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What are Contracts Under Seal?

A contract under seal is considered a more formal contract. Generally, valuable consideration is necessary to make an enforceable contract but for a contract under seal, no consideration is necessary. Traditionally, such a contract carries with it an *irrebuttable presumption of consideration. (The phrase, “irrebuttable presumption of consideration” means that the person who owns the contract can expect to receive the stated value of the contract and that the contractor (whomever signed the contract) will deliver the stated value according to the contract without argument. The Law long ago decided that a seal, real or imitation, attached to a promise, amounted to good consideration for that promise, despite the fact that the man who makes the promise puts the seal there. In reality, whether a contract has a seal or not does not make any difference in its legal effect. Today, a seal is generally an impression stamped or embossed on paper to authenticate a document or attest to a signature, such as a corporate or notary seal. Some jurisdictions, especially states on the eastern seaboard, require certain documents such as deeds and leases to be under seal.

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