The role of an attorney in a closing is to take care of all the details necessary to "close" the loan and transfer of title. You need a law office that will effectively coordinate all of the efforts of attorneys, lenders, brokers, buyers, and sellers that allow the closing to take place. One of the most significant tasks the closing attorney must achieve is to determine, both for the benefit of the buyer and lender, that the title to be transferred is good and clear of any liens or other encumbrances. Murray Law Offices is the second largest underwriter of title insurance for Chicago Title Insurance Company in South Carolina, which simply means, for you, that we know what we are doing, do it often and do it well. Enjoy peace of mind that we will comprehensively research your title and follow through will all aspects of the closing to ensure, whether representing the buyer, seller or both, that all goes as smoothly as possible.
A Title Opinion is the written opinion of an attorney, based on the attorney's title search of a property, describing the current ownership rights in the property and any actions that must be taken to make the stated ownership rights marketable. Murray Law Offices will search the public records in order to know if the title carries unpaid taxes, unsatisfied mortgages, judgments or tax liens against the previous owners. We check for easements, restrictions or court actions. The predominant use of a title opinion is in a pre-purchase situation especially if considering the purchase of a foreclosure property, otherwise the more prudent purchase is of title insurance which for about the same cost includes all which an attorney does in a title opinion plus additional protections.
With a Title Opinion, if a title issue surfaces, your only recourse is against the attorney that provided that Opinion and then only for those things that he or she should have reasonably been expected to detect (the standard of practice). There's a whole host of things that an attorney typically wouldn't be expected to discover and so you would be without protection. That's why, for nearly the same cost, the purchase of Title Insurance makes so much more sense. It protects you not only from mistakes an attorney may make but also all these possible hidden risks that can cause a loss of title or create an encumbrance on title:
- False impersonation of the true owner of the property
- Forged deed, releases or wills, Instruments executed under invalid or expired power of attorney
- Undisclosed or missing heirs; Mistakes in recording legal documents
- Misinterpretations of wills, Deeds by persons of unsound mind
- Deeds by minors
- Deeds by persons supposedly single, but in fact married
- Liens for unpaid estate, inheritance, income or gift taxes
Title insurance will pay for defending against lawsuits attacking your title as insured, and will either clear up title problems or pay the insured's losses. For a one-time premium, an owner's title insurance policy remains in effect as long as you, or your heirs, retain an interest in the property.
The cost of title insurance is regulated by the state and is based on the value of the policy. If a loan is involved the lender will require a policy for the full amount of the loan but it protects only the lender. An owner's policy would need to be for the full purchase price and if both policies are purchased at the same time a special rate is applied in which you pay only the normal premium for the higher priced policy and get the second policy for just an additional $100. At Murray Law we always try to find ways to reduce our client's costs.
So, Don't Worry, Call Murray!