January 02, 2019
Issues That We Sometimes Encounter in Curing Title
Those who are unfamiliar with the real estate business can be blissfully unaware of the complications that tend to arise in the chains of ownership as title passes from generation to generation and from unrelated owner to owner. At Topouzis & Associates, P.C., our experience affords us a more holistic view of the full range of problems that can occur in the world of real estate. The fact is, things can get remarkably complex. And when we’ve been hired to cure title in a transaction, the onus falls on us to ensure that those complexities are ironed out and taken care of.
Given the sheer number of different defects that can arise in a title’s ownership, we can’t possibly detail them all here. But there are a few issues that we notice arise again and again, more commonly than the outliers.
For example, when someone dies without an heir apparent, the state will process their property through probate, and as part of this process their real estate may be sold. But it sometimes happens that a Last Will and Testament which passes property to someone in particular is discovered after such a post-probate transaction; or that an heir who was missing at the time of the dead person’s death shows up again. In both of these cases, the rights of ownership to that property may come under attack. In such a situation, the purchaser will be mighty glad to have in place a title insurance policy, like those we offer at Topouzis & Associates, P.C. to back up our curative services, to handle the lawsuit.
Another common issue is the existence of liens on the property that have been poorly recorded or left unrecorded altogether. When the previous owner owed debts, these may have resulted in liens on the property, which pass with title. An even more pernicious occurrence is when a lien based on the previous owner’s debt is placed on the property after it has been sold to a new owner. While we find and cure the former, the latter requires a title insurance policy to have been purchased at the time of transfer, in order to avoid the costs that might occur in fighting it. We always recommend purchasing such a policy, however certain one is that they are buying a property clear of defect.
And then of course, there’s the occasional clerical error. As simple as such errors are to make, their effect can be tremendous. Again, we cure these where possible prior to closing, but it’s best to have a title insurance policy just in case. This is the case when a parcel of land is described inaccurately, usually due to typographical mistake or because of legal descriptions created using outdated data or mis-measured surveys. This tends to occur, from time to time, with tax maps made using the wrong parcel descriptions (from abandoned projects, for example, rather than the parcels that actually get subdivided).
If you’re looking for a closing attorney in Jacksonville, Florida; Rockport, Massachusetts; or Cumberland, Rhode Island, contact us to see how we can help. Topouzis & Associates, P.C., performs title searches and provides title insurance backed by multiple underwriters. We’re staffed by residential real estate specialists and ready to help avoid costly delays and to streamline residential transactions.