In the animal kingdom there are 33 species of pinnipeds. These include various members of the seal family ranging from bearded seals to leopard seals. They come in various shapes and sizes with different characteristics. Seals are curious creatures worthy of study. But despite their adorable looks one should keep their distance. Many seals are large and powerful animals who can attack humans when cornered or upset.
The law too has a curious creature know as a seal. One will often see it rear its head in contracts with the image “(SEAL)” appearing next to one’s signature line. Like it’s counterpart in the animal world, it too can be dangerous.
As a caveat, note that this piece deals in general legal principals. One should not rely on its content for legal advice. Situations and facts vary for each situation and there are exceptions to many rules. With this legal disclaimer out of the way, let us turn to how a legal seal can affect one’s rights in the state of Georgia.
In civil matters there are very strict time limits in place with set parameters as to when a lawsuit must be filed. These “limitations of action” differ in time depending on the type of dispute. Generally speaking, in Georgia all actions on simple written contracts must be brought within six years after the same became due and payable. If no lawsuit is filed within six years after an obligation became due and payable then a defense of the running of the limitation of actions can be raised.
Someone reading the above might thus think they are in the clear and have nothing to worry about concerning a past debt that became due 10 years ago. The lawyerly answer to such a musing is “it depends”. Georgia law has a different limitation for actions on instruments signed under seal. It is twenty years rather than six. The law simply requires a contract to recite in its body that the same is signed under seal for this to kick in. The issue with sufficient compliance with what indeed is signed under seal is an issue that has been litigated often. However, suffice to say that if the body of the document states that it is given under the hand and seal of the person signing it and the image “(SEAL)” appears next to their signature it is likely that a twenty -year limit will be applicable. Like its counterpart in the animal world a legal seal too is able to deliver a bite. It is thus wise to have a lawyer review a contract BEFORE you sign it.
On the flip side if someone owes you money flowing from a contract from years ago, it would be wise to take another look at it. This is especially true if the party in breach is in much better economic condition now than they were then. Laches and other defenses may be raised at an attempt to collect upon it. However, if the document was properly executed under seal then it is quite possible that one still would have the right to collect upon it if twenty years have not elapsed from the date the obligation came due. In such a scenario obtaining a legal opinion on the matter could be extremely helpful.
What are your limitations for your contracts? Are they under signature, or under a seal? Call the one you can trust. Contact Chris today … click here.