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How a Long Island Attorney Can Help With Title Defects

While most buyers are alert to the possibility of purchasing a property with severe maintenance defects, many people don’t stop to think about the problems that can arise when one has a title defect.

A maintenance defect may be expensive, but it’s resolvable. A title defect can call your right to own your own property into question, even if you’ve paid for that property.

Common Title Problems

A title defect can arise from:

  • Divorce decrees. The divorce decree may order a transfer of ownership but does not initiate one. The parties involved would have had to initiate the transfer correctly.
  • Estate issues. Heirs to estates go missing. Transfer of ownership paperwork doesn’t always get filed as it should. Even if the heirs can’t be found, they still have a claim of ownership that will have to be resolved.
  • Clerical errors. Obviously all records are kept by humans and so prone to human error. Every part of the title must be correct to avoid creating legal issues with the property.
  • Boundary disputes. Issues with the legal description of the property can lead to a situation where you own less of your property than you imagine you do.
  • Frauds and forgeries. People commit identity theft, fabricate documents, and otherwise make illegal claims on properties that can produce title defects. 
  • Illegal deeds. A problem in the title chain by which a deed was created with someone who had no right to create it. This could have an impact on your ability to enforce your deed.
  • Restrictions and covenants. You’ll want to know about any restrictions on your deeds which will prevent you from using your property as you see fit.
  • Easements. This could be a property right passed on to another entity at a different time. For example, a government agency or business could own your mineral rights, and could in turn create substantial problems trying to exercise those rights.

Legal Solutions

It’s always a good idea to purchase title insurance. This form of insurance can protect you from financial loss, but it may not protect your right to the property.

An attorney can help you clear your title and secure your property rights. One way to do this is via a “Quiet Title Action,” which allows you to claim an interest in the property.

Notice is then sent to any other parties who might have a claim. These individuals are invited to come to court and defend their rights to the property. If they fail to appear you win the title by default, and all the old claims disappear. If they do not, you’ll need a real estate attorney who can help you make the strongest claim.

Of course, there are instances in which you could be the subject of someone else’s quiet title action as well. You’ll need to be prepared to defend your claim.

Investigating title defects is basic due diligence prior to purchasing a property, but issues sometimes only come to light after the sale is complete. If you’re having title problems, or wish to buy a property with a title defect, contact the Law Office of Sami Perez today. 

See also:

4 Things to Know About Purchasing Commercial Real Estate

5 Smart Things to Do If You Inherit Property on Long Island

What Are the Most Common Property Disputes During a Purchase