Title Insurance Matters

A substantial part of Olson, Lucas, Redford & Wahlberg’s practice involves litigation to protect the title of owners of real estate as well as lenders who own mortgages secured by real estate.  Typically, OLRW is hired by a title insurer (also called an underwriter) to represent an insured under a title insurance policy, either to protect ownership of property or the priority or validity of mortgage loans on property.

Priority disputes involving purchase money mortgages, home equity mortgages (also called HELOC), mechanic’s liens, can occur with misunderstandings over who owns the first lien or mortgage.  We have significant experience litigating claims of this nature.

Our firm has defended ownership itself.  Even though the buyer obtains a Warranty Deed, at times the right of the seller to convey good title may be challenged by others saying they own some right, even outright ownership.  A good and thorough title examination cannot detect that a deed was forged; or that the Grantor was not competent when signing; or that a spouse married at the time to the seller did not sign.  In one reported appeals decision, we succeeded in enforcing a Mortgage lender’s Mortgage loan even though the wife denied her signature was proper.

A judgment creditor may claim to have rights in the real estate.

Legal descriptions (legal address of a property) can sometimes be mistakenly written. Olson, Lucas, Redford & Wahlberg has succeeded in having Deeds and Mortgages corrected so they could be enforced.

There may be issues whether a Mortgage was properly foreclosed in the past.

There can be claims in real estate not shown by the public record.  In those instances, there are ways in which the owner or mortgage lender can properly record its interest.  And there are other ways the Courts and Recorder/Registrar won’t recognize.

Tom Olson of our firm has lectured continuing education classes on the topic of recording.

Access to real estate is critically important.  Title insurance may insure an owner or lender’s right of access.  Olson & Lucas has established or confirmed easements to a public right of way, sometimes where no formal access existed.

This might involve cartway or cartpath litigation; it may involve an action for a prescriptive easement, or an implied easement to force a right to cross the land of another to get to an access road.  At times, access could be interrupted and a claim alleges the access was abandoned.

OLRW represents title insurers and title agents when claims of coverage or entitlement are made.  It is our policy to see that insurers are obligated only to pay legitimate title claims; and we aggressively defend claims to extend coverage to matters which a title insurance policy does not protect.

Also, a title claim may be presented where no loss has actually been sustained by the policy holder.  It can occur that a Mortgage loan is secured by some real estate; but title to some of the real estate is lost.  Yet there may be no diminution in the value of the real estate, or in the collateral.  Therefore, there is no loss.

Closing protection letters and insured closing letters may insure to a lender that funds are properly applied.  We’ve been involved dealing with claims concerning misappropriation of funds; and have represented title insurers during Commerce Department inquiries.