In our last post, we offered a general overview of how three of the most common title defects are resolved: clerical errors or omissions, unreleased deeds of trust, and judgments or liens. Here, we’ll provide insight into how we clear title for a number of other title problems.
Clearing Clouds on Title: Other Common Defects
Title defects must be resolved prior to closing on a property. Some title defects are simply a matter of filing corrective paperwork, and are relatively easy to resolve. Other defects, however, may require more time and process to clear.
- Forgery and Fraud: Clearing up forgery and fraud defects is very much scenario-driven, as with many types of title problems. In such cases, legal counsel typically is the appropriate course of action. When a title agent discovers a forged deed or fraudulent circumstances surrounding property ownership, he or she contacts the seller’s side of the transaction to relay the information. The current property owner must then seek the assistance of a real estate attorney to correct the defect through the court systems.
- Improperly Probated Wills: If a property owner dies intestate or with long-lost heirs, an amended list of any and all heirs must be refiled with the Clerk of Court to reflect the accurate chain of ownership. In such a case, the seller’s representative (or Executor of Estate) must resolve this issue with probate court before moving forward with the sale on the property.
- Incorrect Legal Descriptions: The manner in which the incorrect description was recorded dictates how this type of defect is resolved. For example, deeds that contain an erroneous number, letter or other information due to typographical error are typically resolved by submitting an affidavit to the recording office (explaining the error). In cases where a deed doesn’t describe the land to which it’s attached, or describes another piece of property altogether, a corrective deed must be submitted. Such a defect often can be resolved rather quickly.
*Note: The information presented here represents examples of individual title defects, and in no way provides a comprehensive description of details surrounding title defect resolution. This information is meant to provide a general idea of how title companies and other parties work to resolve title problems.*
In each of the title defect cases mentioned here, Owner’s Title Insurance is the best defense against losing your property, and ultimately your financial investment.
Check back in for the third, and final, post of our title defect resolution series!
Have other concerns over title defects, or questions about protecting your real estate investment with title insurance? Contact Linear Title & Escrow today!