Generally good idea to hire attorney for house title

How do you go about putting a house in someone else’s name? Do you have to get a lawyer?

It depends.

Mark Judson, executive director of the Southwest Louisiana Law Center, said the minimum legal requirements for most transfers of immovable property are found in LA. Civil Code art. 1836:  

“A transfer of immovable property must be made by authentic act or by act under private signature. Nevertheless, an oral transfer is valid between the parties when the property has been actually delivered and the transferor recognizes the transfer when interrogated on oath. An instrument involving immovable property shall have effect against third persons only from the time it is filed for registry in the parish where the property is located.”  

However, Judson said, some transfers are form-specific — such as acts of donation, which necessarily require the donor sign before a notary and two witnesses and that the donee acknowledges his/her acceptance of the donation before a notary and two witnesses.  

“In most cases the Calcasieu Parish Tax Assessor will recognize a transfer with a mere act under private signature,” he said. “The bigger concern is merchantability of title. A correct form and recognition by the tax assessor, do not, in themselves, mean that the title is merchantable (i.e. that the title is good — free of reasonable risks of litigation).” 

Judson said La. Revised statue 37:212(A)(2)(d) expressly states that only licensed attorneys may issue title opinions.  

“So, while transfers of property may be done by private individuals or notaries, it is generally best to hire an experienced attorney to examine the title, prepare the correct form and make sure the transfer instrument is properly recorded with the clerk of court,” he said.

TV commercial

Can you tell me the name of the harmonica player featured in Geico’s latest TV commercial?

Yes. His name is Leslie Johnson.

In the 30-second commercial, the company’s gecko mascot is on the porch with a harmonica player trying to tell viewers he woke up in Memphis and told people about Geico. But as he speaks, he is continuously interrupted by the blues musician sitting in a rocking chair a few feet away.

The gecko pauses for a moment and looks into Johnson’s eyes, then turns and leaves realizing the musician is going to interrupt him every time he tries to speak. 

Geico held a nationwide casting call in July of 2017 for a blues harmonica player in the age range of 60 and up. Johnson won the role and the first commercial — called “Lazy Lester Riffs on The Gecko” — aired June 22. 


The Informer answers questions from readers. It is written by Crystal Stevenson, American Press executive editor. To ask a question, call 494-4098 and leave a voice mail, or email

””Transfer of PropertyAmerican Press composite