Escrow Agent or Certified Legal Document Preparer?

When are the Services of a Certified Legal Document Preparer (CLDP) preferred over an Escrow Agent?Legal Papers

The services of a real estate Certified Legal Document Preparer [“CLDP”], also referred to as a Legal Document Assistant, are a great resource to anyone who owns or has an interest in real estate. Many property owners and investors are unaware of this option or understand when it is a good idea to employ the services of a CLDP rather than an Escrow Agent. Let’s try and shed some light here so you know what your options are!

If you are purchasing or selling real property where money is to be placed with a third-party and title insurance is required, then you are looking for an Escrow Agent. It is in an escrow that all terms of a transaction are clarified and an Escrow Agent acts as the fiduciary to all parties holding funds and documents. In an escrow transaction, the Escrow Agent, orders a Title Search contacts and requests a Payoff Statement from Lenders and prepares a Settlement Statement for all parties to review, sign and approve.

Often times, full escrow services as described above are not needed. A CLDP will prepare one or all of the documents that are normally produced in a real estate transaction, regardless of whether or not a title insurance policy is to be issued. In other words, a CLDP will focus on only the documents requested, and makes no requirements that the customer must purchase additional products or services. As a result, the costs for obtaining documents are substantially reduced limiting the fee charged only to the items requested. Title Insurance can be made available, as well as the other services, but are not required.

We advocate obtaining title insurance when necessary. Some situations however, such as adding a spouse to title, transferring property into your family trust, or recording a Power of Attorney to be used in connection with real estate purchases/sales, (just a few examples), the cost of a new title insurance policy outweighs its benefits.

Your CLDP can assist you with the preparation of Promissory Notes, Deeds of Trust, Release of Liens (Full and Partial), Affidavits of all Types, Deeds in Lieu of Foreclosures, Road Maintenance Agreements, Quitclaim Deeds (sometimes mistakenly referred to as “Quick Claim” Deeds), Special Warranty or Warranty Deeds, Beneficiary Deeds, Power of Attorney, Agreements for Sale, Subordination Agreements – to name a few. Arrangements may also be made for additional services such as loan servicing.

The next time you are contemplating a matter that involves real estate and legal documents, consult your Legal Document Preparer to see how they can assist you in accomplishing your goals.