Georgia law provides that only an attorney can preside over the conveyance of real estate. The average consumer only encounters the attorney at the signing of the documents, but the role of the real estate closing attorney is much more than shuffling papers and collecting signatures. Prior to the closing, the attorney must verify that the seller has marketable title. This means checking the real estate records, usually for the prior 50 years. The attorney must verify that there are no liens or judgments, either against the property or the owner. The real estate closing attorney also assures that the property taxes and home owner’s association fees are paid, and pro-rated for the purchaser and the seller. The attorney also assures that all water bills are paid and that there are no encroachments or other problems with the property. After the closing, the real estate attorney sees to it that all deeds are properly recorded and all funds properly distributed. Often the attorney also acts as an agent for the title insurance company, providing title insurance policies to the owner and/or the lender.