I have created “Speak Legal” as a tool to help the non-lawyer have a better understanding of legal terminology. The content is not to be taken as legal advice, but only the opinions and comments of those who have contributed.

Have you ever wondered how attorneys – who are among the most eloquent users of the English language, with the ability to communicate and persuade judges and juries, but seem incapable of writing an ordinary comprehensible English sentence in any document?

Have you ever read a legal document and then scratched your head, saying “what does that really mean?” only to get a perplexed look like you must have a third eye or something. Well then, you’re not alone. Many of us have been in your shoes. That is why I am dedicating this week’s blog to deciphering the Legal Language Code.

Why do divorce agreements, contracts and real estate documents need to be so complicated? Wouldn’t it be easier just to come right out and say what you mean?

For example, have you ever bought or sold a house or piece of real property? If so, then you may have seen the following paragraph:

BORROWER COVENANTS that Borrower is lawfully seized of the estate hereby conveyed and has the right to grant and convey the Property and that the Property is unencumbered, except for the encumbrances of record. Borrower warrants and will defend generally the title to the Property against all claims and demands, subject to any encumbrances of record.

Convert that paragraph from Speak Legal to the English language and you get:

Should the Borrow discover any problems to the Property or Title (not already recorded) equals Seller will have to pay large amount of attorney fees to correct any problems to the Property or Title!

I hope you enjoyed reading this week’s blog, check back with me next week for more legal deciphering.

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