Does a closing Attorney throw away your mortgage paper work every 6 years or so?

Asked almost 2 years ago - Thomasville, GA

I have a incorrect description not in Equity loan paper work but filed wrong. The Thomasville Closing Attorney told me he wasn't the closing Attorney but was only the Notary for Countrywide to go around to people's houses to get the paper work signed. I told him he signed it as the closing Attorney. Still he said he wasn't. After he found out the loan was in 2006 he told me he throws out his paper work about every 6 years. Very old incomplete description that they put our brand new address on. We had a new description, new plat by a new surveyor, a new driveway with a brand new address on the 1st mortgage filed with the correct description 6 months before the loan ( 2nd, equity loan) also with Countrywide. He said he didn't do a title search, that Countrywide would of been the one to do it

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Charles I. Pollack

    Contributor Level 11


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The other attorneys are correct, in that the (a) only legal description which matters is the one on record at the courthouse, and (b) if the incorrect description is in a loan deed or mortgage, it's your lender who should be worried, not you.

    However, your summary of the facts presents a more disturbing issue. In Georgia, loans are supposed to be closed by attorneys and the transaction supervised by attorneys. When the attorney said he was "only acting as a notary" it may indicate that he was not complying with the rules governing the practice of law, and was enabling the lender to violate Georgia law. These are commonly known as "witness only" closings, and the practice is not without controversy. The reason attorneys are supposed to close and supervise transactions is for the public good, and having the correct legal description on a real estate document is something that a competent and involved attorney might have noticed and corrected before documents were signed and recorded. You should probably be glad you weren't purchasing the property in the transaction you describe, and that you already owned it. You may wish to consider reporting this incident to the State Bar of Georgia, as this is a situation in which they might have some interest. I have included links to additional information regarding the State Bar of Georgia's position regarding "witness only" closings.

    [This communication is intended as general information and not specific legal advice, and this communication does... more
  2. Kevin M. Veler

    Contributor Level 15

    Answered . While it may not be recommended that certain real estate records be destroyed after 6 years, as noted by another attorney, the legal description of your property is generally determined by your plat and deed. Assuming you had the new plat recorded (and possibly a deed), that is what should control. But you have not stated a reason for your concern at this time.

    Disclosure: This answer and any information contained in this answer is not intended to be treated as legal... more
  3. Vincent J. Gallo

    Contributor Level 14


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . If the legal description in your Deed is correct, respectfully, the only one who should have a concern is your Lender if the legal description in your Mortgage is in-correct, and not you.

  4. Michael T Millar


    Contributor Level 19

    Answered . In some states, the statute of limitations for malpractice is six years. So, professionals retain their files for "six years and a day".

    The legal description that is found on your deed is controlling.

    You can pull a filed copy of your mortgage from your county clerk's office. You would likely need the lender's consent to file a mortgage with a corrected legal description.

    If this answer was helpful, please mark it as helpful or as a best answer. This answer is for general education... more

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