Your Cookies are Disabled! NationalNotary.org sets cookies on your computer to help improve performance and provide a more engaging user experience. By using this site, you accept the terms of our cookie policy. Learn more.

Notary Bulletin

North Carolina Bar Reaffirms The Role Of Notary Signing Agents In The State

The North Carolina State Bar has once again gone on the record to allow Notary Signing Agents to operate in the state after reaffirming a nine-year-old opinion that allowed nonattorney Notaries to handle real estate signings, with certain stipulations.

After reviewing the activities of more than 50 nonlawyer service providers, the State Bar reaffirmed its 2003 “Authorized Practice Advisory Opinion” that says laypersons, such as Notary Signing Agents, may perform signing services by themselves provided they do not engage in the unauthorized practice of law.

Prior to the issuance of the 2003 Advisory Opinion, North Carolina was an “attorney-only state,” meaning that only licensed attorneys may perform services in connection with loan closings. After the issuance of the 2003 Advisory Opinion, in 2006 the State Bar unsuccessfully mounted a legislative campaign to lock laypersons out of performing administrative services in connection with residential real estate closings without the presence of an attorney.

While NSAs operate in many states, several others restrict NSAs from performing loan signing services. The states of South Carolina, Vermont, West Virginia, Georgia, and Delaware require an attorney to supervise real estate closings, and Indiana and Maryland require NSAs to hold a title insurance producer license.

9 Comments

Add your comment

abeaconnotary@yahoo.com

15 Jun 2019

I am a member and can't read this.

National Notary Association

18 Jun 2019

Hello. If you are having difficulty reading a Bulletin article, please contact us at services@nationalnotary.org with a description of the issue and the device and browser you are using, and we will try to assist you in resolving the problem.

Devette Hogan

21 Jul 2021

Hello, I am a notary in the state of NC and a NSA as well. Are we allowed to collect closing funds? I know that we are considered an attorney state and I haven't completed my 1st loan closing as of yet. Thank you

National Notary Association

23 Jul 2021

Hello. The North Carolina State Bar has issued a legal opinion on this matter (Authorized Practice Advisory Opinion 2002-1 [revised January 26, 2012] On the Role of Laypersons in the Consummation of Residential Real Estate Transactions), available on its website at www.ncbar.com. The Opinion recognizes the legitimate operation of non-lawyers in the closing of real property transactions. Specifically, laypersons may present and identify the documents necessary to complete a North Carolina residential real estate closing, direct the parties where to sign the documents, and ensure that the parties have properly executed the documents; and (2) receive and disburse the closing funds. Laypersons, however, may not engage in activities in connection with the closing of a real property transaction that constitute the unauthorized practice of law.

National Notary Association

23 Jul 2021

Also, please see the following from the "Notary Public Guidebook for North Carolina": “Signing agents are not recognized in North Carolina notary law, and the Secretary of State does not seek to regulate such practices. Because notaries are hired as signing agents by virtue of the fact that they have a valid notary commission and an important function of a signing agent is to notarize specific documents, the Department emphasizes that all notaries, including any who work as signing agents, must adhere to all statutory guidelines for notaries. The guidelines include the following: Notaries must in no way engage in the unauthorized practice of law when serving in this capacity. Notaries are not authorized to charge (the borrowers/buyers/grantors) a higher fee than the statutory limit of $5.00 per signature when performing these or any other notarizations. Notaries are not authorized to charge travel or mileage expenses to their clients. Notaries must always follow the North Carolina General Statutes and avoid the unauthorized practice of law, codified at G.S. 84-2.1."

Raquel Y Atkins

20 Aug 2021

Referencing the above comments about NC Signing Agents/Notaries. I recently received my Notary/E-Notary certification and I am still unclear about how to navigate the Notary and signing overlap. We are not allowed to charge anything other than the notary fee of $5.00 and do anything other than notarizing papers. So, does the Signing Agent designation fall under the NC Bar's opinion to allow lay persons to operate in that capacity in NC? Therefore, allowing us to charge the Signing Agent fee which is over the $5.00 and handle the receipt, signing, and mailing of documents required in the loan signing process. I'm am trying to figure out whether to become a Signing Agent as well. I don't want to purchase the Loan Signing Courses, if I can't operate as a Loan Signing Agent in NC. Thanks in advance for your reply.

National Notary Association

26 Aug 2021

Hello. The following is from the "Notary Public Guidebook for North Carolina" published by the School of Government at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill: “Signing agents are not recognized in North Carolina notary law, and the Secretary of State does not seek to regulate such practices. Because notaries are hired as signing agents by virtue of the fact that they have a valid notary commission and an important function of a signing agent is to notarize specific documents, the Department emphasizes that all notaries, including any who work as signing agents, must adhere to all statutory guidelines for notaries. The guidelines include the following: Notaries must in no way engage in the unauthorized practice of law when serving in this capacity. Notaries are not authorized to charge (the borrowers/buyers/grantors) a higher fee than the statutory limit of $5.00 per signature when performing these or any other notarizations. Notaries are not authorized to charge travel or mileage expenses to their clients. Notaries must always follow the North Carolina General Statutes and avoid the unauthorized practice of law, codified at G.S. 84-2.1”

Trish A

06 Sep 2021

So basically under no circumstances, signing agents cannot charge over $5 in North Carolina?

National Notary Association

07 Sep 2021

The following is from the "Notary Public Guidebook for North Carolina" published by the School of Government at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill: "Notaries are not authorized to charge (the borrowers/buyers/grantors) a higher fee than the statutory limit of $5.00 per signature when performing these or any other notarizations. Notaries are not authorized to charge travel or mileage expenses to their clients. Notaries must always follow the North Carolina General Statutes and avoid the unauthorized practice of law, codified at G.S. 84-2.1”

Leave a Comment

Required *

All comments are reviewed and if approved, will display.

Close