Legend tells of a fierce dragon that devours bar examinees twice each year. The beast lays in wait for unsuspecting legal knights and then pounces, attacking them with confusing conveyances and archaic legal rules developed in Olde England. The monster’s name, spoken only in the barest whispers to not awaken the beast, is MBE Real Property. But to pass the bar exam, thou must confront this dragon and prevail.
Before you go on thine quest to face this monster, you must educate yourself on its powers and strengths. Fortunately for you, UWorld has created a guide to the powers of the menacing dragon. You don’t even need to go on a side quest to find it—it’s right here.
Five chapters of equal value, and one dragon to rule them all. But this dragon is not invincible. Those brave knights who have faced MBE Real Property and lived to tell the tale know that the beast has weaknesses that can be exploited. Hark, noble knight, and pay heed to my guidance, and you too shall defeat MBE real property.
1. Diagram Difficult Fact Patterns
Real property questions can be dense. Questions that deal with conveyances almost always appear to have multiple contingencies, remainders, or grantees. Therefore, we beseech thee to diagram these questions. Track to whom the property is being conveyed, the type of each conveyance, and the order in which the conveyances occur. This will help you get your head on straight before you assess the possible answer choices.
2. Don’t Fear the Olde Rules
One of the scariest powers of MBE Real Property is the dragon’s ability to send knights into an anxious scurry when it pulls out a question dealing with a crusty old rule. Thou knowest the ones: the Rule of Convenience (applies to class transfers), the Rule in Shelley’s Case (abolished in most states), and perhaps most feared of all, the Rule Against Perpetuities (applies only to specific future interests). Many a brave knight has dropped his sword and cowered when the dragon threw one of the Olde Rules into the possible answer choices—even though these rules are often mere distractions.
The truth is, these rules are no different than any other legal rule you’ve learned. The only thing that makes the Olde Rules different is that they have names. But you’ve got a name as well, brave knight! Learn the Olde Rules and treat them with no greater fear than any other legal rule you’ve memorized, and your name will be entered into the book of legends.
3. Timing Is Key
As you approach the dragon’s lair, there are words inscribed above the cave: Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here, For Mortgage and Recording Act Questions Constitute a Significant Portion of This Exam. (Side note: after you’ve taken the bar, you should pick up a copy of Dante’s Divine Comedy. Thou art welcome.) Many knights braver than thy humble guide have retreated at the sight of this dreadful message.
There’s no avoiding it: mortgages and recording acts are difficult subjects (learn more about recording acts here), and there will likely be a few questions where the two intersect. But you should not abandon hope. Instead, pay attention to timing and clues about the terms of the instrument and whether parties had notice of the various transactions. If you know who did what, when, and who had notice, then these questions lose some of their mystique. And when it comes to distributing foreclosure proceeds—just read this.
And Now We Joust!
Thou art now ready to begin thine quest. Make no mistake—facing the MBE real property dragon requires bravery, wit, and skill. But thou hast made it thus far in thine quest to become a lawyer, so thou can defeat this foul beast. To help thee become the greatest knight in all the land, thy guide shall now leave thee with a UWorld MBE Real Property question:
Behold—a dreaded conveyance question that refers to the Rule Against Perpetuities! Before you drop your shield and run, look carefully at the question stem. The dragon was trying to scare you by mentioning the Rule Against Perpetuities, but the question tells you that it does not apply in this jurisdiction. As a result, you don’t need to worry about this olde rule! With that now out of the way, you can diagram the different transfers in this conveyance to reach the correct answer. Check out how the braves knights at UWorld diagramed and answered this one:
And there thou hast it, noble knight. Thine quest has been bestowed upon thee, and now thou must go forth and face the dragon. But thou mustn’t face it alone. Thou can take thy humble guide, UWorld, into the dragon’s lair by unsheathing a free trial of UWorld’s bar prep content. ‘Tis sharper than the sharpest sword!