Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Can an old title insurance policy help with a new adverse possession claim?

I found your name on your website and I was wondering if you could help me with the case below:
1. My wife inherited a lake cabin on 2 lots from her parents who are both deceased.  They bought the lots 30 years ago.
2. We don't know for sure, but knowing her parents it is very likely that they purchased title insurance even though they paid cash for the 2 lots.
3. The lots were recently replatted (for reasons beyond our control) and as a result the lot lines shifted 50 ft to the north.
4. The neighbour to our north is claiming adverse possession of one of the lots and filed a law suit.
5. I need the title insurance to pay for legal fees to defend against this law suit.
6. We can't find the title insurance.
7. We called the title company and they say they don't have any way of finding it.
1. Does title insurance pass on to heirs?
2. Does title insurance defend against adverse possession claims?
3. How else can I find the title insurance since there was no loan involved?
I appreciate any help you can provide.


Hi, David:

Without evidence that you have title insurance, you don't have any way of seeking their assistance even if they will work with the estate.

Title insurance only insures against things that occurred in the past, anyway, so it would be no help with a new claim of adverse possession.

Your best bet is to hire an attorney.  An attorney would be able to look at your state law to see if the possible claim of adverse possession ended with the death of the owner.  In some states the required period of time restarts each time the property changes ownership. It doesn't accumulate through owners. The attorney could also take a look at how the property lines changed and see if that was reasonable.

Best wishes.  Hope it works out for you.


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