A layman or straw man is a figure not intended to have a genuine beneficial interest in a property, to whom such property is nevertheless conveyed in order to facilitate a transaction.

The unity of time rule requires a joint tenancy be granted both parties at the same time. When the current owner of a property wishes to create a joint tenancy with another party, the grantor conveys the property to a strawperson (often a lawyer or the lawyer's secretary), who in turn creates a second deed conveying property to the original grantor and their desired joint tenant(s).

Strawpersons sometimes engage in straw purchases to protect the privacy of the beneficial owner or to allow the beneficial owner to acquire a property when the seller's rules, policies or biases might not have allowed it. Straw purchase of property is legal as long as the strawperson is not part of an attempt to defraud a mortgage lender or other creditor.

A strawperson is also "a person of no means," or one who deliberately accepts a liability or other monetary responsibility without the resources to fulfill it. This becomes illegal if the debt goes unpaid and fraud was found to be committed.

See also

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