Title companies and title insurance companies rely on licensed attorneys to write what is called an opinion of title, in order to issue a title or insure a title for a property. This document expresses the signatory attorney’s opinion regarding the validity of the title, based on research, investigation and examination of all relevant documentation. Also referred to as a statement of opinion or a title abstract, the document will specify all research conducted by the attorney, name all documentation he or she has looked at, and record any claims or liens found against the title. Upon completion of the opinion of title, a title insurance company can insure the document for the marketer or holder of the title. While state law often specifies the exact information required on the document, most will follow a similar format.
Format of the opinion of title usually begins with a disclaimer informing the reader of the document that the intent or purpose is for decision-making in relation to title insurance or title issuance, but in no way constitutes any sort of obligation on the part of the attorney or company. Thereafter, the attorney will usually specify the time and date of document completion as well as the time and date when he or she examined all relevant documents. On the next line, he or she will record the name and location of the property, the type of deed held on the property, and the location of where the deed is recorded.
In the next couple of sections, the attorney will record any liens held on the property and all information associated with identifying the lienholder as having a right over the property. Additionally, the attorney will also record the assignees of the lien and all information associated with identifying the assignees. If there are any other claims legally attached to the property, he or she will record them thereafter. Pending that all prior liens were satisfied through legal means, he or she will record this as well, listing each one and the date satisfied.
Since judgments against a property can affect the title as well, finding one could likely keep the attorney from issuing the opinion of title. If there are no judgments, however, he or she will need to state the fact. Finishing the document, the attorney will state when the title was closed and by whom. As well, the attorney will specify who supervised the title closing, the transferring of required funds, and whether the undersigning party was privy to either process. Last, the attorney will express his or her opinion regarding the title and sign the document to certify the opinion of title.