As with passports, real estate contracts must have the full legal name.

Is that contract in the wrong name? How to avoid identification mistakes

When writing contracts, ensure you use the buyer’s and seller’s full legal names as per their passports and/or birth certificates.

A recent case study has shown that driver’s licenses don’t always have the client’s full legal name. Our client, Michaelo (name changed), is currently in the process of settling the purchase of his new home.

On the Offer and Acceptance, Michaelo’s name has been written as “Michaelo Tom Costa”, as per the name on his driver’s license. But according to his passport and birth certificate, Michaelo’s full legal name is “Michael Thomas Costa”.

After realising this, we organised to have a variation signed that would change the name on the Offer and Acceptance. If the purchase had settled with the Offer and Acceptance in its original state, the Certificate of Title would have been issued in the wrong name.

Since property owners must prove their identity when selling property, having a Certificate of Title that was issued in the wrong name would likely have caused Michaelo problems in the future, when it came time for him to sell.

To avoid problems such as these, identify buyers from their passport (or birth certificate) as well as from their driver’s license. Ensure clients know that the name on the Offer and Acceptance should be their full legal name.

Image by  Baigal Byamba via Flickr.