These Best Practices for Real Estate Legal Document Preparation, developed by The Doc Prep Company to ensure that every legal instrument we prepare is of the utmost integrity.
Our respect for the American Land Title Association is found in the many similarities between their Best Practices and ours, promoting industry confidence in our documents and thereby providing value to our customers.
We take great pride in our shared responsibility as custodians of the chain of title, and will provide implementation guides, assessment tools, etc. to our peers at no cost. Anyone that wishes to prepare legal documents for the real estate industry or find out more may contact us directly. We feel maintaining this high standard of care is vital… Not only to our customers, but to the public record itself. Join us!
#1 Maintain current certifications as required from the local governing authority to prepare legal documents.
AIM: MAINTAINING MANDATED CERTIFICATION ENSURES THE COMPANY REMAIN IN GOOD LEGAL STANDING WITH GOVERNING AGENCY THROUGH CONTINUING EDUCATION AND ACCOUNTABILITY.
- Obtain Legal Document Preparation Certification for the Company.
- Obtain certification for all Legal Document Preparers on company staff.
- Maintain certifications through continuing education.
AIM: PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY INSURANCE AND ERRORS AND OMISSIONS INSURANCE HELP ENSURE THE FINANCIAL CAPACITY TO STAND BEHIND PROFESSIONAL SERVICES.
- The Company complies with requirements for professional liability insurance, errors and omission insurance, fidelity coverage or surety bonds, as provided by state law and agreements with Title Insurance Companies for providing Notary Services.
- Maintain professional liability insurance and/or errors and omissions insurance in a minimum amount of $1,000,000.00 through a reputable insurance provider.
AIM: IMPLEMENTING APPROPRIATE PROCEDURES HELPS ENSURE THAT THE CUSTOMER’S GOALS AND OBJECTIVES ARE MET AND THAT THE COMPANY MEETS ITS CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATIONS.
- The Company confirms every document preparation order in writing with the Customer. This confirmation includes the type of documents requested, the spelling of all names, addresses, parcel numbers, legal descriptions and other vital information to ensure a clear, mutual understanding of the details of the document preparation request.
- Before any services are performed, a written estimate is provided by the Company to the Customer to delineate all costs involved with the order, and to whom all monies are paid.
- The Company advises the Customer during the initial request an estimated completion date or benchmarks for each point in a transaction and provides timely delivery of documents.
AIM: COMBAT THE POSSIBILITY OF FRAUD BY VERIFYING OUR CUSTOMER CONTACTS ARE THE ACTUAL PARTIES TO DOCUMENTS WE PREPARE.
- Look for indicators of deception when an order is placed, and during all subsequent instructions from customer.
- Use encryption methods whenever possible to verify the source of email communications, electronic signatures, etc.
- Only submit documents to record with authorization from each party named in the document. (Exceptions: Grantee beneficiaries in Beneficiary Deeds, Beneficiaries named in a Trust Disclosure pursuant to Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 33-404.)
- Acquire and retain contact information such as email addresses, phone numbers and mailing addresses for each party to a document.
AIM: IMPLEMENTING PROCEDURES TO CONTROL DOCUMENT INTEGRITY DURING INITIAL PREPARATION, CUSTOMER REVIEW, ANY REVISION(S) REQUESTED AND PRIOR TO SUBMITTING THE INSTRUMENT FOR RECORDING MINIMIZES ERRORS, OMISSIONS AND INACCURACIES IN THE PUBLIC RECORD.
- A “Post-Preparation Checklist” is utilized to verify names, vesting, legal descriptions, parcel numbers and all other vital information prior to document delivery.
- A similar “Pre-Recording Audit” is also performed after document execution, but before submission for recording in the public record to re-verify previously checked elements along with notary acknowledgments, signatures, etc.
AIM: THIS PRACTICE AVOIDS DELAYS IN RECORDING, THE POSSIBILITY OF DOCUMENTS BEING LOST, DEFACED OR STOLEN AND AVOIDS THE RE CORDING OF FRAUDULENT DOCUMENTS.
- Create an account with Governmental agencies as a “trusted source” whenever possible.
- Establish recording partners with web based electronic recording providers to be utilized for those Counties wherein it is not practical or available to create a separate recording account.
#7 Encourage customers to execute documents with notaries public vetted according to industry standards whenever possible. Customers unable to utilize a Company notary shall be directed to other approved notaries in their geographical area.
AIM: THIS PRACTICE ENCOURAGES THE CUSTOMER TO UTI LIZE A NOTARY PUBLIC WITH APPROPRIATE SKILLS, KNOWLEDGE, QUALIFICATIONS AND CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK AS ARE CURRENTLY BEING UTILIZED THROUGHOUT THE INDUSTRY.
- Require all notaries of the Company obtain certification from National Notary Association, and/or
- Conduct back ground checks for all notaries of the Company.
- Establish and maintain a national database for referrals to only those notaries that meet the requirement s of notaries of the Company.
AIM: TO ENSURE CUSTOMERS ARE CHARGED EQUITABLY AND CORRECTLY FOR SERVICES PROVIDED BY THE COMPANY.
- A written fee schedule is maintained and made available upon request.
- Maintain and follow a rate manual for the types of services that are not delineated on a fee schedule.
AIM: A METHOD FOR RESOLVING CUSTOMER CONCERNS WILL UNCOVER ARE AS WHERE IMPROVEMENT PROCESSES MAY BE IMPLEMENTED. IT WILL PROVIDE A PROCESS FOR WHICH ERRORS WILL BE UNCOVERED AND TIMELY CORRECTIONS MAY BE MADE.
- Al l customer feedback to be shared with all team members.
- The Company shall empower all team members to make decisions to respond appropriately to resolve customer complaints and concerns.
#10 Adopt and maintain a written privacy and information security program to protect non-public personal information.
AIM: IN THE NORMAL COURSE OF BUSINESS THE COMPANY MAY BECOME PRIVY TO CERTAIN CONFIDENTI AL IN FORMATION OR ACCOUNT NUMBERS FROM THE CUSTOMER. ANY SENSITIVE IN FORMATION MUST BE HANDLED SECURELY TO ENSURE NO IMPROPER DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION OCCURS.
- Maintain and secure access to Company information technology.
- Restrict access to non-public personal information to authorized employe es who have undergone background checks.
- Develop guidelines for the appropriate use of Company information technology.
- Disposal of non-public personal information in a manner that protects against unauthorized access to or use of the information.
- Establish a disaster management plan in the event privacy information i s breached, including notification to customers and law enforcement.
AIM: TO ENSURE THAT ALL OF PRACTICES ARE IN PLACE AND FOLLOWED BY COMPANY STAFF, AS WELL AS UNCOVER ARE AS THAT MAY BE IMPROVED.
- Set up procedures for internal auditing of Best Practices on a semi -annual basis.
- Publish results of audit on Company website.