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Kentucky House Bill 422 Makes "Full Names" A Requirement for Deeds

June 16th, 2016

Kentucky House Bill 422 Makes "Full Names" A Requirement for Deeds

The requirement should be considered to encompass all instruments being recorded. There are tremendous challenges to complying with the provisions of the new law as it stands. Below is text from an e-mail forwarded by Brent J. Eisele, Real Estate Section Legislative Chair of the Kentucky Bar Association…

"As many of you are aware, buried within House Bill 422, an act related to code enforcement, is a provision amending KRS 382.135 to require that a deed contain the “full name” of the grantor and grantee. The bill takes effect on July 15, 2016. Unfortunately, “Full Name” is not defined in KRS 382.135, nor is it defined in HB 422. Recently, our local county clerk’s office contacted me to discuss the statute and what constitutes a “full name.” Black’s Law Dictionary (at least the edition I have) defines “Full name” as “The first, middle and surname of a person, or the first name, middle initial and surname. May also refer to name under which a person is known in the community.” The Fayette County Clerk has not yet determined how it will interpret “full name” for purposes of determining whether deeds presented there after July 15, meet the requirements of the statute. Differing interpretations of the term “full name” may create substantial issues for practitioners, clerks and parties to real estate transactions.

With this in mind, I have been in touch with Staff Counsel for the Kentucky House Majority Leader to discuss the potential impact of this addition to KRS 382.135. It appears the legislation, as it progressed, went through Local Government but not through Judiciary. No one associated with the legislation seems to be able to pinpoint why the “full name” provision was added or why it was allowed to remain. The LRC cannot do anything to change it at this time but the individuals I contacted are considering pre-filing legislation to address this issue as soon as possible in the next session. The current thought is to change “full name” to “name.” We also discussed that there should be clarification that any deed recorded before the fix not be deemed defective for failure to include a “full name.”

Practically, it would seem the “full name” provision is unworkable. Many people have no middle name, or their middle name does not appear on identifying documents, or they have 2 middle names and may not disclose one of them. There are individuals who only have a middle initial and no full middle name. Does the full name include a hyphenated maiden name and a middle name? Being a “recording” statute, it creates an impossible burden for county clerks to determine with certainty whether the name on the deed is the “full name.” If an individual has no middle name, must we present an affidavit with the recording that states as much or risk having the deed rejected? I have had closings for women who requested that their first and middle initials and last name only appear on their deed so that one cannot determine from PVA or deed records that a single woman occupies a residence. Further, for indexing purposes, the name of the Grantor on a deed should be consistent with his or her name as it appeared when he/she took title. This long standing practice is in direct conflict with the “full name” requirement.

I will continue to communicate with the Fayette County Clerk’s office and with the LRC and legislators to address this issue. It is my understanding that the Kentucky Land Title Association may seek an Attorney General’s opinion to clarify what is required to constitute a “full name.” I was also advised that the Kentucky Banker’s Association has made calls to legislators and the LRC indicating that the “Full Name” requirement is unclear and unreasonably burdensome. So there are many of us out there on the same page. If any of our real estate section members have other thoughts or ideas on this matter please feel free to contact me. We are one month away from implementation of this requirement and I am sure all of us would like further guidance. Until we are advised otherwise, it would seem to that the most important interpretation of “full name” will come from the county clerk where the deed is submitted for recording.

I also want to note that pursuant to our Bar Association’s rules and procedures, my contact with the Clerk, LRC and other officials has been in my individual capacity as a concerned real estate practitioner and I cannot speak on behalf of the Bar Association generally. However, the Bar Association is aware of this issue and we may formally request, as a section, that the Bar Association officially take an active role to help resolve this matter. I welcome any responses from you in this regard."