There are advantages to have a certificate of title to real property, known as Torrens.
Otherwise proving the chain of title requires an abstract of title, a lengthy document. Some want to convert their title to Torrens, and that’s been made easier.
Since the law was changed last year, it can be accomplished even if the original abstract is not available. During the recent foreclosure crisis, abstracts have been lost.
Minnesota statutes were amended last year to allow “evidence of title that’s acceptable to the examiner” to be the basis of a Torrens certification, said Susan Ledray, Hennepin County’s examiner of titles.
Ledray’s office will help property owners to find acceptable evidence, she said. “Tell us what you have, an outdated abstract, a title commitment, or documents that a title company holds to do a search. We’ll work with you,” she said.
There also are internet resources, Ledray said. “We have a lot of resources and information on our website or look at the website of any county,” she said. She recommended consultation with local title offices but added that Hennepin is very helpful, with links to forms, white pages, and title standards, “It’s all there.
“We encourage people to talk to us early and often. We can consult so it can be done right in the first place,” she said.
Also, she said, it’s really important that lawyers disclose what should be disclosed, that builds credibility. Examiners sit as judicial officers, and its very difficult if lawyers are skewing the facts, Ledray said.
“Show us that you’ve done due diligence, without being asked. Give context and not just a conclusory statement as evidence,” she suggested.
Ledray added, most real estate attorneys are the good kind, most attorneys do the right thing.