The Importance of Title Work in Old Land Contract Quiet Title Cases
In today's ever-evolving world, land ownership disputes can be a complex and contentious issue. One such situation arises when parties are involved in a quiet title action involving a very old land contract. These land contracts are decades old and the defendants are unable to be located. In these cases, a quiet title action is necessary to extinguish the rights of lingering title holders in the property. A quiet title action is a legal proceeding aimed at settling disputes over land ownership, establishing a clear title to a property, and extinguishing certain rights of the defendants. In such cases, conducting thorough title work is imperative to ensure the plaintiff has joined all people with a potential interest in the property as defendants and has identified all clouds on title. This article explores the importance of title work in a quiet title case involving a very old land contract.
Understanding Old Land Contracts
Old land contracts refer to land contracts executed and fulfilled prior to 1990. These land contracts were fulfilled by the buyer, but the seller failed to execute a deed in fulfillment. Cases with old land contracts often have defendants that cannot be found or are presumed deceased. Frequently with contracts executed and fulfilled decades ago, plaintiffs have incomplete records of payment. Each of these challenges make quiet title cases with old land contracts difficult, but, with the right counsel, plaintiffs can extinguish all lingering rights of defendants and establish clear ownership of the property by recording an order of the court.
The Significance of Title Work in Quiet Title Cases
Title work is the process of researching and analyzing public property records to determine the chain of ownership, identify the record owner, and identify any potential defects or issues with the title. In quiet title cases involving old land contracts, the importance of title work cannot be overstated.
Here are some reasons why comprehensive title work is crucial:
1. Establishing a clear chain of title: A clear chain of title is essential for determining who has a valid claim to the property. Title work helps to trace the history of the property and will establish how the plaintiff is claiming title. Title work should be obtained prior to filing any lawsuit, as the chain of title should be evident from the filed Complaint.
2. Identifying defects, encumbrances and defendants: Title work can reveal defects in the title, such as liens, easements, mortgages, or other encumbrances that may affect the ownership rights of the parties involved. It is important to join all people with a potential interest in the property as defendants. Title work will identify all necessary defendants for the specific property.
3. Providing evidence for the court: If necessary, a title commitment can serve as crucial evidence in a quiet title case. The information gathered during the title work process can help establish the chain of title and bolster the legitimacy of the plaintiffs' claim.
Quiet title cases involving old land contracts can be a complex and challenging area of law. However, the importance of thorough title work in these cases cannot be understated. By investing the time and effort required to research and analyze property records, parties can identify all defects in title and properly name all people with a potential interest in the property as defendants to the lawsuit.
In a world where land ownership is an essential aspect of wealth and security, the importance of title work in quiet title cases involving old land contracts cannot be understated. Quiet title cases with old contracts are a challenging and specialized area of real estate law. Wood Kull attorneys are experienced with the challenges of quiet title cases with old land contracts and missing or deceased defendants. Contact Wood Kull if you believe the title to your property may be defective.