Lender Preparation of Closing Documents
Opinion rules that for the purposes of a real estate transaction, an attorney may, with proper notice to the borrower, represent only the lender, and that the lender may prepare the closing documents.
ABC Co. is a title company which has contracted with a lending institution to provide title insurance and coordinate residential loan closings. ABC Co. wishes to enlist Attorney B as part of a "network" of approved attorneys who will perform closings subject to ABC Co.'s instructions.
All closing documents will be prepared by the lender and forwarded to Attorney B, who will meet with the parties, explain the documents and supervise their execution. Attorney B will then return the documents to ABC Co.
May Attorney B agree to handle closings in this manner?
Yes. The lender has a primary interest in the closing documents pursuant to State v. Pledger, 257 N.C. 634, 127 S.E.2d 337 (1962). Thus, the lender may draft the closing documents and Attorney B will not be assisting the unauthorized practice of law by conducting the closing under these circumstances.
If Attorney B intends only to represent the lender at the closing, he must clearly notify the borrower in time to permit the borrower to obtain other counsel.