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Real Estate & Property Law

Mortgage Signature Law Provides Nearly Free House for Iowa Couple

Posted Mar 21, 2011 8:19 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Matt and Jamie Danielson were prepared to file for bankruptcy when their lawyer noticed an error by their mortgage company.

Jamie had not signed the $320,000 mortgage as required by a 123-year-old Iowa law that voids mortgages when they are not signed by both spouses, the Des Moines Register reports. The statute was designed to protect one spouse from bad financial decisions made by the other.

Now after a legal fight and a win in an Iowa appeals court, the Danielsons own their $278,000 home outright, the story says. They made only one mortgage payment.

The lawyer who spotted the error was Jerry Wanek. "He found the loophole," Matt Danielson told the Des Moines Register. "You couldn't have planned that."

Legislation that passed the Iowa Senate last Monday would change the law to give judges discretion to decide whether to void mortgages that are not signed by both spouses.

Hat tip to Newser.

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