Technical/Document or Process Related Questions

Do the dates and page numbers change automatically, or do I need to mark up each one on each page to remind you to change them in the final documents?

The page numbers and dates are set to change automatically, so you do not need to mark up those changes or remind us we need to change them.

What do the blanks mean?

If we have left a blank in a document, that usually means we want your input, such as for a name, a relationship, a gender, a list of beneficiaries, tangible personal property, etc.

Something is in brackets, or italics, what does that mean?

It usually means it is an optional provision that you may want to discuss with us in more detail, or simply opt not to use.

It says we are signing these in Maryland, but I live in Virginia or the District. Do we need to correct that?

No. When the time comes for the documents to be signed, we will determine where you are signing. We cannot oversee the signing of documents in Virginia or the District, as we do not have consistent and reliable witnesses or notaries in those areas. If you decide not to come to the Bethesda office to sign, we will provide you with the executable documents and exact instructions on how to have them executed at your bank, credit union, or elsewhere.

There is a “he” in my document where there should be a “she”, should I point that out to you?

The documents deal with this by a provision that reads “he” as “she” and “she” as “he”, as necessary or appropriate, but please do let us know if you see the error so we can correct it.

You got my phone number, or zip code, social security number wrong. Do I have to check everyone of those to make sure they are correct?

Because we do not use commercial software to create assembly line documents, occasionally numbers will have a number wrong, be reversed or be completely wrong. We do count on you reviewing your personal information to make sure it is correct. What will leap out to you (for example the wrong last digit on a zip code) may not be as obvious to us as we check over the documents.

Okay, I do have some corrections to addresses, phone numbers, name spellings, etc., what should I do with these technical corrections or additions?

Assuming they are not substantive, you can email them to either the attorney you are working with, or to his or her assistant with whom you have been in contact with.

Why do you need the “Deed” and not the “Deed of Trust?” What is the difference?

Whether we are preparing a deed as part of your estate planning or not, we still want to identify the appropriate legal description and last “liber” (book) and “page” for the Deed. Upon purchase of any property, you get the Deed, transferring the property from the seller to you as the buyer. The Deed of Trust is the mortgage, which is a separate document and is filed on land records right after the Deed is recorded so that the mortgage company’s lien on the property is clear. The original Deed was returned to you by the Recorder of Deeds or the Settlement Company sometime after closing. We typically need a copy of the filed deed that you received after (not during) closing. Your original Deed was returned to you after settlement.

If I signed a Deed as part of my estate plan, what happens to it now?

For Maryland Deeds that will be filed after property tax bills have been finalized by the State, the Deeds cannot be filed until the property taxes are paid. We will hold on to the Deed and periodically check to see when you, or your mortgage company, pays the taxes, and then file the Deed. When the original Deed is returned to us, we will return it to you.

For all other Maryland Deeds, or for deeds in Virginia and DC, they will be filed after you sign, and when the original Deed is returned to us, we will return it to you.

Our Attorneys

Norman B. Handler's Profile Image
Norman B. Handler, co-founder of the firm, and beloved friend and mentor, died on December 26, 2020. Norman’s greatest trait as an attorney was not his legal knowledge, his tax experience or his inexplicable love of forms and calculations – i… Read More

Marc S. Levine's Profile Image
Marc S. Levine has been practicing law since 1992, all with Handler & Levine, LLC, and its predecessor firms. Marc regularly assists individuals and families in preparing their estate plans, including drafting their wills, revocable trusts, trust… Read More

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