In the world of deeds, there is one idea that consistently rings true: compliant deeds are paramount. Often times it is best to outsource the deed preparation process to a compliant third party when the attorney that prepared a trust for their client is not licensed in the state where the property needs to be conveyed.
Some attorneys may choose to not assist their clients with out of state deed preparation. In these cases, those clients are left to go it alone and resort to calling a title company who usually turns them away or refers them to the Internet to find an attorney or third party preparer to assist them. Whichever method is chosen, here are three, easy-to-implement rules to follow to make sure the deed will not only be compliant, but the process will also be virtually pain-free.
- Identify and verify that the attorney chosen to prepare a deed for the state in question is active and in good standing with their State Bar.
- Attorneys should almost always be utilized when a compliant deed for a trust closing is needed. Make sure if using a licensed attorney that you verify their Bar license is active in the states they are licensed to practice law and look for any complaints filed against them with the Bar. This can be done easily via the State Bar website for each individual state.
- Attorneys can be suspended for many things, ranging from serious infractions to failure to pay dues owed to the Bar. Always do a thorough background check before trusting important documents to an unfamiliar attorney.
- Use a non attorney/scrivener whose workflow process has been verified.
- If using a document preparation company or scrivener service, it is a good practice to make sure their workflow process is verified., If the deed in question has been prepared in a state where Unauthorized Practice of Law (UPL) laws are strict, ask them to provide the information for the attorney who is involved in the preparation or oversight of the process. This will ensure that the deed will comply with the laws and regulations of that particular state.
- Make sure you have all forms that are required with the deed and exact fees to reduce recording rejection.
- Almost every state has a form that is required to be filed with the deed. Counties have separate forms and in states such as Illinois, there are even city forms for cities like Chicago. If a client has a property in Chicago, Illinois, they will need forms for the state, county and city. New York State and New York City have packets that must be completed with each deed. Be sure the deed preparer has the most current forms ready to fill out and submit with the deed. It is also a good practice to ask the deed preparer to provide the table of fees required to record the deed. Failure to submit the exact fee required will lead the county to reject the deed. Counties used to accept overpayments and refund the difference. Now they will not accept overpayment and simply reject a deed but they will inform you of the exact amount. If you underpay, you will get a rejection as well.
By following these three tips, deed filing and transfers will not only be easier, but compliant.
Aaron A. Romano, is the founder and owner of Smartdeeds.com, which since 1997 has focused solely on preparing and recording UPL compliant deeds with their respective required forms in all 3,600 counties across America. Aaron’s background was in the financial services industry which spawned Smartdeeds and affiliate companies to assist his client’s that owned property in states other than where they resided, to be placed securely in a newly created living trust document.
Academy Guest Blogger
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555
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