BY ALEXANDER PAVLOVSKY, PARTNER OF A.T.LEGAL

Information about marital status and children will now be entered into the passport at the request of its owner. The decree is signed by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. Passports have existed in Russia since 1719, and since 1833 it has been mandatory to include information about marital status and children. Now the main document of a Russian citizen has only two mandatory stamps: registration at the place of residence and military duty. The corresponding marks have become voluntary as part of the reform: in 2022 the Russian Federation plans to begin replacing paper passports with ID cards with chips. Kommersant has looked into the history of the introduction of markings on the marital status of citizens and whether their current absence in passports creates legal risks in the purchase and sale of real estate.

Alexander Pavlovsky, Partner of A.T.Legal, commented in the Kommersant article https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/4916989 if the abolition of mandatory marks impacts on the registration of real estate purchase and sale transactions. What are the legal risks of buying apartments from citizens who have minor children, but in the passport mark about them not stamped, and if these children were previously registered in the sold housing?  Do the state information systems available to lawyers and notaries now allow them to track such moments with marital property and minor children, or is access to such systems available only in large cities? Does the absence of a mark in a passport about children and marital status create legal risks when considering cases of inheritance? If yes, which ones, and is it possible to track them with the help of state information systems?

Alexander Pavlovsky: "At the moment it is quite difficult to objectively assess the new decree of the RF Government, which abolished the mandatory indication of information about marriages and children in passports of Russian citizens. After all, it is possible that the state will soon offer another mechanism for checking these legally significant facts, which will be available to all interested persons.

This question is extremely important. Indeed, nowadays, when you buy real estate, it is very important to verify the legal purity of the transaction and the seller, to determine his marital status and the presence of children, as these circumstances are directly related to the legal regime of the property sold and the risks of the buyer. Under the new conditions, buyers will have to rely more on the seller's assurances, as reflected in the contract. If the seller is unscrupulous and fails to inform the buyer of the presence of a spouse or children registered in the apartment, the risks of litigation increase manifold, both in connection with the claim of the other spouse to invalidate the transaction, and with regard to the seller's liability for providing false information to the buyer.

The root of the problem is the current inability of third parties to verify information on the marital status and the presence of children of the seller by accessing publicly available information systems. In order to minimize the risks in real estate transactions, sellers may be burdened with the additional obligation to provide certificates on their marital status and the presence of children. In addition, it is necessary to understand that a citizen at his own discretion can make the desired marks in the passport, thereby somewhat mitigating the negative consequences of innovations and showing his openness and conscientiousness. Moreover, already now the practice of checking the information specified in the passport is widespread, for example, one can demand certificates about the persons registered in the apartment, including minor children of the owners. Strictly speaking, it is this information that matters for the real estate transaction, not the total number of children of the seller. Therefore, we can conclude that we can hardly expect any fundamental changes on the real estate market in connection with the new rules of registration of passports, "- said the lawyer.

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