Saturday, August 02, 2008

tie up the loose ends of a divorce, please!

Examined title for a purchase transaction and found that the vested owners were a now divorced couple who had never dealt with the separation of the real estate. Criminy.

What really kills me is that both husband and wife were represented by legal counsel AND the property had been processed through a relocation company who is represented by legal counsel.

Nobody, I mean NOBODY, gave a thought to taking care of transferring the interest of Mrs. Seller - now ex-Mrs. Seller.

You know, from the perspective of the buyer, thank heavens they selected a title agency with humans who examine title and have a clue.

So, she's in Chicago and not making this easy for anyone. Closing has been delayed each day while we wait for deeds - 3 deeds - wife to husband, husband to relo, relo to our proposed insured.

Now, you may wonder what might have happened if the buyer had not selected a title agency who caught the error OR what might have happened if the buyer had decided NOT to purchase title insurance. Remember, at least THREE attorneys totally missed what to me is a real easy issue to spot.

Ex-Mrs. Seller might have figured out at some point that she hadn't conveyed her interest and made some demands for payment. The marital settlement agreement did not specifically state that she was giving up her equity. It simply said the husband would refinance as soon as possible to relieve her obligations on the mortgage.

Even if ex-Mrs. Seller made no claims, eventually someone would notice the cloud on title, maybe when the new owner wanted to sell or refinance. Clouds on title really muck up the best made plans to refinance or sell. Can you imagine how hard it might be to find her at some future date? If the new owners had skipped title insurance, they'd be on their own. Even with title insurance, the fix might take time and headaches.

It's a hard concept to embrace but most of what you buy when you purchase title insurance is the preventative expert examination. The policy itself is a safety net. So, PLEASE, select your title insurance agent carefully.

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