'Witness-only' Real Estate Closing Suits are Tossed

Challenges to practice of companies hiring attorneys only to sign off on real estate closings will be appealed

, Daily Report

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A federal judge has dismissed two suits targeting so-called "witness-only" real estate closings in Georgia, dealing a blow to real estate attorneys who are fighting companies that research and prepare all the documents for a transaction and then hire an attorney only to present the documents for signature.

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Originally appeared in print as 'Witness-only' real estate closing suits

What's being said

  • Ken Lane

    For several years, I was a courier and notary in Georgia. I covered several closings where I was "supposed to be" there merely to verify the borrower‘s signature and stamp the document. I cannot tell you how many times I sat alongside a lawyer who showed up who was about as knowledgeable on mortgages as a toad. I vividly recall one scene in a borrower‘s dining room where the lawyer could not even provide a simple explanation for a "Quit Claim Deed" which was part of the package.

    It is my strong belief the law requiring lawyers to close mortgages is nothing but a jobs program for otherwise worthless and inexperienced legal "representatives". They were fresh out of school and had no business appearing before a borrower when not only was their interest not there for the borrower, they had no clue of their role on behalf of the lender. I can only wonder how many times poor or incorrect explanations led to a misunderstanding or an outright misrepresentation to the borrower.

    The Georgia Bar screwed the pooch on that push in the statutes. And, they screwed every borrower as a result. It‘s pathetic when a lowly courier and notary could explain documents better than a supposedly schooled legal professional. The best way to serve the borrower is to leave such sessions to a notary who must indicate they are not lawyers, not representatives of neither the lender, borrower nor any other involved party and are present merely to witness signatures. Not even the lawyer present could do that. They had nothing which required their signature!

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