The State Bar of Georgia Drafts New Rules Requiring Attorney Supervision of Real Estate Closings

Following on the heels of the General Assembly’s passage of Senate Bill 365, which supported the role of Georgia attorney’s in the real estate closing process, the State Bar of Georgia published Proposed Formal Advisory Opinion No. 10-R2 in the August 2012 edition of the Georgia Bar Journal.

The Opinion brings together in one coherent rule the various Supreme Court decisions and Bar opinions governing the closing of real estate transactions.  Importantly the Opinion for the first time sets out, at a minimum, those events in a real estate closing that comprise the practice of law, namely; “(i) rendering an opinion as to title and the resolution of any defects in marketable title; (ii) preparation of deeds of conveyance, including warranty deeds, quitclaim deeds, deeds to secure debt, and mortgage deeds, (iii) overseeing and participating in the execution of instruments conveying title; (iv) supervising the recordation of documents conveying title; and (v) collecting and disbursing funds exchanged in connection with the closing of the transaction.”

The Opinion draws upon Supreme Court’s expansive view of what constitutes the practice of law in a real estate closing to encompass “all of the continuum of activities that are part of the process by which real estate transactions are closed and land is conveyed. . .”

Together with the revised Good Funds Law, this draft Opinion firmly supports the notion that the public interest is best served when a Georgia attorney directly supervises all aspects of a real estate closing.

At Sherman & Phalen our attorneys directly oversee and are responsible for every step of the closing process. Contact any one of our attorneys to discuss your real estate closing needs.