Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"The law of defects"

Time to share another email from a registry customer:

Questions 1: What do you consider a "defect" in a deed?

Answer 1: > It's tough to answer that question without you putting it into some context. If the person selling the property fails to sign it, that would be a defect. Same thing if the document was signed but not notarized. There might also be language omitted that could cause a problem but again, that all depends on the context. If you have a specific question, feel free to ask about it.

Question 2: Can a notary sign their own documents? Seems strange when you would want an independent third party (which would be the purpose of a notary). What if the name is different on previous deeds? What if they don't own the property they are selling (or some portion of it)? How is the law of defects applied? I am asking a specific question. What is a defect?

Answer 2: You may be asking a specific question but it's not one I can answer. The law is rarely black and white; usually there's a lot of gray areas so each case is different. That's why I asked you to give me some context for your questions.

As for the follow-ups you do ask, I believe a notary acknowledging his own signature would be a defective acknowledgement for the obvious reason you cite. As for a different name on a previous deed, it depends. Let's say a woman owns a property as Mary Smith but then gets married and takes the name Mary Jones. When she wants to sell the property, Mary Jones may sign the deed. The name is different but it's the same person so there's nothing wrong with that. If Mary Smith and Mary Jones are two different people, then obviously one can't convey the other's property. Finally, there is no "law of defects" that I've ever heard of.

I wish I could have done a better job of responding. Anyone else want to try?

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