An escrow is created when money and/or documents are deposited, by two or more persons, with a third party which are to be delivered upon the happening of certain conditions. The third party is known as the escrow agent or escrow holder.
The authority given to an escrow holder is strictly limited by instructions provided by the parties involved. Consequently, an escrow holder acts on mutual instructions deposited into escrow and DOES NOT represent any party. The escrow officer is authorized by instructions to allocate funds for items during the escrow period, such as real estate commissions, title insurance, liens, recording fees and other closing costs. Instructions also specify the method of collecting funds, proration issues, time limitations and the term of the transaction. The escrow process protects all parties involved by retaining money and documents until the mutual instructions are met.