in this issue

By Lisa A. Tyler
National Escrow Administrator

The Fidelity Family of Companies employs an incredible New York Agency Wire Processing Team, who process wire transfers for title issuing agents. The title issuing agents are typically closing large commercial transactions and issuing Chicago Title Insurance Company policies to the buyers and lenders in those transactions. As a service, the New York Agency team accepts loan proceeds on their behalf and sends out their large wire transfers, including real estate loan payoffs. The team recently prevented a multi-million dollar fraud, read "SUSPICIOUS sender" to find out more.

Privacy laws are in place to protect consumers from identity theft and financial fraud, among other things. Unfortunately, these laws often work in favor of fraudsters. They know a bank cannot disclose the names of their account holders, account numbers or whether a check is good. This puts settlement agents between a rock and a hard place. Some banks have found ways to provide some useful information — without breaching their duty of confidentiality, as demonstrated in the story titled "SILVER lining."

Notary statutes and rules vary for each state. Regardless of the state, every notarial act requires: 

  1. The signer to personally appear in front of the Notary Public;
  2. The Notary Public to identify the signer; and
  3. The Notary Public to apply their seal and signature

Physical appearance means the signer and Notary Public must be able to see, hear and communicate with each other, and exchange the documents being executed between each other. These are the cornerstones of a notarial act. An independent, approved notary accepted a signing appointment, but failed to personally appear at the signing, which is why this story is so shocking. Instead of rescheduling, she sent her assignee in her place. Read "NOTARY public and/or assigns" for all the details. 

Real estate withholding at a rate of 3% is due on sales or transfers of real property by nonresidents of Georgia. Nonresidents include individuals, trusts, partnerships, corporations, limited liability companies, limited liability partnerships and unincorporated organizations. The person or entity identified as the seller or sellers on the settlement statement shall be considered the seller for all purposes, including but not limited to, executing and delivering to the buyer all forms or other documents required to determine the appropriate amount to be withheld or the appropriate amount exempt from withholding requirements. To learn more, read "GEORGIA real estate withholding."

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