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Law

CT Senate Bill 320

Notary Law Update: CT Senate Bill 320

State: Connecticut

Summary:

Senate Bill 320 prohibits anyone who is not an active licensed Connecticut attorney in good standing from conducting a real estate closing.

Signed:  June 28, 2019

Effective:  October 01, 2019

Chapter: Public Act No. 19-88

Affects:

Adds a yet uncodified section to the Connecticut General Statutes.

Changes:
  1. Prohibits a Notary who is not an active licensed Connecticut attorney in good standing from conducting real estate closings.
  2. Defines “real estate closing” as a closing for a mortgage loan transaction secured by real property in Connecticut, or any transaction where consideration is paid to change ownership of real property in the state.
  3. Provides that violation of this provision constitutes unauthorized practice of law.
Analysis:

Senate Bill 320 prohibits out of state attorneys and nonattorney Notaries from conducting closings for most mortgage loans in Connecticut, excluding home equity lines of credit or other loans secured by real property that do not require the issuance of a title insurance policy. The bill defines “real estate closing” as a closing for a mortgage loan transaction to be secured by real property in Connecticut or any transaction where consideration is paid to change ownership of real property in the state.

According to the bill analysis for SB 320, existing law in Connecticut already required an attorney to be present for almost all closings involving the purchase of real estate. The Connecticut Title Insurance Act, passed in 1984, created a statutory requirement that a title insurance agent must be a practicing attorney in good standing unless that individual held a valid title insurance license on or before June 12, 1984. In 2013, the Connecticut legislature enacted SB 820, which increased the penalty for the unauthorized practice of law by recategorizing it as a class D felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, up to a $5,000, or both.

Most states allow nonattorney Notaries to conduct real estate closings. States which require an attorney to supervise or be present at the closing are Delaware, Georgia, South Carolina, West Virginia, Massachusetts, Vermont and South Dakota.

Read the bill text.

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