LEO: Real Estate - Release of Trust LE Op. 982
Real Estate - Release of Trust.
October 14, 1987
Your office handles a large volume of real estate closings. At times,
title reports indicate that a trust which should have been released in a
prior settlement was not released. When the previous settlement attorney
is contacted, he assures your law firm that the previous trust has been
paid. When your firm has requested a formal release of record, you have,
at times, received a certificate of satisfaction and lost note affidavit
pursuant to Virginia Code § 55-66.1:4. The previous settlement attorney
will sign as noteholder and attach a form affidavit asserting the note has
been lost or destroyed and cannot be produced. You wish to know whether or
not it is ethical for a settlement attorney, who is confident he has paid
a note, to proceed with a release as described above or if the attorney
has a duty to bring a petition pursuant to Virginia Code § 55-66.5 or
obtain a release in some fashion other than the method described above.
Disciplinary Rule 7-102 [ DR:7-102] states that a lawyer shall not "
knowingly make a false statement of fact or law."
The Committee feels it is unethical for a lawyer to assert he is
noteholder when the lawyer does not have the note in his possession.
Committee Opinion October 14, 1987