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Source of Title Blog : Title Problems

A Reminder of Why Title Insurance is so Important
by Robert Franco | 2021/03/07

I have been in the real estate business since 1993.  I started as a title examiner, then became a title insurance agent, and now I am a real estate attorney.  I am no longer a title agent, but I still wholeheartedly recommend title insurance to my clients.  Because claims on title insurance policies are rare, some buyers are reluctant to pay for something perceived as "optional."  Recently, a good example of why title insurance is so important landed on my desk.  This will serve as an example I can share with my clients to explain why they need the protection title insurance provides.

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Categories: Real Estate Law, Title Problems

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Removing Standard Exceptions Leaves Agent Liable for Full Amount of Claim
by Robert Franco | 2019/02/03

Pitkin County Title, a Colorado title agency, issued an owner's policy to Preston and Betty Henn.  The Policy was underwritten by Fidelity National Title Insurance Co. Pitkin deleted standard exceptions from the policy for things that were ordinarily excluded from coverage.  As a result, the Henn's owner's policy committed Fidelity to extended coverage for unrecorded easements.  Unfortunately, the Henns soon became involved in a dispute over a neighbor's use of a footpath across their property.  When the neighbor filed a quiet title action, the Henns filed a claim on their policy.

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Categories: Title Problems, Title Standards

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Ohio Abstractors, Beware the Terminating Homestead Exemption
by Robert Franco | 2018/01/21

In Ohio, the disabled and elderly can receive a break on their real estate taxes by applying for a homestead exemption.  The exemption is generally available to Ohio residents who are disabled or at least 65 years old, who own and occupy their home and meet certain income thresholds.  For a title abstractor, it is important to note on the search that the taxes have been reduced by a homestead exemption so that the escrow agent can calculate taxes properly for a new owner - who may not qualify for the exemption.  It is also important to note when homestead may be ending without a transfer of title, such as may happen when a homeowner passes away but their estate has not conveyed the real estate.

Read on for more information about homestead, and an example that can catch an abstractor and escrow agent off guard. 

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Categories: Abstractors, Escrow/Funding, Ohio Legislation, Title Problems

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Ohio Bill Introduced to Abolish Dower
by Robert Franco | 2017/12/10

Ohio is one of only a handful of states that still recognizes dower.  There has been talk about abolishing it for years, but nothing much has come of it until now.  On November 7, 2017, House Bill 407 was introduced and it is currently assigned to the Civil Justice Committee for hearings.  

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Categories: Ohio Legislation, Real Estate Law, Title Problems

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More on Schwartzwald: Ohio Supreme Court Reverses Another Foreclosure
by Robert Franco | 2013/01/21

The Schwartzwald case held that a Plaintiff in a foreclosure case that does not hold the note or mortgage at the time it files the complaint lacks standing, and the court therefore lacks jurisdiction.  The big question that this left open was: what effect does that have on all of the faulty foreclosures that have already been completed?  We may now have some insight into this thanks to a case that was reversed and remanded just last month, Washington Mutual Bank v. Wallace.

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Categories: Foreclosures, Title Problems

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Foreclosures in Ohio After Schwartzwald
by Robert Franco | 2012/12/31

On October 31, 2012, the Ohio Supreme Court decided Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation v. Schwartzwald, finally answering the question: Can the lack of standing or a real party in interest defect in a foreclosure be cured by the assignment of the mortgage prior to judgment?  Until Schwartzwald, there was a split on this issue among the courts of appeal.  According to the Ohio Supreme Court, "a lack of standing at the outset of litigation cannot be cured by receipt of an assignment of the claim or by substitution of the real party in interest."  What does this mean for the many foreclosures that have not followed this rule of law and what do title examiners need to look for when reviewing foreclosures in the chain of title?

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Categories: Abstractors, Foreclosures, Title Industry, Title Problems

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Can A Trust Hold Title In Ohio?
by Robert Franco | 2012/02/23

Generally speaking, a trust is not a legal entity and it may not hold title to real property, with a couple of exceptions for specific types of trusts.  Rather, it is the trustee who holds title for the benefit of the beneficiaries of the trust.  For example, the proper grantee on a deed funding a trust with real property is "Jon Smith, Trustee of The Jon Smith Trust."  A deed to "The Jon Smith Trust" is a void ab initio because the trust is a non-entity.  Unfortunately, there are many deeds of record purporting to convey the property to the trust, with no mention of the trustee.  Ohio has recently passed a bill that will allow for such defects to be cured.  

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Categories: Abstractors, Ohio Legislation, Title Problems

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Bevilacqua Court Got It Wrong
by Robert Franco | 2011/10/24

The recently decided Bevilacqua case in Massachusetts held that a buyer who received a defective deed from a foreclosing bank did not have standing to bring a "try title" action to clear his title. Though this a Supreme Judicial Court opinion, and it is now the law in Massachusetts, I don't think the Court got it right. 

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Categories: Foreclosures, Title Problems

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Acknowledgments in Ohio
by Robert Franco | 2011/10/14

In late 2001 the Ohio legislature passed a bill which included statutory forms of conveyance that contained a new acknowledgment clause.  Within a few months, prior to the effective date of the former bill, it introduced and passed a new bill making further changes.  There was some language related to the acknowledgments that was proposed, but never passed, that made its way in to subsequently recorded deeds.  Some seem to question the validity of these acknowledgments.  Whether they are valid or not depends on the precise language used, but they may be perfectly fine.

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Categories: Abstractors, Attorneys, Notaries Public, Ohio Legislation, Title Problems

Source of Title Blog :: 3 comments ::

Hypothetical: Same property sold twice!
by Robert Franco | 2011/08/15

Last week, I posted an Interesting Hypothetical Question in the forums.  Basically, the seller sold the same property to two different buyers on the same day, before either of them had the opportunity to record his deed.  The obvious question was "how owns the property?"  Is it the one who first took delivery of the deed, or the one who recorded first, by just minutes? 

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Categories: Fraudulent Transfers, General Interest, Title Problems

Source of Title Blog :: 2 comments ::

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Source of Title Blog

Robert A. FrancoThe focus of this blog will be on sharing my thoughts and concerns related to the small title agents and abstractors. The industry has changed dramatically over the past ten years and I believe that we are just seeing the beginning. As the evolution continues, what will become of the many small independent title professionals who have long been the cornerstone of the industry?

Robert A. Franco



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