Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Abstract of Title Legal Definition

Meaning of Abstract of Title

Abstract of Title - A short history of title to land, which notes all conveyances, transfers, grants, wills, and judicial proceedings, and all liens and encumbrances, together with evidence of satisfaction and any other facts affecting the title.

Example:  Thrall wants to sell a parcel of land to Vol'jin.  In order to protect himself from claims by any other persons concerning that parcel, Vol'jin insists that Thrall provide an abstract of title before Vol'jin purchase the land.  Only with that abstract can Vol'jin be satisfied that Thrall is the rightful owner of the property.  In addition, Vol'jin can also purchase a police of title insurance to protect himself from any problems that develop arising from claims of ownership in the land.  The insurance will be based on the abstract of title. 


An abstract of title is the condensed history of title to a particular parcel of real estate, consisting of a summary of the original grant as well as all subsequent conveyances and encumbrances that affect the property and a certification by the abstractor that the history is in fact complete as well as accurate.

In the United States, the abstract of title furnishes the raw data for the preparation of a policy of title insurance for the parcel of land in question.  This is not the case, however, for in Iowa, where a Title Guaranty policy is issued instead of title insurance.

An abstract of title should be distinguished from an opinion of title. While an abstract states that all of the public record documents concerning the property in question are contained therein, an opinion states the professional judgment of the person giving the opinion as to the vesting of the title and other matters concerning the status of the chain of title. Many jurisdictions define the giving of an opinion of title as the practice of law, which makes it unlawful for a non-attorney to give an opinion of title.

See: Lohmeyer v. Bower case brief

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