Sander v. Cygan (In Re: Anthony Rivera, Debtor), 2012CO43 (June 4, 2012)

When it comes to real property, a rose is not a rose by any other name. A deed of trust securing an interest in property that does not include a “legal description” is not validly recorded. A street address is not a “legal description.” The Supreme Court gave this response in answering a certified question from the District of Colorado Bankruptcy Court. This case involved a deed of trust that referenced a legal description in an exhibit; it had a street address, but was recorded without the exhibit. The creditor foreclosed on the property after the owner filed for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy Trustee asserted his power to claw-back property, but could only do so if he did not have “notice” of the deed. At the time of the petition, the deed lacked any legal description, and, therefore, it was not validly recorded. The Trustee, lacking “notice,” could claw-back the property from the creditor.


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