No escrow is opened with the intention that it will cancel, but there are occasions when a contingency cannot be met or when the parties disagree during the pend-ency of the escrow. Some escrow holders provide for such an event by incorporating an instruction in the typed or printed General Provisions.
Ordinarily, an escrow holder will take the position that no funds on deposit can be refunded until the escrow holder is in receipt of mutual cancellation instructions signed by the principals. The escrow holder cannot normally make a determination as to who is the “rightful” party in a dispute on a cancellation and therefore will not return the funds or documents until the principals agree; the escrow holder is not a judge.
Do expect to be charged a cancellation fee, as this is a charge for professional services rendered and quite often for several “out of pocket” expenses that have been incurred on the client’s behalf. These fees can vary from company to company depending upon their policies.
Sometimes, when a dispute exists, the escrow holder may be forced to allow a court to decide which party is entitled to what documents or funds; this is called an inter-pleader Action. Fortunately, most disputes are resolved before the inter-pleader is filed as the costs for such legal actions are extreme. Those costs, incidentally, are normally paid out of the funds on deposit in the escrow.