I’ve always liked the film “A Knight’s Tale” for a lot of reasons. One is the introductions given by Paul Bettany as Chaucer in this medieval-based comedy-drama. Chaucer’s role in these announcements is to hype the crowd. He does this by weaving tales of myriad adventures he and his man Sir Ulrich von Lichtenstein have had together and the nobility of von Lichtenstein’s lineage.
A property title is admittedly not quite as exciting, but there are parallels in the concept. Whereas titles of nobility convey the history of a person, titles on properties convey a history of ownership.
Companies like Title Source make sure your title stays yours by providing title insurance. Sometimes, though, an issue with the title can cause a delay in the purchase or refinance process. We’ve come up with the four biggest reasons getting a title cleared takes longer than anticipated and, finally, what to expect.
Extra Deed Work
There are three situations that require special deed work in order to get the job done. They can cause delays in the title process and you should be ready for them.
If someone passes away, their belongings – including their property – commonly go into probate. Probate is a formal legal process where a judge needs to approve the validity of the deceased’s will. The will may identify you as the next owner of the property, but matters still need to go through probate and work needs to be done through an attorney to make sure the proper person is getting title to the property.
This can delay the process slightly, but it’s necessary to make sure you have a solid legal claim to the property.
Sometimes when someone passes away, their property and other possessions go into a trust. A trust is a legally binding document people activate before they die. It establishes how the deceased’s estate is to be divided or managed. When a client’s title is done, the title has to be in the name of an individual. Therefore, you have to take the property out of the trust, which can take some time to complete.
In instances of divorce, people will commonly refinance to remove their former spouse from the title. In this case, lenders have to make sure that the spouse has been paid whatever consideration was agreed to in the divorce decree for their interest in the property.
Once that happens, a signature can be obtained (usually on a quitclaim) to have one party deeded off the title.
One thing we recommend is that clients have the divorce finalized before going through with the refinance because it could otherwise take months to officially resolve considerations.
Judgments – a lien placed on the property – are another cause for title delays. When you have one on a property you’re trying to purchase or refinance, it’s often for something like unpaid property taxes or another violation.
If it’s a house you’re trying to purchase, you’re not even responsible for a judgment resulting in a lien on the property. Still, it can take a while for attorneys and the courts to work out who is responsible. This can delay your title process.
While some of these issues just require patience, there are some things you can do to speed up the process, mainly by having your paperwork in order. Make sure you have trust and probate documents ready to send if needed.
If you’ve just gone through a divorce, make sure your ex-spouse is aware that the title company will be calling them so that person can sign off the title. Have a name, address and phone number where the ex-spouse can be reached.
Do you have any other title questions? Let us know in the comments below.
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