What Is the Difference Between a Deed And a Title?

When buying a new home, you’ll quickly hear all sorts of terms tossed into conversations. Most people tend to assume that Property Deeds and titles are the same, but in reality refer to two separate legal concepts. When you own a property entirely, you will possess both the Deed and title. But a title is distinct from a Deed. Mixing the two up can cause problems if you don’t know what you’re using.

Deeds are simply the legal documents that transfer title from one entity to another, not titles themselves. They must be written documents, according to the Statute of Frauds. Another term for “deed” is “vehicle of the property interest transfer.” In most states, deeds are required to be recorded in a courthouse or an assessor’s office to make them fully binding, but a failure to file them does not change the transfer of title. It just means that the deed is not “perfected.” An imperfect deed does not mean that there is a problem with the title. It’s just a problem with the way that the paperwork surrounding the deed was handled.

A Title is a legal way of saying you own a right to something. When buying a home, the title refers to ownership of the property, and you have the rights to use that property. It may be a partial interest in the property or it may be full. However, because you have a title, you can access the land and potentially modify it as you see fit. A Title also means that you can transfer that interest or portion that you own to others.

The Bottom Line: Deeds and certificates of title have one function in common: both provide proof of ownership of property. The certificate of title must contain enough information to identify the piece of property and any encumbrances, such as mortgages. The deed to a piece of property may also include conditions of ownership and more extensive information about the property. The deed itself is also an integral part of a real estate transfer.

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“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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