All posts tagged: inherited property

A Deed Among Family?

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Who needs a deed among family members?  The family members do!!  Good deeds support good relations among kin, especially when inheritance gets involved.

When property changes hands from branch to branch on the family tree, keep the paperwork in order and maintain title insurance so that ownership rights can be properly recognized and defended should a dispute arise.  Don’t take shortcuts just because it’s family—don’t take shortcuts because it IS family!!

A major source of title challenges is from family transactions in real estate.

Even if the old homestead has been in the family for fifty years, property disputes can happen at any time.  Family disputes tend to be the biggest and most emotional.  When there’s a lot of emotion, there’s no rational—and it’s costly!  Want to help an attorney pay off his college loan, pay for litigation on a family dispute.  When somebody says “I’m fighting this for the principal of the matter,” they usually mean:  “For all the principal in your bank account!”

It’s expensive to be totally right!!  Have you hired a lawyer lately?  Remember, if a person—family member or otherwise—files a claim against your property, YOU have to pay for the legal defense of your real estate rights.  Title insurance covers those court costs and provides the legal representation.

Whether Uncle Elmer thought your daddy left the place to him, or Cousin Jesse claims your septic tank is on her side next door, a title insurance policy provides the financial and legal means to assert your ownership rights.

As of March 2011, a lot of companies started issuing the new and improved title insurance forms which allowed for those who inherit property to also inherit the title insurance.  But any policy issued without the updated forms is not assumable to heirs; therefore, even though granddaddy had coverage, it doesn’t mean you do.

Don’t know if your inherited property came with title insurance?  Land Title of America, Inc. will be glad to check—it’s a free service—just stop by our office located on U.S. Highway 1 South in St. Augustine (in the Lewis Point Plaza) or give us a call:

Land Title of America, Inc.

2495 U.S. Highway 1 South

St. Augustine, Florida

(904) 797-9600




Stephen CollinsA Deed Among Family?
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Real Estate Ownership Questions and answers

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Q:  When should you have Title Insurance?

A:  You should have Title Insurance for every piece of real estate that you ACQUIRE.  Whether you take title of a property through purchase or inheritance, you take on the liability that goes with that ownership.

Under the new regulations, a Title Insurance Policy can transfer to the heirs of a property.  They can inherit the title along with the title insurance.  However, if you receive a home or land as a gift, title insurance does not come with it, and you do not buy the title insurance policy at the purchase price of a property.  You are responsible to defend your ownership should a challenge come up against it from previous owners, their heirs, or lien holders.

In these tough economic times, desperate people can do desperate things.  You’re a sitting duck without feathers if you don’t have title insurance because a challenge can cost you more to defend your ownership than you can afford, unless you have an owner’s title insurance policy to cover those litigation expenses.

Q: When does your liability of real estate ownership stop?

A: When you croak. You are responsible for the title on land you’ve sold.  When you sell a home or land, you transfer ownership to the buyer by warranty deed.*  Don’t throw those policies away!

Title insurance protects you even after you sell. Because the contracts and the new title insurance for the buyer require you to convey with warranties, you become liable for anything that has ever transacted on the property. Hold on to that owner’s title policy, even if you let the property go.

Answers! Answers! Answers! If you have more questions about Title Insurance, we have more answers.

*Warranty Deeds are required in most Real Estate Contracts for Purchase and Sale.

Stephen CollinsReal Estate Ownership Questions and answers
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