Monday, July 28, 2014

Why you should hire a lawyer to create a deed

Almost every day a customer comes to the registry of deeds and announces "I want to add a name to my deed."  When we reply "you should hire a lawyer to do it." At that, many become indignant.  We explain that there are no blank forms of deeds available and that there are many variables and details that go into creating a new deed so while anyone could conceivably do it, we strongly recommend against it.

Today I came across an example of why it's inadvisable to start one's legal draftsmanship career with a deed.  The particular deed I saw conveyed the property to "John Smith and Mary Smith as husband and wife."  That was it.  There was no "tenants by the entirety."  Fortunately, the couple had conveyed away the property while both were still alive because that deed would have created a tenancy in common.  (Simply identifying the parties as "husband and wife" means nothing without the "tenants by the entirety" language).  Had one of the spouses passed away while still owning the property under that deed, the decedent's half of the property would have passed through his or her estate and not to the surviving co-owner.

1 comment:

Jeff Welch said...

A man who acts as his own attorney has a fool for a client.