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All Massachusetts Closing Must Be Performed By Attorneys Now

The ruling for Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in case of Real Estate Bar Association (REBA) v. National Estate Information Services (NREIS) has finally been announced.

Here’s a breakdown of the ruling:

1. Massachustts attorneys are required to be present for all closings and must actively participate in the transaction before and after closing. According to the ruling it now requires “not only the presence but the substantive participation of an attorney on behalf of the mortgage lender.”
2. Robo-attorneys are not allowed! Moving forward, not only may notaries not conduct closings, but that “if the attorney’s only function is to be present at the closing, to hand legal documents that the attorney may never have seen before to the parties for signature, and to witness the signatures, there would be little need for the attorney to be at the closing at all. We do not consider this to be an appropriate course to follow.”
3. Attorneys must analyze the title and determine it is clear and marketable. This is the primary function of Boston real estate attorneys.
4. Attorneys must draft deeds “because deeds pertaining to real property directly affect significant legal rights and obligations, the drafting for others of deeds to real property constitutes the practice of law in Massachusetts.”
5. Attorneys are now required to conduct the Boston real estate closing transaction. This means they must also make sure that the deed and mortgage are recorded properly, that funds are exchanged properly, and that prior liens and mortgages are properly paid off/discharged.
6. Non-attorneys are given the tasks of title abstracts, title insurance, and additional administrative functions appropriately.

That is a brief overview of the new ruling. How do you think this will affect Boston real estate moving forward?

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