Saturday, June 16, 2012

replace a lost owner policy with a duplicate original

Hi Diane,

I saw your blog and hope you might be able to answer this question.  I bought my home 7 1/2 years ago and title work
was done at that time.  By who I can't remember and I inadvertently destroyed the original policy while getting rid of old paperwork.
I did contact the closing attorney but his office might not have those records.  Is there a way to obtain a copy of the original policy?
It seems even though there was clear title when I bought it, now in selling there are judgements from the previous owners.
Any help would be deeply appreciated.



Hi, A:  If the closing attorney was the one who issued the title insurance, you can request a duplicate original policy directly from the attorney.  If he is uncertain how to issue a duplicate, he should call the title company underwriter.  They all have a procedure for producing duplicate originals.  Mortgage lenders often make this request when their loan policies get lost in transit.

I would be really surprised if the attorney doesn't have any records from 7 1/2 years ago.  Everyone uses computers now and even if he destroyed the paper files, I can't imagine that there isn't something in his software.

Frankly, I've never encountered an attorney who didn't keep all their paper files. I call law offices all the time to ask questions about old files when we are trying to resolve title problems.   It's just a matter of giving them time to go find the file as it might be stored off site.  You might offer to pay for their effort.

Hope this helps. ;)


PS  You should also look for the HUD-1 Settlement Statement which should show that you paid for coverage and it should also identify which title insurance company was paid.  The attorney may have records of checks issued from the closing funds which could tell you who got the title insurance premium.

Finally, if you cannot establish proof that you have title insurance, you may want to hire a competent title insurance attorney to review those judgments.  I find often that sellers are asked to pay for liens that are expired or not valid.  Defend yourself before paying.  Delay closing until you have exhausted your defense.  If you close and pay the judgments expecting to recoup damages later there is a good chance of getting no help.

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