“Chain of title” is the ownership history of a real property parcel from the first owner to the present owner. The reason chain of title is important is because a current owner only has good, or “marketable,” title if every prior conveyance of the land was done correctly. A problem in the chain of title—regardless of how far in the past—can invalidate one’s ownership interest today.
What Can go Wrong in Chain of Title?
There can be any number of possible defects in a chain of title. Some of the most common are:
- Forged deeds
- Mistakes of County Recorders recording legal documents
- Missing documents
- Mistakes in the documents themselves, like names spelled differently on different deeds
- Deeds executed under an expired, fabricated, or otherwise incorrect power of attorney
- Deeds by persons lacking capacity to convey property
- Failure to include necessary parties on conveyance documents, like both spouses for community property, a trustee for a trust, or a guardian for a person lacking capacity
If you have reason to believe there’s a problem with a property’s chain of title, better safe than sorry.
Timely Contract Solutions
Buyers. Use TIER Plus® to have a TC Certified attorney research the chain of title for a property you are considering buying or have an offer on. Know that the sale will stand up after escrow closes. Find out exactly what you are buying.
Sellers. Use TIER Plus® to have a TC Certified attorney research chain of title for potential problems that, when fixed, will substantiate the value of your property.
Use Timely Contract solutions to avoid common problems of the real estate transaction … and to sleep better at night!
This posting is not legal advice. Legal advice is based on specific facts. This information is necessarily general in nature.