Guess who’s a loyal British colony during the American Revolution? FLORIDA! All that messy business at Valley Forge, the Boston Tea Party, the Declaration of Independence—all that happened while Florida was Great Brittan’s 14th American colony.
Isn’t that a fun fact?
Via the Treaty of Paris, Florida is peacefully ceded from Spain to Great Britain from 1763 to 1784, and then the second Treaty of Paris peacefully cedes Florida back to Spain. So during the hard winter at Valley Forge, British soldiers could come on leave straight to sunny Florida. Here in St. Augustine, Samuel Adams and John Hancock were burned in effigy in the Plaza, and three of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were imprisoned in the Castillo de San Marcos: Thomas Heyward, Jr., Arthur Middleton, and Edward Rutledge.
These little historical gems can make for superb conversational gambits, like at a party or trying to impress a date, but other times, what you don’t know about the past can really bite you…right in the wallet.
Let’s say you inherit real estate. It’s been in the family for years, passed down from one generation to the next, and now to you, the only living heir. The property is paid for—no mortgages or liens against it. It’s a nice little house, well-kept, and full of fond family memories. So you move right in and feel right at home.
And THEN there’s a knock at the door: it’s the Seminole Indian Tribe. Just as you are about to serve lemonade, they inform you that your house is sitting atop the sacred burial ground of their ancestors. Isn’t that a fun fact? They don’t want your lemonade—they want you out.
Best thing to do here is whip out your Owners Title Insurance Policy. Even if Uncle Ed had Title Insurance on the house and never had a claim, when you acquire the property, you need a Title Insurance policy that covers your interest. (Uncle Ed’s title insurance covered his interest, and he isn’t very interesting now because Uncle Ed is dead.)
Title Insurance is a policy that protects the real estate owner from financial loss due to a challenge against his or her real estate ownership.
You could lose your house if they have a legitimate claim, or the Seminoles could be five hundred feet off and should be knocking at your neighbor’s door—either way your Owners Title Insurance Policy pays for the legal defense of your property ownership. Title Insurance pays to vigorously defend your ownership rights—they don’t want to pay out on a title claim if they don’t have to, but they will if they need to. Thus you are doubly covered with Title Insurance—your legal defense of ownership is paid and if that fails, the policy is paid out.
Yes, you could still lose your house, but with Title Insurance, the policy amount will be paid out to you, and you don’t walk away empty-handed. Isn’t that’s a fun financial fact?