This list shows why it’s important to own title insurance. Although a thorough examination should identify all title problems reflected in public records, not all of these problems are apparent in public records. Any of the title problems listed here can make your title worthless (and yes, these things DO happen) – but an owner's policy protects you from financial losses caused by title issues.
Hidden Title Problems
- Someone has presented themself as the true owner of the land, but actually is not.
- There are forged title documents.
- There are people who claim to have “power of attorney” who don’t really have the legal authority to act for another person.
- There are deeds delivered after the death of one of the people involved, without the pre-written consent of the deceased.
- It is discovered that a will isn’t legally valid.
- A deed is to, or from, a defunct corporation.
- There are heirs missing or not disclosed in title documentation.
- Wills were misinterpreted.
- Deeds were made by people of unsound mind.
- Deeds were made by minors.
- Deeds were made by non-citizens.
- Erroneous reports were furnished by tax officials.
- Estates were executed with key people absent.
- There is an undisclosed divorce of a spouse who claims to be an heir.
- There is a spouse who is supposedly, but not legally, divorced from someone involved in the proceedings.
- Children were born or adopted after the date of a will that involved the property.
- Surviving children were omitted from a will that involved the property.
- Mistakes were made in recording legal documents.
- Title records were falsified.
- Creditors make claims against a property that was sold by heirs or other people named in a will.
- Deeds were made under duress as a last option to foreclosure.
- Easements (limited rights for other parties to use the land) exist that were not located by a survey.
- A deed incorrectly identifies public property as private property.
- There are errors in tax records.
- There are deeds from a bigamous couple.
- Representations on legal documents (e.g., Notary seals) are invalid or incorrect.
- The property was condemned but there is no official record of the condemnation.