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I have just sold my house and bought a new one. The lawyer I am working with to do all the necessary paperwork has sent me something about "Title Insurance". I am not quite sure exactly what this is. Can somebody tell me what this means and if it would benefit me? Should I get it?

9

Here is a pretty exhaustive article on that question.

Long story short, it is an insurance policy against the possibility that the person selling the property to you doesn't legally own it. If there was some mistake or fraud along the way the proper owner could theoretically repossess the property without you getting your money back.

If you are financing the property, it is almost a certainty that the lender will require you to buy it whether you want it or not.

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When we got our mortgage in the state of Washington, in the United States, we had to get title insurance before our lender would loan the money. This ensures that the person selling us the house actually owns the title, clean and clear. If there are any surprises, the insurance covers us (or the lender, really).

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    +1. Generally you must buy title insurance to get a loan. Also worth noting that the insurance is primarily to protect the lender. – wrschneider Jan 3 '15 at 19:00
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Title insurance protects you from losing rights to your property in case of a court decision. Let's look at an example I recently found in local newspapers.

One old woman sold her apartment to person A. The deed was attested by a notary public who verified that indeed in was that old woman putting her signature on the deed. Then person A sold the apartment to person B, etc, then after several deals some unfortunate Buyer bought that apartment. The deal looked allright, so he's got a mortgage to pay for the apartment.

Later it turned out that the old lady died three months before she "sold" the apartment and the notary public was corrupt. Old lady's heirs filed a lawsuit and the deal was void. So the ultimate Buyer lost all rights to the apartment although he purchased it legally.

This is the case when title insurance kicks in. You need one if there's a chance for a deal to be deemed void.

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If or when you "own" your land outright you need to try and get the land patent on it. That is the supreme form of title to it. It goes back to when the land was acquired by the U.S. (from Britian, France, etc.) by treaty. Treaties trump even our Constitution. When you have a land patent.........IT'S YOURS!

That link is to my site but this was so relevant that I had to include it. Hope y'all don't mind.

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    But how would you actually get this patent in practice? – GS - Apologise to Monica Aug 11 '10 at 7:50
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    -1 Interesting, but doesn't answer the question, maybe try a comment next time perhaps? – user296 Dec 7 '10 at 2:03

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