Re: Do You Have To Be A Lawyer To Prepare A Deed
I would suspect writing a deed for another would fall under the practice of an attorney and writing one for another without being a licensed attorney would then be practicing law without a license.
Now, when you say you prepare deeds for others, what exactly are you doing? Are you simply filling in blanks on a template or are you constructing the entire deed?
Real estate agents have found there is a similar situation when it comes to buy/sell agreements. Since most use a preprinted template, it has been deemed legal but if they were to deviate from that template, they then, would be writing a contract, which requires an attorney.
The other thing you really need to be concerned about;
providing legal counsel. again, this is a situation the real estate agents dealt with many years ago. It was determined they must use caution to not provide legal counsel and make recommedations for actions due to their legal ramifications. That falls under the prectice of law as well.
It would be very easy to make this same mistake when writing a deed for another party as there are important inclusions to a deed that do require an attorney if any recommendation is made.
So, I do not know if there is any statutory support for your or against your position but if you go beyond the bounds of a simply fill in the blanks of a pre-drafted document, I believe it would rise to practicing law without a license. That, obviously, is a no no.
Since you are a legal secretary working with a law firm, have you asked any of the attorneys there? It would seem that would be the simplest way to get an answer.
To be honest, I would suggest an attorney should be preparing the deed anyway. While many deeds are cut and dry, there are many ways an improperly drafted deed could damage the chain of title or a seemingly simple mistake could wreak havoc in many ways. Since you had drafted the documnet, it would seem that wouldplace you in a position of liability. Do you have E and O insurance or liability insurance should one of your documents be the cause of a many dollar mistake or lawsuit?
I am not an attorney and any advice is not to be construed as legal advice. You might even want to ignore my advice. Actually, there are plenty of real attorneys that you might want to ignore as well.