“Trust Me… All About TRUSTS”

By Marie Ragias
Underwriting Counsel
Title First Agency

Trusts are becoming ever more popular in estate planning, and it is important for you as an agent to understand how to best prepare your buyer or seller when a trust entity is involved in a real property transaction. Let’s talk about the documents your client will need to submit to Title First to process the transaction and why each one is required:

All buyer and seller trust entities will need to provide either a Memorandum of Trust or Certification of Trust as evidence of the Trustee’s authority to handle the real property transaction. Ohio Revised Code Section 5301.255 governs Memorandums of Trust, and Ohio Revised Code Section 5810.13 governs Certifications of Trust. Each code section lays out the information that is required to be obtained in either of  these documents. Both require the name of the current trustee as well as the powers of the trustee.

Why are these documents required?

These documents clarify in the public record that the trustee acting on behalf of the trust had authority to buy, sell, and/or mortgage the subject property.

A selling trust may already have one of record with the county recorder, in which case the seller trustee will only be required to sign a document at closing called a “Non-Revocation of Trust”, which will be held in the Title First file.

A buying trust may not have one of record if this is their first purchase under the trust, in which case, one will need to be prepared to record for purposes of satisfying a lender requirement and for obtaining a policy
of title insurance.

Depending on the circumstances of your client’s transaction, they may also need to provide an Affidavit of Successor Trustee. If the trustee that originally took the title as a representative for the trust is now deceased or has otherwise been removed as trustee, Title First will need to have an Affidavit of Successor Trustee prepared, which will name the new trustee who now has authority to act on behalf of the trust. Typically, the Successor Trustee is named in the original trust agreement.

If your client is uncomfortable providing information from the Trust or is hesitant, then we can help alleviate matters by pinpointing what we need from the original trust document. Your client can have the above documents prepared by their own private attorney or Title First can facilitate preparation of these documents by referring to a private attorney outside of Title First. By providing these documents early on, the closing process will be more efficient.

Scratching your head with questions regarding what documents are required? Good news! – Title First has NINE attorneys on staff who are more than happy to answer any questions about what will be required of your buyer or seller trust.

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Here’s Why You Need Title Insurance

  • A fire destroys only the house and improvements. The ground is left. A defective title may take away not the only the house but also the land on which it stands. Title insurance protects you (as specified in the policy) against such loss.
  • A deed or mortgage in the chain of title may be a forgery.
  • A deed or a mortgage may have been signed by a person under age.
  • A deed or a mortgage may have been made by an insane person or one otherwise incompetent.
  • A deed or a mortgage may have been made under a power of attorney after its termination and would, therefore, be void.
  • A deed or a mortgage may have been made by a person other than the owner, but with the same name as the owner.
  • The testator of a will might have had a child born after the execution of the will, a fact that would entitle the child to claim his or her share of the property.
  • A deed or mortgage may have been procured by fraud or duress.
  • Title transferred by an heir may be subject to a federal estate tax lien.
  • An heir or other person presumed dead may appear and recover the property or an interest therein.
  • A judgment or levy upon which the title is dependent may be void or voidable on account of some defect in the proceeding.
  • Title insurance covers attorneys’ fees and court costs.
  • Title insurance helps speed negotiations when you’re ready to sell or obtain a loan.
  • By insuring the title, you can eliminate delays and technicalities when passing your title on to someone else.
  • Title insurance reimburses you for the amount of your covered losses.
  • A deed or mortgage may be voidable because it was signed while the grantor was in bankruptcy.
  • Each title insurance policy we write is paid up, in full, by the first premium for as long as you or your heirs own the property.
  • There may be a defect in the recording of a document upon which your title is dependent.
  • Claims constantly arise due to marital status and validity of divorces. Only title insurance protects against claims made by non-existent or divorced “wives” or “husbands.”
  • Many lawyers, in giving an opinion on a title, protect their clients as well as themselves, by procuring title insurance.
  • Over the last 24 years, claims have risen dramatically.

Dedicated to innovation and passionate about service, Title First Agency is your comprehensive, nationwide resource for title and real estate settlement services. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Title First has branch offices throughout the Midwest and a robust virtual partner network throughout the country. Title First got its start in 1956 as an affiliate of a local law firm and has since emerged as one of the largest independent title agencies in the nation.

Proudly servicing Realtorslendersbuildersdevelopers, law firms, buyers and sellers, Title First is equipped to serve your residential and commercial title and settlement needs. Title First Agency. Your title company.

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Get Your Home Ready to Sell in the Spring Market

Spring is right around the corner and while we are in the cold, gray days of February, now is a perfect time to get your home ready to put on the market to sell during the Spring market!

Start purging and packing. Go through your closets, attic, garage, basement, junk drawers and decide what you can throw out and what you want to save but don’t need and can box up. Reducing the amount of clutter will help potential buyers visualize how they might use the different areas. Plus, the less you have in a closet – the bigger it will seem.

Make improvements especially in the kitchen and bathrooms. It doesn’t need to be expensive. For instance, how do your kitchen cabinets look? Are they chipped or are the knobs falling off? Replace or repaint them, tighten the knobs or replace the hardware completely. Regrout tile where needed, caulk the shower and tub, replace switch plates and doorknobs- all this will give the bathroom a fresh look without breaking the bank.

How is your front door? The front hallway? The first thing a potential buyer will see when they come to your home. Give it a fresh coat of paint and clean or replace the knob and knocker if there is one. Look around at the foyer area and notice if you need to update the walls with neutral paint or clean the trim, if any.

Use neutral, gray or white paint on the walls in each room. Another relatively cheap and easy thing to do in the Winter months to get ready for Spring. Don’t just touch up – paint the entire wall. Now is the time to paint over the bright colors you may have used. If you have carpeting in any room, consider replacing to hardwood which will help the home sell, or at the very least get a good professional cleaning.

Go room to room in your warm home while the February snow is falling outside and scrutinize everything from switch plates to ceiling fans. Look for the tiny flaws that you haven’t noticed like cob webs in between the storm & the window. Have you dusted the shades? Cleaned the curtains? Not something people think to do on the weekly, but can make a huge difference. Simply get on the floor at kid and dog level and wipe down the baseboards and look for little fingerprints to wash away with mild soap and water. Put the brush attachement on your vacuum and run it over the walls.

The Bottom Line: It’s surprising, the little things you don’t notice daily in your home. But, taking the time and seeing things through the eyes of a potential buyer can greatly help to get your home ready for Spring. Sometimes asking a friend to come to do an honest walk through and point out problems will help. Now, might also be the perfect time to find a Realtor and have them come in your home and give you their feedback as well.

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