The Real Estate Settlement Process

So you want to buy or sell a piece of real estate. Where do you start? Find a real estate agent and get them to prepare a real estate contract. A real estate contract identifies the property and agreed-to price has been signed by both the purchaser and the seller. Once signed by everyone it becomes a ratified contract. In most instances, this ratified contract is then forwarded to an attorney’s office to handle the closing. Delaware is what is called an attorney state which means that an attorney must preside over the real estate settlement. The purchaser has the […]

Real Estate Documents

There are 3 documents we want to talk about today: deed, mortgage and note A deed is a document that transfers ownership from one person or entity to another. It is signed by the current owner only and conveys that owner’s ownership interest to a new owner. The deed will include the name of the seller or sellers, the name of the buyer or buyers and a legal description of the property. The legal description is more than the property address and is typically in a form called metes and bounds. A mortgage is a financing arrangement in which the […]

Real Estate Closing Disclosure

Today we thought we would talk about the “accounting” of a real estate settlement. It is called the Closing Disclosure. This form lists all of the accounting details of a real estate settlement for both the buyer and the seller. The Closing Disclosure is broken down into sections so that everyone is aware of what all the closing costs are. It has sections such as real estate broker fees, items in connection with the loan, items required in advance, title charges and attorney fees, taxes and recording fees. Buyers can shop prices from different lenders and attorneys. Lenders are required […]

Attorneys and Real Estate Settlements

Delaware is what is called an attorney state. Other states, like Maryland are not. In Maryland a title agent at a title company can conduct the real estate settlement. In attorney states like Delaware, an attorney must preside over the real estate settlement. Why do you care? Because as a buyer, the attorney should be representing YOU and your interests for the whole transaction – not just the title insurance piece. You are paying the attorney to do this and we think you should be aware of our responsibilities for a real estate settlement. The attorney is not only the […]

Changes to Custody and Visitation in Delaware

       There have been several recent changes to the way Custody disputes in Delaware are addressed by the Court. The Family Court in Delaware has always promoted an equitable arrangement that fits the needs of the parents and their children. However, what is considered equitable has changed and has now been provided for in the new contact guidelines. The stated goal with this recent approach is to have the children spend as much quality time with each parent as possible.     For illustration purposes, the old Standard Visitation Guidelines should be compared to the newer Contact Guidelines. […]

Beach Replenishment – From the Guard Chair

Beach Replenishment – Part II, continuation of “Beach Replenishment – A Perspective from an Old Salt”.  http://www.murrayphillipslaw.com/?p=2124  I saw Mrs. S standing on the shoreline staring at the ocean looking quite upset. I became acquainted with Mrs. S nearly 30 years ago as a young lifeguard. She was always very nice to me and we would exchange pleasantries whenever we would see each other on the beach. Over the many summers I spent lifeguarding, I got to know her as she would catch me up every spring on the events of her winter back in the city. As a career […]

Beach Replenishment-A Perspective From an Old Salt

In addition to being a Delaware lawyer, I am also a part-time lifeguard with a career that has spanned 32 summers guarding the Delaware beaches as well as a lifelong surfer. On a recent trip to Rodanthe on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, I had the opportunity to watch as my two youngest children accomplished the milestone of paddling into and surfing their first waves unassisted by Dad. Thereafter, I literally could not get them out of the water the rest of the trip. They caught the surfing bug that first bit me more than 35 years ago. *When […]

Lawyers

As a lawyer, I often get to hear jokes about lawyers and have received many back handed compliments about my chosen profession. Lawyers are often viewed in a negative light and sometimes rightly so. However, I do find it ironic that lawyers are the first to be called upon when people need help with a legal problem. Lawyers can only represent people who are seeking representation…without clients, there would be no need for lawyers. Lawyers are at the forefront of protecting individual rights and societal injustices so I thought for a change I would post some quotes that present lawyers […]

Child Custody Guidelines Have Changed

Delaware has had child custody guidelines for many years. Recently, those guidelines have been modified to allow for a more equal division of contact than the previous guidelines provided. The previous guidelines provided for the designation of a primary placement parent and a visiting parent. This resulted in the placement parent having the vast majority of the time with the child while the visiting parent was left with very little quality parenting time. In a nutshell, the former guidelines allowed the visiting parent to have visitation rights every other weekend and one evening a week for two to three hours. […]

Delaware Attorney Ron Phillips Update

Delaware Attorney Update I am Delaware attorney Ronald D. Phillips Jr. On January 1, 2015, I returned to the full time practice of law concentrating once again on criminal defense and family law. For those that don’t know, five years ago I was asked to help develop a private school as their Dean of Students and ultimately became the Executive Director. After fifteen years doing DUI’s, divorces and a variety of other legal matters, I felt it was a good time to take a break from being an attorney. In addition, I would be able to work in the school […]

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