What Is the Lay Settlement Process in Virginia?

When conducting a lay closing, there are certain things that everyone agrees that a lay closer can do, and things the lay closer cannot do.

I. The lay closer MAY NOT

   A. Provide legal advice

   B. Give a legal Opinion

   C. Discuss the legal effects of any instrument

   D. Prepare legal documents

II. The lay closer MAY

   A. Provide the escrow, closing, and settlement services enumerated in Code 6.1-2.20 to include, but are not limited to:

      1. placing orders for title insurance

      2. receiving and issuing receipts for money received from the parties

      3. ordering loan checks and payoffs

      4. ordering surveys and inspections

      5. preparing settlement statements

      6. determining that all closing documents conform to the parties' contractual requirements

      7. setting the closing appointment

      8. following up with the parties to ensure that the transaction progresses to closing

      9. ascertaining that the lender's instructions have been satisfied

      10. conducting a closing conference at which the documents are executed

      11. receiving and disbursing funds

      12. completing form documents and instruments selected by and in accordance with instructions of the parties to the transaction

      13. handling or arranging for the recording of documents

      14. sending recorded documents to the lender

      15. sending the recorded deed and title policy to the lender

      16. sending the recorded deed and title policy to the buyer

      17. report federal income tax information for the real estate sale to the Internal Revenue Service

   B. Make statements of fact

III. There is an area that lies between A and B, which may give rise to significantly different opinions and interpretations, and where there may,

at this time, be no definitive answer.  Even UPC 6-9 notes, "defining what is legal advice is difficult." (p. 174)

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