By Marc Shaw
When you are purchasing a piece of real estate, there are a range of title defects that could hold up the deal or even halt it entirely. Today, the team at World Wide Land Transfer would like to share some information with you about one such title defect: an illegal deed. If the deed to your property was forged, stolen, or conveyed illegally, it could call your ownership into question. Resolving this defect could mean spending thousands in legal fees and spending time in court. Read on to find out what you can do to protect yourself!
When we say “illegal deeds,” we’re not referring to actions that are against the law – although those who convey illegal deeds are often engaged in criminal activity. We are referring to the deed of ownership that represents your legal claim to a piece of property. If your deed is illegal, you may not even be aware of it, but it could still cause you plenty of legal headaches if the rightful owners would ever come forward.
One example of an illegal deed would be one that was obtained through forgery or impersonation of a property’s true owner. A signer may pose as a property owner and forge their signature on documents. They may also impersonate the property owner and sign the deed in the presence of a notary. In other cases, a fraudster may claim to be a representative of the property owner and fill out documents transferring ownership to themselves. In all of these cases, the deed obtained would be considered illegal; however, if the fraudster can sell the property to an unsuspecting third party without the illegal deed being discovered, they can profit from their deception. Often, quitclaim deeds, which do not offer the same types of guarantees or warranties as a general warranty deed, are used to facilitate this type of illegal transaction.
If you discover that the deed used to convey property to you was illegal or if it was a part of the current stolen deed crisis, it can be very costly for you. The best way to avoid this situation is by purchasing a title insurance policy that covers this type of defect. Because illegal deeds are usually created through fraud, forgery, and impersonation, it can be exceedingly difficult to identify them before closing on a real estate deal. By obtaining a title insurance policy, you can be covered for any expenses incurred related to resolving an illegal deed and a range of other potential title defects.
If you are pursuing a real estate transaction, purchasing title insurance is a good idea, and in many cases, it may be required. With two decades of experience in the title insurance industry, World Wide Land Transfer has all the knowledge and resources you need to ensure your next transaction goes smoothly. Get in touch with us if you need NY State title insurance or if you are looking for a policy anywhere else in the country.
World Wide Land Transfer is a service-oriented PA title company with offices in Philadelphia, New York, and Washington, D.C. With a record of going above and beyond, we are trusted to close everything from complex commercial transactions to residential refinance and purchase transactions.