Supreme court ruling
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled today on a multi-year case between the Real Estate Bar Association (REBA) versus the National estate Information Services (NREIS), outlining the role of the property closing process. The contentious suit claims that companies facilitating real estate closings without attorneys are involved in the unauthorized practice of law in the state.
The ruling puts Massachusetts lawyers back in the role of primary overseers of real estate closings and states that closings must have substantially more involvement of attorneys.
Massachusetts real estate attorney Rich Vetstein said in his blog, “This case pits Massachusetts real estate closing attorneys vs. out of state non-attorney settlement service providers which are attempting to perform “witness or notary” closings here in Massachusetts. At stake is the billion dollar Massachusetts real estate closing industry.”
The ruling impedes what Vetstein calls “robo-attorneys” and discount closers from out of state and even goes as far as requiring attorneys in the state to draft deeds but not title insurance.
The case will now move to federal court as analysts say not all questions in the suit were answered by the state Supreme Court.