A seal is an impression upon wax, wafer, or some other tenacious substance capable of being impressed. Lord Coke defines a seal to be wax, with an impression. " Sigillum," says he, "est cera impressa, quia cera sine impressione non est sigillum." This is the common law definition of a seal.
2. But in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and the southern and western states generally, the impression upon wax has been disused, and a circular, oval, or square mark, opposite the name of the signer, has the same effect as a seal the shape of it however is indifferent; and it is usually written with a pen. 3. A notary must use his official seal, to authenticate his official acts, and a scroll will not answer.
4. Merlin defines a seal to be a plate of metal with a flat surface, on which is engraved the arms of a prince or nation, or private individual or other device, with which an impression may be made on wax or other substance on paper or parchment, in order to authenticate them: the impression thus made is also called a seal.
5. When a seal is affixed to an instrument, it makes it a specialty, and whether the seal be affixed by a corporation or an individual the effect is the same.
6. Where an instrument concludes with the words, "witness our hands and seals," and is signed by two persons, with only one seal, the jury may infer, from the face of the paper, that the person who signed last, adopted the seal of the first.
7. The public seal of a foreign state, proves itself; and public acts, decrees and judgments, exemplified under this seal, are received as true and genuine. But to entitle its seal to such authority, the foreign state must have been acknowledged by the government, within whose jurisdiction the forum is located.
On the death of a person, according to the laws of Louisiana, if the heir wishes to obtain the benefit of inventory, and the delays for deliberating, he is bound as soon as he knows of the death of the deceased to whose succession he is called, and before committing any act of heirship, to cause the seals to be affixed on the effects of the succession, by any judge or justice of the peace.
2. In ten days after this affixing of the seals, the, heir is bound to present a petition to the judge of the place in which the succession, is opened, praying for the removal of the seals, and that a true and faithful inventory of the effects of the succession be made.
In case of vacant estates, and estates of which the heirs are absent and not represented, the seals, after the decease, must be affixed by a judge or justice of the peace within the limits of his jurisdiction, and may be fixed by him, either ex officio, or at the request of the parties. The seals are affixed at the request of the parties, when a widow, a testamentary executor, or any other person who pretends to have an interest in a succession or community of property, requires it. They are affixed ex officio, when the presumptive heirs of the deceased do not all reside in the place where be died, or if any of them happen to be absent.
The object of placing the seals on the effects of a succession, is for the purpose of preserving them, and for the interest of third persons.
The seals must be placed on the bureaus, coffers, armoires, and other things, which contain the effects and papers of the deceased, and on the doors of the apartments which contain these things, so that they cannot be opened without tearing off, breaking, or altering the seals.
The judge or justice of the peace, who affixes the seals, is bound to appoint guardian, at the expense of the succession, to take care of the seals and of the effects, of which an account is taken at the end of the proces-verbal of the affixing of the seals; the guardian must be domiciliated in the plaze where the inventory is taken. And the judge; when he retires, must take with him the keys of all things and apartments upon which the seals have been affixed.
The raising of the seals is done by the judge of the place, or justice of the peace appointed by him to that effect, in the presence of the witnesses of the vicinage, in the same manner as for the affixing of the seals.