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Alabama Promissory Note

Secured Promissory Notes in Alabama

The simplest way to describe a mortgage is a loan used to purchase real property. In Alabama, the mortgage is comprised of two parts: the security instrument and the promissory note. A security instrument is a specific type of document that provides security for the lender and contains terms (agreements) that apply until the buyer (borrower) repays the lender according to terms defined in an attached promissory note.

While the lender holds legal title to the property during this time, the borrower holds equitable title, which means they may occupy the property as if they hold legal title, but until the loan has been repaid, the lender actually owns it. This is because mortgages involve a lien against the property, held as security, that ends when the debt is repaid and the owner assumes legal title (once a release of mortgage is recorded).

At the same time the buyer fills out the mortgage form, they must also complete a promissory note. A promissory note is a negotiable instrument that contains an unconditional written promise, signed by the borrower, to repay the lender or its designated agent. It defines the amount and specific terms of the loan between the borrower and the lender.

Promissory notes can be secured or unsecured. Unsecured notes set forth the terms and conditions associated with repayment, but there is no mention of collateral to protect the lender's interest. These are more common with personal property. Mortgages, which are real property transactions, use secured promissory notes. The borrower offers the property as security (collateral) to guarantee the loan, and agrees that a failure to repay the loan could cause the lender to foreclose on it.

The borrower must complete a promissory note, but it is rarely recorded with the mortgage. Many lenders retain the note for the duration of the mortgage and return it to the borrower after the debt is repaid. If the situation demands a recorded promissory note, ensure that it meets all state and local standards for submitting documents.

This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. Contact a lawyer with any questions about mortgages, promissory notes, or other matters related to transfers of real property in Alabama. Alabama Promissory Note Forms Have Been Updated as Recently as Tuesday March 19, 2019

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Alabama Promissory Note Form