Real Estate Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Real Estate Law in Springfield Massachusetts
Frequently Asked Questions …..

1. What are the three most common ways two or more persons may hold title?


What Happens Upon Death? 

(A). When title is held as Tenants in Common, it is necessary to probate the estate of the deceased before the real estate may be sold or mortgaged. There is no right of survivorship and so the deceased persons interest in the property passes to his or her heirs and not to the other owner(s).  (B).When the title is held a Joint Tenants or as Tenants by the Entirety, the title automatically passes to the surviving owner(s) without the necessity to probate the estate of the deceased.

Who has Control and Management?

(A). When title is held as Tenants in Common or Joint Tenants, the rents, control, management and possession of the property is in the owners equally, in the absence of an agreement to the contrary, but the individuals can divest themselves of their individual share in the property without the joining in with the others.  (B). When title is held as Tenants by the Entirety, (which is limited to husband and wife),neither the husband nor the wife can divest themselves of their interest in the property to anyone except to each other, so long as the marriage lasts, without the signature of both.”

2. What is a title search or exam?

Title examination is one of the key elements in a real estate transaction. It ensures that the title to a property is marketable, or suitable for sale. Title examinations look to see if there are any encumbrances on a property. An encumbrance is anything that could disrupt the sale of the property, such as unpaid tax liens or any restrictions placed on the property. Examinations also review the history of ownership, including all trusts, wills and deeds that have been associated with the property in the past. This is called reviewing the chain of the title, and inspects whether the property’s ownership may be legally tied to anyone other than the current seller or owner refinancing. Without a clear title a buyer could end up purchasing a property that legally belongs to someone else, or perhaps which has unpaid debts that could eventually lead to someone else claiming legal ownership of the property

3. What is title insurance?

Owner’s title insurance protects against financial loss in the event that problems develop regarding the rights to ownership of your property. There may be hidden title defects and risks that would not be disclosed by even the most meticulous search of public records. Most title insurance will insure against the following problems in the title to real estate:

a.    Forgery.

b.    Fraud in connection with the execution of documents.

c.    Undue influence (under pressure) on a grantor (seller) or executor.

d.    False impersonation by someone purporting to owners of the property.

e.    Incorrect representation of marital status of a grantor (seller).

f.     In some cases, undisclosed or missing heirs.

g.    Improperly probated wills.

h.    Mental incompetence of grantors.

i.      Conveyance from a minor.

j.     In some cases, inadequate surveys or incorrect legal description.

k.    Unsatisfied claims not shown on the record.

l.      Deeds executed under a false power of attorney.

m.  In some cases, confusion due to similar or identical names.

n.    In some cases, dower or courtesy rights of ex-spouses or former owners.

o.    Incorrect indexing at Registries of Deeds.

p.    Clerical errors in recording legal documents.

q.    Delivery of deeds after the death of a grantor.

r.     Defects in tax records

4. Do I need title insurance?

Owners Title Insurance is not required but it is highly recommended. Real estate may be the largest purchase you make in your life and deserves to be protected. Title insurance is the best protection you can get to against claims that could take away your real estate. If you borrow money secured by a mortgage, lender’s title insurance will probably be required. If you purchase a lender’s policy, the owner’s title insurance policy is sold to you at a discount. In addition, there is no extra charge for an inflation rider which is added to every policy and which will increase coverage as required, up to 50% in addition to present coverage. Title insurance has a one-time Charge (at closing) so you won’t ;have to pay monthly or yearly charges.

5. How much does title insurance cost?

The one-time premium is directly related to the value of your home so there won’t be additional premiums every year. It is a one-time only expense, paid when you purchase your home, yet it continues to provide complete coverage for as long as you own the property. If you purchase the property with a mortgage from a bank, the bank will require a lenders policy of title insurance to protect their interest. If you also purchase an owner’s title insurance policy at the same time, you will receive a substantial discount for the owner’s policy due to the simultaneous issue of the two policies.

6. What can make a title defective?

A defective title is title to real estate that lacks some of the elements necessary to transfer good title. Even if a deed looks good on its face, the title can still be defective. There are more problems that make a title defective that can be discovered by a title search. In addition, there could be many more problems that remain undisclosed after even the most meticulous search of public records. These hidden “defects” are dangerous indeed because you may not learn of them for many months or years. They could force you to spend substantial sums on a legal defense, and still result in the loss of your property. It is not uncommon for title defects to surface when you are selling your property and the potential buyer conducts a title search.

To make an appointment….
Please contact us by phone at:  413-336-8300 or
Please email me using the contact form on the right.

Selecting the right attorney is an important decision and a sometimes daunting task. Choosing an attorney with the appropriate experience and knowledge will ensure that you are legally protected now and in the future. Make an appointment for a free brief consultation at Naatz Law to determine if we are best suited to fit your legal needs.

Naatz Law Office, 1111 Elm Street, Ste 28,
West Springfield, Ma 01089. Disclaimer


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