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General Laws

Section 17A. No agreement for the purchase and sale of real estate or any extension thereof shall be received for record in any registry of deeds unless such agreement or extension thereof is acknowledged by the parties agreeing to sell such real estate or one of them. No agreement for the purchase and sale of real estate which is recorded shall have any effect as against persons other than the parties thereto after the expiration of a period of ninety days from the date provided for the delivery of the deed by such agreement, or by such agreement as extended, as the case may be, unless prior to the expiration of such period an action or suit shall have been commenced to enforce such agreement and a memorandum like that described in section fifteen shall have been recorded in said registry of deeds; provided, that such agreement shall not be deemed to be extended, for the purposes of this section, by any instrument which is not recorded within ninety days from the date provided for the delivery of the deed by such agreement, or by such agreement as last previously extended.

If an individual, firm or corporation holds funds entrusted to him pursuant to a written agreement for the sale of real property and the written agreement expressly authorizes the individual, firm or corporation, as escrow agent, to continue to hold the funds in the event of a dispute between the buyer and seller concerning entitlement to the funds, no claim shall be maintained against the individual, firm or corporation, as escrow agent, whether as trustee, stakeholder or otherwise, if the escrow agent has complied with the mutual written instructions of the buyer and seller, if any, and any order or judgment of a court or final decision of an arbitrator with regard to accounting for or disbursing the funds. In an action commenced with regard to entitlement to such escrowed funds, a party to the action may file a motion seeking an order to have the funds paid into court by the escrow agent. Written notice of the motion shall be given by the moving party to all other parties and to the escrow agent. The escrow agent shall pay the funds into court within ten days of receipt of such order or within such other time as provided by the court.

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