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Source of Title Blog

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

Source of Title Blog :: 0 comments ::

Exploring Blockchain and Its Application to Real Estate Titles
by Robert Franco | 2019/01/13

I'm going to admit it -- I do not understand blockchain.  And, I do not like it when I don't understand something.  I have tried to read some articles and I've watched YouTube videos in an attempt to get a better grasp of the technology.  Unfortunately, it remains an elusive concept.  My goal this year is to figure it out.  If this is going to be a technology that government offices adopt to maintain our public real property records, that has the potential to eliminate title companies and attorneys in real estate transactions, I want to know how it works.      

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Categories: Attorneys, Innovation, Public Records, Technology, Title Industry

Source of Title Blog :: 1 comments ::

Ohio Transfer on Death Designation Affidavit: Life Estate and the Remainder
by Robert Franco | 2018/09/16

This issue has come up three times over the past couple of weeks and it has me a bit perplexed.  Can an owner designate as beneficiaries in his Transfer of Death (TOD) Designation Affidavit one beneficiary to receive a life estate and another to receive the remainder?  In two cases, I had clients that wanted such a result, in another someone sent me a TOD Designation Affidavit that purported to designate one beneficiary as a life tenant and another as remainderman.  I did a little reading and I'm not certain it works... but I think it probably should.

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Categories: Ohio Legislation, Real Estate Law

Source of Title Blog :: 0 comments ::

Top Consumer Watchdog Places Bureaucracy Ahead of Consumers... Literally.
by Robert Franco | 2018/04/26

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was established in 2010 by the Dodd-Frank Act to consolidate much of the responsibility for consumer protection enforcement that had before then been scattered around many federal agencies.  The Act gave the CFPB a substantial amount of independence to operate without undue influence from typical political gamesmanship and unscrupulous lobby groups.  From its inception until Richard Cordray exited as the agency's director, the CFPB actively investigated consumer complaints and recovered approximately $12 billion for consumers.  But, since then, the agency has been a bit lax.  After Cordray left, President Trump appointed Mick Mulvaney as the new director, who has publicly criticized the CFPB and advocated getting rid of it.    

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Categories: Consumer Advocacy

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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

Source of Title Blog :: 1 comments ::

The Passing of a Good Friend, Pat Scott
by Robert Franco | 2018/01/02

I have gotten to know a lot of people since I started Source of Title in 2002.  Many of them I have had the pleasure of meeting in person at the National Association of Land Title Examiners and Abstractors (NALTEA) conferences.  One of the most memorable and friendly of the bunch was Pat Scott, and I am very sorry to say that he passed away just before the new year. 

Below are some of my memories of Pat, as well as his obituary and a link where you can sign the Guest Book. If you would like to share a story about Pat, feel free to post it below. 

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Categories: General Interest

Source of Title Blog :: 3 comments ::

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

Source of Title Blog :: 0 comments ::

Can the Government Acquire Property by Adverse Possession?
by Robert Franco | 2017/10/08

In Ohio, you can acquire legal title to another's real property if you prove exclusive possession and open, notorious, continuous, and adverse use for a period of 21 years. But, the general rule is that you cannot adversely possess property against the state.  So, when a friend here in Ohio emailed me this very interesting question, my first thought was "sure... I think so, if all of the elements are met, why not?"  But, the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides that private property shall not be taken "without just compensation." Does that rule out the possibility that the government can take title by adverse possession -- without going through the process of a condemnation proceeding and paying just compensation? Hmmm... it really is an interesting question.

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Categories: Adverse Possession, Inverse Condemnation, Real Estate Law

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Positive Changes in Ohio's Budget Bill: Recording Fee Hike Nixed, and more...
by Robert Franco | 2017/06/28

Ohio House Bill 49, the FY 2018-2019 Operating Budget, is headed to the Governor's office with a couple of significant, and positive changes. As I blogged a couple of months ago, they tried to sneak a massive increase in recording fees into the budget bill - changing to a flat-fee structure. That entire proposal has been nixed. And, the Good Funds Law is getting a much needed update to increase cash and cashier check limits.  

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Categories: Escrow/Funding, Ohio Legislation

Source of Title Blog :: 0 comments ::

My First Experience with Inverse Condemnation
by Robert Franco | 2017/06/25

Last week I wrote about inverse condemnation: The Supreme Court of Virginia Examines the Limits of Inverse Condemnation.  It reminded me of a client I had shortly after I started practicing law, Yetieve.  She was in her late 70's and she was taking care of her husband who had dementia.  The last thing she needed was to be forced from her home, but after an unfortunate series of events they had to move. A corner of her home was sinking into a 12 foot deep crater and the roof was starting to crack -- it wasn't safe to stay there.  What had caused it, and who was responsible?  Well, that is an interesting story. 

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Categories: Inverse Condemnation

Source of Title Blog :: 1 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
SOURCE OF TITLE

 

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I recently attempted to have a title company examiner sign and notarize (acknowledgement of her sign...
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Pat was one of the sweetest men I've ever had the pleasure of knowing.  At every conference he ...
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