunction with the closing of the employer’s real estate loans.


Professional license required: The Minnesota Department of Commerce issued an advisory stating that persons conducting a real estate closing must hold a closing agent license.


Fee limitation: A Nebraska law has been construed to limit Notaries to charging only the maximum fee for a notarial act and the per-mile rate for travel authorized for government employees.


Fee limitation: Nevada statute limits the fees Notaries may charge for notarial acts and travel fees based upon the time of day traveled.

New Jersey

Attorney may be involved: In North Jersey, an attorney may be involved in certain real estate closing transactions by custom or practice.

New York

Attorney involvement required: Certain companies providing assignments to Signing Agents may choose to use only licensed attorneys. In some parts of the state, a New York attorney may be required to conduct a closing for the purchase or sale of real estate.

New York Real Property Law 280-b.7 requires both the lender and mortgagor of a reverse mortgage loan to be represented by an attorney at the time of the closing and one attorney for each party must be present to conduct the closing.

North Carolina

Attorney involvement required: While Notaries who are not North Carolina attorneys may provide loan signing services at a real estate closing, oversight and supervision by an attorney is required.


Attorney may be involved: An attorney may be involved in certain real estate closing transaction by custom or practice.

South Carolina

Attorney involvement required: The South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that a South Carolina attorney must supervise and conduct a real estate closing.


Loan limitation imposed: Article XVI, Section 50(a)(6)(N) of the Texas Constitution protects Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) loans from a forced sale for the payment of all debts provided they are closed in the office of a lender, an attorney or a title company.

The Texas Administrative Code clarifies that the closing must occur at the permanent physical address of a lender, an attorney or a title company. This includes an indoor office or a parking lot.

Effective January 1, 2022, Texas law provides that a lien securing a wrap mortgage loan is void unless the wrap loan and the conveyance of residential real estate securing the loan is closed by an attorney or a title company.


Attorney involvement required: Requires a Vermont attorney to be present or involved in a real estate closing.

Professional license: An advisory ethics opinion permits a paralegal under the supervision of an attorney to conduct a loan closing on behalf of a consenting lender client if the paralegal’s role is ministerial in nature and the attorney is available for questions.


Professional license required: The Virginia Bureau of Insurance has stated that anyone who conducts a real property closing must hold a title insurance license if they but once receive or handle money for closing costs.

West Virginia

Attorney involvement required: An advisory opinion concludes that a West Virginia attorney must conduct real estate closings because these transactions are considered practice of law.

Become a Notary Signing Agent

Note: The information presented here is based upon the best available information at the time of publication (April 30, 2024) and is not intended as legal advice. The conditions described above are subject to change at any time due to legislative, legal case, executive or administrative decisions, or developments. Notary Signing Agents should consider the information presented here and consult with an attorney before offering loan signing services if necessary.

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